Letters to the Editor: India's PM, the Kotel Crisis and Congressman Nadler

India's hefty arms deals with Israel. President Reuven Rivlin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hug each other at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, November 15, 2016.

A relationship the world has been deprived of

In response to “Wake up, Israel! Indian PM Narendra Modi’s visit will make history” (June 29)

About nine months after India became independent, on May 14, 1948, the prolific nation of Israel was founded. Unfortunately, the two countries have had staggered and inhibited relations – something that has been more on India’s side to fix. Owing to India’s historically pro-Arab tilt, there has been caution owing to numerous factors. It took about five and a half decades before the first Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, visited India, in 2003. And sadly, it has taken seven decades for the first Indian prime minister to finally land on Israeli soil.

On July 4, Narendra Modi will reach Israel. The uniqueness of the visit lies in the fact that the present government’s electoral approval ratings are the highest in several decades. Thus, along with the PM travel the wishes of the second most populous country in the world. Significantly, the warmth, goodwill and appreciation for Israel on part of ordinary Indians is higher than is often made out in the media.

Against a backdrop of paradigm shifts on the fronts of economic, defense and international relations, India over the last three years has been displaying the promise of a bright future. It may be hoped that this visit will initiate the transformation of Indo-Israel ties. The fruits of such a relationship will undoubtedly go a long way toward benefiting the entirety of humanity beyond just the two countries by collaborating on a variety of fronts, including anti-terrorism, science and technology, and space.

Siddharth Kar
Bangalore, India

Even bigger than prayer at the Kotel

In response to “19th-century rabbis dictated Netanyahu’s anti-Zionist capitulation” (June 30)

I read Chemi Shalev’s article and, though masterful, he neglected to mention – as did most of the coverage of the Kotel affair – the other areas which are run by the ultra-Orthodox and affect women badly. This would be marriage and divorce, and binds Jews to halakha. (They also run burial services.)
Perhaps American Jews don’t care about this issue. Israeli Jews may not care or don’t fully comprehend what is going on. But it’s much more ruinous than prayer at the Wall.

The ultra-Orthodox – be they dayanim or MKs – have to follow the laws of the land if they want power.

Netty C. Gross-Horowitz

Advancing a political agenda

In response to “Cabinet drops compromise on mixed prayer space at Western Wall” (June 25)

Who knew?

I was not aware that so many assimilated American Jews were so passionate over ancient Jewish holy sites!

Do they actually think about the Kotel whenever they eat their cheeseburgers at McDonald’s, or their pepperoni pizzas at Domino’s on Shabbat?

Everyone is already allowed to pray at the Kotel at Robinson’s Arch, and have been for more than a decade. The big dust-up obviously cannot be a religious issue; it is a matter of religion being used as a pretext to advance a political agenda – an agenda that could not exist if the issues were truly over religious differences.

Kalman H. Ryesky
Petah Tikva

Congressman Jerrold Nadler is outraged because the government of Israel does not share his views about prayer at the Western Wall. If there is any legitimate cause for outrage, it is the disgraceful gerrymandering that has resulted in a congressman whose district is deeply embedded well into Manhattan somehow being the congressman for Borough Park in Brooklyn, a great distance away, whose residents he despises. Mr. Nadler does not represent in any true sense many tens of thousands of persons in his district, and if he was a person of liberal values he would not presume to represent people whose views he detests.

Dr. Marvin Schick