June 18: Crying tears...

My plea: that all committed Torah Jews join Rabbi Riskin and raise their voices against the abomination of the rabbinical court judges' ruling.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Crying tears... Sir, - "Why my Torah is crying" (June 16) brought tears to my eyes. I was deeply moved by an erudite scholar such as Rabbi Shlomo Riskin standing up to protest that his Torah has been "stolen away, hijacked, by false and misguided interpreters," that "these rabbinical court judges have possibly destroyed hundreds, if not thousands, of families of converts." My plea: that all committed Torah Jews join Rabbi Riskin and raise their voices against the abomination of the rabbinical court judges' ruling. JENNY WEIL Jerusalem ..and beyond Sir, - Rabbi Riskin made it clear that the present rabbinical court system is firmly in the hands of the most conservative rabbis and that their decisions, rather than bringing people closer to God, are driving them away from Judaism. Having lived here as long as he has, Rabbi Riskin must realize that any meaningful change in the makeup of the courts must come from within the system and cannot be imposed from the outside. As a truly respected rabbi and leader in Israel, he needs to use his position and influence to begin an internal revolution to unseat these rabbis who are destroying the fabric of our religious society. And we, as laymen, must encourage the rabbi, his students at the yeshiva and his rabbinical colleagues to lead the way in achieving a religious court system that has true meaning for all the people. Our present government is in such a state of turmoil that this issue does not even appear on its radar. Only strong action by rabbis and others who really care can end this unwelcome domination. Wishing alone, and crying, will not make it happen. P. YONAH Shoham Control's the thing Sir, - To say that speed is the main culprit in traffic fatalities is oversimplifying the case ("The road not taken," Editorial, June 16). A driver hitting a tree at 30 km. an hour is just as likely to die as one hitting the same tree at 120 km. an hour. Therefore the issue is not speed, but control. A Formula One driver can take curves at fantastic speeds and not crash, while an inexperienced driver can crash at "safe" speeds. To eliminate fatalities on our roads, Minister Mofaz would have to reduce speeds to intolerable limits, creating enormous traffic jams and paralyzing our transportation system. It follows that what would help would be better road training, beginning in elementary school, better safeguards on improved roads, clearer signage, and less of it. It would likewise help were the traffic police quicker to relieve traffic jams, and better trained in how to do it. MARLIN LEVIN Jerusalem Facing reality's hard Sir, - Bravo to Gershon Baskin, who has found the major impediment to peace between Israel and the Arabs: the PLO logo. Might we have a nationwide contest for a new logo? The other problem, according to Baskin, is that Israel is not following the road map. "As long as there is a government in Jerusalem and in Ramallah there is a mandate to negotiate," he writes. He sees no problem in the fact that the vast majority of Israelis want a change of leadership; nor any problem about negotiating with the shaky Fatah government and excluding the regime in Gaza. Baskin: "The Palestinian security forces have been restructured, reorganized and are now completely accountable to the president and prime minister." Yesterday's headline in the Post: "IDF: US-trained PA forces in W. Bank not fighting terror." It is difficult for a peacemonger to face reality. In the meantime, we worry that unscrupulous leaders are endangering Israel ("The road map can work," June 17). ARNOLD SULLUM Jerusalem People power Sir, - Israelis have had to cope with a reality few nations have faced: existential threats and massive immigration within a very short period. This has led to an amazing amalgam of cultures, customs and traditions that will shine only when civility, politeness and decorum are demanded, when respect for each person's rights and dignity is high on the list of priorities (Stewart Weiss, "Civil disobedience," June 12). YOEL NITZARIM Skokie, Illinois Sir, - After reading Stewart Weiss's op-ed calling on Israelis to be proactive about the "little things which chip away at the decency of everyday society," I wondered why, after years of daily rocket attacks on southern Israel from Gaza and regular false promises of a major IDF operation in Gaza soon, the citizens of the area have not come up to Jerusalem and engaged in massive civil disobedience against their government. BEN KLEIN Brooklyn Peace with Iraq? Sir, - While usually concurring with Caroline Glick, I found myself astonished by "Peace with friends"(June 13). Her premise was that several shared factors make peace possible between Israel and Iraq. Really? Ms. Glick correctly points out that the two countries have common enemies. Fine. But so do Israel and Saudi Arabia. We even share common friends. Does this mean Israel should expect to sign a peace treaty with the Saudis in the near future? The Iraqi people's hatred of Israel is so intense that several months after they succeeded in exporting oil for badly needed revenue, a pipeline was destroyed. The reason: a rumor that "some" of the oil "may" have been sold to Israel. For peace to become a reality between Israel and Iraq, or between Israel and any other Arab nation, there would either have to be a sea-change in the national mentality, or the leadership would have to reap solid benefits from such a peace. The Maliki government is still surprisingly isolated in the Arab world. Does Ms. Glick think that peace with - or even overtures to - Israel would lessen this isolation? Surely it would only deepen. As things are, in a true democratic vote one can be sure that the majority of Iraqis would come out against peace with Israel. STUART KATSOFF Tel Aviv Sir, - Caroline Glick made a compelling case for Israeli-Iraqi rapprochement, but I'm afraid religious bigotry will ultimately triumph over rational self-interest in Iraq. It's certainly true that Iraq is seriously threatened by Iran and other extremist forces in the region, and that an alliance with America and Israel makes sense. But let's not forget that the Muslims in Iraq will always regard Israel as an upstart infidel state that refuses to kowtow like a good little dhimmi should. Iraqi parliamentary representative Mithal Alousi may think otherwise, but his constituency is a lot smaller than that of jihadist firebrand Moqtada al-Sadr. Ultimately, the Islamic drive for power will tear Iraq apart and destroy its nascent democracy. The best Israelis can hope for is that when it happens, the chaos does not engulf them. DAVID KATCOFF Jericho, Vermont Bon travail! Sir, - I wish to congratulate Philippe Karsenty on his perseverance, guts, courage and patience, against all odds, in the Al-Dura case. His frank, honest and fearless outspokenness is a shining example for our ministers and MKs. I feel President Peres ought to honor him for his efforts in sustaining and upholding the integrity of our State of Israel. Continue the good work Philippe, with our blessings ("Conspiracy theories and al-Dura," Richard Landes and Philippe Karsenty, June 12). SEEMAH M. EZRA Jerusalem