October 26: Settle the land

The Jewish Agency hadn't heard about ten religious families who want to leave America to settle on the land.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Settle the land
Sir, – On November 24 The Jerusalem Post ran a JTA article entitled “New initiative aims to put Jews back in touch with the land.”
I was amazed that the Jewish Agency hadn’t heard about this.
Ten religious families want to leave the big cities of America and want to settle on the land.
Which land? Haven’t they heard about Israel? Hundreds of kibbutzim would love to welcome them. Where is the Zionist movement in America? The family should come here for a week or two and look around.
Wake up, Jewish Agency, and bring them over.
HILARY GATOFF Herzliya Pituah
Living in the past
Sir, – Uri Savir, president of the Peres Center for Peace, castigates Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as living in yesterday’s world, while US President Barack Obama lives in a new world (“P5+1 for the Middle East,” Savir’s Corner, Observations, November 22). Unfortunately it is Savir, our brave “chief negotiator for the Oslo Accords,” who lives in yesterday’s world – the world of “peace in our time.”
Unfortunately today’s world (the world of appeasement), is chillingly parallel to the world described by Sarah Honig in the very column above Savir’s (“Why die for Danzig (Israel)?” Another Tack, Observations). We have been warned.
Staying true
Sir, – Since I usually support the views of Isi Leibler, I was surprised to find myself at odds with him in his advocacy of greater cabinet loyalty. (“Chaotic government undermines Israel’s global standing,” Candidly Speaking, Comment and Features, November 21).
It seems to me that when a prime minister changes political direction, he forfeits the right to take for granted the loyalty of his ministers. As an opposition politician, Binyamin Netanyahu was known for his hawkish views, which reflected Likud’s ideology, opposing the release of prisoners and also opposing a two-state solution. But when he became prime minister he quickly moved leftward (with his Bar-Ilan speech) and did an about-turn on these and other issues.
Furthermore, as a supporter of Likud (though disappointed in Netanyahu), I found it especially galling that a leftist like Livni, who has scant support in the country and is not averse to making territorial concessions, should have been chosen by Netanyahu to be chief negotiator in the peace talks with the Palestinians – in addition, of course, to being appointed justice minister.
Unlike Leibler, I am grateful to ministers like Elkin, Danon and Bennett, who show loyalty to their electorate by staying true to the Likud line, even if it means speaking out against government policy. If there is indeed chaos in the government, the responsibility lies not with such men of integrity but with Netanyahu himself.RHONA YEMINI Givatayim
Sir, – Isi Leibler writes that a “Chaotic government undermines Israel’s global standing.” I disagree.
What undermines our global standing is our over-the-top desire to please, which gives out signals of such weakness that we will do anything asked of us if only the world will like us. It hasn’t worked before and it wont work now.
Why should anyone believe that this is the Jewish land, to which we returned after 2,000 years, when we are so ready to give it up to an enemy sworn to our destruction? Leibler is right in castigating Naftali Bennett for agreeing to the terrorists’ release and then campaigning against the second release which they knew had been agreed upon. His reason, and that of Uri Ariel also from Bayit Yehudi, for opposing it was a sound one, but the door had already closed. He is also right in what he says of Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud), when he spoke out against the two-state solution.
The time to have spoken out and made a difference was when Netanyahu spoke at Bar-Ilan University and went against everything he campaigned on.
Leibler writes “Israel cannot function as a respectable democratic nation state unless its leaders subordinate their domestic ambitions to the national interest.”
Unfortunately our national interests are being subordinated to Obama’s vision for our land.
Therefore the bottom line is that everyone must come out against the two-state solution and the release of convicted terrorists that have brutally murdered our men, women and children, and we must keep up the pressure until some sanity is restored in our country.YENTEL JACOBSNetanya Pitfalls of powerSir, – The two side by side news items on page four of The Jerusalem Post on November 19 regarding the Chief Rabbinate – “Gov’t committee backs bill for one chief rabbi” and “Metzger arrested again, held on suspicion of accepting bribes, illegal payments,” – bring to the fore once again the urgent need to abolish entirely the Chief Rabbinate.
As is well known the very concept is foreign to Judaism. Their “special” authority as chief rabbis has no halachic standing and their function here is largely ceremonial.
Like the appendix in the human intestines, once it becomes infected it is best removed since it is largely vestigial and serves no real function.
What has fatally diseased the Chief Rabbinate is the system by which they are chosen which has become completely politicized – that is, considerations other than learning, character, leadership, vision and the ability to communicate decide which candidates will be chosen. Thus, the road is open to all sorts of mediocrities unable to withstand the pitfalls of power. In the absence of chief rabbis, halachic matters can be handled by the Supreme Rabbinical Court, which should choose their own chairman and be given a technocrat to administer their affairs. Our best hope for the next 10 years is that the incumbents lie low and do not create any hillul Hashem.SHUBERT SPEROJerusalem The writer is the former rabbi of the Young Israel of Cleveland Ugly words
Sir, – Thomas Friedman of The New York Times writes that West Bank settlements are “devouring Palestinian farms and homes in the West Bank in ways that are ugly, brutal, selfish, and deceitful” (“Something for Barack and Bibi to talk about,” Comments and Features, November 18).
Well, perhaps Friedman’s words could be described in such a manner, but the settlements should be described as model communities and cities built on barren land.
It is bizarre, ludicrous and magnanimous to a fault to suggest that an Israel from the Mediterranean to the Jordan is too large (about the distance between southern Brooklyn and mid-town Manhattan), while the American distance of 3,000 miles between the coasts and territory in Alaska (near Russia) and Hawaii and Guam well into the Pacific (encompassing many time zones), isn’t.
The Land of Israel, according to the Torah, was given by God to the Jewish people 4,000 years ago, who have had continued their historic and legitimate claims to the land through settlements since then. It was considered to be a role model by America’s founding fathers who had at one time considered Hebrew as its official language.
Settlements should not be described in a pejorative manner.
All of Israel – including the settlements – should be described as, in Friedman’s words, “one of the most amazing political experiments in modern history.” Their existence has and will continue to make Israel more secure, despite their detractors.