November 9: Haredim and Iran

I am waiting to see if religious Zionist leaders condemn Ephraim Halevy’s outrageous statement.

Haredim and Iran
Sir, – It would be an understatement to say that I was shocked to read “Halevy to ride out storm after saying haredim more of a threat than Iran” (November 7).
And this coming from someone who claims to have grown up in the Bnei Akiva movement! As one who wears a crocheted kippa and identifies with the religious Zionist movement, I am waiting to see if religious Zionist leaders condemn Ephraim Halevy’s outrageous statement. I certainly hope so. If they don’t, they will show their utter bankruptcy and no doubt cause a large part of their followers to abandon ship.
Sir, – As the grandfather of one of the girls at the Beit Shemesh school that has been the subject of disgraceful and disgusting behavior and attacks by some haredim, would MK Moshe Gafni, who has asked the attorney-general to investigate Ephraim Halevy for his statements, inform us whether he condemns or condones this behavior? Halevy spoke the truth, however painful it might be for the haredim to hear.
Won’t go back
Sir, – I would like to comment on your November 7 articles “Zoabi to Cape Town tribunal: Israel a racist state” and “In South Africa’s Jewish community, apartheid-era divisions still linger.”
When I look back on my own life, having grown up under the apartheid regime in Cape Town, I have come to realize that what really matters in not what MK Haneen Zoabi has to say about Israel. Of course Israel is not a racist state. But South Africa was, and the South African Jewish Board of Deputies turned a blind eye whenever any of members of the community became involved in antiapartheid affairs.
I remember well how my own brother, Zolly Singer, was arrested at 5:30 a.m. by the security police one spring day in 1964.
Although my father turned to the Board of Deputies for help, it did not want to know from us, so he had to use his connections with the Afrikaaner leadership to buy Zolly an exit visa.
My brother never went back – and neither will I, for though I still see myself as a Cape Town gal, those dark days when the Jewish community abandoned its own as it hid behind the apartheid laws will always remain fresh in my mind.
Don’t come back
Sir, – Good for MK Otniel Schneller, who called for Haneen Zoabi’s citizenship to be revoked.
I will never understand how Zoabi has been able to remain in the Knesset. She constantly speaks out against Israel, considers Israel an apartheid state, spoke against the Cast Lead offensive and was aboard the Mavi Marmara.
She constantly disconnects herself from Israel and its government.
She also goes on trips abroad without requesting permission, as required by the Knesset.
I agree with MK Anastasia Michaeli that Zoabi should go to the Gazan parliament. That’s really where she belongs.
What do we think?
Sir, – Michael Ordman (“There’s good news,” Letters, November 7) believes that promoting “all the great things our country is achieving to make the world a better place will make people say wow!” Ordman does an admirable job in getting across to the people all our wonderful achievements.
However, it does not address the underlying problem, which is the hatred felt for the Jewish people and, in particular, for Israel.
First and foremost we must be strong, have faith in the justness of our cause and let the world see that we are here to stay and will never again put our trust and security in the hands of gentiles.
How we think of ourselves is far more important than how the world chooses to think.
Netanya Hearing voices
Sir, – Finally, a column by Jeff Barak that I can agree with (“Taking back the billboards,” Reality Check, November 7)! The ultra-Orthodox should educate young men in their yeshivot to see women as people rather than as sex objects. If hearing a woman sing causes impure thoughts, then something is wrong with the listener and the way he was brought up.
Perhaps all this enforced separation of sexes from childhood onward is partly to blame.
Sir, – While I agree with Jeff Barak’s assessment that there are limits to what our army can permit religious soldiers to do, I am disturbed by his glib assessment of Halacha’s prohibition on men hearing a woman sing as “spurious.”
The fact that women receive their pension at the age of 62 and men at 67 is antithetical to the idea of gender equality, and the reasoning for it is difficult to understand. Nevertheless, it is the law of the land, just as the prohibition for men to hear a woman sing is the halachic law for those who believe in it.
This lack of sensitivity for the feelings of others is exactly why there is such animosity among Jews.
Money as leverage
Sir, – Regarding “US official: Cutting Palestinian funding could lead to radicalization” (November 6), the Palestinians have money to fund all the terrorist murderers released by Israel in exchange for Gilad Schalit. Each one is going to be given $5,000 as a reward for murdering innocent people in cold blood.
Is this what the United States funds when it gives so much money to the Palestinians?
Sir, – US Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro’s concern regarding “who will fill the void” if the US is no longer a “partner” in funding the PA and Lebanese government is almost laughable.
There is no dearth of Arab and Muslim dictators and terrorist regimes always ready and willing to wean both entities from the US.
Even more important, the Palestinians have proved time and again the exact opposite of what Shapiro says. The more financial, moral and political help the Palestinians receive from the US and Europe, the more radical they become.
This is clearly illustrated by your article “PA to sue Israel for ‘destroying’ Arab and Muslim antiquities” on the same page.
Rather than using its new-found legitimacy as a member of UNESCO to try and help its own people, the PA’s first priority is to further attack, delegitimize, and defame Israel.
Hatzor Haglilit
Rawabi reality
Sir, – Concerning “Build it and they will come” (West Bank, November 4) about the new Palestinian city of Rawabi, there is a fly in the ointment.
Three UNRWA refugee camp facilities are located within a few kilometers of Rawabi. The spokesman for the Rawabi project indicated to our agency that there would be no attempt to absorb these refugees.
Is the PA’s vision of a “nation in the making” reserved only for urban dwellers, while relegating the descendants of Arab refugees to the perpetual indignity of yet another generation of camp life? Donor nations to Rawabi and UNRWA should pay attention.
The writer is director of the Israel Resource News Agency
Warranted mention
Sir, – How can it be that you made no mention of Balfour Day, the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917? Without a doubt, it is one of the most significant milestones in the history of our return to the Land of Israel since Cyrus in the 6th century BCE.