With his refusal to follow the lead of the so-called international community and his support
of Israel’s right to strike at terrorists in Syria, President Bush has once again demonstrated
that he is indeed the best friend Israel has ever had in the White House.
Meanwhile, I find it ironic and deeply troubling that Jews continue to worship at the shrine
of Bill Clinton – the former president continues to rake in big bucks speaking to brain-dead
Yidden at temples and community centers across the fruited plain – while showing very little
appreciation to Mr. Bush.
I’m afraid that President Bush at best will win between 25 and 30 percent of the Jewish
vote in 2004, which would be a real scandal – especially when measured against the
admiration and adulation given by Jews to Clinton, who was Arafat’s chief enabler and hand-
holder for most of the 1990’s.
…But He’s Wrong About Fence
Despite my being a conservative Republican – Assemblyman Dov Hikind is the only
Democrat I’ve ever voted for – and an ardent supporter of George W. Bush, I believe the
president’s position on the Israeli security fence is to be publicly challenged by every Jew with
I urge my fellow Jews to pick up the phone and call the White House comment line at
202-456-1111, and ask the following question:
“If the president’s neighbor’s dog would be viciously and continuously attacking the president’s family, would he heed the advice of his neighbors to desist from building a protective fence because it may send the ‘wrong signal’ to that negligent neighbor? Would he refrain from building the barrier because it might be perceived as an unfriendly gesture toward his callous neighbor?”
The Israeli government has the moral obligation, as does every sovereign nation, to protect
its citizens. Not completing the fence – which so far has proved very effective – for fear of
offending the sensitivities of others would be a real crime. The blood of murdered and maimed
Jews would be on the hands of any Israeli leader who buckled under the pressure.
Rabbi Oshry’s Greatness
With sadness I learned while reading the Oct. 3 issue of The Jewish Press that Rabbi Ephraim Oshry passed away on the second day of Rosh Hashanah in Manhattan.
Rabbi Oshry’s Responsa from Kovno during World War II are an everlasting monument
to his greatness. For years I had in mind that it would be a zechus for me to see the rav who
faced such adversity and responded as a posek with kindness, lucidity and ahavat Ysrael. Now I can only regret that I never followed through.
It reminds me of another missed encounter. When I was 15, I spent a summer at the Yeshiva of Montreux in Switzerland with my younger brothers Hillel and Emmanuel. Living there at the time was the gadol HaGaon Rav Y.Y. Weinberg, zt”l, author of Seridei Eish. My father, Rabbi Dr. David Feuerwerker, zt”l, recommended that we pay him a visit. Looking back, I suppose it was due to our youth that we were intimidated or perhaps didn’t understand the importance of the suggestion.
The name of Rabbi Oshry will forever be associated with the Shoah and the decisions he
advocated based on halacha and compassion. We have lost a witness and a man of action. May his memory be a blessing.
Dr. Elie Feuerwerker
Highland Park, NJ
Federman Case: Prosecution – Or Persecution?
Several weeks ago, Hebron resident Noam Federman was arrested while presenting an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court. Federman has been linked to a “Jewish underground” group on the testimony of a single individual – although no evidence exists that he had anything to do with that group – and has been held under house arrest for more than a year now, with his trial not set to begin until next June.
Federman, a brilliant legal expert, came very close to convincing the court that the house arrest detention order, initiated by Shabak, the Israeli intelligence agency, was illegal. So, rather than take any chances, Shabak issued a six-month administrative detention order signed by Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, arrested him in the middle of his court case, and threw him behind bars. He sits in the worst possible conditions, in solitary confinement, in a jail with the most vicious Arab terrorists who have threatened to kill him.
A Supreme Court justice reviewed the detention order and upheld it. However, the details of the ‘evidence’ provided to him by Shabak was ‘secret,’ thereby preventing Federman or his lawyer from being able to present any kind of defense. Not only right-wing Jews are appalled by the Federman case. Writing in an Israeli daily on September 30, left-wing Meretz MK Zahava Galon stated: “Noam Federman should be put on trial or released. Circumventing the law rather than upholding it points to hysteria and bewilderment and does not achieve its purpose.”
Whether you agree or disagree with Noam Federman’s politics, he deserves the same civil rights as any other Israeli. Noam Federman is not a murderous Arab terrorist – he is an Israeli Jew.
You can help him by signing an international petition at: www.petitiononline.com/federman/petition.html
Former Mayor Vs. French Pinhead: An Exchange
Following is an e-mail correspondence that I thought would be of interest to you.
New York, NY
September 9, 2003
Dear Mr. Koch,
As a stanch supporter of Israel, I thought of sending you this article, by the former speaker of
the Knesset, Mr. A. Burg, which throws a different light on the present conditions in Israel, brought on by the Likud government in power.
With kind regards,
September 9, 2003
Dear [Name Withheld],
Thanks for your letter and article by Abraham Burg. In my opinion, the article is foolish in its
self-flagellation and does not reflect the opinion of the vast majority of Israelis, either Likud or Labor. Mr. Burg may have your support in his acceptance of Palestinian acts of terror intended to injure and kill innocent Israeli civilians, but not mine. Does he believe the two bombings this week, one in Tel Aviv and one in Jerusalem, were justified?
Interestingly, even the French have outlawed Hamas, both military and political wings. Burg and perhaps you may disagree with the French and European Union. I remain a supporter of both President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon in their response to the actions of Arafat and the Palestinian Authority.
All the best.
Edward I. Koch
Dear Mr. Koch,
I strongly believe that no killings are justified! It took the people 30 years of warfare in North Ireland to realize this and come together to start peace proceedings despite the threat of
continuous attacks during their negotiations. Must we wait that long for the Israel and Palestine
people to understand that there is only one way to peace: start negotiations despite suicide attacks and loss of life?
There are many in Israel, not in Jerusalem, who like many Palestinians want a real peace and
not one dictated to them. You no doubt saw the report of the Israel commission regarding the
treatment of their Arab citizens….
There will be no peace until the next generation takes over; there is too much hate on both sides and Mr. Sharon and people like Mr. Landau in his cabinet do nothing to help the
situation. As for Mr. Bush, I refer you to yesterday’s or today’s editorial in the NY Times,
“The President’s Character.”
Still hope to see you one of these days.
Dear [Name Withheld],
The more we correspond, the more evident our disagreements become. When you say, ‘no killings are justified,’ I call to your attention the right of self-defense and just wars.
All the best.
Dear Mr. Koch,
I think to disagree is a healthy sign!
I could reply to your theories but I rather ask: What do you think of [Howard] Dean’s remarks?
To millions around the world, including in the U.S., Jews or non-Jews, he dared to say what they are thinking but didn’t dare express until today. We are obviously not honest/neutral brokers, when we supply four billion dollars of aid yearly with which they buy the most modem war equipment. Sharon himself called it occupation of the Palestine land. Can you think of a single instance when Sharon has extended a hand of peace to the Palestinians and has given them hope for a future?
Tonight they announced their intentions to eject Chairman Arafat, against the wishes of our
government. Apart from the fact that he is the freely elected head of the Palestine people, banning him would only increase his standing with his people. It would make him a hero!
Various people [felt] compelled to call me to express their agreement with Dean’s remarks.
Had you seen the list published not long ago, by whom isn’t known, of all the Jewish people in or around the administration? Friends sent me a copy and I sent it on to some members of the
government mentioned with a warning to be careful of possible attacks!
It will never end!
September 12, 2003
Dear [Name Withheld],
Here are my responses to your recent e-mail questionnaire.
Howard Dean has now been denounced by many Democratic members of Congress, including Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the party in the House of Representatives, for his outrageous comments equating terrorists with those who combat terrorism. The position of the United States enunciated by President Bush in the “road map” is that both Israel and the Palestinian Authority are to simultaneously take described actions that are helpful to the other side. The Israelis were required to begin dismantling West Bank settlements created since March 2001. They did that. The Palestinian Authority was required to begin dismantling the infrastructure of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist organizations. Prime Minister Abbas announced that he would not do that for fear of a civil war. The European Union recently declared that both the military and political wings of Hamas are terrorist organizations.
The New York Times, no friend of Israel in the opinion of many, in a recent article listed all of
the items that Israel has done that in your expression “extended a hand of peace to the
Palestinians.” The Times reported, “Israeli officials note that in recent months Israel had released more than 400 Palestinian prisoners, issued 18,000 extra work permits for Palestinians in Israel, released $450 million in frozen funds for the Palestinian Authority and suspended the targeted killings of Palestinian militants in Gaza, once Palestinian authorities took control of security there. In addition, Israel redeployed forces, withdrew from Gaza and Bethlehem, opened a major road in Gaza, lifted three major road blocks in the West Bank, dismantled 12 unauthorized settlement outposts in the West Bank and held four meetings between Mr. Sharon and Mr. Abbas.”
The Palestinian Authority’s refusal to give Prime Minister Abbas command over all of the
Palestinian Authority’s security forces, leaving Arafat in control of most of them, caused Abbas to resign.
Israel is an ally of the United States. The Palestinian Authority is not. Your support of Howard Dean’s comments is support of his premise that the relationship between Israel and the
United States and that of the United States and the Palestinian Authority are equal and neutral. It is not. Indeed, the United States provides Israel with the arms to defend itself, as we do other allies, e.g., NATO nations, Egypt, Jordan, etc. However, the Palestinians, knowing of the special relationship between the United States and Israel, have nevertheless asked the United States to assist in brokering the peace negotiations. It was never asked to be neutral, nor is it.
You should also know that a majority of Palestinians polled are opposed to a two-state
solution. They seek to impose Arab sovereignty on all of historic Palestine, ‘from the river to the sea.’ That is in contrast to a majority of Israelis polled who support a two-state solution.
With respect to the ejection of Arafat, while I believe it would be an error, as does Shimon Peres, that does not make it wrong for the Israelis to conclude otherwise. I believe it would be an error, not because he was elected by the Palestinian people, but because he will have a larger world stage outside of Ramallah to do mischief. As you know, the United States will not negotiate with Arafat, insisting on an independent Palestinian Authority Prime Minister. The United States believes “Arafat is an impediment to peace.” Israel believes that Arafat has encouraged and authorized terrorist activities.
I have no doubt that you and your friends support Howard Dean’s remarks which, you may
not know, he has now recanted, saying he was unaware of the meaning of the language he used and did not intend to convey what seems to give you and your friends comfort. However, many people, myself included, think he knew exactly what he was saying and was seeking support from the far left wing of the Democratic party, which includes about a third of the Democrats.
You appear to be distressed that six Jews are in sub-Cabinet positions in the Bush administration. There is not a single Jew in the Bush cabinet. Neither situation distresses me.
President Bush created the Bush Doctrine, rivaling the Monroe and Truman doctrines. The Bush doctrine, briefly stated, is that we will “make no distinction between thee terrorists who committed these [terrorist] acts and those who harbor them.” Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Powell and National Security Adviser Rice are considered by many to be the best Cabinet officers ever representing any president on defense matters.
In the United States, we hope and like to believe that people are selected on the merits. Your
experience, I believe, is with France, about which that cannot be said and which has a long history of anti-Semitism.
Jews like you who are so ready to damn the State of Israel bring little credit to themselves.
Your non-Jewish neighbors in France and Monaco undoubtedly have contempt for those who take every opportunity to disassociate themselves from their fellow Jews. Your reference to Jews in government was so disturbing that I am writing with total candor – not seeking to spare you from my deeply felt observations even though you may find them painful. My suggestion to you is that you take to heart the words of Rabbi Hillel who said, “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not
I have expressed myself to the fullest possible extent. Unless something dramatically new arises, our correspondence must end. I am unable to devote the time needed to be a pen pal.
All the best.
Edward I. Koch
Questions Of Shaimos – Question Of Muktze
When I buy The Jewish Press for my wife and myself for our Shabbos reading, I don’t expect to handle things that are muktze – impermissible to touch on Shabbos – as well as to receive things that contain the name of Hashem and that might inadvertently be thrown away.
I fully expect that a newspaper like The Jewish Press would be more careful in this regard.
Rabbi Yaakov Klass Responds: In addressing a similar concern recently raised by a reader (Letters, Sept. 29), we voiced our regret that the insert in question slipped past our advertising
Notwithstanding, there are numerous reasons why there is no clear violation of muktze in this
situation. The particular insert consisted of numerous items – a tzedaka appeal, an envelope,
a tefilla of Shela Hakadosh and a CD.
Since all were placed in the same package within that week’s issue, according to the Aruch
HaShulchan (Orach Chayyim 310:9) these are all permissible items because they’ve become basis l’klei shemelachto le’issur – a base for a utensil (the CD) whose use is forbidden on Shabbat. If one needs the base for his own use or for the place it occupies, such would be permitted. The same pertains to the muktze itself – only, however, if it was placed with intention; if, for example, one forgot (and left) money on a bed or placed it there without intention, the permitted item (the bed) is not even considered a base to a forbidden object
(the money) and we may shake the permitted item until the forbidden object falls.
We also find that Rav Yehoshua Neuwirth shlita states in Shmirat Shabbat K’hilchato (Vol. I
20:81-83) that if one has a penknife that has various sections, including scissors or a nail clipper, and even if he is particular not to use these for any other (permitted) use, he may nevertheless carry it for the use of the knife found therein – but he should not open those other parts that are forbidden (muktze) to use. He also notes that a keycase which has a nailclipper attached to it may be used on Shabbat, but that it’s better if one removes the keys while it’s still day [before Shabbat]; finally, in the case of a key ring which includes keys that are muktze such as automobile or elevator keys, one should remove the forbidden (muktze) keys before Shabbat.
Regarding the latter case, R. Neuwirth points out in his notes that the Gaon R. Shlomo Zalman
Auerbach, zt”l, permits the use of the key ring as it is better to leave it and use it – as tiltul min
hatzad, indirect handling – than to touch the muktze on Shabbat to remove it.
As we noted last week, because we prefer to err on the side of caution, we are taking steps to
assure that the problems described in your letter will not occur again.
Singles, Look In The Mirror Before Pointing Fingers
Kudos to the ‘Im Yirtzeh Hashem’ column for placing the onus of the singles crisis right where it belongs – on the shoulders of singles themselves. For years we’ve heard of unscrupulous shadchanim and uncaring acquaintances who turn deaf ears to their plight, but it’s all a bunch of hooey. Any person trapped in the singles conundrum is there by his or her own doing and can extricate himself or herself with the proper hishtadlus.
Several months ago a young, supposedly Orthodox, woman appearing on a Jewish radio
program launched this broadside: “After speaking to a few of my friends, I’ve concluded that there are no Jewish men out there interested in getting married.” She then buttressed her remark with the story of a friend, a 30-something mit alle mailes. This woman, a corporate vice president, was seriously considering marrying a gentile before her biological clock expired. The host of the program was dumbfounded, but his guest proffered,”I can see her point.”
The basic problem for the Orthodox single is confusion. On the one hand, he/she wants to please the family. Generally this means making the safe choice – good provider, proper pedigree etc. On the other hand, he/she wants his/her friends to be impressed with his/her selection. Singles often describe their “ideal “mate and feel it necessary to make this fantasy real, lest they be accused of, Heaven forbid, ‘settling.’ Finally, he/she often sublimates his/her own desires, fearing public scorn. For those of you keeping score, that’s at least one hand too many.
So what’s the answer? I believe that in a perfect world Jews would marry to fulfill the
Creator’s wishes, but since we are not living in a perfect world, let’s be pragmatic. The first step for any single is to decide whether or not he/she wants to be married. There is a difference between being single and being “a single.” The former is a situation, the latter a lifestyle. Most people with honest introspection can determine the category to which they belong. If one discovers that the prospect of marriage is unappealing, let him/her leave the market. There are too many narcissists who love being doted on by shadchanim who never
tire of telling them how impressed they are with their externals.
Assuming a sincere desire to wed, one must decide what he/she wants in a spouse. Forget your friends – and I mean that literally, because after the wedding you will likely develop new
associations. Forget your family, because while they may have your best interests in mind, their
values are often outdated products of their own life experiences.
By the process of elimination, you must decide what you are looking for. This can be a difficult
process for an Orthodox Jew. For example, a young lady with the proper Bais Yaakov background would have a hard time admitting to herself, much more to others, that she is basically attracted to the physical. But to thine own self be true. Once one recognizes his/her type, he/she must decide how to go about capturing the object of his/her affection.
Let’s assume we’re dealing with a fellow preoccupied with looks. He is forthright with the
shadchan, who then tries to dissuade him. I would advise the fellow to tell this shadchan that he knows what he wants and is willing to make allowances in other areas. This might involve
accepting a woman deemed less desirable by societal standards. Is that ‘settling’? Perhaps, but
it is creative because you end up with what you really want, or at least what you want at the time.
I’m not naive enough to believe that these humble words can instigate change, but they are
heartfelt. And you know what our Sages say: It’s not good for man to be alone. That’s all we need to know. Now get with the program.
Dr. Yaakov Stern
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