March 10: The strike is right

If those employed by the government deserve a raise, so do those in the private sector.

The strike is right
Sir, – Regarding “Social workers’ strike enters third day with no end in sight” (March 8), the Treasury’s refusal to extend salary increases to social workers employed in the private sector shows triple chutzpa. This is because:
1. If those employed by the government deserve a raise, so do those in the private sector.
2. The government does not pay the wages of people employed in the private sector.
3. Many social workers employed in the private sector work for NGOs that are doing work the government fails to do.
Sir, – The social worker strike is just another manifestation of policies by successive Israeli governments to cut to a minimum the investment in social services.
Politicians only consider the period of their “reign” when budgeting, and completely disregard the long-term effects – the cost of which drastically exceeds respectable compensation to social workers.
Insulting a tenor
Sir, – Your front page “welcome” to Jose Carreras (“The other tenor, March 8) headlines him with a gratuitous insult, presumably placing him after Pavarotti and Domingo.
Why do this to a celebrated singer who has graced opera houses throughout the world?
Carreras is clearly not put off by the artistic boycott of Israel currently gaining hold in Europe. To treat him this way is offensive and insulting. If I were him, I wouldn’t come back.
MICHAEL STEEL Modi’in/London
Int’l Women’s Day
Sir, – Regarding “A form of torture” (Comment & Features, March 8), the literally thousands of cases worldwide of women who are unable to secure a get from recalcitrant husbands is nothing short of an epidemic.
Emotional abuse, mental cruelty and psychological torture are meted out on a daily basis by men who hold their wives hostage for money or child custody in return for granting a get. This scourge affects all sectors of the Jewish community.
It is high time that those in authority stop burying their heads in the sand and claiming that no problem exists. It is time to embrace the use of halachic pre-nuptial agreements. It is time for communities to fully and totally shun and shame those who put women into this terrible predicament.
ZE’EV M. SHANDALOV Ma’aleh Adumim
Sir, – While I agree with Caroline B. Glick (“Women’s surprising defenders,” Our World, March 8) that the haredi group Yad L’Achim is doing holy work in rescuing Jewish women from the hands of abusive Muslim husbands, where is it in rescuing women suffering at the hands of abusive haredi husbands? Is their fate and happiness no less important?
Sir, – MK Haneen Zoabi claims this country rejects her nationality (“Who are you calling feminist?,” Comment & Features, March 8). But if she doesn’t consider herself a citizen of Israel, then what on earth is she doing sitting in our democratic Israeli parliament?
Zoabi says her “parliamentary agenda is to protect Arab women in this society.” Well, I’ve got news for her: She is there in order to protect all Israeli women, regardless of religion or race.
Perhaps this is news to her, but this country – which she considers her homeland – is no longer called Palestine, but has reverted to its historic, original name of 3,000 years: Israel.
Sir, – Haneen Zoabi makes her allegiances and her agenda patently clear when she refers to herself and the Israelis she represents as “Palestinian citizens.” She is out to destroy the country that makes it possible not only for its Arab citizens, but for the Arabs in the West Bank to achieve standards of education, free speech, opportunity and economic independence that are only a distant dream throughout Arabia.
But, as with virtually all Arab politicians – not only in Israel – it is far easier to whip up anti-Israel sentiment than to address the deepseated sickness of Muslim society, in particular as it relates to and oppresses women.
By being part of this amen chorus of dishonesty, Zoabi not only hurts all citizens of Israel, but becomes part of the nefarious force that conspires to keep Arab women under the thumbs and knives of their men.
Shame on her!
J.J. GROSS Jerusalem
Sir, – Good for The Jerusalem Post for having so many op-ed articles on and by women for International Women’s Day. I especially liked Galia Golan’s overview, “Where has all this feminism gotten us?” It is both radical and reasonable, and I learned from it.
Rickety scaffolding
Sir, – Giulio Meotti lashes out at the Vatican, stating that “Israel bashing is... part of the strategy of the Vatican Secretariate of State in the Middle East” which is “trying to reach accommodations with regimes and forswear condemnation of Islamist ideology. Israel is easily expendable in this horrendous scheme.” (“The Vatican vs the ‘Zionist tsunami,’” Comment & Features, March 1).
This conclusion rests on a scaffolding of inaccurate, incomplete and gravely misleading statements.
Meotti says “US Archbishop Salim Bustros wrote the final message of the [Vatican’s Middle East] Synod [of Bishops].” Actually, Bustros did not write the final message but only delivered it to the press. The Vatican later officially disavowed his objectionable remarks, calling them “personal” and “not representative of the Vatican’s known positions.”
Meotti asserts the Synod said “[n]othing about Islamist persecution of Christians.” This is false. Many bishops publicly expressed concern. He accuses Jerusalem’s Latin Patriarch, Fouad Twal, of “supporting the ‘one-state solution.’” What the Patriarch actually said was, “If Israel cannot come to agree on a two-state solution it will eventually be faced by a onestate solution.”
Meotti calls the (retired) anti- Israel Archbishop Edmond Farhat “the official representative of Vatican politics.” This is completely false. The Vatican’s only official spokesman is Fr. Lombardi, director of its Press Room.
However, he is right in criticizing a sentence in an essay by Fr. Giovanni Sale in the January 14 edition of La Civilta Cattolica. This publication is reviewed by the Vatican Secretariat of State. Therefore, one must seriously question a biased statement such as “The Zionists were cleverly able to exploit the Western sense of guilt for the Shoah to lay the foundations of their own state.” On the other hand, Fr. Sale admits the Palestinian refugee problem “has at times been exploited by both Palestinians and the Arab countries to blackmail Israel and provoke the failure of possibilities for peace negotiations.” He supports “a negotiated international solution to the refugee problem,” considering Israel’s character as a Jewish State and its need for security.
Contemporary Vatican-Israel and Catholic-Jewish relations are complex but mainly positive. The past half century’s enormous advances were celebrated last week in Paris on the 40th anniversary of the “International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee.” Leading Vatican officials, Jewish leaders and Israeli Foreign Ministry representatives participated in discussions, including intensely frank exchanges on Middle East issues without ever crossing lines of mutually respectful dialogue.
The writer is the Rome and Vatican correspondent for The Jerusalem Post and liaison to the Holy See for the American Jewish Committee.