November 26: Pay some attention...

If I may suggest that North American Jews immediately cease and desist from collecting money for Israel.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Pay some attention... Sir, - It is sad that the Hebrew media show such disdain and feel such irritation that North American Jews bother to hold their convention here in Israel among their fellow Jews solely to help the country financially and in other ways ("GA heads: Hebrew Media disdain for us just shows their ignorance," November 21). I find this attitude to be obnoxious. So if I may suggest that North American Jews immediately cease and desist from collecting money for Israel since they have their own problems such as building more Jewish schools, fighting growing anti-Semitism in the universities and helping their own poor. Perhaps this will satisfy the pure-minded, prejudiced and envious Hebrew media. What it will do for the State of Israel, I do not dare to guess. RAISEL RAUCHWERGER Kfar Saba Sir, - Since 1971 I have attended the GA, several times in the United States and twice in Israel. Thirty-seven years ago, a minuscule number of delegates owned property in Israel (apartments) and even fewer had children who made aliya. This year, it was possible to see how enormous changes had taken place among GA participants - close to 25 percent of them own apartments in Israel and over 30% have children who made aliya. That is an additional reason the Hebrew press should take notice. DAVID GEFFEN Jerusalem ...or they'll think twice Sir, - I read the article (with great disgust) on the GA Summit in Jerusalem, where Yediot Ahronot reporter Danny Ababa was quoted as saying the coverage on the summit made him want to throw up. To think that a reporter like him is employed by any newspaper makes me shudder. No wonder many donors think twice these days about donating here. RICHARD M. CORSE Tel Aviv Nixing the haredi hijack Sir, - The horrendous situation of the existing process of accepting Orthodox conversions illustrates once again the hijacking of Judaism by the haredi elements within the Israeli rabbinate ("100% Kosher," Opinion, November 25). Certainly modern Orthodox parameters for conversion are within halachic standards. There is no basis whatsoever for haredi doubts about these conversions. The haredi standards of Judaism are not necessarily the only (or, for that matter the correct) standards to be applied. However, their control of the Rabbinate is a degenerating influence in religious practice. HAIM M. LERNER Ganei Tikva Like old Babylonians Sir, - The researchers at Yeshiva University's Albert Einstein School of Medicine who just completed a seven-year-plus study on the correlation between attending religious services and living longer, simply confirmed rabbinic opinion stated in the Talmud (Tractate Brachot, 8a). Rabbi Johanan, living in the Land of Israel, explains the phenomenon of older people in Babylonia as being the result of their having gone to the synagogue early and spending extra time there ("Want to make it to 120? Then get to shul once a week," November 24). MORDECHAI SPIEGELMAN Jerusalem Jewish History 101 Sir, - It seems incredible to me that the State of Israel can get away with trying to remove Jews from dwellings that they clearly have the legal right to live in ("The house that Rajabi built," November 21). If the Arabs claim that the sale of this property was not legal then let them prove it. There should be no need to turn this real estate transaction into a political debate. Either the building was bought or it was not. Perhaps this is the government's way of preparing us for the uprooting once again of Jews from their homes against their will. Ironically, this debate has come up around the parsha Chayei Sara, the story of the first real-estate transaction in the Land of Israel for which there can be no dispute. I look forward to the day, hopefully very soon, when the State can proudly and unequivocally state that Hebron will remain a part of the Land of Israel eternally. It seems that is the covenant Avraham made with Efron when he purchased the Cave of Machpelah. This is the A-B-C of Jewish history, is it not? CHAYA GROSS Jerusalem The living dead Sir, - Following up Isi Leibler's scathing criticism of our government for the grotesque exchange of living terrorists for the remains of dead soldiers, I suggest the need for a social contract in which soldiers pledge that, if, God forbid, they are killed, their bodies will not serve as ransom in exchange for terrorists ("Candidly Speaking: The tragedy of Gilad Schalit," November 21). We should not put the living at additional risk for the sake of those who are no longer with us in the every day sense of the term. If I were killed, I would not want terrorists with blood on their hands to be exchanged for my body. Even if I'm dead, in this way my body continues to protect the living. If we guide ourselves by this principle, the dead killed "there" eternally continue to defend us "here." And in that sense, they are still living. ELIHU D. RICHTER Jerusalem Unnoticed appreciation Sir, - Jeffrey Marlowe writes in his letter "Appreciation abroad" (November 24) that it was a delight to see Israel with a dignified president warmly received abroad. However, while Marlowe may have been impressed by President Shimon Peres's visit to the UK and the statesman-like speeches he made at Oxford University and in Westminster Hall to a group of MPs and Lords, unfortunately it was barely acknowledged or mentioned by any of the main media outlets here. The Daily Telegraph did not give it even a single line except to report in its Court Circular that he had been given an Honorary Knighthood by the Queen. Otherwise, his four-day visit was mostly a non-event as far as the British public was concerned. FRANK BAIGEL Manchester, UK