May 16: Who's to blame?

The Chief Rabbinate has failed in dealing with the issue of conversions. The Interior Ministry is aiding and abetting this.

letters (photo credit: JP)
(photo credit: JP)
Who’s to blame
Sir, – Regarding “Interior Ministry sued for not recognizing Orthodox conversions” (May 13), the Chief Rabbinate has failed in dealing with the issue of conversions. It has dealt with conversion candidates in a humiliating and corrupt manner, and seemingly cannot reform itself.
The Interior Ministry is aiding and abetting this.
The conversion process in Israel is as much a civil process as a religious one, since conversion to Judaism is the first step toward obtaining Israeli citizenship. Unfortunately, under Shas control, the Interior Ministry sees itself as an enforcement arm of the Chief Rabbinate, not as an independent government body that determines suitability for citizenship on civil grounds.
While all over the world, and even in Israel, many Jews are opting out of religious observance and identification with the Jewish state, the Chief Rabbinate and Interior Ministry seem intent on driving away those who could and would do the most to reinforce the Jewish character of Israel and probably be outstanding citizens.
It is a shame that it will probably take a Supreme Court ruling to direct the Chief Rabbinate on conversions and the Interior Ministry on the way it handles applications for citizenship by converts. They have only themselves to blame.
Consumer report
Sir, – When buying my Jerusalem Post on Friday, May 13, I saw part of the front page – which made me change my decision. I put the Post back on the shelf.
I ask you whether you think your readers really need to see a portrait of the Nazi John Demjanjuk, who may have killed members of their families. (I came from Holland half a century ago.) There is also the photo to the left of what looks like a Nazi salute being given by “Palestinian women in Beirut.”
I always learned that one has to keep the consumer in mind when trying to sell a product.

Cold shoulder
Sir, – I read “‘I won’t turn my back on the Palestinian peace camp’” (Editor’s Notes, May 13) with a feeling that President Shimon Peres lives in Wonderland.
How can he claim that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is a partner when Abbas praises terrorists and names streets and playgrounds after them? Where on earth does he get the idea that Oslo was good for us and gave us a Palestinian peace camp? All it gave us was a terrible intifada and brought Hamas to the fore.
Does Peres really believe all the ridiculous things he claims in this interview?
Petah Tikva
Sir, – After reading the interview with President Peres, I get comfort knowing that he is not the one in charge of running the show in Israel.

Sir, – Article Seven of the Hamas Charter quotes words by the Prophet Muhammad in saying it will never, ever change its policies toward the Jews and Israel. Shimon Peres is either ignorant of this fact or believes the rest of us are.
Either way, I find it unacceptable that the president of this country is undermining the very policies of the present government, which is trying to persuade the US and EU not to accept the PA-Hamas unity deal.

Sir, – When President Shimon Peres informs us that he “won’t turn [his] back on the Palestinian peace camp,” I personally couldn’t agree more. If I had the same socalled peace partners, I wouldn’t turn my back on them for a second!
Beyond just fuel
Sir, – I was interested to read in your coverage of the recent aviation fuel problem your quote that “Israir said it would supply buses to Eilat” for passengers unable to be flown to the resort (“Grounded! Contaminated fuel supply paralyzes B-G Airport,” May 6).
On May 5, my wife and I were confirmed passengers on a 1:15 p.m. Israir flight from Eilat to Ben- Gurion. I fully realize that the airline was not responsible for the fuel problem, but we were subjected to totally unacceptable treatment by its staff. We were kept for around four hours in the departure lounge being given a string of misinformation until we were finally told at around 5.15 p.m. that there were to be no flights, and that we should retrieve our luggage and go.
We were offered no help or advice of any kind, no alternative suggestions of transport, and were told “you are on your own.”
In response to my direct question, the Israir staff agreed that they were washing their hands of us.
It is my understanding that airlines have a responsibility to care for their passengers in such circumstances and must make an effort to help. Since May 5 I have been quite unable to obtain any kind of response to my complaints and claims from Israir.
This is a very unfortunate advert for our Israeli travel industry.

Mevaseret Zion
Lost opportunity
Sir, – I am an English-speaking new immigrant from South Africa of two year’s standing. I watched with great pride as the various Remembrance Day and Independence Day ceremonies unfolded on TV. They were dignified and solemn when necessary, and joyous and high-spirited when appropriate.
The coverage of addresses by the president, the prime minister, the speaker of the Knesset and the head of the IDF was impressive.
The broadcasting was remarkable and the visual content was inspirational. I surfed the various channels on my TV and found the same scenes being broadcast.
But why only in Hebrew? There must be many thousands of residents and visitors who shared my frustration. Our Hebrew fluency is not sufficient to be able to understand the speeches.
Why not allocate a TV channel with translations in English, French and Russian? Not only would this enhance the appreciation by many non-Hebrew speakers living in or visiting Israel, but it would make it possible for part or all of these ceremonies to be beamed by satellite to functions around the world where local Zionists can share in the occasion.
Can something be done to implement a change for next year? Let’s not miss the opportunity again!
Doggie don’t
Sir, – As a visitor to your country, I feel compelled to offer a commentary about a pedestrian matter that should be of concern to all citizens.
Everywhere we go we find countless numbers of cigarette butts – and almost as many piles of animal feces. While we realize that the many feral cats cannot be controlled, when we see people who make no attempt to clean up after their dogs we wonder why they have no concern for the beauty of their surroundings or for the impression it makes on the many thousands of visitors.
In the several months we have spent here we have seen just one person, a woman, pick up after her dog. It is certainly a shame that all this exemplifies the attitude of a nation.
We wanted to bring this to your attention because of our love for Israel and desire to have all visitors see it at its best.
Glendale, California