December 13: Inventing a dagger

Insisting that “Palestinians” are legitimate national entity is the Muslim world’s determination to fashion them into a dagger to plunge into the heart of Israel.

December 12, 2011 22:49

letters 150. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Inventing a dagger

Sir, – US presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich is telling the world the simple truth (“Gingrich: Palestinians are an ‘invented’ people,” December 11).

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The only reason for insisting that the “Palestinians” are a legitimate national entity is the Muslim world’s determination to fashion them into a dagger to plunge into the heart of Israel.

Tel Aviv

Common language

Sir, – The struggle over the future of haredi education revolves around what is called “secular” studies (“Religious, secular MKs sponsor bill requiring haredim to teach math, English,” December 11). Perhaps using other terms would help.

Judaism has what are called the Six Wisdoms, among them mathematics, astronomy (physics) and medicine (biology-chemistry).

Music is another one. Art and psychology-sociology are more.

Scholars such as Maimonides and the Gaon of Vilna learned, taught and recommended these wisdoms.

Rabbis have linked the three flames on either side of the menorah’s central flame, which represents Torah, as being representative of these wisdoms. All of the flames point toward the central flame.

Orthodoxy could call all true learning the “Six Wisdoms.” It could lead to haredim and secular Jews sharing a common Jewish language.


What we celebrate

Sir, – Some of us bring in the Sabbath early, and some let it out late. But bringing in Hanukka 12 days ahead of time with the excuse that the US president will be away on vacation (“Obama, White House, mark Hanukka early,” December 11) is the shenanigan of a politician facing re-election.

Obama is obviously unaware that part of the Hanukka celebration is the victory over foreign powers that wanted to wipe out our calendar and the dates of our festivals.


Sir, – You report that President Obama celebrated Hanukka and referred to the miracles. He should be reminded that the holiday celebrates the reconquest of the Jewish state, the Temple and the Temple Mount. The celebration proves the right of the Jews to the country.


Haglilit Scratching his head

Sir, – After reading a number of articles in The Jerusalem Post about how the Immigrant Absorption Ministry ads in the United States made waves among Jews there, I had to scratch my head as I read a half-page article talking about all the Christmas sites to visit in New York City (“It’s the most wonderful town this time of year,” December 11).

If the Post truly feels there is an issue with Israelis living abroad whose children and grandchildren could end up talking about Christmas with their relatives back home, why is it publicizing all the best sites to visit for that holiday?


More on Sir Zelman

Sir, – The obituary “Australia’s Sir Zelman Cowen dies” (December 11) omitted one important fact. After his retirement as governor- general of Australia, he was for eight years (1982-1990) the highly regarded provost of Oriel College, Oxford, where he had served years earlier as a law tutor.

Incidentally, although Sir Zelman was a Liberal Jew, he showed respect for the more observant, and three of his four children are Orthodox.


Give them credit

Sir, – Kol hakavod to Alexander Zvielli for his piece on the plight of many foreign workers (“Caretakers behind bars,” Comment & Features, December 11).

Living as I do in a home for the aged, I have first-hand knowledge of a group of caretakers who give their all, sometimes despite difficult customers. These mostly young people do all that can be expected of them (and often more) and really give fulltime care to their patients. They are to be greatly admired for their sometimes superhuman efforts.

If there are caretakers who don’t do the job they are paid to do, I believe they are truly in the minority. The great majority should be given their due credit.


Sir, – Alexander Zvielli’s article is timely and his recommendations worthy of immediate implementation.

Instead of concentrating their efforts on the inane and spurious application of Talmudic dicta on the sexual provocativeness of women’s voices and on the presence of women in their immediate public space, rabbis intent on warning their flocks to be on their best Torah behavior should insist on honoring the numerous Torah prohibitions against humiliating the stranger in our midst.


We’re the losers

Sir, – Regarding “Health system’s labor pains end as doctors return to work” (December 9), it seems the junior doctors have managed to extract a further paltry NIS 150 million of benefits from the Health Ministry by not accepting the original deal struck on their behalf in August. Far from the public having cause to celebrate the resolution of an unnecessarily drawn-out labor dispute, in time it will realize that it is the real loser.

Why not run a survey of how many junior doctors will either not complete their term of medical residency or move abroad after completing it? That any court of law in 2011 can come to the conclusion that an individual is not entitled to resign from his job when he chooses simply defies belief. Israel has many excellent doctors and no doubt the current generation of junior doctors will prove to be more than their equals. But it retains a medical system with antiquated and inefficient attitudes – and the Finance Ministry that rules over it – that defy belief.


Sir, – The medical residents who accepted the new agreement with the Finance Ministry are fools as well as slaves, and have no self-respect.

Their hourly wage remains pitiful.

With the agreement, after three years it will rise to approximately NIS 39 per hour, and at the end of nine years to about NIS 51.

The only ones who can walk with their heads held high are the residents who resign for a third time. I greatly respect them.


Still not enough

Sir, – I was delighted to read about a new hasbara policy being launched by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s director of communications and public diplomacy, Yoaz Hendel (“PM’s video on Human Rights Day is small sign of new ‘hasbara’ policy,” December 9). However, I had hoped this would go beyond responding to past or future events.

Hasbara is a very passive word.

What is needed is an aggressive policy of the dissemination of information aimed at undermining our enemies.

We should learn from others. One has only to look at the material published by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign to see that this is a well funded and coordinated program of propaganda that daily thumps out anti-Israel material, organizes meetings, publishes material (largely untrue) and lobbies people of influence. This campaign is not one of reaction to specific events, but one that is part of a political strategy aimed at portraying Israel as a demonic, illegal aggressor.

We must be proactive, not reactive. We must have a comprehensive strategy based on winning hearts and minds. The fundamental message must be repeated again and again: Israel has a right to exist in peace and in agreed-upon borders.

Tel Aviv

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