Behind the storms
Hopefully, your August 29 article “Flood displaces dozens of Houston Jewish families” and the many other articles, TV reports and dramatic photos on the historic devastation that Hurricane Harvey is causing will awaken people to the urgency of responding quickly and effectively to climate change.
Perhaps it is understandable that people ignored the warnings of individuals like Noah and Jeremiah of impending catastrophes, but now we have an overwhelming scientific consensus.
Haven’t we always had severe storms? Yes. But we have had three catastrophic storms since 2005 in the US alone (Katrina, Sandy and Harvey), compared to once every hundred or more years in the past.
There are at least three climate- change factors that increased the severity of the storms:
1. The seas are higher, and that is increasing storm surges.
2. The waters are warmer, which increases the energy of storms.
3. Due to the warming, there is more moisture in the atmosphere.
Time to end the denial and skepticism, and make reducing greenhouse emissions a major focus of Jewish life. Each of us can consume and pollute less.
Reduce, Reuse, recycle and eat simple and healthful plant-based food.
There is no Planet B, so we have to do everything possible to save this planet.SHOSHANA DOLGIN-BE’ER
Regarding Doron Pely’s indictment of President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy (“Kushner should become more familiar with Muslim/Arab conflict management practices,” Comment & Features, August 29), as the popular saying goes, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. The “history lesson” he prescribes for Jared Kushner should be addressed to Dr. Pely himself.
He refers to Israel as the occupying power and the “Israeli occupation” as the source of much of the problems in the Middle East. If he were to familiarize himself with history, he would find that the Jewish people has had a presence in the Land of Israel for over 3,000 years. The leaders of the Palestinians are the occupying party.
Also, Dr. Pely’s assertion that the Muslim/Arab dispute resolution philosophy and practice is predicated on a “victim-perpetrator pairing principal” does not apply to Israel, since it has taken responsibility for its fate, fighting its own battles. In addition, after the War of Independence, Jews in many countries were persecuted; many were forcibly removed from their homes. Jews suffered further persecution after the 1967 war.
Rather than accept the status of victim, they moved to Israel, built homes and contributed to society.
The Arabs generally chose to relocate to refugee camps in Jordan and other Arab states and maintain their refugee status for themselves, their progeny and future progeny.
Yes, there is a victim perception problem, but it is certainly not common to both sides.YOCHEVED MIRIAM ZEMEL
Religion in schools
I fail to understand why it is wrong to incorporate religious elements into the schools (“Between religious and secular learning,” August 28). Unless I am mistaken, this is a Jewish country and we are surely obliged to teach our children how to remain connected to our land and know what it is to be Jewish, and all this entails.
Ram Vromen, chairman of Secular Forum, argues that this will alienate non-religious pupils and should either be put on hold or revised significantly, with the religious subjects treated from a truly secular perspective.
Has Mr. Vromen given any thought to the fact that non-religious pupils might actually enjoy being taught about their religion? I realize it could be serious if they take what they learn back to their secular homes and actually begin to think about their religion and what it means to them. Shock and horror, they might even want to keep kosher! PHYLLIS STERN
Coming from a religious upbringing in England, I do not oppose the young being taught Jewish values. But do not force religious prayers or passions on them in secular schools! Learning should be for the acquisition of knowledge, not indoctrination.
I would suggest that Education Minister Naftali Bennett worry more about general education in Israeli society than being a mouthpiece for religious intolerance.
Having let the religious genie out of the bottle, it is slowly eating away at any democracy we have. Our so-called leaders have become power-crazy. There is no respect for legal process. Where are the leaders with vision? Everyone should be entitled to practice religion in their own way. It should be between them and God, and not by force.I. SIVAN
Kfar BialikClear grasp
“Top congressman says time to think beyond two-state solution” (August 28), Herb Keinon’s piece on the views of visiting US lawmakers who expressed thoughts outside the box, was excellent.
How is it that in one week, a group of foreigners could so clearly grasp and articulate the problem? As a mathematician, I am well aware that it’s extremely difficult to solve a problem if you can’t clearly define it. Rep. Mac Thornberry said that although there was not a clear consensus around one solution, it was apparent that “you can’t do the same thing over and over again” and hope for a different result.
Rep. Steve Russell, a highly decorated, 21-year US Army veteran, said his experience taught him that “you have really three options when two groups don’t get along. You have accommodation, which is the ultimate goal; you have assimilation, where the stronger side forces the hand of the weaker, and then they accept it; and you have elimination, when neither side want[s] to agree and [is] determined the eliminate the other.”
Citing the “path of history,” Russell added: “From my perspective as a historian and a soldier, you have Israel, which is willing to do the first two stages – accommodation and assimilation – but [has] never looked at the third category as a solution....
[As to] the other side, the first and only option is elimination.”
These words in their entirely need to be incorporated into all discussions of the “Palestinian problem” so that the truth can be disseminated throughout the world. Kudos to Herb Keinon for another outstanding article.RIVKA ZAHAVY
JerusalemBy the numbers
In “Anyone is a target” (Editorial, August 27), it was noted that the absolute number of those killed in terrorist attacks in Europe in 2016 was larger than in Israel. However, the correct comparison is per capita.
Europe’s population is about 90 times ours, which mean that per capita, far fewer people are killed by terrorists in Europe than here.
I am not sure if we have anything to learn from the EU, but mathematics here should be taught, at least here, with greater rigor.BARRY LYNN