November 22: Song and firing squads

I wonder why Moses didn’t tell all the Israelite men to jump back into the sea when Miriam and the women started singing.

Song and firing squads Sir, – Regarding “Chief rabbi of Samaria region: Better that soldiers face firing squad than listen to women sing” (November 20), I wonder why Moses didn’t tell all the Israelite men to jump back into the sea when Miriam and the women started singing, dancing and playing their instruments, presumably in front of everyone.
Perhaps he felt that when you’re surrounded by enemies and you see the Hand of God helping you, singing praise – even by women – if not laudatory is certainly far, far better than running like lemmings into the sea.
Sir, – Rabbi Elyakim Levanon must surely know that the halachic obligation to give up one’s life involves only transgressions regarding the three cardinal sins of murder, immorality and heresy. The prohibition concerning a woman’s voice is not even biblical.
It behooves a rabbi with so much influence to weigh his words more carefully, just as The Jerusalem Post should not print such nonsense, especially under blaring headlines.
Sir, – My wife and I have been present at many military ceremonies, and though we and our sons are religious we have never had the problem of listening to women soldiers sing. However, as a fan of the Beatles, Gilbert and Sullivan, Pavarotti and cantorial music, I do have a problem with the ultra-modern music that the young ladies sing.
In order not to offend any person who objects to listening to the women sing, and not wishing to offend any of the performers by staging a walk-out for religious reasons, perhaps the army should simply offer classical music played by women soldiers.
That way we can all go home, with nobody having been forced to succumb to religious or irreligious coercion.
Sir, – Reading of such extreme views, one realizes that the time has come for us to completely separate state from religion. It is ever so sad to recall that it was always extreme religious views by a minority that led to infighting and the eventual destruction of previous Jewish commonwealths.
I have always tried to imagine that we, the Jewish people, had surpassed our Muslim cousins whose destiny is, unfortunately, entirely in the hands of mullahs.
Tel Aviv syndrome Sir, – Your November 18 article “By next decade, over half of citizens won’t do IDF service – top officer” is less prediction than fact, certainly as it relates to the haredi sector, where the statistic is virtually 100 percent, and the ultra-liberal secular sector that is Tel Aviv, where draft dodging stands at nearly 60% among male youth.
The solution to the figures among the haredim is simple: a refusal by any major party to enter into coalition agreements with their parties. The moment our political leaders eschew the dirty dancing with sectarians whose sole purpose is to milk the taxpayer, a sea change will occur in that sector.
The problem in Tel Aviv is far more ominous, reflective of a hedonist, materialist and nihilist culture that celebrates its ignorance and alienation from any vestigial Jewish and Zionist connectivity. It is no wonder that a majority of its male youths see no need to contribute to Israel’s security, while less than a third of those who are actually drafted opt for combat service.
The “Tel Aviv syndrome” is Israel’s biggest and most intractable internal problem.
And it is this culture that spawns the NGOs, academics and other activists who militate against Israeli security and undermine the country’s image throughout the world.
It’s time we woke up and tried to do something.
Religion’s the root Sir, – I beg to differ with Musa Abu Hashhash (“No religious conflict in Hebron,” Comment & Features, November 17). The only remaining chance for the conflict to be resolved stems from religion, not politics.
Insofar as Judaism and Islam venerate Abraham, both share equal allegiance to the same Almighty who created him.
Whether the Almighty is propitiated by the name Elohim or Allah is a considerable irrelevance.
He is the same and one God. And as this God loved Abraham, he loved Abraham’s seed, Ishmael and Isaac, too.
We learn in the Torah portion “The Life of Sarah” that the two boys were equally dutiful toward their father: “And Abraham expired, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.
And Isaac and Ishmael his sons buried him in the cave of Machpelah...” (Genesis 25: 8-9).
If Abraham and his two sons were alive today, they would soon put a stop to the nonsense and squabble that have divided their seed for the last century or so.
Sir, – Musa Abu Hashhash’s thesis is that religious motivation is the cause of the conflict between Jews and the Arabs.
Peace would be possible only if the two adversaries considered just the political aspects (whatever that means).
He says that listing the Tomb of the Patriarchs as Judaism’s second most holy shrine is considered a provocation. Encouraging Jews to visit Hebron on the Sabbath when the weekly portion records Abraham’s purchase of Hebron and its cave as an ancestral burial ground is, he writes, “from a Palestinian perspective... not only a provocation, it is playing with fire.”
He also claims that the 1929 massacre of Jews in Hebron was due to religious provocation.
Considering that the writer is a fieldworker for B’Tselem, which claims to be objective, the prognosis for peace with the Arabs is dire indeed.
About-face Sir, – I agree with President Shimon Peres, that history cannot be rewritten and the bust of former president Moshe Katsav should not be removed from the presidential garden (“Kadima MK calls for Peres to remove Katsav sculpture,” November 14).
However, may I suggest that while it remains in place, the bust simply be turned around to face the other way. Thus, history is preserved but the disgrace Katsav brought on the high office he occupied will be made clear to every visitor.
Donor relations Sir, – I was pleased to see Judy Siegel’s “Big jump in organ donor registrants” (News in Brief, November 14), which motivated me to do something I was already inclined to do. I was a registered organ donor before making aliya, and had heard about it in Israel but never knew where to go.
I was able to get the contact information for the organization in charge here, a department of the Ministry of Health, and went online to register. I was pleasantly surprised to see tabs translating the home page into English, Arabic and Russian.
However, it was frustrating that when signing up – the most important part – the page reverted to Hebrew.
My Hebrew is good but not fluent, and I hesitated. I found the tab for contacting someone and suggested that an immediate effort be made to assist Anglos, who come from societies where, culturally, organ donation is common and accepted.
Over a week has passed and the website has not been changed. Nobody has replied to my suggestion. And I have yet to register to donate my organs.
I’d hope that civil servants would be more responsive and efficient in doing their job to enable the public to help save lives in Israel.