March 27, 2008
Take our spoof, please
(Page 2 - Previous Page)A Letter to My Secular Friend in Tel Aviv" (March 14).
Having been an activist in Meretz, the political beacon of the Israeli left for more than 15 years, I allow myself to write to you, telling you how disappointed I am with The Jewish Journal's decision to publish the article.
Mr. Eshman, I can't tell you how offensive I have found this article, how shallow in its generalizations, how patronizing in its tone.
Merkaz Harav is a yeshiva that is a stronghold of extremist right-wing ideology.
Students and rabbis at the yeshiva have continuously, strongly opposed reconciliation with the Palestinians and any concessions in the peace process.
I would like to suggest that this ideology has led to dismissal of Arfa's friend and her difficulty to identify herself with an institution that had gained reputation for fostering extremism and hatred.
Arfa suggests that the students at Merkaz Harav serve in the army, while my friends don't contribute to national causes. How ridiculous.
Students at Merkaz Harav usually serve for a significantly shorter period of time (although in combat units) -- the hesder program. Some serve all three years; some don't serve at all and receive exemptions as the ultra-Orthodox do.
Moreover, the religious-Zionist Gen. Stern recently strongly criticized the hesder program, because it creates separation and favoritism within the army.
I was an officer in the army. My brother was a pilot. My friends (both men and women, mind you) served in the army, in combat units and others. My brother's friends lie 6-feet under the ground, and I read that they sat in the yeshiva "because they wanted me to be safe."
I know no single person who did not condemn the brutal and horrifying murder of the yeshiva boys, I and my friends and Meretz members of parliament included. But this disgusting terror act should not serve as an excuse to portray us as traitors who are willing "to burn the book!"
Orit Arfa was very upset by an insensitive remark by a friend concerning the massacre of innocent yeshiva students by a Muslim zealot ("A letter to My Secular Friend in Tel Aviv," March 14).
It is difficult to understand the murdering of innocents by a sane human being. It was reported that some Muslims celebrated.
Let us turn the calendar back to Feb. 25, 1994. Orthodox Jewish settler Dr. Baruch Goldstein entered a mosque in Hebron and murdered 29 praying Muslims and wounded 150. Other congregants overpowered and killed him.
It is my understanding that Goldstein's gravesite has been made a shrine by the Orthodox. Regardless of the particular religion, fundamentalists can become fanatics, and fanatics can become terrorists.
Martin J. Weisman
Thank you for the Mel Levine article on Barack Obama in the March 21 issue ("Obama's Record on Israel Repudiates Critics"). It was truly enlightening.
This has been a most challenging election year for the Democrats. Much negative press has attacked Obama. It really helps to learn what the other side of the debate has to offer.
The Jewish community is naturally concerned with the effect of U.S. leadership on the conflict in the Middle East, but if Obama really has the integrity combined with intellect that is needed in dealing with the conflict, we need to be aware of the benefits he could provide, in order to be able to weigh both sides of the option more wisely.
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