March 8, 2018: ‘Constitutional rights’ at Kotel

Our readers weigh in on this week's news.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
‘Constitutional rights’ at Kotel
Regarding “A-G: Non-Orthodox Jews have ‘constitutional rights’ at Kotel” (March 6), Israel does not have a “constitution.” In Israel, religious services and holy sites have always been overseen by the Chief Rabbinate, and Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit’s attempt to place a “progressive” administrator to oversee a portion of the Kotel is outrageous.
Furthermore, dividing Jews into categories is divisive – God hears everyone’s prayers at the Western Wall. The issue is simply providing a platform for men and women to pray and sing together.
The government has already provided this platform at Robinson’s Arch. Should it be enlarged? Maybe so. Those who pray there, mostly Americans, are used to having a lot of space, unlike Israelis who stand shoulder to shoulder. In addition, extra space might be a good precaution when mixing genders!
There’s more to the story...
Your science reporter should be commended for “Minnie’s allure? Why, it’s Mickey’s neural reward circuit!” (March 6). She found important news.
Her reporting is informative and clear despite being detailed and lengthy. Yet the introduction is confusing in saying that “researchers have now discovered how a mechanism in the brain... determines the sexual preference in male mice... to prefer females over males.”
What was found were two mechanisms for straight sexual preference and one for sexual non-preference, and only in male mice. The report ignores homosexual orientation, and we all want to know how that comes about – even if only in male mice.
This research did not deal with homosexual or female sexual preference in mice, let alone in humans; gave no new insight for them; and should not pretend that it did. It should also not ignore at least 5% of mankind whose orientation is gay, and 50% who are female. It should explicitly state that this research says nothing about their sexual preferences.
The writer, co-author of Homosexuality and Halacha: It is Not that Simple – an Encyclopedic Look at How Jewish Law Deals with Love and Sexuality between Men, has informed the Post that the name is a pseudonym and requested that a place of residence be withheld.
...and to this story, too
With regard to Rafael Medoff’s “American Jewish leaders and their egos” (Comment & Features, March 6) and the activities of the Bergson Group, there was another record broken by the group when, in the racially split America of those days, it sought to mount a 1946 play by Ben Hecht called A Flag is Born to raise support for clandestine Aliya Bet activities.
The intent was to stage it in Washington to a multi-racial audience, but the auditorium was unavailable due to anti-black discrimination. The play moved to Baltimore – and was a sellout. From what I understand, it was the first performance staged for a racially integrated audience in the history of Maryland.
The income generated by the play paid for the fourth of 10 Aliya Bet ships that sailed from the US with volunteer crews to bring Holocaust survivors to Palestine.
Tel Aviv
The writer was active in the Aliya Bet movement and is the author of The Jews’ Secret Fleet.
The haredi draft dispute
We note once again the saga of the government failing to reach a deal over the draft-exemption dispute (“Netanyahu’s coalition on collision course to early election,” March 5).
Members of our family are now proudly beginning their military service, which, thankfully, many others have done over the years for the protection of our people and state. I am also sure that, going back through the millennia, the ultra-Orthodox, who were possibly the majority, would have willingly fought when attacked by enemy forces.
It is therefore incumbent to suggest that should violence ensue, those who are committed to prayer and not willing to join up to protect this country are highly hypocritical, to say the least, in seeking protection from those who have enlisted. If a country’s law states that all must be eligible for the draft, so be it, with no exemptions.
Unfortunately, praying for peace is not reality. Fighting for it always is.
Tel Aviv
Back to Poland
The opinion piece by W. Julian Korab-Karpowicz, “The Jews and the Poles – a few facts about Poland’s WWII history” (Comment & Features, March 4) is a one-sided whitewash of the unspeakable crimes committed by the Poles against the Jews during the war. Statements that the Poles were victims and therefore they did not hate the Jews and did not rat out on Jews borders on the ludicrous.
But let’s focus on one simple indisputable fact documented on the pages of this newspaper and in so many first-hand reports, including reports I myself heard: After the war, Poles killed Jews returning to claim their homes, their possessions and their memories. Is that because Poles were victims? The Poles are generally antisemitic. Their press today is filled with reports of Jews as the cause of the economic ills of Poland – when there are virtually no Jews in Poland! Poles were complicit with the Nazis and did little to save Jews although, yes, there were some efforts.
The land of Poland is stained with Jewish blood, including the blood of my family. Jews should boycott Poland, which is why I could never go there even though I have wanted to see where my family lived for generations.
Instead of acknowledging and apologizing for the sins of his people, this philosopher, Korab- Karpowicz, wishes to whitewash it. No one should believe this nonsense.
May God avenge the death of our people.
Silver Spring, Maryland
Writing on behalf of the groups Poland of Dialogue, Consent and Decency and the Committee for the Defense of Democracy, we, Polish citizens, faithful to our democratic tradition deeply rooted in European values, and respecting our Constitution based on universal human values, feel obliged to protest against the image of Poland as racist, xenophobic and antisemitic.
We are afraid that the present government’s activity encourages radical nationalistic groups in Poland, which destroys our good name. Our dream is a reliable Poland, open to dialogue and international cooperation, not a Poland destroying our hard-won democracy, displaying arrogance and simplifying a historical narrative out of wounded pride.
Therefore, we Polish democrats strongly oppose any form of racism, aggression and antisemitism.
Rationalism plays no part
Steve Bannon, who was once seen as US President Donald Trump’s key strategic adviser, thinks the recent elections in Italy send a populist message to permanent political parties in Europe. I do not think so.
I am a novice in international relations and democratic politics, but I know for sure that populism means many things for many people, and that Europe has suffered enough to resurrect its ugly past. Let us take the Holocaust as an example.
I believe that the Nazi Holocaust is the most atrocious and ferocious crime committed not only toward innocent Jewish men, women and children, but against all humanity. Let me ask those who try to associate the phenomenon of populism with frustrations, emotions, passions and rationality: What sort of rational thinking could motivate people to exterminate 6 million Jews?