Volume 23 Number 26
                       Produced: Tue Feb 27 22:21:38 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Administrative Detention in Israel (2)
         [Warren Burstein, Eli Turkel]
Army Life
         [Joseph P. Wetstein]
Art and Halacha
         [Reuven Werber]
Citizenship (was: Admin Detention)
         [David Charlap]
Interest Payments to and from an Apostate
         [Mike Gerver]
Runciman's History of the Crusades
         [Roger Kingsley]


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 1996 08:18:12 GMT
Subject: Re: Administrative Detention in Israel

Yosey Goldstein writes:
>I can not see any reason for locking up this number of people who all
>happen to live in the "occupied" territories! Is every Jew there a
>threat to Israel's security?

I do not know the precise number of Jews currently in adminstrative
detention, but it is certainly nothing like "every Jew there".

>but I certainly think there is more of a basis to mistrust an Arab who
>was picked up during or after a rock throwing incident than a Jew!

I do not believe that rock throwing has been used as a reason to place
either Jew or Arab in administrative detention.

>Again I am appalled at the comparison between a Jew and a suspected
>terrorist! What was done, I assume, was done for JEWISH safety! To
>assure Jews would not be killed! What is the HETER, the excuse, now?

How do you make assumptions about what was done (or planned) if you
don't know?  Are there no deeds that were done "for Jewish safety"
that you object to?

>If a person acts in a cruel manner, he will BECOME cruel. If a person
>acts in a kindly manner, he will become kinder. Therefore, even though
>the army was FORCED to go overboard, possibly, and incarcerate
>innocent Arabs to save Jewish lives. The outcome of this cruel action
>was the desensitization of the soldiers and the dulling of their
>kindness to the point where they can beat peaceful Jewish protestors.

I entirely agree, which is why I support getting out of the situation
where we are forced to do the former as well as working to reverse the
damage caused to us.

 |warren@           an Anglo-Saxon." -- Stuart Schoffman
/ itex.jct.ac.IL

From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 1996 19:22:13 -0500
Subject: Administrative Detention in Israel

     Joseph Steinberg writes
>> This means that it is probably illegal for the government to apply the 
>> laws of administrative detention to them. The British did not use admin. 
>> deten.  to arrest CITIZENS

    I am confused. The Israeli supreme court has declared the laws
legal.  As far as I know this determines legality in most countries. We
can argue about morality and/or halakhah but not not legality.

Carl Sherer states;

>> Sadly, this is not what administrative detention indicates.
>> Administrative detention is carried out by an order by an army commander
>> stating that the detainee is a "danger".  It requires no formal charges.

    Again this is not completely true. Cytryn's case was appealed to the
the Israeli supreme court who reviewed all the evidence and okayed the
detention subject to a future trial. The purpose of the detention is to
prevent future "likely" crimes . He further says

>> I suspect that the reason Cytryn's sentence was nevertheless shortened was
>> pressure from the US and other governments.

    I personally would be very surprised if the American government
pressured Israel while not pressuring Britain. At this stage we both
have our unfounded guesses. I am more disturbed by those that view
Israel as the 51st state of the US and everytime they feel something is
wrong in Israel immediately appeal to the US to "overrule" the Israeli

     As many people have pointed out the US government is pressuring the
Israeli government to push forward at high speed with the peace
agreement.  Should the Likud win the next election the left will be
fully justified to appeal to the US government about every
government/court decision that they don't like. One can't insist that
the US should pressure Israel on some issues while insist that that
Israel reject US pressures on other issues.

Eli Turkel


From: <jpw@...> (Joseph P. Wetstein)
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 1996 12:54:49 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Army Life

I'd like to comment:

> 5. The army can be dangerous to many people's spiritual health.
> In light of the stories I cited above (and many others like them), I don't
> see how this assertion can even be questioned.

It is unquestionably the case now. However, if there would have been a
steady stream of frum yungerleit in the army for the past forty-odd
years, how much would things be different?

Clearly, dropping a frum guy into the army as it is would pose a problem
for him. But, it isn't reasonable to complain "see... look how it turned
out... it is sure LUCKY that we didn't go into the army because look
what it has become!" when the influence of more frum folks there to
begin with may have had a different result. The environment in the army,
or at least in particular units, may have been drastically
different. The same argument can be made with regard to the 'food
problem' of the yeshiva-person in the army.

It would seem that the Chazon Ish may have agreed, if he was willing to
allow such a thing l'chatchillal (initially).

Yossi Wetstein


From: Reuven Werber <reuw@...>
Date: Tue,  27 Feb 96 23:32 +0300
Subject: Art and Halacha

Dear Adina,
In 1989, the Foundation for Judaism & Modern thought at Bar Ilan
University published an anthology on Art & Judaism, based on a seminar
held on the topic. The anthology contains halachik material as well as
philosophical discussions along with studies on the actual place art
played in Judaism. The book is in Hebrew, perhaps it's been translated
since into English. The address of the foundation on the flyleaf - Bar
Ilan University POB 1544 Ramat Gan, Israel 52115.

Reuven Werber
Kibbutz Kfar Etzion
Phone 02-9935180, Fax   02-9935288
email - <REUW@...>


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 96 10:53:47 EST
Subject: Citizenship (was: Admin Detention)

Joseph Steinberg <steinber@...> writes:
>I also oppose it regardless of nationality; however, there remains a
>fundamental legal difference between locking up a Palestinian and a Jew
>which everyone seems to forget. ...

You mean between a Palestinian and an Israeli citizen.  There are non-
Jewish Israeli citizens.

For that matter, isn't it possible for a Palestinian to apply for
Israeli citizenship, like any other non-Jewish non-Israeli?


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Sun, 18 Feb 1996 1:57:18 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Interest Payments to and from an Apostate

Given that Purim is coming up soon, and I use kermit to download my
issues of mail-jewish, this seems like a good time to bring up a
question about ribbit [interest payments]. I wasn't really following the
recent discussion on this topic, so if this question was already
answered here, I'd appreciate it if someone would tell me.

Barry Wolfson, whom I usually see at the late weekday morning minyan at
the Bostoner Rebbe's shul, has been reading a book called "Questions of
Interest" by Rabbi Yisroel P. Gornish (C.I.S. Publishers, Lakewood, NJ,
1993), about the halachot of ribbit, and pointed out the following
curious thing: Everyone agrees that borrowing money at interest from an
apostate Jew who converted to another religion, or from a Jew who
publicly violates Shabbat, is forbidden, "since you are causing them to
transgress the prohibition of interest" (p. 28), and they are still
considered Jews who obligated to follow the Torah. But according to some
poskim, it is permitted to lend money at interest to a Jew who publicly
(and intentionally) violates Shabbat, and although we do not follow this
opinion, we do allow lending money at interest to a Jew who converted to
another religion (p. 27). Why, Barry wondered, doesn't the same reason
(not causing a Jew to transgress the prohibition) apply also to lending
money at interest?

I had an idea which seems to explain this inconsistency, which Barry
agreed was plausible, but challenged me to find a source for it. I
couldn't, and would like to know if anyone here can come up with
evidence in support of this idea, or can refute it.

The idea is that the real prohibition in the Torah is on forcing someone
to pay you interest on a loan. (I think I remember hearing this
somewhere.)  Allowing someone to pay you interest voluntarily, or paying
someone else interest, would not be a violation of the Torah law
(although it might be forbidden rabbinically), because it could just be
considered a gift, and you are allowed to give or receive a gift. If you
borrow money at interest from an apostate Jew, then he is going to have
no compunctions about legally forcing you to pay the interest, because
it is to his advantage financially, and because he thinks he is under no
obligation to obey the Torah. His ideology and his financial interests
reinforce each other, and by borrowing money from him you are certainly
causing him to violate a Torah law.

On the other hand, if you lend money at interest to an apostate Jew, and
demand interest payments from him, you are not really forcing him to pay
interest, because he has the option of doing teshuvah, and changing his
status as an apostate. In fact the Torah requires him to do this, he has
no right not to do this. If he does not do teshuvah, and ends up having
to pay you interest, it is not really because you are obligating him to,
but because of his own obstinacy in not doing teshuvah, and in that
sense his payment is voluntary. So you are not violating the Torah
prohibition of ribbit. And psychologically, you have put the apostate in
a position where his financial interests are in conflict with his
continuing to be an apostate. This might very well get him to rethink
his ideology, and eventually return to following the Torah.

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: Roger Kingsley <rogerk@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Feb 96 00:34:27 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Runciman's History of the Crusades

    I have just been ploughing through the first volume of Runciman's
History of the Crusades - a standard work on the subject published by
CUP (and, I believe, at one time by Penguin).  This volume covers the
first crusade.
     I was amazed to find that this book is tainted with a decided,
apparently gratuitous, anti-jewish bias.  I append some notes giving
details.  Are there any historians out here who would know how common
this sort of thing is among authorities who should know better, and has
anyone ever considered doing anyhting about it - e.g. labelling these
authorities by their biases publicly?

 (Page references are to the CUP edition.  My comment are in brackets)

1.  (On pp. 8-9, on the state up to the 5th century CE) (The Jews) "were
under certain civil disabilities; and occasionally they and their
property would suffer damage in some riot." (means they might be killed
or robbed without redress) "In return they seized every opportunity for
doing harm to the Christians." (Definitely not playing the game fairly)
"Their finacial resources and widespread connections made them a
potential danger to the government " (This guy could have found excuses
for Pharaoh)
   (and in a footnote there) "the arbitrary but not very oppressive
imperial legislation against the Jews..." (nice to know that he wouldn't
have minded it)
 2.  (pp 9-10, about Antioch) "Phocas" (a Christian) " punished them by
sending an army which slaughtered vast numbers of heretics" (heterodox
christians) "with the Jews gleefully giving their aid.  Two years later
the Jews themselves rose and tortured and slew the Orthodox Patriarch of
the city."  (Note the glee - I have not found a similar word anywhere
else.  As for the torturing, one wonders on what evidence this can be
based.  According to a footnote, even the responsibility for the murder
of the Patriarch was in dispute)
 3.  (On page 10, describing the Persian take-over of Jerusalem from the
Byzantines) "With the help of Jews within the walls, the Persians forced
their way into the city. There followed scenes of utter horror.  ... The
Cthristians were indiscriminately massacred, some by the Persian
soldiery and many more by the Jews."  (I wonder who counted) (Note the
word horror, even without the utter, is not used of the crusaders'
actions later.  their takeover of Jerualem is called a massacre, but
there we read - on p.286 - "The Crusaders, maddened by so great a
victory after so much suffering, rushed through the streets and into the
houses killing all that they met" It seems that one can find a partial
excuse for anything, if one wants to)
 4.  This prepares one well for the background to the massacres at
Spier, Worms and Mainz which is given fully (on pp 134-135) from the
point of view of poor crusaders in debt to usurious jews "who extracted
exorbitant profits" -(no mention is made of the Jews' side or the
difficulties of their position).  Also no mention is made of the
undoubted profitability of first borrowing money and then killing the
lenders.  In the middle of this, on Mainz, we read "The chief Rabbi,
Kalonymos, ... begged asylum from the Archbishop.  To the archbishop,
seeing the terror of his visitors, it seemed to be a propitious moment
to attempt their conversion.  This was more than Kalonymos could bear.
He snatched up a knife and flung himself on his host.  He was beaten
off; but the outrage cost him and his comrades their lives."  (In a book
which dispassionately chronicles horror on horror and treachery on
treachery, which manages even to make excuses (p. 207) for the hero's
(Baldwin's) takeover of Edessa by the murder of his adopted parents,
this is the only "outrage" I have found.)

Roger Kingsley


End of Volume 23 Issue 26