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March 6, 2015 / 15 Adar , 5775
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Shameful French

The shameful efforts by the French media to discourage reports identifying the gunman in the Toulouse murders as a Muslim (“Whitewashing Islamic Terror in Toulouse,” op-ed, March 30) is just more evidence that when it comes to choosing between Muslims and Jews, the French will choose the Muslims every time.

I’ve read reports that Jews are being advised to leave France. They should. We have all been sent a terrible message.
Dani Kadar
Jerusalem

Israel’s Judges
Kenneth Levin’s March 30 front page essay, “Israel’s Dictatorship of the Judiciary,” is an informative case study in how a country with the greatest potential can be thwarted in its religious and national destiny by a legal system dominated by a coterie of anti-religious, anti-Zionist and anti-democratic judges.

In recent years, despite what the majority of Israelis wanted for their country, the court systematically empowered those seeking to undermine the Jewishness of the Jewish homeland. Peace Now has been systematically and shamefully coddled and the Palestinian narrative embraced at almost every turn.
Perry Garfield
(Via E-Mail)

Inaccurate Press Release?
I’m not sure the Orthodox Union’s statement hailing the Supreme Court’s decision in the Zivotofsky passport case is all that helpful. As you reported (“Supreme Court Jerusalem Passport Issue a Matter for Lower Courts,” news story, March 30), the court did not accept the idea that a federal law entitling Americans born in Jerusalem to have their American passports record “Israel” as their place of birth necessarily represents a Congressional intrusion into the executive branch’s constitutional prerogatives in the area of recognizing foreign countries.

However, the OU statement, which was among the first to be circulated, said: “With the ruling by the high court, Congressional policy on Jerusalem, ignored by successive administrations, will get its day in court.” To the contrary; Nathan Lewin, the Zivotofskys’ lawyer, successfully argued that the passport provision had nothing to do with the U.S. policy on the status of religion.

Being first with a press release is not always a good thing. Being accurate is.
Elliot Scheer
(Via E-Mail)

Secular Israeli Store Owners And Shabbat
Re: “Secular Tel Aviv Storeowners Sue City to Protect Shabbat Rights (news story, March 30)

So non-religious Tel Aviv storeowners are suing because they want the labor laws that prohibit round-the-clock operation of supermarkets and other retail outlets to be enforced; otherwise they feel the business permits of 24/7 chains should be revoked.

Lest one think those secular storeowners have experienced an epiphany, their lawyer said: “The independent merchants are not doing this for a holy purpose so much as for social and cultural purposes. Everyone, including secular Jews, has the right to enjoy Shabbat and a day of rest in their own manner.”

Similarly, according to your story, Labor Party head Shelly Yachimovich told a radio interviewer that this was not a struggle between secular Jews and haredi Jews: “Every working person deserves at least one day off a week.”

I wonder what the reaction from those folks would have been had frum merchants initiated the action to close the stores on Shabbat.
Shmuel Glazer
New York, NY

Church And State
As I read the March 30 editorial on the decision by the State University of New York at Stony Brook to no longer cancel classes on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and certain Christian holidays, several questions occurred to me.

For one thing, why would it not have been sufficient that students and faculty simply not be penalized for being absent in observance of those days? Why was it necessary in the first place for the school to close in order for their observances to be accommodated?

And how is it possible that teachers in a public university can be paid for taking off in honor of their religious holidays? It seems to me that this constitutes a clear violation of the required separation between church and state.
Irving Wasserman
(Via E-Mail)

Obama’s Open Mike (I)
President Obama`s indiscreet words at an open microphone will come to haunt him (“Campaign Rhetoric,” editorial, March 30). For Obama to tell others, especially non-Americans, that he will be more flexible in his dealings with them after he is reelected is a signal that basically he would like to act differently but is restrained by political realities.

In other words, his agenda is hidden from the American people and from the nations he interacts with. What a sad reflection on the American presidency.
Toby Willig
Jerusalem

Obama’s Open Mike (II)
“After the election, I’ll have more flexibility,” uttered Barack Obama to Russian president Medvedev. Obama thought a mike had been turned off. Medvedev was clearly pleased, promising to “tell Vladimir.” They were referring to the nuclear weapons reduction talks between Obama and Russian premier Vladimir Putin.

The flexibility in question is something that troubles most Americans and virtually all our military and security chiefs. “Flexibility” in this case means doing the wrong thing in the future, since this is an election year and there are people who need to be fooled again.

This gaffe by Obama is a gift to rightly skeptical people in America and in Israel. To Jews who love both countries, it should be a wakeup call of the highest priority. What Obama is telling us with this comment is that he cannot be trusted with the safety and security of either the U.S. or Israel.

Is this a time in Israel’s history, considering the unthinkable threat posed by a nuclear Iran, for such a man to be given one single Jewish vote? Is it still possible that American Jews can be hoodwinked and not see the looming catastrophe for Israel if Obama has “flexibility”?

Speaking of men named Vladimir, our beloved Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky must be screaming from another world, “Beware, my brothers and sisters.”
Myron Hecker
New City, NY

Obama’s Open Mike (III)
It is time we stop demonizing President Obama over virtually everything he says or does – even when he doesn’t act all that differently from his predecessors. A good case in point is his overheard private comment to Russian President Medvedev that was central to your March 30 “Campaign Rhetoric” editorial.

You made such a big thing about Obama’s telling the Russian leader that after the November elections, should he be reelected, he would be much more flexible on major issues that exist between the United States and Russia. You saw in that comment a great danger to Israel because you fear a reelected Obama will revert to form and resume his pressure on Israel to make major concessions to the Palestinians.

Do you really think that Obama is the first president to think this way? Do you really think other elected officials do not massage the truth? I am not suggesting it is good for democracy when a candidate for president or an incumbent misleads the public as to what his real plans are. I am maintaining, though, that this is not unique to Barack Obama.
Cynthia Sellers
(Via E-Mail)

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