October 16, 2016: In your face

Riding bicycles on Yom Kippur is an in-your-face mockery of the day’s sanctity.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In your face
I found the prominent photograph of children riding bicycles last year on Yom Kippur, which accompanied “Zoabi: Arab teachers need day off for Yom Kippur” (October 10), most objectionable. You repeated this with a similar photo from this year on Page 4 of your October 13 issue.
It should be noted that our prayers begging God for forgiveness are said in the plural, to purposely include all Jews, those who are more observant as well as those less committed. It behooves those Jews who elect not to attend services on Yom Kippur to nevertheless teach their children respect for the day.
Riding bicycles on Yom Kippur is an in-your-face mockery of the day’s sanctity.
Golan’s editorializing
I always enjoy reading the Media Comment columns by Yisrael Medad and Eli Pollak, but “The ‘peace agenda’ of Israel’s media” (October 13) was especially well documented and written.
I specifically liked the well-deserved prominence reserved for Reshet Bet’s Aryeh Golan, a habitual advocate of the Left’s agenda while supposedly acting as an independent radio news anchor.
I still don’t understand who lets Golan start off each 7:00 a.m. program with a commentary that is usually left-wing spin on some recent event.
Growing up in the US, I never heard any radio or TV newscaster give his or her opinion, especially at the beginning of the program.
I must admit that I rarely listen to Golan; happily, today’s wide variety of news programming has greatly expanded our choices.
Still, his reckless abuse of his role as a newscaster should be addressed.
US political discourse
Herb Keinon waxes sentimental about a time when dignity and integrity were the character of US presidential campaigns (“A sad level of political discourse,” Comment, October 11). With all due respect, what planet is he referring to? What dignity was there in John F. Kennedy’s infamous dalliances? Lyndon B. Johnson was known especially for his foul mouth. Richard Nixon was no saint by anyone’s measure.
More recently, Bill Clinton admitted to being aware of the imminent genocide in Rwanda but looking the other way. The outcome: 800,000 deaths. And Barack Obama’s bold pronouncements notwithstanding, he has all but ignored half a million deaths by chemicals, bombing and torture in Syria.
Agreed, the bawdy banter of Donald Trump is extremely inappropriate, even if made privately, and even if such attitudes are widespread. I must confess to having heard no-less-perverse remarks made within the religious community here when men boasted of bygone sexual conquests. But this must be weighed together with Hillary Clinton’s record in attacking women by legal means, be it a 12-year-old rape victim or the victims of her husband’s amorous proclivities.
Fondness for pomp and protocol is fine, but context gives a more truthful clarity.
Herb Keinon bemoans the state of discourse in the US presidential contest, especially in the most recent debate. But it was not discourse, nor was it debate.
Rather, it was an ugly mud-slinging fest, and I, too, am ashamed Although Keinon is younger than I am and has been in Israel for fewer years, we both grew up in the US and learned to respect the office of the president.
It was a model we hoped that Israel would look up to.
Now I am not sure.
It is a sad state of affairs when two presidential candidates have nothing more worthy to shout about than each other’s failings.
Let us hope, for the world’s sake, that this farce of a campaign will yield a result that we all will be able to live with.
Bitan Aharon
Missed opportunity
I like your diversity of opinion and broadness of reporting about the presidential race in the US in general, and about the second TV debate in particular.
May I add that during the debate, Hillary Clinton missed an open goal.
When Donald Trump contended that he only bragged about sexually abusing a number of women, she should immediately have retorted: “That leaves just two possibilities.
One, you’re lying. You admitted the abuse, and no one in a locker room admits to being abusive for fun. Or two, you admit that your bragging is empty. But you brag all the time about how rich you are, how smart a businessman you are, how well you negotiate and how sane you are. Is there any truth in those claims? No matter, the American people will vote for neither a braggart nor a predator.”
On this she failed, though she still won the debate.
Remembering Reagan
Amotz Asa-El’s Middle Israel columns are distinguished, as a rule, by strong logic, close argumentation and – most refreshingly – a sense of historic depth.
It was therefore quite incongruous to read in “Donald Trump: Person of the year” (October 7) the following: “The free world… was astonished in 5776 by Trump’s conquest of the position once held by Ronald Reagan....”
In which way, pray, was Reagan all that different while seeking the presidency? Did his background as a Hollywood actor (not quite the big star) and even governor of California (like Arnold Schwarzenegger) qualify him for the most powerful position in the world? Yet coming after the arguably nice, thoughtful and progressive Jimmy Carter, Reagan’s healthy instincts and common sense made him a forceful agent in bringing about one of the greatest global makeovers of the 20th century: the collapse of the Soviet empire. It bears remembering, too, that right upon Reagan’s ascension to the presidency, the American hostages held for more than a year in the blockaded former US Embassy in Tehran were released.
Could the present astonishment about Trump thus conceivably be not quite warranted? EMANUEL KRASOVSKY Tel Aviv Views on the candidates I’m a non-American, yet I take the liberty of saying this: With Trump, what you see is what you get. With Clinton, what you see is what you don’t get.
If one wonders how the Roman Empire fell, he need look merely at what has happened to the United States under Barack Obama’s leadership (for lack of a better term). The American empire has stumbled.
Happily, it is not too late for the US electorate to stave off disaster by voting Donald Trump into the office of the presidency.
If it votes Hillary Clinton into office, the empire will irrevocably and terminally fall. This would be a yuge pity, one that would harm the entire world for God alone knows how many years to come.
Kfar Saba
A route beckons Being a junior in college, Benjamin Gladstone (“Antisemitism at my university, hidden in plain sight,” Comment & Features, October 9) is probably 20 or 21, and it is not easy to be confronted with antisemitism in a place of learning.
I was his age in 1968, studying in Paris at the time of sometimes violent student and civil unrest.
We, the students, were out to change society, and everything was put into question. However, when the subject was Israel, I was told I couldn’t voice an opinion, being Jewish.
Three years later, I was in Israel, at the Weizmann Institute. I suggest that Mr. Gladstone follow a similar route.