jeanLetters

No shame in not wearing a kippa

If I may weigh in on the kippa wearing debate, not every Jew is religious. If he does not pray and is agnostic and sceptical, it makes sense for him not to wear a kippa. Judaism is not a religion, it is a religio-nation, a nation with a religion, that some believe and keep and others don’t. Religious Judaism states Jews who don’t keep the religion are still Jews, as are those who don’t believe in any part of it. I see religious Jews shaming Jews for not wearing a kippa, and that’s wrong. Jews who do not believe are simply doing the rational thing. Why allow Jews to remain Jews even when they do not believe in Judaism only to then shame them? They may be Jews of unfathomable motivations, but that doesn’t make them ashamed Jews.

Sam Hopkins By email

A clear message from amnesty

Commenting on his organisation’s report into last summer’s war, Philip Luther, Amnesty’s Middle East programme director, said: “The ferocity of the attack on Rafah shows the extreme measures Israeli forces were prepared to take to prevent the capture alive of one soldier – scores of Palestinian civilian lives were sacrificed for this single aim.” Message clear enough?

Shimon Cohen NW5

politicians who don’t care for us

Many of Israel’s problems stem from its hopeless system of choosing members of the Knesset based on a party list. As there are no constituencies, politicians care nothing for the general public. Young people I spoke to in Tel Aviv told me that they did not bother to vote.This is democracy? The trade union (Histadrut) and the Jewish Agency are virtual governments, neither of them beholden to public. English-speaking Jews try to survive by living in small quasi-colonies like Raanana and Ramat Aviv. Jobs are not earned on merit but by who you know. In the advert by Yachad is a quotation by the prophet Zechariah. His words were not heeded and the Second Temple fell. Perhaps Israel’s leaders will consider repentance, commenting on his organisation’s report into last summer’s war. I doubt it.

Norman Bright By email

Panorama errors in light rail story

BBC’s Panorama added to the Tisha B’Av spirit with its report from Jerusalem. There were errors of fact throughout and no rabbi was interviewed to give a genuine Halachic view. Panorama gave the impression no Jews should ascend the Temple Mount and that it is unlawful for any Jew to pray on the Mount. Israeli courts have repeatedly upheld the right of Jews to do so. Jewish law prohibits Jews from entering the relatively small area where the Temple stood. The police took upon themselves to ask Jews not to pray, as it leads to Arab riots. Panorama assumes Jerusalem is split. During the years Jordan occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem, from 1948 to 1967, only two countries recognised Jordan’s claim. Every Arab interviewed was vehemently anti-Israel, yet surveys have suggested as many as half of East Jerusalem’s Arabs prefer to be governed by Israel rather than the PA [Fatah plus Hamas].

Joseph Feld NW11

US hypocrisy and the pollard case

Your columnist Jenni Frazer ought to do her homework before pontificating as she did on jailed Jonathan Pollard [Jewish News, 30 July]. His continued incarceration is a travesty that shames the United States. He did spy for Israel, but gave them information which the US had previously given and which Israel should have had. However, Pollard was accused of and jailed for what was actually done by a gentile FBI agent, Aldrich Ames, who was spying for the Soviet Union and did tremendous damage to the US. Others who did what Pollard did – spy for friendly countries – have been given only a couple of years in prison. Why was Pollard not released when the error was recognised when Ames was caught and convicted? One reason is the then Secretary of Defence, Caspar Weinberger, was no friend of Israel. A Christian, he also had a problem with Jews because his father was Jewish. It was Weinberger’s intervention which got Pollard the sentence he received. For the US to get angry that Israel was spying on them is hypocrisy at its worst. The release of Pollard may be one of the few good things to come out of President Obama’s disastrous Iran deal.

Levi Sokolic (Dr)

By email