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June 26, 1987 - Image 28

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-06-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

BAG
A SUBSCRIPTION

PURELY COMMENTARY

The Cohns

Continued from Page 2

marked with appreciation to
add this new mark of respect
for a distinguished family by
adding to the record the new
acclaim for the Cohn name.

'What's 'Ordinary'
In Conscience?

In the early days of June,
in Louisiana, on the morning
after the third-in-a-week
electrocution of prisoners
condemned by the state's cap-
ital punishment law, a war-
den and a prison guard were
asked for their impressions of
the occurrences.
"Normal" is the term used
by one of them.
"Ordinary" commented an-
other.
What do the two words
mean, in our time? Do they
acquire new meaning when
the conscience of mankind is
being tested, with the death
penalty assuming "normal-
ity" and "ordinariness?"

Random House Dictionary
of the English Language ad-

vises:
"Ordinary — out of the
usual kind. Not exceptional,
commonplace.. ."
"Normal — conforming to
the standard or the common
type, as usual, not abnormal,
regular, natural. .."

Does this create shock? Are
these sufficient definitions?
Scriptures also have defini-
tions relating to punishment
of humans by humans:
Genesis 9:6: "Whoso sheds
man's blood, by man shall his
blood be shed."
And in the Mishnah Mal-
lot, humankind in all ages,
all generations, is ad-
monished: "A Sanhedrin that
effects one execution in seven
years is branded a murderous
court. Eliezer ben Azariah:
One in seventy years. Tarfon
and Akiba: Were we mem-
bers of a Sanhedrin no one
would ever be put to death.
Simeon ben Gamaliel: They
would multiply murderers in
Israel!"
Whose definitions will
influence our courts and the
conscience of mankind? Such
are the questions that need
be addressed to all who are
asked to sign petitions sup-
porting the death penalty.
There is always the sense
of horror and condemnation
of the crimes which forced
imposition of the death pen-
alty. But is an execution in
the electric chair as "ordi-
nary" and "normal" as de-
fined in the dictionary?
Mankind and its humanism
are gravely tested by the
executioners' definitions!

President Herzog Hits
Vigilantism In Israel

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ROIT JEWISH NEWS

Tel Aviv (JTA) — President
Chaim Herzog sharply criticiz-
ed the "dangerous
phenomenon" of people taking
the law into their own hands
and noted that some of the law-
breakers were doing so under
the guise of religion.
Speaking at a Tel Aviv
University Law School gradua-
tion on Thursday night Herzog
said: "These are deeds of the ut-
most severity, deserving of
denunciation and
condemnation.
"They not only constitute
legal offenses, but even denial
of the states authority, and
directly help the terrorist
organizations and our enemies,
who are striving to prove that
peaceful coexistence is impossi-
ble under Israeli rule.
"A peculiar situation has
emerged in which, by their acts,
breakers of the law from both
sides undermine the State's
authority and subvert its role."
The Hadashot afternoon dai-
ly reports that three officers
and 27 soldiers who completed
their three-week reserve duty
in Hebron on Wednesday,
issued a public statement
describing what they saw dur-
ing their service.
The reservists, who belong to
various parts of the political
spectrum, wrote in the
statement:
"We can testify to grave viola-

tions of order, provocations and
attacks against Arabs
perpetrated by children, youth,
women and men from Beit
Hadassa and Tel Rumeida and
the Beit Romano Yeshiva."
In their statement, the reser-
vists call on the Defense
Minister and the government to
put an end to these phenomena.

U.S., Israel
Station Accord

Washington (JTA) —President
Reagan and Israeli Com-
munications Minister Gad
Yaacobi stressed the growing
partnership of the United
States and Israel last week as
the two countries signed an
agreement for the building of a
Voice of America relay station
in the Negev.
"With this signing the our
special historic relationship
will be given another dimen-
sion," Reagan said after
presiding over the signing at a
White House ceremony.
The relay station was a
source of controversy in Israel
when the U.S. first proposed it
two-and-a-half years ago. Many
in Israel feared it might harm
the cause of Soviet Jewry since
it will allow enhanced broad-
casting to the Soviet Union and
Eastern Europe.

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