June 27: Fallback position

Our insistence on Jewish communities remaining within a Palestinian state would create a true litmus test of Palestinian intentions.

Fallback position
Sir, – Amiel Ungar (“Between principle and peril,” June 23) eloquently argues why in principle we should insist that Jewish communities remain in place within the borders of a future Palestinian state. However, he then threw cold water on the idea with an extremely pessimistic assessment of how such a scenario would play out.
I disagree with his quick dismissal of the proposal. I don’t see any harm in keeping this demand as a fallback negotiating position, to use if and when we need to abandon our first demand: that the future border include as many of the Jewish communities as possible on the Israeli side.
Our insistence on Jewish communities remaining within a Palestinian state would create a true litmus test of Palestinian intentions.
If they cannot accept and agree to protect a Jewish minority within their midst (which, I agree, seems a stretch, given their hatred and incitement against Jews), what kind of a future can we look forward to here? We need to play this card correctly.
The weight of words
Sir, – Kudos to Judy Montagu on her beautifully written and thought-provoking article (“Those who should know better,” In my own write, June 23).
Many articles are interesting, informative and newsworthy. But very few are written to alert man to change his behavior.
Thank you, Judy, for putting us on guard to “weigh our words carefully.”
JENNY WEIL Jerusalem
Sir, – Sadly, Judy Montagu is right – the Nazi comparisons and epitaphs being hurled within Israel are indeed reprehensible in the extreme.
A haredi fund-raising circular I received in my post box mentions state authorities and the Supreme Court in the same breath with Inquisition dungeons, Siberian forced-labor camps, Nazi gas chambers and even crematoria.
We need to be very careful about political discourse here.
That’s no defense
Sir, – J.J. Gross (“Tearing ourselves apart,” Letters, June 23) writes that it is the rebbe, and not the Emmanuel school parents, who should be sentenced to jail, since “they [the parents] do not make their own decisions.”
The defense that they were “just following orders” was discredited long ago. Parents are required to think for themselves as responsible adults. If they are not responsible adults, they should not be allowed to raise children.
If they and the rebbe think that the mere sight of anyone less holy than they will ruin their daughters, perhaps they should remove them from Israel to a desert island.
Education, not skirt length
Sir, – I write as a lifelong modern Orthodox Jew who has made his life here in recent times in order to fulfill a lifelong desire to live in our Jewish country.
I am disappointed, but not surprised, by Shira Leibovitz Schmidt’s article (“The sledgehammer approach,” June 21). Having said that, I do feel that the High Court judgment, in incarcerating parents, is over the top and will not help the overall situation.
It seems to me Ms. Schmidt is missing the main point by concentrating on the few Sephardi girls who have opted (presumably through their parents) to join the “stringent religious code” track.
We are talking about education, not the length of skirts or the top shirt button. Do the Slonim Hassidim avow that their system is so superior to that of others that the others should be confined to separate classrooms and behind partitions on playgrounds to avoid any form of contact? Is it the Slonim way to demonstrate the community’s “stringent” (read: superior) code so as to make any child on the other side of the fence/wall/barrier feel second class? Let them provide their own type of education, but not at the cost of the rest of us, including Sephardim, and not in such a way as to humiliate other Jewish children who have a slightly different culture.
Compromise is obviously what is needed.
M. VEEDERNetanya
There’s no ‘other’ here
Sir, – I just want to say that I am an Ashkenazi and have been adopted wholeheartedly by my local Sephardi community. (The rebbetzin herself is an Ashkenazi married to a Sephardi.) I have been accepted and helped to become more Orthodox.
In return, I respect their customs and have adapted my dress to avoid anyone’s offense.
I feel happy in the Rashbi Synagogue, where the atmosphere is reverential and clear, and the women are a unit.
Change funding law
Sir, – The basic problem surrounding the issue in Emmanuel arises from the fact that schools are provided with state money without being required to meet specified standards.
Amend the law so that, in order to receive public funding, schools must conform to mainstream values, such as no “ethnic” discrimination.
Offenders should be punished with fines rather than jail terms.
Beat it, Shmuley
Sir, – How many more column inches and royalties does Shmuley Boteach expect from his acquaintance with Michael Jackson (“Smothered by the light,” No holds barred, June 22)? For one who preaches against celebrity worship, he seems to be doing very well on the proceeds.
Enough already!
Different standard? Sir, – The American Supreme Court recently upheld a US law that bars “material support” to foreign terrorist organizations. The court ruled that the government may prohibit all forms of aid to designated terrorist groups, as even material support intended for benign purpose can help a terrorist group in other ways.
Why is this decision good for the United States but not for Israel and its Gaza restrictions (“‘Yes to coriander, no to Kassams,’” June 21)? Why must we make concessions to terrorists and help them “in other ways?”
Bad information
Sir, – I would really like to know where Judith Ann Sullivan gets her information (“One less friend,” Letters, June 18).
In the past few years, attempts to make peace with territorial compromise were met with suicide bombings, the second intifada and rocket attacks, even when we unilaterally left Gaza – and still it’s the Israelis who are being blamed.
If Sullivan were a true friend, she would know it has never been our intention to annihilate a people – unlike Hamas and its allies. One day, maybe she will understand that she has been the victim of propaganda.
Petah Tikva
Get out the word
Sir, – Regarding “MKs establish Knesset lobby to press for Gilad Schalit’s release” (June 22), may I humbly submit a proposal: Simply ask the Israel postal service to issue, without delay, a large Gilad Schalit freedom stamp with a message to the world, so that his image and the message will reach the farthest corners of the globe.
Perhaps the message should read in Hebrew, Arabic and English: “4 years in captivity. I want to go home! Gilad.”