September 8: EU Labeling

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
EU labeling
I am becoming more and more incensed by the European Union’s plans with respect to labels for exports from Judea, Samaria, parts of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights (“EU close to finalizing its guidelines for labeling goods made in settlements,” September 6).
It is not doing this to any other country with disputed borders.
Hence, it is discriminating against Israel.
I have a proposal. The EU will not implement these guidelines, and Israel will not demolish the illegal buildings constructed for the Palestinians with EU money.
If the EU continues with its labeling guidelines, we will demolish every single illegal building that has been paid for with its money.
Israel needs to go on the offensive and not accept this discrimination.
The European Union should consider labeling all products from here as “Made in Israel” instead of noting those that come from “settlements.” There is really no difference.
Furthermore, in attempting to stifle the economy in the eastern part of the country, it would be depriving many Palestinians of their livelihood.
On-air opinions
With regard to “Akunis drops authority for IBA to protest Netanyahu’s lack of support “ (September 6), impartial new broadcasts and political programs are not meant to express the presenter’s opinion. They are supposed to allow the listener/viewer to form his own opinion based on the presenter’s reading of the news.
This clause was, as Minister Ophir Akunis states, “never meant or intended at any stage to forbid expressing opinions on radio programs.
Its only purpose was to sharpen existing ethical standards....
The law was not intended to silence anyone.”
The news presenter has no right to insert his own personal opinion on currents events so as to skew the listener/viewer’s opinion. People should be allowed to form opinions on their own without prompting from others.
Whose Shabbat?
David Engelhart (“My Shabbat?” Comment & Features, September 6) not only lays claim to our sages’ definition of Shabbat, he lays claim to “holy” Jerusalem, home to approximately 150,000 Muslims and Christians, and also about 300,000 secular Jews. He also lays a personal claim to “intellectual honesty.”
Sorry, Mr. Engelhart. We can all claim what the Sabbath is and to whom true intellectual honesty belongs. We don’t have to listen to what the sages said a couple of thousand years ago. If you want to retreat into a lobotomized existence, go ahead. Just leave the rest of us alone.
The story about Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky is a shocking example of silliness gone to ridiculous lengths. The young rabbi, serving in the Russian army, refuses to remove a jacket from a tree in the bitter cold because it is the Sabbath. What are the certain “rabbinic” laws that allow one to risk freezing to death in the Russian winter? Is it possible that other sages might have allowed him to take down the jacket? The fact that the writer brings the story up here only proves how far from reality he is.
Let’s have a grand meeting where the ultra-Orthodox, the Orthodox, the modern Orthodox, the Natorei Karta, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist Jews, as well as the secular and the atheists, get together and define the “holy” Shabbat. It will be quite a circus, the best show in town for many decades to come.
David Engelhart’s charming opinion piece took me back almost 60 years, when I was on night-guard duty near Calne, in Wiltshire UK – fortunately, not over Shabbat! The outside temperature was 8 degrees Fahrenheit and the guard house (four hours off for each two hours on duty) was heated by an ancient coke stove, so one either froze or suffocated. It is there that I have to question the full circumstances of the possibly apocryphal story of Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky – who was ignoring every rule of pikuah nefesh, or the dictate that saving a life is more important than keeping the Shabbat.
As I was taught, we must break the Shabbat if one’s life is in mortal danger. Not to do so is a bigger sin! As always, I look forward to being corrected.
I live down the street from Yes Planet and participated with others in our community over the past several years to legally prevent its construction. However, there is a better answer than a legal fight in preserving Shabbat observance and providing society with a day of leisure. That answer is a full two-day weekend.
Several years ago, I chaired the “Sundays Off” initiative under the sponsorship of the now-defunct Yisrael B’aliya party, chaired by Natan Sharansky. Legislation mandating Sundays off passed a first reading in the Knesset, but it was prior to a change in government.
While Yes Planet being open on Shabbat is reflective of the Shamgar court’s decision in the 1990s defining leisure activity as the act of not working, it is still true that operating entertainment venues on the weekend calls for some people to be working on Shabbat. In addition, according to Israeli civil law, businesses are to be closed on Shabbat, although 24/7 stores remain open. (Some are fined for doing so.) A bit of integrity regarding civil law, respect for religious law and allowing us to maintain a truly western, two-day weekend of Shabbat and Sunday would eliminate the constant, useless banter about the holiness of Shabbat and the need for leisure.
There is no need to live in contradiction of either.
Deri’s status
With regard to “PM weighs bringing gas plan to Knesset” (September 4), how did we – a modern, leading, inventive, hi-tech economic power – manage to reach a situation where we – the people of Israel – hold in our hands one of the biggest natural gas fields in the world but cannot develop it because a convicted thief refuses to sign a contract that, as the minister responsible, he is legally bound to do? How Economy Minister Arye Deri managed to obtain his ministerial appointment still amazes me. Didn’t our prime minister see this coming? LEON CHARNEY Yehud Righteous Arabs Israel should establish an award similar to what Yad Vashem established to honor Righteous Gentiles who saved Jews during the Holocaust at the risk of their own lives. The new award would be for righteous Arabs who save Jews at the risk of their own lives.
The Arab resident of Hebron who saved several haredi boys from an Arab mob last week (“Palestinian prevents lynching of 5 US tourists in Hebron,” September 4) should be recognized for his humanity and heroism.
Call her ‘Dr. Judy’ It was wonderful to hear the good news about Judy Siegel (“‘Post’ health and science editor to receive honorary doctorate,” September 4).
During my tenure at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, I had the good fortune to work closely with Judy for many years, and never ceased to be amazed at the depth of her knowledge and her friendly willingness to share it.
The Post also deserves to bask in her reflected glory, as it makes her very interesting columns available to us every week. I am sure that this award will bring smiles to your readers.
Mazal tov, Judy!
The writer is a former press officer at Shaare Zedek Medical Center.