It is vital that Israel not be portrayed as a Jewish Taliban state because eventually it will lose the huge financial and moral aid of the U.S. and the friendship of countries who share Israel’s Western values.
Jacob Mendlovic Toronto, Canada
Editorial Didn’t Go Far Enough
Divided sympathies were very apparent in your editorial “The Violence in Beit Shemesh” (Dec. 30), where your concern about hypothetical future impositions on haredi tradition was evidently more emphatic than your concern about the present and real brutality toward Jewish women and children. In our view, the violence and coercion perpetrated by members of the haredi community are much more than “wrongheaded.”
It is positively despicable that Jews would act with hatred, bigotry, and intolerance toward other Jews, and a paper such as The Jewish Press should be at the forefront of responding to this situation.
Your editorial should have expressed unconditional outrage at haredim who spit at and taunt Jewish girls and women, and should have enunciated the clear and unambiguous disapproval of rabbis and communities which have permitted this criminality to be exhibited with impunity. They need to know that not only does our Torah not condone “humiliation and degradation” of women, but that women should be respected in public as well as in private.
It is a sad fact that in Israel many women have been subjected to coercive acts at family funerals, during divorces, on the streets and on some buses, even though this has rarely been highly publicized. This coercion has turned more people away from Jewish observance than our insulated community wants to realize. Rather than being a “no-brainer,” as your editorial put it, it will in fact take many brains to figure out this situation, given present demographics and past political maneuvers.
In the end, we disagree with your editorial’s view that to “make a big production” in condemning these acts gives the perpetrators more substance than they deserve. On the contrary, as observant Jews we should be making a huge production, not just regarding the present violence, but regarding the underlying misguided attitudes as well.
Nachum and Sue Fass