Tensions up north

Sir, – In light of what has been taking place in the North (“Israel goes on alert after second air strike on Syria,” May 6), I went to get my old, large sign saying Ha’am im hagolan (The nation is with the Golan).

Recalling the heady days of demonstrations against giving back the Golan Heights, I breathed a sigh of relief. Imagine if we had given this land back and Syria possessed chemical weapons! Able to maim and murder not just his own people but ours, Syrian President Bashar Assad’s capability of reaching us would be far greater than the shelling that existed prior to l967.

It would be appropriate to hear and see a public acknowledgement of how geopolitically insane a withdrawal to the prel967 lines would be.

Those who have been so politically committed to the ideology of withdrawal in the name of “peace” would do well to stay tuned to the Middle East reality show surrounding us when having any notion of returning portions of Judea and Samaria.

As the Sinai is now a terrorist haven and the Gaza Strip a swamp of missiles, a thank-you for the national campaign of Ha’am im hagolan is long overdue.

REBECCA E. WEINBERGER
Jerusalem

Sir, – I agree with the comments of Dror Elmakayes (“In North, little fear of a ‘weakened’ Assad,” May 6).

Seven years ago my wife, son and I also lived out the Second Lebanon War in our safe room, and we will stay if there is another rain of missiles in the North. But one must make sure our government and army do not fall into the same intelligence trap that was the Yom Kippur War.

The IDF, especially the air force, must be on constant alert for any additional transfers of missiles of any sort, taking into consideration Bashar Assad’s threats of retaliation.

Both Assad and Hezbollah are puppets on strings being pulled by Tehran, and they all think it is in their interest to divert ours and the world’s attention from Iran’s nuclear bomb ambitions.

Tehran might pull some or all of those strings, but I believe with all my heart that we and our military are strong and will prevail no matter what happens, as we have done for the past 65 years.

MURRAY JOSEPH

Kiryat Motzkin

Church of Scotland

Sir, – The claim by the Church of Scotland questioning the Jewish right to Israel (“Scottish Church publishes report that denies scriptural claim by Jews to Holy Land,” May 6) raises some interesting questions.

Despite the unchallengeable fact that there has been a continuous Jewish presence in the Holy Land for over five millennia, doesn’t this also mean that Christianity, an offshoot of Judaism founded on the teachings of Jesus the Jew, has even less claim to Christian sites, let alone any right to live in Israel? By extension of the same flawed rationale, surely most of the population of Scotland has even fewer claims or rights to live there, as the pagan Picts and Vikings were there first.

Of one thing we can be certain: Israel will turn the other cheek, where despite constant threats and attacks it continues to be a beacon of hope to the world as the Middle East’s only true pluralistic democracy, with complete freedom of worship and equality of opportunity and rights – a diamond of hope in a sea of despair.

If I may, I must draw the Church of Scotland’s attention to another of Jesus’s teachings: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Its false priests need to look at themselves in the mirror of time.

JEREMY ZEID

Kenton, UK

Sir, – I write with concern about coverage of “The Inheritance of Abraham,” the report being presented to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland later this month. It is not the considered opinion of the Church of Scotland, and will only become so if ratified by the General Assembly.

Nowhere in the report does it state, as suggested by several media reports, that the Church denies the right of Israel to exist.

The report is a theological reflection that explores the idea that biblical authority can be used to give a people, any people, divine right to a land. We concluded after careful study of scripture that this is not the case.

The Church of Scotland would never and is not now attacking Judaism, and the intent of the report must not be misinterpreted as such. Nor is the report denying Israel’s right to exist – only any group’s divine right to land. To reach this conclusion is not the same as denigrating the Jewish people or denying the right of Israel as a state to exist.

A good friend speaks the truth in love, and the truth is there can be no peace without justice.

The current policies of the State of Israel, including the continued occupation and the extension of settlements, mean that justice is still to come.

The Church of Scotland will continue to work for freedom and justice for all who live in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. The report is a sincere contribution to the ongoing search for a way forward that brings love-informed justice to a land that is sacred to so many.

SALLY FOSTER FULTON
Edinburgh

The writer is a cleric and convenor of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council Subterfuge for peace


Sir, – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says he is eager to restart peace negotiations (“PM: Peace needed to prevent binational state,” May 2), although to succeed they must rest on “two basic pillars,” one being that “the Palestinians recognize the Jewish state,” the other that Israel has “solid security arrangements.”

It is unthinkable how anyone can be happy to restart peace negotiations when we just buried Evyatar Borovsky, who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian, and when there is danger on the roads from Arab attacks.

What about telling our “peace partners” that they first show us they can prevent their own people from committing terror attacks? Let five years pass without any rocks, knives or bullets, we should tell them, and then we will think about sitting and seeing what it is exactly that you want.

The Arabs can promise whatever our prime minister asks of them. They can sign numerous pieces of documents that there will be peace, and as soon as they get what they want these documents can be shredded along with their promises. What they can’t achieve by war they will try to achieve through a false peace.

BARBARA GINSBERG

 Ma’aleh Adumim

Sexual harassment


Sir, – In a recent column on sexual harassment (“Institutionalized harassment of women,” Terra Incognita, April 30), Seth J.

Frantzman referred to an episode several years ago involving a former professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The column created the false impression of university “inaction” on this serious matter by failing to mention that it dismissed the accused and barred him from ever again advising students.

To set the record straight: 1. After learning of anonymous complaints against the professor, the university filed a complaint with police and asked for their assistance in investigating the case.

2. After a months-long investigation, the police closed the case due to a statute of limitations.

3. The university made further extensive efforts to gather evidence, including a demand for the police file and flying in a witness from abroad.

4. The university brought the accused before a disciplinary committee, which suspended him for two years.

5. The university appealed the committee’s decision and conducted a long campaign that ended in the accused’s dismissal.

6. The university permanently disqualified the accused from advising students in the future.

OFRA ASH

Jerusalem

The writer is head of marketing and communication at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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