Put Abbas to test
Sir, – The September 19 editorial in your paper (“Abbas’s
first obligation”) calls on the Palestinian Authority president to “ban rank
incitement from mosques,” “call his squares and streets after advocates of
reform and reconciliation,” “end the fanning of [anti- Israel] flames in the
media directly under his control,” and authentically condemn terrorist
I suggest that The Jerusalem Post
give Abbas, say, two weeks
to start doing these things to a substantial extent. If he fails to do so, it
seems incumbent on the Post
to denounce these peace talks as an empty sham – and
a debilitating one, as it is diverting the Israeli leadership from major
security threats emanating from the Iranian-led bloc – and withdraw its support.
If it doesn’t, then its words, too, are empty.P. DAVID HORNIK
Sir, – I share the chagrin of my fellow Israelis in hearing
that Russia will be sending a new type of missile to Syria (“Russian plan to
sell advanced arms to Syria alarms both Israel and US,” September 19). However,
it should be noted that Russia did not begin the current arms race in the Middle
East – the United States did! The US has been financing and shipping arms to the
Lebanese army and the Palestinian Authority for years, and just announced its
intention to ship new warplanes to Saudi Arabia.
I do not wish to sound
like a defender of Russia, but from the Russian point of view it is
understandable to want to get into the Middle East arms business again, and not
leave it to America to be the region’s main arms supplier, despite the danger of
these arms being used in a future war against Israel.JOSHUA J. ADLER
Jerusalem Bring ’em on!
Sir, – Skipping hurriedly, as I usually do, past the
back page of your “Comments & Features” section, I was pleasantly surprised
on September 19 to see a book review.
Not for me stories of jazz, rock,
pop and assorted artists, but book reviews. Bring ’em on! DAVID S. ADDLEMAN
Mevaseret Zion Meaning, please
Sir, – Kudos to David Horovitz on his excellent
column “Ten years later” (Editor’s Notes, September 17). Horovitz consistently
articulates a centrist, logical and often positive position in every article he
While my political leanings tilt more toward those of his fellow
columnist, Caroline Glick, his understanding of the Jewish psyche and his
ability to choose words to express meaning – and not meanness – is a trait many
other opinion writers on his staff would do well to follow.YAACOV
Jerusalem Derfner is right
Sir, – Larry Derfner has got it right (“Why
Time magazine isn’t anti-Semitic,” Rattling the Cage, September 16).
says “There are no anti- Semitic truths,” meaning that if the accusation is
true, it’s not anti- Semitic. He’s also right on target when he agrees with Time
that “Israel doesn’t care about peace.”
Many Israelis certainly care more
about money or about Torah studies or about security than they do about signing
a peace treaty with the Palestinians.
But then, many Palestinians care
more about money, Islamic studies or getting more land for their planned state
than they do about signing a peace treaty with Israel.
Certainly, this is
normal (like Americans, as he points out), and certainly not
But it’s surprising that Time didn’t have a cover story
called “Why Palestinians don’t care about peace.” That would make very
interesting reading.AVIGDOR BONCHEK
Jerusalem Sign up here
Sir, – Reader
Eliezer Whartman urges all Israelis who hold American citizenship to vote in the
upcoming November congressional elections (“Grit your teeth,” Letters, September
The American Israeli Action Coalition (AIAC) urges all US citizens
who will be in Israel on election day, November 2, to vote, and has greatly
simplified the process. By simply going to its website (www.AIACoalition.org)
and following the simple instructions, one can register online and obtain an
It should be noted that the final day for registering in
many states is October 8.HARVEY SCHWARTZ
Jerusalem The writer is
chairman of the AIAC What really matters
Sir, – I read with interest the article
“No one can challenge my Jewishness” (Features, September 14) and felt the need
to tell my own story.
Way back in the late 1940s, my mother married my
father and, after a couple of years, I came along, and then my brother. My
brother and I were raised as Jews, went to synagogue, kept a kosher home, became
bar mitzva and married Jewish girls. Both of us came to Israel, where we now
live with our families.
What’s the connection? My father wasn’t Jewish.
He came from a large London Christian family, but when he married our mother and
she was ostracized by her father, he realized that the only way to repair the
damage was for our family to lead a Jewish life.
In those days,
conversion was, to say the least, exceedingly difficult in the UK, and wasn’t a
viable option. Regardless, our home was 100 percent Jewish. My father was a
loving, caring and dedicated parent. He was closely involved with the local
community, was accepted and respected by everyone, was a member of the Jewish
Ex-Serviceman’s Association, and paid his dues to the synagogue, and even to the
burial society. My father lacked the official papers but he was more of a Jew
than many Jews I knew and know now! There are two milestones in my life that are
burned into my memory.
At the age of 13, I celebrated my bar mitzva. When
the time came for me to read my portion, my father, the person who had insisted
that we be raised as Jews and lead a Jewish lifestyle, wasn’t called up with me
because he wasn’t Jewish. Instead, a family friend stood by my side.
was too young to fully understand, and I cannot imagine how my father felt. He
never told me.
He carried on smiling and was filled with pride. What’s
more, he carried on being a “Jew” despite the slap in the face! Eight years
later, my father died of lung cancer. Needless to say, this was a very painful
But it was made even more painful by the fact that he was refused
burial in a Jewish cemetery.
No prayers were said for him in our
synagogue, and even though we sat shiva, almost nobody from the Jewish
community, including the rabbi, came to pay their respects.
And yet, my
brother and I remained Jewish – that’s how powerful our father’s influence had
About four years ago, I took a group of high school kids to a
Reform synagogue in Haifa.
During the course of the service, Kaddish was
said, and I, at the age of 58, said in a synagogue for the first time Kaddish
for my father. Until that moment I never realized how deeply I had been affected
by the events that followed my father’s death. I simply broke down and cried
like a baby.
Even now, as I write this, tears are streaming from my
A piece of paper isn’t what makes you Jewish. It is what’s in your
heart and your soul. My brother and I are Jewish not because our mother was
Jewish, but because both of our parents made a conscious decision to raise us a
I have nothing but praise for those individuals who decide to join
the club, and the specific section of Judaism that grants them entry is totally
irrelevant! To my mother, Millie Barney, and my father, Steve Barney, I want you
to know that we love you and miss you. To my father I would like to add that one
of the many regrets I have is that you didn’t live to know your seven
grandchildren and three great grandchildren who live here in Israel because of
you! PHILIP BARNEA