A lot of noise
Sometimes, the key to a situation can be expressed in one sentence. In “UN report indicates next Arab implosion could be just around the corner” (December 2), there is a quote from The Economist: “Arabs make up just 5% of the world’s population, but they account for about half the world’s terrorism and refugees.”
Dov Lipman’s “A call to vote against the Muezzin law” (Frontlines, December 2) is a bit strange.
He spends three quarters of the article talking about his personal experience with an Arab who wants to live a normal life in Israel and be a law-abiding citizen – which is real nice. From there, he goes on to how Israel should be respectful of Arab rights and their holy sites. At the end, he makes a jump stating that Israel should not pass the so-called muezzin law because it is not respectful of Arabs at prayer.
Sorry, but Lipman is way offbase, and his arguments for this cause – there aren’t really any – are confusing. So let me fill him in on the reality of the situation.
As someone living over the “Green Line” for the past 14 years since my and my family’s aliya, we have been disrupted several times a day on a daily basis to the loud calling for prayers, which continues on and on for way too long over a very loud loudspeaker. Like anything else, you get used to it throughout the day. But when woken up in the very early hours only because we are guilty of keeping windows open to enjoy some fresh Israeli air, we are punished. In many cases, we lose our sleep for the night (not to mention little kids and babies crying – and I won’t even address the health issues of sleep deprivation).
It’s a shame Lipman didn’t put his last paragraph at the beginning and really delve into the issue. He makes a good point quickly – how Israel should enforce existing noise laws. But I’m a bit tired of hearing that every time Arabs need to be disciplined for doing something inappropriate or against the law, we need to worry more about discrimination.
If we keep the story the same but change the characters, how would it play out? Israel on loudspeakers for 10-12 minutes straight, calling and singing nonstop, though at more sane hours and only three times a day. Suddenly, the police would enforce the law; the Supreme Court would pass new laws against the very practice; the UN would condemn Israel; and the international press would have a field day with those “horrific Jewish practices” that are the “real” impediment to peace.
Israeli-Arab rabble-rousers who want to fire up the Muslim world against Israel over the issue of allowing loudspeakers on the minarets of mosques should know that religious rights are not absolute in western democracies.
Here in the province of Ontario, which includes Toronto, religious-school apartheid is in effect: While Catholic schools through high school are government-funded (this was enshrined in the constitution when Canada became a country in 1867), Jews must pay through the nose for a Jewish education.
In the Outremont borough of Montreal, Hassidim are not only constantly harassed by officials over issues ranging from the maintenance of a succa to parked cars on Shabbat, they have had their right to build synagogues sharply curtailed.
In France and Belgium, the veil covering the faces of Muslim women is banned; now Holland is proposing a partial ban. Imagine the uproar if Israel dictated a dress code for Muslim women.
So former prime minister Ehud Barak criticizes the government’s handling of the “recent spate of fires” (“Barak indicates forming new movement to take on PM,” November 30).
One wonders how he would have handled the catastrophic fires. Running in the other direction, perhaps, like he did in 1992 during the disaster at the IDF’s Tze’elim training base? Leaving a wounded Border Police sergeant to his fate at Joseph’s Tomb in October 2000? Beating a hasty retreat from southern Lebanon in the same year? If these are examples of how Barak deals with dangerous situations, the Israeli people would be far better served if he returned to his business consulting and left the governing to those elected to govern.
DAVID S. ADDLEMAN
Mevaseret ZionDeserves our gratitude
With regard to Efraim Zuroff’s “More work to do on Holocaust in Lithuania” (Comment & Features, November 29), I would suggest that this would also apply to many other countries where the Nazis carried out their murderous exploits both with and without the connivance of the local population.
It is now over 70 years since these tragic events occurred, and as Zuroff mentions, the Lithuanian government appears indifferent to them and the sanctity of any area where they occurred. I am afraid that as the years go by, the Holocaust will become thought of by many as just another historical event; therefore, it is vital that the message continually goes out around the world, especially in those countries where these tragic events occurred and where the Holocaust was a monumental event and a major blot on humanity.
We are the fortunate ones who lived to see and experience an Israel for the Jewish people.
Therefore, it is our duty and the duty of future generations to keep alive the memory of those who were murdered, and to ensure that Jewish cemeteries, wherever they may be, are kept as sacred places.
Persons such as Zuroff rightly deserve our gratitude for being at the forefront in carrying out this mission.STEPHEN VISHNICK
Tel AvivWish list
With about a month and a half left until US President Barack Obama leaves office, I would like to suggest that the time is ideal for Israel and the Palestinian Authority to conclude a peace treaty. President-elect Donald Trump is already in the process of dismantling Obama’s legacy, so for the first time in his almost eight years in office, the president might be more flexible with regard to his approach to settling this nagging problem.
As far PA President Mahmoud Abbas is concerned, it is crystal clear that he would get a better settlement under Obama than under Trump. As far as Israel is concerned, we have already seen Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agree to a large defense budget allocation from Obama because of the realization that any new administration might come up short in helping Israel meet its needs. (It was truly a wise decision on the part of the prime minister.) One thing, though, is for sure: Our problems will go on the back burner until Trump makes America great again and problems such as Obamacare, the Mexican wall and American infrastructure are attended to. As we cool our heels, how many people will die until the politicians get around to trying to settle our problems? Quiet, behind-the-scenes negotiations are needed. I am sure that with all the necessary preparation, a peace agreement could be reached within 10 days, with the rest of the time spent having the proposal approved.
Pie in the sky? Maybe. But it is worth putting on my wish list.