October 16, 2017: Charisma and abuse

Our readers weigh in.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Charisma and Abuse
While I am sure that there are probably nerdy men who are abusers, Seth Frantzman (“The predators among us,” October 15) has hit on something important when he discusses the type of men who abuse flagrantly and frequently. He has correctly categorized them as charismatic and powerful.
Charismatic people tend to climb the social and political ladder better than most. Since humans are not only drawn to charisma but in many cases looking for it, they are particularly susceptible to be enthralled by it either as victims or enablers.
On reading Sara Levi’s “Israel’s ‘chained’ women” (Jerusalem Post Magazine, October 13) and then Amy Spiro’s “Weinstein meltdown” (October 15), it strikes me that the two issues are not unrelated. In both of these phenomena – agunot on the one hand and sexual exploitation of one type or another of women on the other – we are looking at situations in which the fate of women is controlled by men.
How many more women will become “chained” wives and how many more women will suffer sexual abuse before society begins to rein in the scourge that is male privilege? For it is male privilege that is the culprit here, and only when men who have power but choose to use it for good, will this scourge cease.
Only when rabbis find a way to release agunot (and there are ways) or movie moguls refrain from using their positions of power for their own sexual gratification, will these vile behaviors cease.
In the meanwhile, how can we help this process? By protesting, empowering women to say “No, this is unacceptable,” and most of all by encouraging women to move into those very same positions of power. The more female rabbis – of all denominations, including Orthodox – and the more female movie executives we have, (not to mention generals, business executives, entrepreneurs, rabbinical court judges, etc.,) the more we will be able to combat the threat of male privilege.
Am I the only one who has pure contempt for those women who are now crying “wolf” in the Weinstein affair? They knew exactly what they were doing, weighed their options and decided that greed was more important than self-pride and dignity when confronted by sexual abuse.
Today, since it is “fashionable,” they are suddenly coming out of the woodwork to be coddled by society. They are a disgrace to women who have fought for their rights over the centuries, and should be ashamed of themselves and their greed. Millions of women would not have complied with a sexual pervert and they are the ones who deserve to be held up as examples, not those who chose to collaborate for purely selfish reasons.
In addition, by not coming forward, these women became facilitators, enablers, for the pervert to continue his path. If no one had agreed, he would have been a nothing. The enablers gave him his power to continue to abuse others. They are also guilty and they, the media and society should stop painting themselves only as victims
Biased ball
Hannah Brown’s October 10 article on Sammy Davis Jr. brought to mind a story that may interest your readers.
In the early 1970s, I was invited to take part in a celebrity golf contest in Las Vegas.
In one of the rounds, I was partnered with Davis. After a few holes, he found that the complimentary golf shoes he had been given by one of the sponsors were too tight, so he took them off, rolled up his trousers and went barefoot.
On the final hole, he needed to sink a long putt for us to finish near the top. He bent down, looked at the line for a few moments and stroked the ball towards the hole. He had read the line well and the ball rolled closer and closer to the hole, about eight meters away.
At the very edge of the hole the ball stopped. One more fraction of an inch and it would have fallen in to give us a great score, but the ball obstinately refused to drop.
Davis stood with his hand in his hips, glaring at the ball and trying to will it to drop in.
It still refused to drop.
He gave it one last withering look and turning away, muttered, “Antisemitic ball!”
Compounding error
In “Europe is waiting for us” (October 11), MK Isaac Herzog seems to dote upon what he calls “the two-state solution,” an idea that was dead and buried when his compatriots, without an agreement, took thousands of Israelis out of their homes in Gaza and handed a viable economic enterprise to Hamas.
Hamas destroyed the infrastructure and launched thousands of rockets from Gaza at Israel homes and towns. Does Herzog think any European state would come to Israel’s aid if the same happened from surrendered areas of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank]? When will he realize that the name “Palestinian” is a misnomer? The people living here are Arabs, many of whom came here during the period of the English Mandate 1920 to 1948 at the invitation of the then-ruling party, violating the terms of the mandate as defined by the League of Nations.
We rid ourselves of the mandatory power in 1948 and liberated one side of the Jordan River in 1967. Does Herzog want us to give this away, when we already gave up the almost 70% of Palestine on the other side of the river when the agreement with Jordan was signed? Are we going to make more stupid mistakes?
Egalitarian Kotel prayer
Kudos to Masa Yisraeli for the decision to offer Israeli 11th graders the option to choose the mixed-gender prayer area during visits to the Kotel. CEO Uri Cohen misses two very salient points, though, in his October 16 article.
The original egalitarian prayer area at the Western Wall was not created “courageously three years ago by... Natan Sharansky and Naftali Bennett.” Groups under the aegis of the Masorti (Conservative) Movement have met for prayer by Robinson’s Arch inside the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, at the southern end of the Western Wall, for nearly two decades.
(Visits in the early morning hours were and are free; later, even those visitors coming to pray must pay an entrance fee.) The person who deserves the credit for suggesting that arrangement is MK Isaac Herzog, who was then cabinet secretary for PM Ehud Barak. Bennett’s contribution was to add an additional space available around-the-clock every day of the year, always at no charge.
Even more important is Cohen’s failure to observe that while the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which operates the historic section of the Kotel now under Orthodox hegemony, is, citing its own website, “a government body established by the Ministry of Religion [sic]” and is lavishly funded by the Government of Israel, no such public funding is provided for the mixed-gender area. Instead, the Masorti Movement of Israel provides visitors with Torah scrolls, prayer books and all other necessary equipment at its own expense as a public service.
One of the commitments on which the government of Israel has reneged is a promise to provide funding for the egalitarian prayer site’s operations, which would be, according to the suspended agreement, the responsibility of a public body on which non-Orthodox movements would have representation.