Kol hakavod to Ambassador Danny Danon for his excellent work at the United Nations (“Between 2nd and 1st avenues – New Year’s Reflections from the UN,” Comment & Features, October 16). He writes that he has brought “more yiddishkeit into the UN” and that “over 70 diplomats joined to watch Fiddler on the Roof on Independence Day.” Wonderful! L’chaim! Sholem Aleichem’s series of eight Yiddish short stories about Tevye the dairyman started publication in 1895. The seventh story bore the title Tevye Leaves for Eretz Yisroel. However, Fiddler on the Roof distorts the Zionist ending, as in these adaptations, Tevye, Goldie and their two youngest daughters leave the village for the goldene medina – America.
We should be wary of slick messages and remember that the ultimate destination of the Jewish people is Israel. Tradition, tradition, tradition!
RICHARD RINBERG Ra’anana
Bob, meet David
With regard to “Dylan Nobel Prize long overdue” (Appreciation, October 14), it is said that the weekly Torah reading always has something to say about current world affairs. The recent reading, Ha’azinu, was no exception.
It records Moses’s song. The accompanying haftarah from Samuel records David’s song.
In discussing the haftarah, Nechama Leibowitz quotes the Bible scholar Moshe Zvi Segal: “Historically sound is the position that David was a pioneer in the composition of poetry to musical accompaniment and that he himself was a poet and minstrel of profound religious feeling.”
This brings us to world events.
Some Swedish official justified awarding the Nobel Prize for Literature to Bob Dylan by recalling the tradition of Homer et al. I think not. Robert Zimmerman was more reasonably following in the heritage of his people – King David, the poet-minstrel.
SIMON WEIN Peduel
Seeking a parallel
I read with interest about Women Wage Peace (Grapevine, October 14). It says this “non-partisan movement of Jewish and Arab women” is marching “from the extreme north of the country to the residence in Jerusalem of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.” The stated goal is “a joint call for peace coupled with the demand that Israel reach a treaty with the Palestinians so that Israeli and Palestinian children can grow up with a safe and carefree childhood free of hatred and fear.”
I wonder why there is no parallel march of Israeli and Palestinian women to the Ramallah residence of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, calling for peace and a demand that the PA reach a treaty with Israel.
Could it perhaps be that this “non-partisan” group only wants to pressure and generate negative press on Israel? ELI SCHMELL Rehovot Prophesy from afar I just read Mitchell Hochberg’s “Twenty years demolishing Amona” (Comment & Features, October 13). I looked up his background to see how he could so knowingly predict that violence is expected once again from the people supporting the right of Jews to live in Judea and Samaria.
I thought this view of Jews who believe we have the right to live in all of Israel was proved wrong after the demolition of the Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip. Numerous articles were written predicting active violence against the army, but there were only tears and songs.
Now Mr. Hochberg writes from the United States and is quite explicit in his “knowledge” of exactly who will be violent and how the government can solve the problem.
Just how many Jews are there in this world who are sitting in their ivory towers and fighting against the right of the Jewish people to live in the Land of Israel? BARBARA SHAMIR Jerusalem Egyptian playbook Regarding “On this Yom Kippur, the government does not need to atone” (Comment & Features, October 11), MK Amir Peretz is right that peace without land might (and I stress might) be the better situation. But his assessment in that regard as far as our Palestinian neighbors is way off base.
The Egyptians, who got the Sinai back, have, at least to the naked eye, stopped trying to annihilate us. Yes, the Egyptian public might still despise us, and the peace is cold. But it is quiet.
The Palestinians got Gaza supposedly for peace. Yet to this day, they make no bones about their desire to rid the Middle East of every last Jew, and they back this up with missiles and tunnels.
So for now, peace for land with the Palestinians is not the better situation and will likely remain that way until their leadership takes a page from the Egyptian playbook.
MICHAEL NASH Meitar
Matter of Syria
In “The Syrian moral dilemma” (Editor’s Notes, October 7), Yaakov Katz discusses the possibility of providing refuge to a limited number of Syrians fleeing the war zone. Objection to this possibility, similar to the objections of certain European countries facing the present migrant crisis, stems from the unwillingness to extend humanitarian assistance to a large population that threatens to alter the ethnic, cultural and national identity of the host countries.
Signatories to the 1951 Refugee Convention have agreed not to repatriate those who have received refugee status and to provide them with access to employment, elementary education, public relief and other forms of assistance. These demands have the effect of discouraging host countries from accepting migrants.
Brexit is, in part, a result of the threat of uncontrolled migrant entry. Right-wing anti-immigrant parties are expanding. Proposals such as that suggested by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to establish a large refugee camp in Libya, and the Australian policy of relocating economic migrants to an offshore island, are being discussed.
Perhaps a more effective policy would be to provide protection and basic services to refugees fleeing life-threatening situations while simultaneously directing resources to eliminate the source of the problem (e.g., the ongoing wars in Syria and Iraq). Seeing an end to the migrant crises by the establishment of a peaceful and stable Middle East could well encourage increased humanitarian host-country cooperation.
GERALD KESSLER Tel Aviv
The difficult matter of conscience over admitting refugees from the Syrian civil war could possibly be answered by offering to take in Yazidi or Christian refugees. Perhaps Israel could take in 908, the number of the Jewish refugees on the vessel St. Louis who were refused entry by the US in 1939.
FRANK ADAM Prestwich, UK
Among the crimes the International Criminal Court defines as constituting grave breaches of the Geneva Convention, “allowing territory to be used by another state to perpetrate an act of aggression against a third state” could be prosecutable after January 1, 2017.
By looking the other way, US President Barack Obama is directly responsible for at least 500,000 people being killed in Syria, and millions being forced to flee their country, becoming refugees. He is also responsible for a major power shift, in that Russia has now filled the gap left by the United States in the Middle East. In addition, he has empowered the terrorist nation of Iran, opening the way for it to become a nuclear power.
This is the legacy being left by this man. He should be prosecuted at the International Criminal Court.
GERARD JACOBSON Netanya
CORRECTION Julius Berman is president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, and not its former chairman, as was erroneously reported in the Grapevine feature of October 13.