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July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
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Letters To The Editor

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R. Schwab On Orthodox Jews Behaving Badly

With a distressing number of Orthodox Jews and Orthodox-run businesses in the news lately for less than positive reasons, many in our community are making excuses and rationalizations. Some refuse to accept the notion that a frum Jew can do any wrong; others blame everything on anti-Semitism; still others actually make the inane (and totally immoral as well as anti-Torah) arguments that white-collar crime isn’t so bad when the government is the victim or that somehow it’s all right to defraud non-Jews.

The following is what Rav Shimon Schwab, zt”l, wrote years ago in his essay “Chillul Hashem”:

“While it is obvious that the vast majority of loyal and observant Torah Jews deal honestly and correctly with their fellow men, a very small minority of criminal perpetrators suffices to cast sinister aspersions on all Orthodox Jews and, what is worse, on Orthodox Judaism as a way of life. The chillul Hashem of a few individuals provides excuses for the doubter, and encourages the desecration of Torah learning, Torah education and Torah influence.

“To defraud and exploit our fellowmen, Jew or gentile, to conspire, to betray the government, to associate with underworld elements – all these are hideous crimes by themselves. Yet to the outrage committed there is added another dimension, namely the profanation of the Divine Name and that means the profanation of all that is supposed to be held sacred by us as well as – in their heart of hearts – by the perpetrators themselves. What a sorry picture that is.”

Reuven Steinberg
(Via E-Mail)

Palestinians, Israelis, And Peace Talks (I)

* The Palestinians supported Iraq in the first Gulf War.

* They worked hand in glove with the murderer Saddam Hussein against American interests in the Middle East. Indeed, the Palestinians saw Saddam as their champion.

* We’ve known for some time, thanks to declassified documents, that Palestinian leaders were complicit in the killing of American diplomats in the 1970s. Palestinians publicly rejoiced in the 9/11 atrocities.

* And today the Palestinian government, such as it is, refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of Israel and makes heroes out of the murderers of women and children.

Yet the world – with the enthusiastic support of many Jews – seeks to pressure Israel into negotiating with these Palestinians, whom they dub “peace partners.” At first blush, it all seems so strange. But then one remembers that Israel is a Jewish state and it all starts making sense.

Harris Gollub
(Via E-Mail)

Palestinians, Israelis, And Peace Talks (II)

Once again an Israeli prime minister proclaims Mahmoud Abbas’s regime a “partner” in the search for peace. Not only does Abbas obviously not control his own side, given Hamas’s control of Gaza and its popularity in the West Bank, but his own advocacy of a Palestinian “right of return,” his stance on Jerusalem, and his insistence that Israel withdraw to pre-1967 borders show that he is a snake oil salesman and not a serious negotiator.

Gerald Heyman
(Via E-Mail)

Palestinians, Israelis, And Peace Talks (III)

The Arab world, comprised of nation-states that didn’t exist until Britain and France invented them after World War I, challenged the legitimacy of a Jewish state even after it was internationally recognized in 1948, and was only thwarted by Jewish military superiority.

Even now, it is only Jewish military power that stands between a sovereign Jewish state and Arab hordes killing Jews. That’s the way the world works, and the sooner Jewish liberals and leftists accept that fact of life, the safer Israel will be.

Edward Parker
(Via E-Mail)

Palestinians, Israelis, And Peace Talks (IV)

There are some Palestinian documents and an Israeli law that should be analyzed before anyone conveys an opinion pertaining to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict: the Hamas 1988 charter, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) 1964 charter (amended in 1968), the 1964 Fatah constitution and the 1988 Israeli anti-racism law.

The PLO charter and the Fatah constitution were created three years before the 1967 war. The charter and the constitution declared that the establishment of Israel was illegal and void, and that armed conflict must be utilized in order to eliminate the Zionist entity.

The Hamas charter declares that “Israel exists and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it”; that “Hamas strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine”; and that “There is no solution to the Palestinian question except through Jihad.”

So we have three official Palestinian documents that clearly call for the elimination of Israel. Any Palestinian spokesman who refers to peace in exchange for Israel’s return to its 1967 borders is merely spouting propaganda with no substance in fact.

Contrasting the content of the three Palestinian documents that call for the elimination of Israel with the 1988 Israeli anti-racism law that prevents a political party from running for seats in the Knesset if it promotes racism (which in Israel means anti-Arab racism), one can see which side really wants peace.

William K. Langfan
Palm Beach, FL

Defending Haredi ‘Activism’

We constantly hear vehement criticism directed against haredi activists in Israel who refuse to passively accept the denigration of Torah and who back up their passion with action – holding loud and spirited demonstrations, standing up to the anti-religious police and army, attempting to see to it that women sit apart from men in buses, etc.

While I do not condone taking the law into one’s own hands, I refuse to indulge in political correctness. These young men obviously burn with the love of Torah. Their hearts are in the right place, even if they sometimes overreact in their determination to enforce the standards and morality of our holy Torah.

Isaac Melnick
Jerusalem

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