May 13: Name-calling

In calling hilltop youth “Hebrew neo-Nazis” we only cause damage to ourselves and not to them.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Sir, – I was astonished to hear author Amos Oz calling the “price tag” criminals and others “neo-Nazis” (“Amos Oz: Hilltop youth are Hebrew neo-Nazis,” May 11).
These Jews (or provocative non-Jews) who try to incite our inhabitants cause us immense damage. They are criminal delinquents who should be treated as such. But in calling them “Hebrew neo-Nazis” we only cause damage to ourselves and not to them.
Has ever the distinguished writer, born in Jerusalem in 1939, met personally a Nazi or a neo-Nazi? The Nazi murderers killed my parents and tried to kill me, and now the neo-Nazis seek to kill my children and grandchildren only because of being Jewish.
So please, dear Amos Oz, be careful with your expressions.
The writer was a prisoner at Auschwitz and later, as part of the Israel Police’s Bureau 06, helped the prosecution compile its case against Adolph Eichmann Sir, – Amos Oz is almost right.
However, these people are not “monsters” or “Hebrew neo-Nazis.”
They are nut-cases whose behavior is fueled and encouraged by extremist, medieval, misogynistic rabbis who are racist to the core, hate Arabs and wish the conflict would erupt into a full-scale war.
Sir, – Your editorial of May 9 “Fighting ‘price tag’” attempts to redefine the word “terrorist” by stating that the call by the justice and public security ministers to classify “price tag” crimes as terrorism seems an overreaction.
My dictionaries inform me that the meaning of terrorism is to instill fear. That is precisely what motivates the price-tag hooligans with their perverse acts of violence. Their abusive exploits may not be as violent as those of other terrorist groups, as your editorial notes, but what they set out to achieve is the same. This classifies them as terrorists, not pranksters! I also note that no one from among members of the government describes these acts as a desecration of the Almighty’s name. Our raison d’être is to glorify His name.
The writer is a rabbi
Sir, – “Fighting ‘price tag’” was a well-stated and balanced editorial.
More power to you.
Sir, – Just as calling Israel an “apartheid” state trivializes the suffering of the true victims of apartheid, equating the slashing of tires of parked cars to slitting the throat of a three-month-old baby denigrates the suffering of untold thousands of victims of terror throughout the world.
People who do so (“Livni, Aharonovitch call to classify ‘price-tag’ attacks as terrorism,” May 8) are evil or lack a sense of moral judgment, or both.
Writing offensive graffiti on the walls of places of worship, be they churches, mosques or, yes, even synagogues, are hate crimes and should be punished with the full severity of the law.
Only weeks ago a swastika was painted over a prayer on the wall of the Petah Tikva Central Synagogue.
Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident.
Perhaps the apathy displayed toward these acts helped to spawn the “price tag” phenomenon?
Dignity and honor
Sir, – I am utterly appalled by reports that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has proposed postponing the election for a new president (“Sa’ar, Edelstein come out against delaying, canceling presidential election,” May 11). Is this going to be a repeat of his embarrassing delay in finding a new governor of the Bank of Israel until he finally got his act together and appointed the person he should have appointed all along? The government and the entire Knesset have known for the past seven years exactly when the term of office of our current president is due to expire. Why does everything have to be done not merely at the 11th hour, but long after? Why the indecision and vacillation? Do the members of our Knesset feel that this position should be reserved for one of the bunch of second-rate, has-been politicians who are clamoring for the job? Have they no pride in who represents our country abroad? I agree that the president is a figurehead, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need a figurehead.
We have enough problems with our image abroad. When Shimon Peres travels around the world, he is greeted with affection and respect. Therefore, let us choose our next president from the highly respected non-politicians who have thrown their hat in the ring, like Prof.
Dan Schechtman or retired Supreme Court justice Dalia Dorner, who can represent our country with dignity and honor.
B. YAGIL Beersheba
The real news
Sir, – “Will the world ignore Iran’s execution binge?” (Opinion & Features, May 11), your headline screams. Of course it will.
The world has much more important things to consider – things that are so much more palatable to the media frenzy as well as serving the human-rights pretense – when there are such catastrophes as “settlers” building homes! Now that’s what makes the news.
Widespread perception
Sir, – By way of the example of six Israel Prize winners, sisters Bracha Mantaka and Shira Leibowitz- Schmidt attempt to make the case against a widespread perception (“‘Haredim don’t contribute anything’: Really?” Comment & Features, May 11).
Of course, the exceptions – and these are indeed exceptions – always prove the rule. And even among this minuscule number, one, Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, is not haredi, and another, former Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupolianski, is now a convicted felon (though this is not to diminish from the good he did).
A third, Adina Bar-Shalom, despite being the daughter of the late chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef, would likely not consider herself haredi either. Indeed, Bar-Shalom said only last week during an interview on a haredi radio station that most haredi men, rather than actually sit and learn Torah, “are wandering from window to window and from cigarette to cigarette.” Her ability to so succinctly sum up the dismal reality should win her a second Israel Prize.
J.J. GROSS Jerusalem
Sir, – In “Dependence days: In the shadow of Kishinev” Comment & Features, May 5), Rabbi Eli Kavon writes that “Zionism was supposed to encourage self-reliance,” an end to haredi yeshiva adult students living off charity.
It is not Zionism but Judaism that requires this. In the Musaf prayer of Yom Kippur, Orthodox Jews recite the poignant plea of the high priest after he completes the service in the Holy of Holies on the holiest day of the year: “May it be Your will... this should be a year that your nation the House of Israel shall not depend on each other or another nation for its livelihood.”
The parasitic lifestyle also applies to haredim in the Diaspora.
The rabidly anti-Zionist Satmar hassids live in Kiryas Joel, outside New York City. According to 2008 census figures, Kiryas Joel was the poorest of tens of thousands of towns in the US. It had the highest proportion (40 percent) of residents receiving food stamps.
There is a beautiful verse in the Torah: “Observe them faithfully; for this is your wisdom and your discernment in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and discerning people” (Deuteronomy 4:6). Haredi extremism shows the world the very opposite.