November 5, 2015: Virtually silent

Readers respond to the latest Jerusalem Post articles.

Envelope (photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
(photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
Virtually silent
On the top half of the front page of November 3 was the article “Two elderly among four wounded in Rishon Lezion, Netanya attacks,” and on the bottom half was the article “Or Yarok: One person killed every day on roads.” Perhaps that placement should have been reversed. We – rightfully – decry and panic over every terror, and attempted terror, attack, but we are virtually silent in the face of the silent terror: Road fatalities. We are losing one beautiful soul from the Israeli nation practically every day from completely avoidable causes. This is a horrifying phenomenon that should engender as much panic, and as much government intervention as the plague of terror currently facing Israel.
I am pretty sure that all citizens are shocked by the increase of fatalities and accidents on our roads. Why, in heavens name, did the government find it necessary to increase the speed limit? The meaningful slogan used in South Africa was: “Drive like lightning and you will crash like thunder.”
Ramat Hasharon
Sane voice
Finally, there is a sane, balanced voice in the Israeli political world – one that can’t be dismissed as a “lefty who doesn’t understand security.” Yes, that’s because the voice is coming from none other than former IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Benny Gantz (“Gantz: We must make effort to not live only by our sword,” November 3). Gantz said: “I don’t know if a diplomatic initiative [with the Palestinians] can lead anywhere, but I think it is very important. Either it will succeed, or future generations will know with absolute strategic honesty that there really was an attempt to do things differently.” He one of the few figures in the Israeli leadership who truly understand the cost of war, and the toll it takes on the nation as a whole. It is high time he be listened to.
Just a few Looking at the two articles in the newspaper of November 3 titled “Religious women serving in army ‘destroys the soul of state,’ says rabbi” and “Haredi rabbi blames murder of Henkin couple on Gay Pride Parade,” one has to question why these so-called rabbis are considered Jewish and why they are employed by the state. These reports are part of a long list where rabbis speak against the state and the IDF and seem to forget that they represent all Jews and not just a few that do not want to support the state. It seems to me that if we had leading Rabbis that supported all the Jews of Israel and not a minority then the soul of the state would improve.
Rishon Lezion
Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, regularly referred to (in The Jerusalem Post and elsewhere) as a “prominent national-religious leader,” is running dangerously close to departing entirely from the national-religious community. His comments that women should not be serving in the army because both the uniforms and the guns are “men’s clothes” are so fringe as to be laughable. Sadly it isn’t funny, since he has his supporters within the community, who closely follow his rule of law. With the loss of the legendary Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein earlier this year, the national- religious community lost one of its most moderate and inclusive voices – always within the halachic framework. I can only pray the community continues in this path, and not Aviner’s extremism.
Brilliant achievement
Mazel tov to Adi Deutch on a brilliant achievement and such an enlightening example to those of us struggling to overcome disabilities , including myself (“Disabled IDF veteran runs NYC Marathon,” November 3). In 1987, due to medical negligence (while anesthetized) I was partially paralyzed in my lower body, and informed by doctors that a wheelchair would be inevitable. Not an option for a former ballet and flamenco dancer – and enthusiastic tennis player. So the battle began, and the outcome is that today, at age 79, I actively take part in classes teaching body-conditioning, based on my ballet training and the “Lotte Berk” method in which I was instructed by the illustrious Ms. Berk herself in London nearly 40 years ago. Hope, commitment and the burning desire to succeed no matter how dire the situation is so aptly demonstrated by Adi and many more in our society, and I salute them all.
Inconvenient truth
If, as Judy Siegel-Itzkovich reports, (“The unkindest cut of all,” Health & Science, November 1) the best of surgical environments are still fraught with the danger of being infected by – or passing on viruses from – medical professionals and patients, then the question begs to be asked: What about circumcision? Especially the way it is practiced in some ultra-Orthodox sectors with unyielding insistence upon metzitza bapeh, oral suction of blood from the child’s incision. This is an ancient practice, they would claim, which halachic literature in the distant past has maintained must be done to safeguard the wellbeing of the child. However, New York City’s Department of Health reported a year ago that since 2000 there have been 17 cases directly linking the transmission of the herpes virus as a result of this practice. Alternative suctioning methods – which alleviate the actual contact of the mohel’s mouth with the new incision – have been introduced in Orthodox circumcisions long ago, suggested by some of the most dominant halachic authorities of Europe since the mid-1800s. Of this I am certain: There is an undisputed halachic principle stated already millenia ago in the Talmud that dangers which lurk are to be treated more strenuously than other ritual prohibitions. How can this inconvenient truth be sidelined by the faithful among the haredi and hassidic sectors?
Sad reflection
For a minute I thought that time had flashed forward, and I was in fact reading the annual Purim edition of the newspaper, The Jerusalem Roast. But then I sadly realized that the October 30 article “Haredi paper seeks immunity from terrorism” was real. The editor of the Mishpacha magazine had the gall to attempt to disseminate the fact that, because ultra-Orthodox men do not generally go up to the Temple Mount, Palestinian terrorists should “please, stop murdering us.” What a sad reflection on the divisions of our society today that the reaction to a wave of terror targeting Jews is to say “please, don’t kill me, kill someone else.” In a way the only thing more depressing than the regular, constant, horrifying threat of terror is that a fellow Jew is looking out just for himself. Sadly, this isn’t just the attitude among haredim (although it’s certainly not all haredim who think this way), but many other members of society who hear of an attack in Hebron or near Itamar, and think “well, that’s not me – those are settlers.” They think that these twisted terrorists wouldn’t be just as happy to target any Jew who was in their sights. Let us not allow the very thing that should unite us to divide us.