September 16: Lousy ambassadors

Young Israelis, before you head off on your next adventure overseas, please consider your responsibilities to local people.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Kapparot’ is abuse
Sir, – Activists and others are absolutely right to deplore the use of live chickens for the pre- Yom Kippur ritual of kapparot (“Animal rights activists condemn ‘kapparot’ ritual,” September 13).
Kapparot was condemned by both the Ramban (Nachmonides) and Joseph Karo (compiler of the Shulhan Aruch), among others, as silly, pagan and superstitious.
But kabbalists imbued it with a mystical interpretation and it was reluctantly condoned (and somehow justified) by rabbis who found it impossible to eradicate.
It is the most blatant example of transferral magic. Medieval meshugas is how some deride it.
Sir, – Not only is it cruel to swing live chickens around during kapparot – the whole concept is totally unjust.
How is it fair to seek to transfer one’s sins to a totally innocent animal? If a person has sinned, that person should be the one to atone by making a personal sacrifice such as doing without something enjoyable or doing something to help others. Pretending that the chicken is the sinner and then brutally killing it is totally nonsensical and unjust.
Cruel and archaic traditions such as this have no place in the 21st century.
JENNY MOXHAM Monbulk, Australia Taxing matter
Sir, – Buried in the middle of an article about an Orthodox man who fled the country two days after his wedding but refused to grant his wife a get, or religious divorce (“Private rabbinical court annuls marriage after man moves to US,” September 13), is this startling paragraph: “The local rabbinical court in Netanya has succeeded in securing a get from Yud, but only after paying him the NIS 40,000 from state funds.”
Poor families faced with a higher value added tax on food can take comfort in the judicious way the country’s tax revenues are distributed.NAOMI SANDLER Jerusalem
Better spent here
Sir, – I am writing to express my frustration with Jewish philanthropist Georgette Bennett and her efforts to raise money to help refugees from Syria’s civil war (“Jewish groups aid Syrian refugees – sort of,” September 13).
I do not deny that there are victims in the Syrian conflict who are worthy of mercy and assistance.
However, our own Jewish nation and people should be the focus of any financial assistance Mrs. Bennett is able to provide.
I happen to work with at-risk youth for the Municipality of Netanya. All of our programs are lacking funds and our staff is under-compensated, a situation similar to that in many, if not all, Israeli municipalities. This leads to many programs being cancelled, meaning many at-risk Israeli youth do not receive the attention they need.
The situation of Israeli youth is worsening. One in three is poor.
The achievement gap is widening in our schools. Youth violence and substance abuse are on the rise. I plead to Mrs. Bennett and all other Jewish philanthropists: Instead of looking for other people to help with your praiseworthy philanthropic efforts, please look to our own population.
AMOS TCHAICOVSKY Netanya Obvious solution
Sir, – The answer to the problem of religious holidays falling immediately after school children come back from two months of summer vacation (“Piron pledges to adjust Kippur-Succot vacation days,” September 12) is simple.
Just start summer vacation later – the High Holy Days will then fall during this period.
I suppose teachers and their unions might make a fuss, but it’s the obvious thing to do. After all, why does our summer vacation have to coincide with that of Europe? MICHAEL SCHNEIDER Ra’anana Diverse opinions Sir, – I commend The Jerusalem Post for presenting a diversity of opinions, specifically in the September 12 issue when you had pieces by Uzi Landau and Hilik Bar.
If your readership reads both impartially it will find in Landau’s “Oslo and Israel’s red lines” a cogent, well documented and convincing critique of government policy on the Arab-Israel conflict. His recounting of the tragedies that occurred after the Oslo Accords, their effect on subsequent negotiations and the place of Israel in the world scene are convincing and well-reasoned.
Bar’s “An obligation to try again for peace” is unpersuasive and poorly supported. It is based more on hope and suppositions than on facts. In addition, his attacks on respected public figures is a familiar ploy used by those who rely on defamation rather than reason.
I suggest reading both articles dispassionately and deriving conclusions based on reason rather than slander.
Important work
Sir, – Recently you ran a short item headlined “Panel ends work on kids left in cars” (News in Brief, September 11). The last paragraph reads: “The committee concluded that leaving a child alone in a car even for a short time should be prohibited, and that upon locking car doors adults must make sure that no human or animal is still inside.”
For this we needed a committee?
SALLIE TANGIR Tel Mond Bennett for peace
Sir, – It’s about time we had the courage to open our mouths and tell the truth.
We are not giving up one inch of our tiny country. No more talk of pre-1967 lines. There will be one state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River in which peoples of all religions will live side-by-side with the people of Israel. (The Palestinians say that if they have a state of their own not one Jew will be allowed to live there.) We will not freeze any more settlement building, nor will we evacuate our citizens as we did in Gush Katif. No to EU meddling in our sovereign state. No more handing back of terrorists.
Jerusalem will will never be divided and people of all religions will be welcome to worship at their holy places.
US Secretary of State John Kerry and Tzipi Livni, the cabinet minister in charge of negotiations, must stop living in fantasy land.
So far I have heard only one small voice crying in the wilderness, trying to tell the truth, and that is Naftali Bennett. Let us join him. It might even bring peace.
Lousy ambassadors
Sir, – I would be grateful if you would consider posting this letter in your newspaper. Essentially, I hope to get young Israelis traveling overseas to reflect on behavior that besmirches the image of Israel.
I have just returned from trekking the Huayhuash Circuit in Peru, a popular destination of many young Israelis. From my own experience and talking to local Peruvians, many young people from your country show little respect for the local people.
They are arrogant and mean spirited, and avoid paying for camping and services, creating a terrible impression of Israel. In many cases they leave early in the morning to avoid paying, often dismissing donkey drivers when half the supplies are gone, saying they can carry the rest and thereby paying only half the agreed amount. They are also well known for leaving rubbish behind.
In New Zealand young Israelis often bargain inappropriately for accommodation, and at camping grounds they leave early in the morning to avoid paying. This is unacceptable and an abuse of the privilege of visiting my country and other countries.
So, young Israelis, before you head off on your next adventure overseas, please consider your responsibilities to local people and try to be better ambassadors for your nation.
STANLEY MULVANY Invercargill, New Zealand