Letters to the Editor
Dorner yes, Rivlin no
The endorsement by Haaretz of Reuven Rivlin as a suitable candidate for president of Israel is absolutely astounding. Rivlin is, as your editorial itself states, the representative of everything Haaretz rails against. He wants to incorporate all the territories into Israel, he opposes a Palestinian state, he advocates continued building in the entire area of the West Bank and refuses to negotiate with the Palestinians no matter what. Furthermore you neglected to mention that he is an apologist for the rabbinic establishment, an opponent of any rights for non-Orthodox movements in Israel, is reluctant to even call their leaders “rabbi.” How is such a person expected to represent Israel to Diaspora Jews when he has time and again shown his disdain for their religious beliefs? No, there is only one appropriate candidate — Dalia Dorner — and Haaretz should have endorsed only her, enthusiastically.
The generosity of Mr. Leven
I was surprised to read Judy Maltz’s suggestion that Michael Leven’s volunteer involvement in Birthright “could signal a rightward shift” in the organization (“Adelson crony to fill key policy-making role at Birthright,” June 5.) Had Ms. Maltz researched Mr. Leven’s community and philanthropic activities to date, she would have immediately discovered that there is no basis for her assumptions and fears.
Michael Leven established a fellowship program at our college three years ago to assist students who are the first in their family to pursue an undergraduate education, and would not be able to do so without scholarship assistance. At Mr. Leven’s instructions, the “Leven Fellows” are awarded to students without consideration of place of birth, ethnic origin, sex, religion or beliefs. Indeed, the Leven Fellowship Program reflects Mr. Leven’s open, pluralistic, non-political approach.
The Leven Fellowship supports students during the entire course of their academic study. Ninety students to date, including both Jews and Arabs, have had their lives changed and are on a road to a better future thanks to the encouragement and support provided by Mr. Leven. I am sure that if Ms. Maltz would meet these students, she would immediately discover that her assumptions regarding Mr. Leven are incorrect.
As Mr. Leven is now prepared to devote volunteer time and effort to Birthright, a cause which greatly strengthens Israel and the Jewish people, one would expect Ms. Maltz to commend Mr. Leven for his personal example of leadership.
Prof. Bertold Fridlender
President, Hadassah Academic College
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