June 30: 50-shekel name

When I made aliya in 1995, I had to have the name Ida on my ID certificate because that was the name on my US passport.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
50-shekel name Sir, - Herb Keinon could have his Jewish name on his ID papers if he was willing to pay a fee ("Israeli progress," June 29). When I made aliya in 1995, the clerk at the Ministry of Interior told me I had to have the name Ida on my ID certificate because that was the name on my US passport. However, for NIS 50, I could have my Jewish name, Haya; so I paid. But my father's name, Morris, had to remain because I had no proof that his Jewish name was Moshe. If I could bring his birth certificate, I was told, the name would be changed. I explained to the young clerk that my father was born in Pyatigory, Ukraine, in 1894, and while his birth may have been recorded there, he had never had a birth certificate. She seemed a bit surprised. So on my ID he remains Morris. IDA SELAVAN SCHWARCZ Ganei Omer Control for security Sir, - In "What Barak preaches, he doesn't necessarily practice (Analysis, June 29) Yaakov Katz wrote that "if the PA shows Israel it could effectively crack down on Hamas, the next step will be for Israel to transfer security responsibility over these areas (cities in area A) to the PA." However, any recent supposed crackdown by the PA against Hamas is a well-orchestrated show. While Hamas and Fatah might have their differences, when it comes to fighting against Israel, both will be willing to let bygones be bygones and unite. As Khaled Abu Toameh reported in "Dweik is real Palestinian president" (June 25), the PA leadership is planning on releasing hundreds of Hamas prisoners as a goodwill gesture. What is the purpose of having the US train PA forces to combat Hamas, only to see terrorists freed in a revolving-door policy? Israel should not fall for this ruse, but realize that the only way to insure the security of its citizens is to allow the IDF to maintain total control of security throughout Judea and Samaria. JOSH HASTEN Jerusalem Double-cross in the EU's name Sir, - As Gerald Steinberg pointed out in his analysis of the Hebrew University's conference on Strengthening the Forces of Moderation in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The Role of the European Union After the Gaza War, the EU is never asked the really tough questions about its duplicity in efforts to solve this conflict ("European funding for the narrative war," June 29). Why do we not have a law to the effect that any organization receiving funds from any foreign government, either directly or though its NGOs, must register as an agent of that country? In addition, it should have to publicize at least once a year a short balance sheet showing the amounts it has received, as well as the salaries and emoluments paid to its leading advocates. At least then everyone would realize the colossal amounts spent by these "friendly and even-handed governments" on manipulating our democracy, something they would never dare do in any Muslim country or any dictatorship. It's high time our democracy stood up and called the EU's bluff. Many of the EU's own citizens will be shocked to learn of the "double-cross" committed in their name. MENACHEM SAMUEL Jerusalem Hardly conformist Sir, - Zeev Raphael (Letters, June 28) laments that five readers' letters about Zionists reclaiming Zion constitute frightful conformism - although five regular Jerusalem Post columnists insist that the end of the "occupation" will bring acceptance by all our neighbors and by world "opinion." Jeff Barak, Gershon Baskin, Naomi Chazan, Larry Derfner and David Forman are crystal-clear about such a solution. So, Mr. Raphael, you have 10 Jews with two opposing opinions, and scores more of every possible shade in between. That is conformism? ESTER ZEITLIN Jerusalem Sifting and balancing Sir, - While I agree with Gil Troy that calmer voices have to prevail in the parking lot war, I have two serious problems with his "Radicals aren't necessarily more authentic" (June 28). The term "Taliban Judaism" is an insult to the majority of law-abiding haredi Jews who want to live in peace. They choose what they want from the modern world, sifting out the potentially harmful parts. (For example, they use a cell phone only for making calls, and avoid the "extras.") Unacceptable is the public desecration of Shabbat in a municipal (i.e. government) lot. What a person chooses to do privately is his business; but when it comes to a public place, it's as if driving on Shabbat in the holy city of Jerusalem was officially condoned - and that cannot be allowed. However, I do not approve of the method of protest, and some other way must be found. Which leads me to my next problem with Mr Troy's thesis: that only the modern Orthodox and National Religious rabbis can help. They can't condone the desecration of Shabbat either! The essence of being a religious Jew is feeling that this is how a Jew should live. And while we can't force each and every person to observe Shabbat in his own home, we can try to keep the Shabbat atmosphere in the public domain and maintain the special nature of Jerusalem. For the record, we are not haredi, but sort of national-haredi. My eldest son is in the army, but my younger ones are in Talmud Torah. BATYA BERLINGER Jerusalem 'Care to dance?' Sir, - It is not necessary for the police to resort to violence to control haredi rioters ("For haredi protesters, a free Shabbat ride to jail," June 29). A few dozen women dressed in the finest Israeli beachwear and dancing in the street singing "Hatikva" should be sufficient to send them rushing back, eyes firmly shut, to their self-imposed ghettoes. JOSEF GILBOA Jaffa No, Prime Minister Sir, - David Newman's "A flood of fictitious ministries" (June 29) makes a point that cannot be repeated too often: Israel's ridiculously bloated cabinet does not lead to good government. Newman rightfully draws on the Yes, (Prime) Minister series to make this point, and as a former public servant, I can attest that this is probably the best text on how government actually works (although one of its authors credited his experience of working in the BBC as his model). Newman derides the standard excuse for this grotesquerie as "the price we pay for democracy." Well, there are those who believe we won't have democracy until we have a Knesset whose members are all directly responsible to the electorate. Sadly, the reforms that are commonly bruited about will not achieve this elementary and essential precondition for democracy. MERVYN DOOBOV Jerusalem Missing Michael Sir, - Was Michael Jackson so very isolated and alone that no one took the time to care and maybe prevent this? ("The tragic end of Michael Jackson," Shmuley Boteach, June 28.) It seems both a repetition and forewarning of what can happen to celebrities. He needed to be hugged and accepted and loved better. He left us too soon, and he and his talent will be missed. LINDA KIRSHENBAUM Suffern, New York