Marking special days
Sir, – With regard to “58% of Israeli Jews back cutting funding for those marking Independence Day as ‘Nakba’” (May 5), while people promote Nakba (Catastrophe) Day, they should not forget the Jews who lost their lands to Muslims in Arab countries. Among them are my parents, whose date plantation in the south of Marrakesh was taken from them by no less than the brother of the local governor.
While in Israel Palestinians have good-hearted Jews to talk to on their behalf, over there if you dare dispute the loss of your field you risk losing your life.
This, of course, requires that an NGO undertake research of historical events of Jews in Arab lands, which would reveal, among other things, that court testimony by Jews is randomly rejected. Yet I doubt such research would find a European sponsor.
By the way, here we are talking about Morocco, a country thought to be moderate. It’s not hard to imagine Jewish losses in non-moderate countries such as Iraq, Yemen, Iran and Algeria.
Sir, – I suppose there were many Jerusalem Post readers who were happy to learn that a new “app” will enable them to learn about Arab land allegedly destroyed in what Palestinians call the Nakba, which is to say Israel’s war for survival and independence in 1948 (“Israeli organization creates smart phone ‘app’ promoting Nakba Day in three languages,” May 4). More of us, however, would have been happy to hear as well about the new app reported in the Hebrew press that enables Israelis visiting Mount Herzl to use their smart phones to locate graves and read stories of the 3,000 heroes buried there.
It is a shame that the Post chose to report only on the technology that promotes scorn for Israeli soldiers, and not on a new device that honors those who fell defending all we hold dear.
Sir, – I was happy to see that the Reform movement in Israel has adopted the havdala ceremony created 10 years ago by Rabbi Estevan Gotfried and Rani Yeager of Beit Tefila Yisraeli, Tel Aviv, for the transition between Remembrance Day and Independence Day.
This ceremony has been adopted by many kehilot in Israel, thus filling a major need.
The view from here
Sir, – Herb Keinon’s “Seeing the forest for the trees” (Independence Day supplement, May 5) was superb. It put into words my own feelings each Independence Day and ought to be required reading for all the naysayers and doomsday prophets.
Thank you, Mr. Keinon. Your essay was one of the best things this newspaper has printed in a very long time.
Sir, – I must congratulate you for your Independence Day supplement.
Every one of its pages was interesting and informative.
Delivered on Remembrance Day, it made a very sad day better.
Depth of the pain
Sir, – Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon wrote to bereaved families on the eve of Remembrance Day: “It’s difficult to describe in words the depth of the pain...
but unfortunately, we have not reached the end of our travails and we have not reached tranquility.
We will not be deterred.
We’ll continue to seek peace, but we’ll cut off the hand of those who seek our demise” (“Nation mourns 23,169 casualties of war, terrorism,” May 4).
I say that we will never reach tranquility and are in fact so deterred that our prime minister, while speaking of the importance of our security, releases thousands of convicted terrorists only to bring another terrorist, Mahmoud Abbas, to the negotiating table. Abbas’s goal is the liberation of all of Israel, with not a Jew in sight. As another headline in the same issue of the Post says, “Al-Aksa Mosque imam: We await Arab legions to liberate Haifa, Safed, Jaffa.”
This is what Ya’alon calls to “cut off the hand of those who seek our demise”?
Sir, – Regarding “Lapid not ready to rule out talks with Hamas” (May 4), why do people still have illusions that Hamas will change its hatred of Israel and become willing to accept its existence in the Middle East? Every spokesman for the group has said the same thing.
They have reiterated one way or another that there can never be peace with Israel. Hamas will pursue jihad and reconciliation with Fatah for domestic purposes only.
The entire Western and leftist- Israeli way of thinking is that Hamas will change its position and become a pussy cat when it is part of a reconciled Palestinian entity. This will never be. It has stated this so clearly in every way.
Hamas hates Israel and wants its destruction more than it will ever want a state of Palestine.
Western leaders had better understand this now before they again try to make Hamas in their own image.
The US example
Sir, – In your April 28 editorial “The cost of kashrut,” you propose that a “state-run secular consumer protection agency should be made responsible for enforcing kashrut fraud laws, as is the case in the US.” But it is misleading to suggest that the government in the US enforces kashrut standards and protects consumers from kashrut fraud.
In most of the 22 states that have a kosher fraud law, consumer protection officials charged with enforcement have little, if any, knowledge about kashrut standards and in many cases are entirely unaware of the law’s existence.
Moreover, enforcement in most of these states is only in response to consumer complaints – states do not conduct routine inspections. Finally, courts have struck down kosher fraud laws in several states as a violation of the First Amendment, which prohibits government entanglement in religious activities.
Kosher consumers in the US are protected not by the government but by a network of more than 300 private kashrut certification agencies that compete for accounts in a free market.
Successful kosher consumer protection here is characterized by a separation of church and state and the operation of a free market.
Following the US example will entail far more radical change than what Israeli government reforms currently contemplate.
TIMOTHY D. LYTTON
Albany, New York
The writer is a law professor and author of Kosher: Private Regulation in the Age of Industrial Food
Sir, – Gil Troy’s perceptive piece on the potential for Irish-Jewish political bonding (“Let’s get Irish and Zionists smiling together,” Center Field, April 17) can be supplemented by a prior connection, namely the greatest work of James Joyce, certainly an important Irishman.
It is no coincidence that Joyce made a Jew, Leopold Bloom, the protagonist is his epochal Ulysses. It has long been known that in the antagonism between Hebraism and Hellenism, Joyce preferred the former.
On a trip to Trieste some time past, where Joyce lived for years teaching English at the Berlitz language school, my wife and I visited the Joyce library. One of the volumes there was The Jews, by Maurice Fishberg, one of the first Jewish anthropologists, noted for having measured 4,000 Jewish noses in New York in 1912 to prove that the hook nose was not a reliable marker for recognition. The table proving his findings appears in Weinrich’s College Yiddish.
Shaker Heights, Ohio