Your October 23 article “Berlin embassy says antisemitic German teacher incites hate” was accompanied by a photograph of the teacher referred to. Why? Why do you so often publish pictures of persons who are anti-Israel or antisemitic in articles of this nature? I am always taken by surprise by this unnecessary publicity given to our “haters.”
A photograph of the Israeli ambassador in Berlin would have been more appropriate, or no photo at all. Who needs to see these faces? LEON CHARNEY
Jews on the Mount
Former MK Dov Lipman, in “The perfect response to UNESCO: Succot” (Observations, October 21), claims to have devised the most optimal response to UNESCO’s anti-historical ruling: encouraging Jews to visit the Temple Mount. Nonetheless, he fails to inform the reader of the complications of such actions.
First, an upswing in Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount will definitely arouse the anger of the Wakf and create an excuse to increase violence and endanger the lives of Jews (like Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount did in 2000). Second, he ignores the halachic difficulties involved in visiting the Temple Mount.
The rabbinic consensus, running the gamut from the late chief rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook to Rabbi Lipman’s own teachers, forbids entering the Temple Mount, a position still maintained by the Chief Rabbinate and worldwide Orthodox rabbinic leadership.
As Rabbi Lipman himself correctly notes, we say in the festival prayers: “We cannot ascend, appear and bow before You....”
While we cannot do so today, we pray that in the future, we will be able to do so.REUVEN CHAIM KLEIN
The writer is a rabbi.
Dov Lipman presents some of the voluminous material linking Jews, Judaism and, in particular, Succot, to the Temple Mount. He concludes by relating the great thrill felt as he and his family “converged on Judaism’s holiest site.”
Indeed, the best response to UNESCO and the Arab denials of this connection is for Jews to continue to ascend to the Temple Mount.
According to police, the intermediate days of the Succot holiday saw a high for recent years in the number of identifiable Jews ascending to the Temple Mount.
Hundreds of ordinary Israeli citizens went up, often whole families together.
But in absolute terms, the numbers are still minuscule. If throngs of Jews ascend, we can demonstrate to the world that we indeed believe it is Judaism’s holiest site and we are not willing to relinquish it.ARI ZIVOTOFSKY
Beit ShemeshNot a peep
With regard to “Not a peep from the pope” (Know Comment, October 21), Christianity and Islam may be regarded as two errant daughters who have pushed their “mother” into the gutter and have, through the ages, been trying to kick her to death. They are both absolutely furious that in May 1948, Mother Judaism, through the rebirth of the Jewish state, roused herself, having fully drained their cup of affliction.
Mum is now sufficiently recovered from her bruising that, while sorrowfully able to withstand the rudeness and curses of her wayward daughters, she can, if she has to, reluctantly deliver a painful smack on the bum if and when physically attacked. In behaving as she has to, Mum seems to have been aided by a very faithful Friend. Anyone wanting to know who This is should just point their forefinger upward.GEOFFREY BEN-NATHAN
One of the oldest excuses given by genteel antisemites is “But some of my best friends are Jews.”
Certainly, when Francis was elevated to the papacy, he was very quick to claim close friendship with some of the leading Jews in his home country, Argentina.
But his noticeable absence regarding UNESCO’s vote on the Temple Mount must call into doubt whether he in fact acts on this claim.
I have been unable to find a single reference on the official Vatican website to two of the recent events that have been tremendously important to Israel and Judaism.
First, not a word about the passing of Shimon Peres. In fact, I have been unable to find out whether there actually was a Vatican representative at the funeral of the level of importance that was accorded by major forces in the world, such as the president of the US, Prince Charles of the UK, and even Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Second (and more important), the UNESCO resolution dissociating the Temple site from Judaism has enormous implications for Christianity, and it is impossible to understand how silence from the Vatican can be taken as anything other than an implicit acceptance of this distortion.
So the pontiff’s silence is deafening and calls into question the validity of his worthiness.HENRY KAYE
I agree with much of David M. Weinberg’s column, but disagree about the position of the Catholic Church on UNESCO.
As a Catholic lover of Israel (loving Israel especially because of my faith), I would like the pope speak more often in defense of Israel. However, the headline to Mr. Weinberg’s column does not sound very respectful, and as regards the UNESCO resolution, against which I wrote letters both to my foreign minister and to Italian websites, it does not say that no Jewish temple existed in that place, so it neither “nullifies Christian history” nor says anything against the truthfulness of the Gospels.
I am not sure what Mr. Weinberg meant by writing that the Catholic Church will not “theologically” recognize Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem. As far as I was taught, the Church believes that every prophecy has come true in Jesus (we are just waiting for the Final Judgment, whose day nobody knows), so the establishment of the State of Israel is a fact.
The Church does not want to side with one of the parties of the dispute over Jerusalem, but if Jerusalem were internationally and peacefully recognized as Israel’s capital, I think it would not object. (I was never taught that God does not want Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital.) ANNALISA FERRAMOSCA
I refer to Gershon Baskin’s “Secret back channels” (Encountering Peace, October 20).
To quote him directly, “[Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu declares in public his willingness to negotiate with [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas, but he is well aware of Abbas’s political weakness and the almost impossible situation that even meeting Netanyahu in public would create for him.”
Maybe Mr. Baskin can explain why this is, since in the same piece he also states that “70%, including in Gaza, could potentially support” a peace deal with Israel.NAOMI FEINSTEIN
Perspective on 242
I was elated to read Melanie Phillips’s “Israel, not the West, stands for international law” (As I see It, September 30), which referred to Prof. Eugene Kontorovitch’s perspective of UN Security Council Resolution 242.
I blame all Israeli governments, as well as Jewish leaders in the Diaspora, for their lack of continuity in promoting and articulating the contents of that resolution during a span of almost 50 years.
It is worth mentioning that east Jerusalem and the West Bank were seized by Israel, which won a defensive war against Jordanian aggression. Prior to this war, the aforementioned territories were governed by Jordan, and not by any Palestinian entity.ABRAHAM FRADKIN