Sir, – When I read the vile, despicable comments that Rabbi
Shalom Cohen leveled at Deputy Religious Services Minister Eli Ben-Dahan
(“Political recriminations mar robing ceremony of Sephardi chief rabbi,”
September 17), two thoughts came to mind.
What did Cohen do all day on
Yom Kippur? He obviously didn’t spend it absorbing one of the key messages of
the day – the centrality of achdut (unity) of the Jewish people in the whole
process of drawing closer to God. And as this was Cohen’s second such verbal
assault on a fellow Jew within a matter of months, it proves the wisdom of the
Talmudists who, when they penned Pirkei Avot, counseled us to despise
Religion and politics do not blend. Cohen is proof positive of
MICHAEL D. HIRSCH
Sir, – Manfred
Gerstenfeld’s analysis “Norway: Anti-Israelism and anti- Semitism will continue
after elections” (Comment & Features, September 17) reminds me of a vacation
trip there in 2011.
We were at an outdoor bus terminal in a mediumsized
Norwegian city in the middle of the day. It was warm and we saw an old woman
wandering around, trying to find her way.
Despite the language barrier we
tried to calm her down. One of us walked over to the only bus we could see and
explained to the driver the woman’s predicament.
The driver graciously
drove his bus over to her, found out where she was trying go, boarded her and
promised us that he would take care of her. He thanked us for our concern and
asked where we came from. The moment we said Israel he glared at us, stepped on
the gas and drove away.
That image will remain with me. Gerstenfeld’s
piece reminded me again about the depth of hate we saw in rural Norway.
am sure, as always, there will be a note from the Norwegian ambassador
explaining that it just isn’t so. Unfortunately, it is.STEPHEN JEROME KOHN
Sir, – Your editorial “National Tshuva” (September
12) strikes notes of conciliation across various demographic Israeli
It is an accurate reflection of the national zeitgeist. Yet it
is exactly this zeitgeist that troubles me and reaffirms my concern for the
survival of an independent, vibrant and proud Israel.
need for introspection as an instrument of change, the editorial uses phrases
that cause anguish, words embedded in that zeitgeist reflecting the essence of
capitulation to our enemies.
“Death and life are in the power of the
tongue” (Proverbs). Words directly affect our life or death as individuals and
as a nation.
Language reflects our intellectual, spiritual and physical
essence. We must eliminate words that undermine the rights to our national
The first is “Palestinian.”
For two millennia Jews,
wherever they lived, were called the Palestinians by friends and enemies
In the 20th century’s first half, every international power
carefully differentiated the parties claiming sovereignty – Palestinian Arabs
and Palestinian Jews.
Even this newspaper was The Palestine Post
1950. It certainly never considered itself an organ of our
Merriam-Webster has listings for “American,” “Israeli,”
“Russian,” etc., but not for “Palestinian.”
By continuing to use that
appellation we are explicitly renouncing our heritage and just claim to the
The second is the use of “holiest site in Judaism” for the
retaining wall built by an Idumian madman to support expansion of the true
holiest site, the Temple Mount.
IDF Col. Motta Gur’s joyous proclamation
of victory in 1967 was “Har habayit b’yadeinu (The Temple Mount is in our
He didn’t say “Western Wall.” In his honor we named our
ALEX S. HORNSTEIN
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