Gifts and loot
Sir, – The large picture accompanying “Netanyahu in Rome: Western
sanctions regime against Iranians already unraveling” (December 3) causes so
much frustration and anger that one can explode! Here is the prime minister of
the State of Israel (supposedly a Jewish state) smiling while handing over to
the pope a silver hanukkia as a present. The pope smiles back.
understand why the pope is smiling. He’s probably saying to himself, “Stupid
Jew! You’re giving me a tiny silver menorah while I have the huge, gold original
somewhere in our vaults!” How far away from them is the Arch of Titus, which
Titus’s brother built to commemorate the victory over the Jews and the
destruction of the temple, with the pictures of the looting engraved on them for
eternity? Their victory and our defeat! And how many millions of Jewish
artifacts – silver ornaments, paintings, manuscripts, books – were later looted
by the pope’s predecessors in the Inquisition, the Crusades, and throughout the
centuries? Where is it all, if not stored away in the Vatican’s warehouses
(unless earlier popes took things for themselves)?
YOSEF TUCKER Jerusalem
The photo of our prime minister at his meeting with the pope does not serve the
just needs of history.
The roles should have been reversed. Mr. Netanyahu
should have been wearing the kippa, and the pope should have returned to the
Jewish people the Temple menorah stolen by Titus and kept for 2,000 years in the
JerusalemThe writer is a rabbi
Sir, – Each day after my morning prayers, the first thing I read is The
Jerusalem Post. However, the moment I see a picture of Ehud Olmert, my day is
Why all the coverage of this inept statesman and shrewd
politician who seemingly doesn’t like to be forgotten? Didn’t we have enough of
Why we fought
Sir, – We have been celebrating
Hanukka, commemorating our victory over the Greeks both physically and, more
Our right to practice Judaism was reaffirmed.
So why does it seem lately that we are fighting those wars again? MK Adi Kol’s
proposal (Ministers approve tax break for gay couples with children,” December
2) may be very good for those children economically, although recognition of the
couples goes against the very values we were fighting for all those years ago.
The Greeks felt homosexual love was the highest form – and this totally
conflicts with Judaism’s laws and philosophy.
It is not for me or any
human to judge what people do in private; that is in God’s hands. But public,
and certainly government, recognition is definitely not what the Land of Israel
Sir, – Your very
interesting article about Rabbi Tomas Vero (“In Budapest, rabbi makes house
calls,” December 2) speaks of the Neolog movement in Hungary as “a moderate
Reform movement... that lies somewhere between Modern Orthodoxy and Conservative
Neolog for many years has been affiliated with the worldwide
Masorti/ Conservative Movement. Its rabbis, including the very talented Rabbi
Vero, are members of the International Rabbinical Assembly, the organization of
Its rabbinical school, the Jewish
Theological Seminary of Budapest, is one of the seminaries that ordains
The Conservative Movement has synagogues
that are more traditional and some that are more liberal.
synagogues are more traditional, but they are not the only ones and they are
very much identified with Conservative Judaism.
The writer is a rabbi, Jerusalem Post Magazine columnist and past-president of
the International Rabbinical Assembly
Sir, – With regard to “The
unsettling story of settling the Beduin” (Comment & Features, December 2), a
great deal of harsh criticism has been expressed in the media at home and abroad
about the expropriation of land in the Negev and the unfair treatment of the
Favorable comments on progress and development are conspicuously
There are other aspects of the problem that have not been
As a pediatrician who has worked for many years for and among
the Beduin, I was distressed to find, on entering the clinic at Kuseifa several
years ago, that the marble plaque commemorating Dr.
Benjamin Ben-Assa had
been smashed in two parts. A few days later, the plaque was completely
The clinic had been named after Dr. Ben-Assa, known as “Abu
Assa,” a devoted doctor and faithful friend of the Beduin. It is worthwhile to
recall that he was awarded the Schweitzer Prize in Amsterdam in 1967 for his
work on behalf of the Beduin.
The pleasant entrance ground of the clinic,
with shaded seats, saplings and a playground for children, had been donated by
family, friends and admirers of Dr. Ben-Assa as a fitting memorial to his work
and ideals. It is a sad commentary that there was no reaction or expression of
regret by Beduin leaders who have been so vocal on other occasions.
effort should be made to improve and promote understanding and good relations
with the Beduin, but this should be on a mutual basis.
JEAN KLOOS FISHMAN
Sir, – As a very passionate and committed volunteer for
TIKVOT, the non-profit group that helps disabled IDF veterans participate in
sports to encourage their recovery, I was so excited and proud to read “Running
down a dream one kilometer at a time” (Sports, November 29) by Benji Rosen, and
about my very special friend and inspiration, Eitan Hermon.
exceptional as Eitan is, he is only one of the many hundreds of individuals and
families that TIKVOT helps. I can only hope that the publication of Eitan’s
ambitions, despite his physical challenges and pain, will catalyze many more
people in the community to become more aware and give themselves an invaluable
gift by getting involved in the TIKVOT family.
Sir, – It would be decades before I understood my good fortune, but in
1989 a business associate of my father’s and close family friend, Sara Lee
CEO John Bryan, invited me to join him in several meetings on his
first visit to Israel.
There were meetings with Shimon Peres, Teddy
Kollek, Ariel Sharon and others. But the one that was most memorable was with
his business counterpart, Dov Lautman (“Dov Lautman, titan of Israeli
entrepreneurship, dies at 77,” November 24).
At the time, Israel did not
loom as large in my consciousness as it would come to do in future years, and
neither did the business world. But I can still recall that meeting and the
feeling of deep caring and authenticity that Dov projected.
He could not
have made a very green, college-aged interloper feel more comfortable.
developed an occasional correspondence and in subsequent years he invited me
several times to his office by the Tel Aviv shore, where he would offer sage and
sound advice on both business and political endeavors that I contemplated. In
recent years I had the chance to see him at the launch of Better Place and in
the company of our mutual friend, Gordy Zacks, and he had more to teach about
courage and perseverance in the face of great adversity.
family tragedies and his own terrible illness, he never lost his optimistic
disposition and never failed to inspire others to be their best and to think
May his memory be for a blessing.
Ra’anana The writer is a tech investor
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