March 2, 2018: Supreme value?

Are we to give such study the rank of supreme value in the “start-up nation”? This would make a joke of our Declaration of Independence.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Supreme value?
Regarding “Liberman, Haredim intensify quarrel over draft” (February 28), the attempt by the Haredi parties to make a basic law of the “supreme value of Torah study to the State of Israel” might make some sense if Torah study consisted solely of sublime, beautiful and inspiring teachings for our times.
Haredi men who are studying are most likely spending their entire days studying Talmud – for example, details of the four ways for a court to put people to death, including pouring hot lead down their throat; how a man takes a wife and divorces a wife while she herself has no such powers; the laws of sacrifices in the Temple, including many transgressions that merit the death penalty; the many laws demoting the status of non-Jews; and the myriad of penalties for everything from sexual transgressions to the violation of Shabbat.
Are we to give such study the rank of supreme value in the “start-up nation”? This would make a joke of our Declaration of Independence.
Tel Aviv
Solid ground
Regarding Herb Keinon’s “Church of Holy Sepulchre issue being used to clobber Israel” (February 27), it is worth remembering that the three-time mayor of New York City, Fiorello La Guardia, instituted the taxing of church properties that were used for commercial purposes.
Israel is on solid historical ground for this taxation.
Case for Poland
I was very impressed with Polish Ambassador Jacek Chodorowicz’s portrayals of Jewish cemeteries in Poland (“‘Poland won’t enforce Holocaust law in near future,’” February 27). During several visits to Poland, I personally witnessed the care of them by both Jews and Poles.
My father was shot by SS men on November 11,1939. His body was covered in a sand pit near our house. Accidentally uncovered shortly afterward, Polish neighbors buried him deeper. After World War II and after Poland’s deliverance from Russian occupation, I searched for the place of his burial, and several Polish soldiers helped me. Our findings: Shaul Nissan Goldberg had been exhumed and buried together with four native Poles in the local cemetery.
The monument there is cared for by students from a local school. No difference is cited between those in the grave, but all five men are named (my father’s name is clearly Jewish) and described as Polish heroes. On the tombstone there is no cross – just military swords. (My father had served in the Polish army.)
It is my opinion that the various monuments, the very impressive Jewish Museum in Warsaw as well as extensive literature and expressions by former Polish presidents establish forever the facts of history. Even Polish students visit the sites of former German death camps. Antisemitic perpetrations of individual Poles are not denied.
There was no Polish state from 1939 to 1945. Prime Minister Mateusz Marowiecki’s intention was to free the nation from exaggerated accusations. There are equally ambitious Israeli politicians like Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett who immediately stood up for Israel. (And what cannot be overlooked is the fact that Holocaust survivors are still alive, with memories of individual atrocities.)
May we not let the present good relationship be irreparably darkened or hindered by the negatives of old times. May our hands be stretched out for friendship and peace.
EU’s big secret
Regarding “EU chief warns US on ‘false steps’ to peace” (February 27), since Federica Mogherini and the esteemed foreign ministers of the EU are possessed of the ultimate knowledge of “what can fly and what cannot fly in terms of peace plans,” how is it that they keep this vital information to themselves?
In 20 years, the EU has not brought any new ideas for which both sides were willing merely to go to the runway, much less fly. Perhaps the time has come for a fresh, out-of-the-box outlook?
Ramat Yishai