Letters to the Editor: ‘Halt helium to Gaza’

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Letters to the Editor: ‘Halt helium to Gaza’

Send us your comments: PO Box 815, Edgware, HA8 4SX | letters@jewishnews.co.uk

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Palestinians prepare balloons attached with flammable materials to be released into Israel from Gaza, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on August 8, 2020. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90
Palestinians prepare balloons attached with flammable materials to be released into Israel from Gaza, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on August 8, 2020. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90

Halt helium to Gaza

The resurgence of the use of incendiary balloons from Gaza and the escalation of rocket fire into Israel bodes ill. It has highlighted the failure of the security apparatus in stopping helium from getting into Gaza. 

Insufficient public pressure has been applied to this governmental failure that has been going on for three years, yet only retroactive – rather than proactive – steps to stop these balloons have been taken. 

Too many political and military commentators are totally out of their depth and do not know that the inert helium is removed from natural gas.

Excuses that Israel will not stop the supply on medical humanitarian grounds is balderdash and international bodies and agencies would be well advised before making comments, that those who seek to destroy us should not expect us to turn the other cheek. 

How helium reaches Gaza is the key question. Sources could be Israeli companies, trans-shipment of containers arriving in Ashdod to Gaza or trans-shipped from Jordan via the Allenby Bridge crossing point. 

The fields of the communities adjacent to Gaza have been burning for far too long for this farcical situation to continue. It is incompetence at the highest levels that is responsible for the failure to stop helium entering Gaza and the world has been misled by the media.

Clearly this dysfunctional state of affairs cannot continue.

Dr Colin Leci, Jerusalem


Get the law in good order

I read a fascinating article last week about family law in the Netherlands, where judges have the power to levy significant fines – and even imprison – Orthodox men who refuse to grant their ex-wives a ‘get. 

Dutch judges can do this if the man refuses despite a Beth Din ruling that he should do so. Since this kind of situation is sadly not uncommon and since it leaves the decision with the rabbonim, I think our government should adopt it too. Giving statutory enforcement powers to Beth Din divorce rulings would end a lot of misery.

Gideon Bedwell, By email  


Instead of Mrs, let’s say ‘me’

Mr Garry Harris has one title that neither depicts whether or not he is married (Jewish News, 20 August). How comfortable for men.

By using Miss, women are known as unmarried, and the Mrs says married! 

I’m a widow so should I use Ms, the meaning of which eludes me, or Mrs, which no longer fits, or return to pre-married status as Miss? It is surely high time any use of Miss, Mrs or Ms as a pre-status title for women is demolished. Or a ladies’ one-fit-for-all ‘Me’. 

Barbara Stevens, NW11


A difficult debate

The midwife who wrote to say there are numerous considerations for when an abortion might be sanctioned by a rabbi is correct, but all are in the category of saving lives (20 August). 

A non-viable pregnancy is a child who will not survive, so one is not terminating a life, but I have never heard of permission to terminate if the child has severe defects. Objecting to terminating because women shouldn’t have their bodies’ policed, as suggested by Sylvia Rothschild, in effect saying we shouldn’t consider the unborn child’s right to live even if there is no valid reason to do so aside from the mother’s selfishness, is against Jewish law, and should be against the law in every civilised society.

Ann Cohen, Golders Green


Raab isolation?

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was in Israel last week. On his return to the UK, did he quarantine for 14 days? If not, nor should I. 

It is unconscionable and hypocritical to have one rule for ministers and another for everyone else. Ending quarantine and reopening travel between the UK and Israel would be a welcome present for Rosh Hashanah.

Raphael Gee, NW8


Lack of mask education

While shopping in Stamford Hill recently, I noticed many customers were not wearing masks. I asked one man why he thought I was wearing one. He said he did not know and asked me to tell him. Once I’d explained I was wearing it to protect him and others from the virus, people started listening and some immediately put on masks they had in their pockets. 

If the shop put up notices up telling customers it’s a legal requirement to wear masks, perhaps more would wear them. It is extremely concerning that in the midst of a pandemic, there are still those who are totally unaware of the dangers of the virus and the precautions needed. The rabbonim in Stamford Hill should say why face masks should be worn. 

The Stamford Hill Chasidic community should be more forcefully educated.

Victor Shafier, Ilford


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