September 7: Touching Naivety

The only solution is to abolish the rabbinate and its control over marriage and personal status.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Touching naivety
Sir, – Five and a half years ago, my wife and I spent Pessah at the Ramot Resort in the Golan.
The scholar-in-residence was Seth Farber, then a relatively recent oleh.
Farber spoke about his group, Itim, and the good work it was doing on behalf of Jews who could not prove their ancestry to the satisfaction of the Chief Rabbinate.
He stressed that he was not an opponent of the rabbinate, but was working with it to alleviate problems for people having a hard time getting married in Israel.
I turned to my wife and said, “This poor guy. The political hacks at the rabbinate will squish him like a bug. I give him three years before he calls for abolishing the entire corrupt institution.”
Well, I’m impressed (or maybe disappointed) with Farber’s patience in waiting so long to file this lawsuit (“Why I’m petitioning against the Chief Rabbinate,” Opinion, September 5).
I still believe he will conclude that the only solution is to abolish the rabbinate and its control over marriage and personal status, but his belief in the good intentions of power-mad politicos is sort of touching in its naivete.
Grapefruit caveat
Sir, – The September 5 Health Scan article by Judy Siegel (“Grapefruit’s sour taste holds a sweet promise for diabetics”) neglected to mention that a large number of medicines include warnings against the ingestion of grapefruit. Readers should be alerted to this.
Revealing lapse
Sir, – I loved the beautiful paean to Israel by Ron Feinberg (“Why Israel tops this traveler’s list,” September 5), but was dismayed to see that it was accompanied by a large photo of bikini-clad swimmers that bore no relationship to the writer’s feelings.
There are surely more appropriate photos you could have used.
In with the new?
Sir, – “The new Netanyahu?” (September 3) by the old Caroline Glick disregards the fact, as Glick columns do without fail, that nobody wants another 60 years of the status quo.
Glick has only one disc, which she plays over and over and over again, criticizing anybody, everybody and any attempt to try and resolve our situation.
Please, let’s move on to some fresh analysis by fresh contributors with some answers and a breath of fresh air!
Bet Shemesh
It just won’t work
Sir, – Has MK Tzipi Hotovely gone mad? Anyone who would endorse such a plan (“Meanwhile on the Right...,” September 3) is in my opinion crazy and has no regard for the safety of Israel.
Under “normal” conditions, the plan might work. But the conditions and circumstances are not normal in Israel. The Palestinians and many Arabs surrounding Israel want to get rid of or eliminate Jews and free all of Israel for themselves.
How can you make peace with anyone who despises you and wants you dead? Tzipi Hotovely is young, inexperienced and quite naive, and in this sense as an MK, quite dangerous.
Sir, – I was appalled reading Gil Hoffman’s piece on Tzipi Hotovely and her hawkish beliefs. Anything, just not to give up any part of the Land of Israel.
What Hotovely really means to do is calm the Arabs’ fears by making them citizens of Israel, and then, later, find some way to take away their citizenship, for whatever reason.
She says the hardest part of her one-state “solution” is to sell it to the Israelis. Less difficult, she says, would be to sell it to the Palestinians.
What a laugh!
Novel idea
Sir, – Several pieces in the September 3 Jerusalem Post (“Theatre of the recurred” by Herb Keinon, “Meanwhile on the Right” by Gil Hoffman and “Hopes and fears” by David Horovitz) comment on the direct talks recently launched in Washington. However, no one has come up with a really novel idea that is distinct from either the two-state solution or the one-state solution.
I propose a confederation, a state that consists of Israel and Palestine, each governed separately but unified in economic, security and other matters. This would be similar to the states of the US or the countries of the EU.
By having such a confederation, the right of Palestinians to live in Israel and Jews to live in Palestine would be reciprocally protected.
Of course, this confederation might take some time, but it could be joined by Jordan, making a stronger and more equal cultural balance.
I owe this idea to Christian Anfinsen, a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry (1972) who saw clearly that this would answer the needs of two peoples.
Memory and manners
Sir, – If I remember correctly, Israel was attacked by the Arabs in 1948, 1967 and 1973 (and, of course, in between). In all these wars, by the grace of God and our wonderful fighting soldiers, we won. Isn’t there a saying, “To the victor go the spoils?” When Prime Minister Netanyahu goes to Sharm e-Sheikh, he should think about the soldiers who fought and died there. We made that town beautiful and then gave it away to Egypt. Something is wrong with our leaders’ thinking and sense of logic.
By the way, while Netanyahu and Abbas were giving their speeches in Washington, why didn’t President Obama sit down instead of standing alongside them? Wouldn’t that have been the polite thing to do?
Sir, Netanyahu, Abbas and Clinton approach a White House table. Netanyahu and Abbas adjust their chairs. Neither assists Clinton to hers.
The gentleman Menachem Begin would never have been guilty of such a lack of courtesy!
Even Yehuda
Disagrees with Oren
Sir, – I find myself having to take issue with Ambassador Michael Oren (“Reason for optimism in Mideast talks,” September 2). With all due respect, I find his reason for optimism fatuous and not based on the reality of the situation.
I shall take his points in the order of his writing.
1. There is no factual reason for believing that now that Iran is the main enemy, the Arabs will come to terms with the existence of Israel. Even if this is the view of the Arab countries, it is not the view of the Palestinians. They are as intransigent as ever in not accepting a Jewish state. Their reaction, certainly of their people, to the recent heinous attack on innocent Israelis was one of glee and rejoicing. It is very questionable if PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s attempt to restore order in the West Bank has anything to do with altering his people's attitude toward Israel.
2. I would not bank too heavily on the hope that the people of Gaza “will someday rid themselves of Hamas and opt for peace.”
3. The issue is not “adding a bedroom for a growing family,” but the right of Jews generally to settle in the West Bank.
4. Ambassador Oren does not insist that, before talks begin, the Palestinians cease teaching their children that Israel has no right to exist and naming their squares after terrorists. What chance would any nation have of establishing peace with people who start out with such hatred in their hearts? I certainly do not share Oren’s optimism.
5. Where does Oren get the idea that “settlements have never been an obstacle to peace?” The continual war cry of the Palestinians against settlements contradicts that, even though their main agenda – not often stated these days – is to eliminate a Jewish presence on both sides of the Green Line.