Waste of time

Sir, – Israel is a masochistic country (“Israel eyes seat on Security Council,” October 6).

It has in the past realized that it cannot apply as a country from Asia because, obviously, all the Muslim countries will veto its application. It now has applied through Europe and will again be subject to rejection. Why it continues to play the game according to the rules set by enemies is unfathomable.

The United Nations has from the beginning of Israel’s existence made it almost impossible for the Jewish state to play any meaningful role. Israel has no influence on the thinking and actions of the UN as a whole. Its influence is limited, and one doesn’t have to listen to the constant barrage of hatred.

Let Israel rethink its priorities and have influence in the countries that appreciate its strength and strategic position in the Middle East.

TOBY WILLIG
Jerusalem

Wrong street?

Sir, – I attended the same J Street national conference as Aaron Magid (“Feeling uncomfortable at J Street?” Comment & Features, October 6) and heard the same speeches and reactions from the 2,800 attendees. But it was as if I was at a different conference altogether.

Magid says there was hardly any reflection on Israel’s security concerns at the conference. However, J Street director Jeremy Ben-Ami spoke twice and emphasized J Street's concerns about Israel’s security, saying it would be enhanced only through a twostate solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Not only did he express these concerns to loud applause, but so did Israeli chief negotiator and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, MK Tzachi Hanegbi, opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich, five other MKs, US Vice President Joe Biden, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, US negotiator Martin Indyk and others.

That he didn’t pick this up at all makes me wonder about the motivations that led him to write his op-ed.

Though Magid may not feel at home at J Street, it is nevertheless home to 180,000 Americans who want peace and security for both Israel and the Palestinian people.

It is attracting more and more people as a natural “home” because pro-peace Israel supporters reflect the opinion of a majority of Israelis and Palestinians who support a two-state solution.

JOHN L. ROSOVE
Los Angeles

The writer co-chairs the J Street Rabbinic Cabinet and is senior rabbi at Temple Israel of Hollywood

Sir, – Aaron Magid supports Israel but is opposed to settlement building and the “Israeli occupation,” but feels that J Street seems unbalanced in its support of the Palestinians versus lack of same for Israel.

The Torah has much to teach about all facets of life, especially interpersonal relationships. There is a God of Mercy and a God of Justice. There are occasions for us to emulate each of these traits.

Parents know that there is a time to be sympathetic with their children and times to be strict. We need a fair balance of both. Organizations like J Street lack this balance, which is what Magid finds so discomfiting and should consider seriously.

The other step is for him to come to Israel to see and feel in person what it means to live here, to walk a mile in our moccasins.

The reality of life here is completely different from what he believes it to be, and is something that must be experienced to be understood.

One cannot live half a world away and expect to make an informed judgment.

I wish Magid well and hope he follows up on his gut feeling. In my opinion, he’s on the right track.

DEENA SPIGELMAN
Jerusalem

Drop the psychometric

Sir, – With regard to “Teachers protest Piron’s intention to cut down matriculation exams” (October 4), instead of cutting out matriculation exams, which would basically allow students to not bother studying any subject not on the list and cause further unemployment for teachers, Education Minister Shai Piron should do away with the psychometric exam.

As everyone knows, the psychometric exam in Israel costs a fortune, which soldiers and national service kids pay out of the grant they get for studies. Those who pay a higher price for a better or longer course will get into a better course of university study. The exam proves nothing except that those willing to spend the time and money will do better.

Many kids waste yet another year post-army or -national service studying for the exam or taking it countless times to raise their grade. A person wanting to study social work has to achieve almost the same grade as a person wanting to study medicine. As one art student asked, why should she have to study logistics or math if history, medical or computer science students don’t have to study art history? The psychometric exam proves nothing other than learning how to answer questions as quickly as possible.

We’re losing medical students, physiotherapists and many others to other countries that take them in with open arms. There they don’t need a psychometric exam to get in. And after studying abroad for many years, many stay there. It has created a terrible brain drain, and today there are reports of insufficient people these specialist fields.

It’s time to abolish the psychometric exam.

REEVA HELMAN
Petah Tikva

Don’t celebrate

Sir, – It’s pleasing to learn that those guilty of gross cruelty to calves, sheep and cattle have been indicted (“Beit She’an slaughterhouse workers indicted for animal cruelty” October 2).

But this is no cause for celebration.

All slaughterhouses are brutal, nightmarish places and every animal that passes through them dies in terror and agony. Only when the last slaughterhouse closes down can we truly afford to celebrate, for only then will the cruelty end.

JENNY MOXHAM
Monbulk, Australia

Budapest conference

Sir, – Last week The Jerusalem Post published a write-up about our finance minister’s speech at the conference “Jewish Life and Anti-Semitism in Contemporary Europe,” which was held at the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest (“Yair Lapid tells Hungarian Parliament: We must battle anti-Semitism every hour of the day,” October 2).

It is very important that the public be informed about this conference, which was attended by very distinguished persons and supported by the Hungarian government. The high-level of the participants shows the importance of fighting anti-Semitism and racism. It is a good example for other countries.

I also attended and spoke about my experiences as a Hungarian child in the Holocaust. The public appreciated my words about the dark days in 1944.

JOSEF WEISS
Jerusalem

The writer is honorary consul-general of Hungary

Common tongue


Sir, – My wife and I have been Israeli citizens for some years. We still enjoy The Jerusalem Post as an English-language newspaper.

The problem is, it has become an American-language newspaper.

There is a substantial difference.

Whilst (while) most Americans can understand English, not all English people can understand American, and with this in mind I would appreciate it if the Post reverted to its old style of standard English.

Examples can be taken from any edition, but October 4 is as good an example as any. The leader (editorial) is headlined “Party pooper.” I have no idea what that means. The first paragraph ends with the phrase “What a downer.” Farther down, a paragraph starts with the words, “In this telling....” I presume this means “in this context.”

Why not say so? What I am asking is that the Post should have in mind its English- speaking readers, too, and give them news in a form which (that) is readily understood by both them and their American cousins.

NEVILLE C. GOLDREIN
Jerusalem

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