May 20: Haredi ire

I was sorry to read that thousands of haredim protested on Thursday evening against being drafted into the army.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Haredi ire
Sir, – I was sorry to read that thousands of haredim protested on Thursday evening against being drafted into the army (“8 cops hurt in mass haredi protest in J’lem against draft,” May 17).
I wonder if they read last week’s parsha – Bamidbar – carefully, in which one month after the erection of the Tabernacle, Moses was commanded to muster all the men of military age, those 20 years of age and upwards.
If Moses was commanded by God to do this, how can they protest against the draft in Israel? Don’t they realize that without our wonderful IDF soldiers, they wouldn’t be able to study in their yeshivot. Who would protect our country from all the surrounding countries that want to push Israel “off the face of the earth?” They can serve in our army for three years, and then continue to learn in their yeshiva for the rest of their lives, if that’s what they want to do. But they should serve their time in the army, if for nothing else, to protect our country so that everyone who wants to study in their yeshivot can continue to study.
Sir, – In most countries, citizenship, with all its privileges and obligations, comes with birth. However, for hundreds of years Jews were a special category, not considered to be citizens no matter how many generations were born in the country.
There is a principle in Jewish Law that while we can give someone benefits without their consent, we cannot penalize them without their consent.
With that principal in mind, I believe I have the answer to the haredi rioters. Much like an adopted child who was converted by its parents has a right, before his or her bar or bat mitzva to opt out of Judaism, so the haredim, at age 18, should have the right to opt out of Israeli citizenship.
The haredi who opts out will be exempt from the draft. However, as a non-citizen he will not be eligible to receive any government benefits. The educational institutions that cater to these non-citizens will not be subsidized.
I think this is a fair solution, as no one can choose only the benefits, without assuming the obligations.
Sir, – Has The Jerusalem Post joined other media in haredi bashing? Could you not have found a more neutral headline for the article about the haredi demonstration against the draft? Why not “30,000 haredim protest against draft”? The Eda Haredit, which organized the protest, may be ultraconservative but it is not “radical.”
Sir, – The Jerusalem Post’s article on the haredi protesters is a disgrace. The thin blue line which is all that stands between the law abiding public and chaos, is deserving of proper title. Police officers or policemen, no less. “Cops” are better suited to the pages of a Hank Jansen novel, not your newspaper.
And while we are on the subject of proper title, the young of human beings are” babies or children,” not as you are fond of using, “kids.” Which are the young of goats and similar creatures.
Equal justice
Sir, – The Jerusalem Post reported that Justice Minister Tzipi Livni proposes implementing legislation equating “price tag” attacks to racism (“Cabinet may consider defining ‘price tag’ incidents as terror,” May 17). “Price tag” attacks are allegedly conducted by Jews in retaliation to Arab terrorism and overbearing governmental action against Jews in Judea and Samaria.
There are several problems associated with Livni’s approach.
Apparently, this proposed legislation would be directed against Jews who allegedly performed these acts, which is discriminatory.
Moreover, if the legislative language is not clear, it could be deemed vague and indefinite rendering the legislation as not being enforceable.
However, what is most troublesome is that Livni apparently does not equate Arab terrorism – including rock throwing, whose objective is to wound, maim and kill Jews – with racism. As such, she would be strengthening the perception that there is a lack of an impartial administration of justice in Israel, particularly when it relates to the Attorney-General’s Office. The basis of a democratic constitutional government is the impartial administration of justice, which does not seem to be the modus operandi of Livni.
This is regrettable.
IRVING GENDELMAN Jerusalem, Israel
Standing for truth
Sir, – In your May 16 editorial (“Irish ire,”), you briefly discuss the Jewish connection to Palestine, but you fail to mention a most important fact: Judea and Samaria are Israel’s according to international law. So declared the League of Nations, and the UN Charter maintains the League decision.
Post editorials, where appropriate, should repeat Israel’s legal claim. In this way, we can defeat Israel’s BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] enemies and the fiction that Judea and Samaria are “occupied Palestinian territories.”
Those who stand for truth need to arm themselves by reading the League mandate for Palestine.
Converts and courts
Sir, – I was not at all surprised to read “Conversions of non-Jewish Israelis declining, Knesset committee is told” by Jeremy Sharon (May 14), given the intolerance with which the haredi-dominated Rabbinate relates to potential converts to Judaism.
While I am not enamored of the Israel Democracy Institute, when its Prof. Yedidya Stern was quoted in the article saying “a small group is dictating conversion policy” – the professor was spot on.
Many decent and committed potential converts are abused, embarrassed, or treated in the most insulting way by the Rabbinic Courts and this is reflected in the decline noted in this headline.
Far too many potential converts cease their efforts to complete the conversion process.
Prof. Stern’s suggestion that the Knesset formulate a new and independent conversion system is the only solution to this problem.
I understand the importance of establishing a Jew’s bona fides given the popularity of Israel as an immigration point these days, but the Rabbinic Courts have proven they are unable to deal decently with potential converts.
This power will have to be taken from them and given to more responsible authorities.

Semantics of peace
Sir, – Isi Leibler (“Déjà vu: ‘Peace in Our Time,’” Candidly Speaking, Comment and Features, May 14) has exposed the painful truth.
When we talk of a “peace process” we are in essence talking about “negotiations.” When we talk about “negotiations” we are in essence talking about “compromise,” whereby each side to a conflict gives up something to the other, where everybody gets something but nobody gets everything (which would be “capitulation”).
In the 20 years since the Oslo Accords, I am not aware of a single compromise made by the Palestinians in their unabated, immutable drive to destroy the Jewish state and the Jewish people by any means possible. Thus there is no peace partner on the opposite side of the table nor has there ever been, and the obvious truth is that there is no peace process nor has there ever been one.
CORRECTIONS: Due to a technical error, the answer to the puzzles in Friday’s Magazine were incorrect. The correct puzzles and answers appeared in Sunday’s Puzzle Post on Page 20. We apologize for the inconvenience.
In “Celebrating complexity: In tribute to Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein” (May 12, Page 21), an error was introduced into the original article, which stated correctly that Lichtenstein moved to Israel from America more than 40 years ago.
We apologize for the mistake.