Sir, – In “The rabbinate’s animosity toward Christianity” (Comment & Features, December 22), Uri Regev is either out of touch with Jewish history or hostage to political correctness or, worse, an ambition to embrace Western religious unitarianism.
Refusing to permit the display of Christian symbols in public places or holding Christian vigils near the Old City’s Hulda Gate does not suggest that the motivation is religious discrimination.
All religions in Israel are welcome to pray and display any and all symbols in their houses of worship without hindrance.
For over 2,000 years, we Jews have been subjected to the hostile and cruel pathology of Christian anti-Semitism. Therefore, the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem should exercise sensitivity to Jewish sensibilities and not want to parade Christian religious ceremonies in public, particularly in Jerusalem.
Christianity is not just another religion. It’s a religion soaked in Jewish blood, suffering and humiliation, and the public display of Christian symbols reminds us of barbarous behavior toward the Jewish people.
This cannot be expunged in the name of religious pluralism.
If the ICEJ truly supports the Jews and the Jewish state, it would be cognizant of Jewish history.MALCOLM DASH
Zichron Ya’acov His own reality
Sir, – Jeff Barak’s criticisms in “Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett’s vision for the future is truly disturbing” (Reality Check, December 22) – e.g., Bennett’s blocking of all the initiatives of Yesh Atid, his own party being the partisan party of the settlement movement, his demand for a more aggressive approach to Gaza than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “despite the mounting international criticism of the toll the fighting was taking on Gaza’s civilian population,” etc. – are all reasons for people like me to vote for him.
Bennett’s vision for the future may be truly disturbing to Barak and others who so fear a loss of Israel’s dependence on international support for its survival.
The reality that Barak supposedly checks is that the international community has been hostile toward us for a long time and singles out our country for blame for just about everything that happens, despite our policies at any given time.
The lack of understanding of just what that means and the necessity for true change to ensure our survival with the help of God is what is truly disturbing.B. SAFSEL
JerusalemNot worth respect
Sir, – Reader David Jackson of Dublin (“Say what?” Letters, December 22) tries to defend a totally disgraceful and unprecedented decision made, instigated and supported not by the Irish Jewish community, the Irish people as a whole, their government or the Dublin City Council, but by some as-yet unrevealed members among the 10-strong board of the Holocaust Education Trust-Ireland (HETI), not one of whom has yet had the decency to defend in public the betrayal he or she chose to initiate.
Dr. Jackson’s letter shows that he knows – or maybe cares – nothing whatever about the declared ideology of the Iranian regime of wiping Israel off the map (also reflected in its repeated public and official Holocaust denial), the vast Iranian missile arsenal already capable of hitting every corner of Israel, or nuclear warfare, where it would take only a handful of warheads to exterminate the six million Jews in Israel – a second Holocaust, but now delivered in seconds.
Critical solidarity with the besieged peoples in the Middle East, be they Jews or Yazidis or Christians or Kurds, is the duty of every freedom-loving European democrat – not more apologetic and gutless appeasement or ignoring of our common enemy, the savage jihadist gangs and regimes that threaten all of us.
The choice facing Jews and Kurds is stark and simple – either live as a well-armed and proud Jew or Kurd, or die as a Jewish or Kurdish slave. Those who choose or advocate unarmed surrender or silence are not worth defending or respecting, in any land.TOM CAREW
The writer is a gentile and former chair of the Ireland-Israel Friendship League. He has never been involved in HETI.Less than dazzled
Sir, – I have deep respect and admiration for Israel and its unbridled support for the United States. At the University of Pennsylvania I was always dazzled by the clarity and rational thinking of those I met from the Weizmann Institute of Science. Thus, I am perplexed at some of the parallels drawn by readers in “Cuba and Pollard” (Letters, December 21).
The Cuban spies released by the United States were foreigners.
Treason is another matter altogether, one considered unforgivable by nearly all Americans (see “Benedict Arnold”).
Another point, which is obviously subjective, is the fact that Alan Gross and the three Cubans released in the deal all believed they had a greater purpose for their actions than financial gain to buy jewelry.
R. CRAIG STREET
Sir, – I must congratulate Lior Akerman on his superb, thought-provoking “Bad choices” (Observations, December 19).
David Ben-Gurion must be turning in his grave to see how we are confused and irritated, sitting on a volatile political merry-goround of revolving doors resulting in unstable coalition governments.
Instead of establishing a viable, flourishing and democratic nation, we have ended up without a constitution that could provide necessary checks and balances, and without a system of regional representation essential to improve the behavior, caliber and discipline of our Knesset members. Party lists are a sham, fed by cronyism, corruption, blackmail and mediocrity. Our system has encouraged many bent, incompetent, self-centered MKs who put image instead of substance As Akerman states, since the establishment of the state we have had continued friction and antagonism between the secular and the fundamental sects and cults of the ultra-Orthodox establishment.
Their political representatives have voice and power disproportionate to their numbers, with a mission to condition the electorate to a state of impotency for their own motives. These self-serving individuals mock the institution of democracy. In my opinion we urgently need separation between religion and state for our survival and prosperity.
In a 1956 Knesset speech, Ben-Gurion, realizing he had made an error, warned that unless we change our dysfunctional electoral system we are heading to a catastrophe for the Jewish people.JACK DAVIS
Jerusalem UNRWA whitewash
Sir, – Chris Gunness’s attempts to whitewash UNRWA (“UNRWA – a different perspective,” Observations, December 19) omits the plain fact that it maintains a huge population of Palestinians as refugees simply by adopting rules that do not apply to any other population of refugees – namely that refugee status is handed down from parent to child.
If Gunness attempts to deny that UNRWA operates deliberately to maintain the problem, he should be reminded of the words of the former UNRWA director in Jordan, Sir Alexander Galloway, who said in 1952: “It is perfectly clear that the Arab nations do not want to solve the Arab refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open sore, as an affront against the United Nations and as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders don’t give a damn whether the refugees live or die.”
Later in the year, Galloway wrote about UNRWA itself: “Staff begets more staff. Plan follows plan. Typewriters click. Brochures and statistics pour out. The refugees remain and eat, and complain and breed; while a game of political ‘last touch’ goes on between the local governments and the director, UNRWA.”
More than 60 years later, Gunness and his staff maintain that facade.ROBIN STAMLER