Honoring Rabbi Klass’s Memory
I am writing to you on behalf of myself and many friends in Far Rockaway who feel as I do. We love The Jewish Press. There is something for everyone, for every age group.
One thing I’d like to see more of is coverage of and interviews with mayors and townspeople of places like Hebron and Shiloh, heroes who settle the land and don’t let obstacles get in the way.
Whenever we go to Hebron for Shabbos we bring The Jewish Press with us. The soldiers all gather around and want us to read it to them. They understand English but have trouble reading it. So I sit with them and read and read.
Your paper gives chizuk to so many Jews around the world. May Hashem give you the strength to continue this wonderful paper for generations to come. You honor Rabbi Sholom Klass’s memory beautifully each week.
Far Rockaway, NY
It was very bold and brave for The Jewish Press to provide space to Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid (“That’s Just How It Is in the Knesset,” op-ed, May 3).
While other Orthodox publications find it easier to attack Lapid instead of engaging in a constructive discussion on the merits of his budget and national service proposals, you have given your readers the opportunity to be part of the conversation. May this small step help set our people and the Jewish state on a course toward solving our common problems.
Gerer Rebbe And Israel
Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff correctly states in his front page essay (“The Religious Zionism of Rav Soloveitchik,” May 3) that Warsaw was a “center of Ger chassidism” but neglects to mention that it was the Gerer Rebbe who urged his chassidim to go to Eretz Yisrael at a time when other rabbinic leaders, fearing that those who would go to Palestine would come under the secular influence of the Zionists, chose not to do so.
The phenomenon of the Gerer Rebbe’s passionate “Zionism” in prewar Poland and the subsequent formation of Poalei Agudas Yisroel and its influence on the fabric of Israel’s Torah-adhering society, merit an in-depth study comparable to Rabbi Rakkefet-Rothkoff’s detailed account of Rabbi Soloveitchik’s Zionism.
Israeli Prime Ministers (I)
In “Political Expediency…Or Adjusting to Reality?” (op-ed, April 26) Eli Chomsky perspicaciously presented the conundrum that presently animates Israel’s political debate and policies.
His depressing list of prime ministers who on attaining power cavalierly abrogated their campaign promises is not indicative of political smarts but rather the sad reality that politics has been corrupted, with duplicity rewarded and probity penalized.
The old question “How do you know when a politician is lying?” merits the only appropriate response: “When his lips are moving.”
Israeli Prime Ministers (II)
I read with interest Eli Chomsky’s op-ed article. I must say that I agree with his basic premise concerning all the Israeli prime ministers except one – namely, Menachem Begin.
Begin did indeed modify or somewhat soften his stance when Sadat came to Jerusalem, but to say he was willing to partition the land is a misunderstanding of his stance. His position at the time can be summed up as “autonomy for the Palestinian Arabs, security for the Palestinian Jews.”
That is a direct quote from the man. In other words he wanted the Arabs to be able to manage their own affairs, e.g.: police, municipal councils, judiciary, etc., under Israeli sovereignty. He remained dead set against any kind of Palestinian state, demilitarized or otherwise. He felt it would become a Trojan horse and an infiltration base for foreign hostile sources – the Soviet Union at the time.
In Begin’s scenario, the Israeli flag would never have come down over Judea/Samaria. As Begin explained at the time, these areas were to remain an integral part of Israel. He was dead set against a separate country inside the borders of Israel and he never changed his views on the matter, even after returning the Sinai.
More On Geller And Free Speech
Reader Isaac Perlman (Letters, May 3) writes that I missed the point when I argued (Letters, April 26) that the cancellation of Pamela Geller’s speech at Great Neck Synagogue had nothing to do with censorship.
The problem, Perlman argues, was that Geller’s invitation was revoked, and that it’s censorship when someone is denied an opportunity to speak because of content.
In fact, it’s not censorship, because Geller was not entitled to the invitation in the first place, and revoking the invitation is not going to stop her from speaking. It would be censorship if she incurred some penalty, such as a fine or a jail sentence, for speaking.
Like many protests in Geller’s favor, Perlman’s is wholly political. It is doubtful, for instance, that Perlman would argue that the revocation of an invitation to a panel on Israeli democracy that included BDS supporters by Congregation Ansche Chesed on the Upper West Side was an act of censorship. And it wasn’t. It was merely the act of a private institution that chose, after careful consideration, not to affiliate itself and not to create the impression among the public that Jews affiliate themselves with ideas and people it finds repugnant. It did not say these figures were not free to find other forums to host them.
It is not accurate either to argue that those who oppose Geller simply oppose those who criticize fundamentalist Islam. Indeed, it is not uncommon to hear speakers in Jewish institutions who talk about the dangers of jihad. It is not even very uncommon at Orthodox institutions to hear those who cross the line from criticizing jihad to smearing Muslims and Islam in broad terms we would never allow others to direct at our own community.
So the notion that Geller’s ideas are being censored is nonsense. Geller incites controversy because she attacks virtually everybody who disagrees with her ideas in vitriolic, extraordinarily nasty, personal terms, calling liberal Zionist Jews “kapos” and calling peaceful Muslims “jihadis.” She also trades in discredited rumors; for instance, she argued that the president was not a United States citizen long after the rumor had been discredited.
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