November 23: Time for action

It is not in the rabbis' interest to hold a conference to discuss the issues around gittin (divorce) and recalcitrant husbands.

letters to the editor 88 (photo credit: )
letters to the editor 88
(photo credit: )
Time for action Sir, - Susan Weiss is right to be furious ("The aguna conference that wasn't," November 21). She points out that it is not in the rabbis' interest to hold a conference to discuss the issues around gittin (divorce) and recalcitrant husbands. The discussion, however, is vital to the interests of all Jewish women and to all men who support their rights. Next week the world condemns violence against women (UN day, November 26). Surely it is now time for all Jewish women to send a clear message about the abuse which so often occurs as a result of the way our divorce laws are enforced. We are not powerless. We can make our voice heard. We have behind us the power of Jewish law and principle which calls for justice and mercy. The learned rabbis who refuse to discuss the issue are acting not only against us but against that principle. The time for action is long overdue and our voice must be heard. JUDITH USISKIN Ra'anana The other side Sir, -Susan Weiss' article summed up the perplexity surrounding this issue. Our sages were sensitive to the pain and suffering of the aguna and sought ways to alleviate her condition. The Jerusalem Post should open its columns to the religious opinions and counteropinions on the subject. We read little or nothing of the "other side." Perhaps the editor will issue an invitation to contributors from the haredi community's scholars. HARVEY CHESTERMAN Jerusalem Bravo, Gillerman Sir, - Thank you Danny Gillerman for pioneering the return of straight talk instead of the ambiguous spin of diplomatic meaningless verbiage ("Gillerman was right," Editorial, November 21). When criticism is directed at you, just take into account from whence it comes. The vacuous "no hear, no see and no speak" policy that has been characteristic of our Foreign Ministry for the past decades has been shown to be a failure time and time again. Your speech at the UN was honest and refreshing and an amazingly accurate description of French hypocrisy and duplicity. It has been too long a time since honesty, integrity and sincerity has been expressed at the UN. The Olmert and Peretz attempt to emulate Churchillian rhetoric are examples of overspin and empty of any meaningful content or purpose except to vainly prop up their shaky coalition. Please Ambassador Gillerman keep up with your straight talk, maybe the dead bones in the valley of the Foreign Ministry will yet come to life. RAPHAEL ROSENBAUM Kiron Sir, - "Gillerman was right" says the editorial; and so are you - 100 percent. What is the Foreign Ministry afraid of, that France won't help us defend ourselves or possibly won't support us at the UN? Tell them to stop worrying; the French ambassador says France is our friend. M. MILLER Jerusalem Sir, - Hurray for Danny Gillerman at the UN and hurray for Arkadi Gaydamak, two people who say it like it is. As for the inept politicians in Jerusalem, the following adage applies: "Closed minds always seem to be connected to open mouths." JESSICA FISCHER Michmoret PR needed Sir, - Very little is said in the European media about the Kassam rockets fired from Gaza into Israel. If the IDF has retaking the Gaza Strip in mind ("IDF mulls retaking entire Gaza Strip," November 22), can its public relations department first launch a PR exercise explaining the situation before embarking on a military campaign. This will tremendously help all concerned. RALPH ASSOR London The Pollard affair Sir, - One thing is for sure if Jonathan Pollard stole 360 cubic meters of highly classified material, as reported by Ron Olive, then he himself could not know the true sensitivity of all the documents in question ("I busted Pollard," November 21). It would take a team of experts months to sort out the material and to evaluate it. The only people who could judge the value of such a quantity of material are the Americans who lost the material and the Israelis who received it. The initial denial of the Pollard connection and the silence of the Israeli government over the affair for many years would seem to indicate there was a lot of material that was received which was truly sensitive and the Israeli government wanted to distance itself from any connection with Pollard. Once the material was taken from the secure facility, the Americans could only assume the worst. Did Pollard photograph the documents and resell them to someone else before handing over the material to Israel? P. YONAH Shoham Sir, - I'm sorry, but Ron Olive's arguments are completely unconvincing. He states that Jonathan Pollard's crime caused "colossal damage," but there is no indication whatsoever as to what this damage was. Are we to believe that because Olive is a great supporter of Israel, Jonathan Pollard's persecution is justified? HAIM M. LERNER Ganei Tikva 'Yishar koah' Sir, I want to congratulate Ariel Jerozolimski for his touching, artistic farewell photograph of the great Natan Sharansky with Binyamin Netanyahu (November 21). MOSHE FRIEDRICH Haifa How to give Sir, - Arkadi Gaydamak's generosity ("Gaydamak boasts 'Olmert is afraid I'd steal votes from him,'" November 20) knows no bounds and should be applauded. However, our sages teach that the highest form of charity is through anonymous donations. I would suggest that if he really wants to help, he should quietly pay to secure as many facilities as possible (schools, day care centers) in Sderot, so that the residents receive the protection they so desperately need and deserve and which our government has been so negligent in providing. FRIEDA I. ROSS Jerusalem Taxing problem Sir, - It was interesting to read that Gerald Steinberg thinks that only in the matter of income tax do our authorities act like in a "third world" country ("Still 'third world' after all these years," November 19). When living in England I always worried when a letter from the tax authorities arrived addressed to "esquire." The letter would tell you that "if you do not pay the sum of... within the next seven days, we will have to take legal action against you." But at least, in true British Civil Service fashion, it was signed "your obedient servant." EMANUEL FISCHER Jerusalem Lack of etiquette Sir, - I totally agree with Herb Keinon's assessment of Israeli society ("Bowling for burekas," November 19). Israelis' lack of etiquette extends to all aspects of life. No one will give you the right of way when driving, as that would make him a frier if he actually let you in his lane. No one knows what to do when he gets to a traffic circle, as that has to be taught. When an emergency vehicle has its sirens on, it does not mean try to go faster to get ahead of it. When waiting for a bus, it does not matter who was waiting longer, everyone just rushes for the bus. The customer is never right in any situation. In a restaurant, you usually have to request serving utensils. The rules of etiquette and common courtesy have to be taught, which is one lesson that I have never seen given in Israel. And if it were offered, I wonder if anyone would sign up. REBECCA RAAB Ma'aleh Adumim Thank you Sir, - Thanks for your excellent print and Web coverage of the UJC General Assembly. All seem agreed that Israel is a mere appetizer for Iran's global ambitions as Islam's nuclear power. If the US is not prepared to take the required action, it must provide Israel with all the means necessary to do so. The only way to stop a glutton eating his way through to dessert is to have him choke on the appetizer. ZALMI UNSDORFER London