Sir, – “The naïveté of the Left” (A View from Israel, August 19)
and other articles in the same issue correctly point to the sick tendency among
Jewish radicals to think of the essence of Judaism as
Sometimes hiding behind the bold anti-government
proclamations of the Hebrew prophets, they seek to identify Jewishness itself,
including Israeli Jewishness, with leftism, radicalism and revolution, if not
with socialism and communism, but mainly with being
This is a great mistake, either deliberate (in
order to mobilize Jewish support for their side) or, as the column points out,
out of naïveté and dangerous innocence about revolution.
The truth is
that Judaism is basically not radical but conservative. Going back to the Talmud
we are told: Pray for the welfare of the kingdom for in its peace you shall have
peace. Jeremiah advised his contemporaries to pray for the welfare of the city.
Our Sages legalized the principle of dina demalkhuta dina – the law of the land
is the law.
Jews benefited from the American revolution. But they
suffered from the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution. Judd Teller
wrote a book called Scapegoats of Revolution in which he points out the truth of
Sir, – The tragedy
in “The tragedy of it all” (Feature, August 19) is that it is the story of two
young persons who “jeopardized their lives by substance abuse and destructive
behavior,” and not one. The tragedy of it all is that rather than give voice to
the parents of both, The Jerusalem Post Magazine
has given voice to only one of
the heartbroken mothers, who chooses to publicly vilify the other victim and
My heart breaks for Lee Vatkin as well as for Rauf
Zagloff and both sets of parents. That Lee’s father is an “eighth-generation
Jerusalemite” and her mother the daughter of an “idealistic aliya” who have the
financial means to enjoy “the best modern Jerusalem had to offer” does not make
the loss of her young life more tragic than that of the “immigrant boyfriend, a
petty criminal and drug addict, himself abused by his drunken
Had Rauf’s father had the same socio-economic status as Lee’s
mother, such a one-sided, damning story would never have been
The writer is a “voice for Rauf
Zagloff’s mother and father on behalf of their son.”Friends can disagree
Sir, – It is disappointing that Daniel Gordis has joined the benighted or
disingenuous parties who ascribe anti- Semitism to support for a Palestinian
state at the United Nations (“The newest avatar of an ancient hatred,” Opinion,
Gordis overlooks that it was this same body that voted to
create the Jewish homeland. There are many nations supporting (or not opposing)
Palestinian statehood that have demonstrated they harbor no malice to Jews or
Israel. Quite the contrary. It is painful to think what would have happened to
Israel in 1948 without weapons from Czechoslovakia.
El Salvador and Costa
Rica, two nations that have already recognized Palestine, have shown nothing but
affection to Jews and Israel, including by maintaining their embassies in
Jerusalem until recently. France’s vote will be dictated by its president,
Nicolas Sarkozy, whose mother’s family was Jewish and whose son married a
It is ingratitude and dishonesty to call these nations and peoples
anti- Semites. If they were not anti-Semitic in the past, how can they be
defamed now? They are simply sick and tired of Israel’s delaying
Jerusalem A fine person
Sir, – I wish to comment on
the very moving column by Daniel K. Eisenbud about his grandmother (“A woman
named Carola,” A Not So Innocent Abroad, August 19).
What a fine person
Here is someone else who will be remembering Carola,
since I keep an archive of special newspaper articles, and this is one that will
be duly filed.
Petah Tikva Jews and flotillas
Sir, – To the
best of my knowledge, I fully satisfy all the criteria of “Jewishness” put forth
by the legal system of the State of Israel, as well as those that were embedded
into the legislation of the Third Reich. For that reason, I assume I do not
belong to the category of “fake Jews” who, according to Barbara Sofer (“Identity
and freedom,” The Human Spirit, August 19), were on The Audacity of Hope, on
which I was a passenger alongside Gabriel Schivone.
The irony, of course,
is that Sofer’s column articulates an attitude that is at the core of the
disillusionment of more and more young American Jews with Israel.
young American Jews, being Jewish is a cultural and moral stance.
American Jews, that Gabe is Jewish goes without saying because he identifies
himself as such, and outside Israel and the Third Reich, proof of Jewishness or
non-Jewishness is not required. Israel would be the first to cry foul if it
These young American Jews resent the way Israel has subverted and
distorted what they perceive to be their Jewish heritage. They resent the racial
approach to Judaism and Jewishness, and are fundamentally disgusted by the
notion that their moral obligations extend only as far as other Jews, as this
article seems to suggest.
For them, the attack on Gabe would be viewed as
anathema, somewhere between the absurdly irrelevant and the obscenely
Not the time for luxury
Sir, – Kudos for
publishing Leah Morris’s letter (“Not this year, dear,” August 19).The
treats us each week to another magnificent home of some millionaire.
True, these homes are lovely and tasteful, in most cases welllaid out. However,
do you ever consider that the majority of your readers cannot fathom such
luxury? The economic situation in Israel and in the world is very sick. When the
end of the month approaches, there are too many households hoping to make it
until the next paycheck.
Mortgages, taxes and daily expenses cause that
worrisome overdraft at the bank.
While we look at these luxuries, we
wonder if we will ever manage to scrape enough together to ease our daily
concerns. It is painful to realize that many people must be satisfied just to
have a roof over their head.
Is it necessary to publish this on a
fortnightly basis? We all hope for easier times, but they are not yet on the
Shavei Zion Unusual volunteer
Sir, – Edith Geiger
(“An earnest lender and collector,” Veterans, August 19) was one of the most
unusual volunteers when it came to absorbing Ethiopian aliya.
volunteer director for the American Association for Ethiopian Jews (AAEJ), I
called her and asked if she could help, as hundreds of newcomers were being sent
from the airplane to Safed. This was before the big airlift.
She not only
mobilized the people of Safad to help, it was teaching these immigrants from the
beginning – lighting a gas stove, turning on and off the lights, clothing them,
AAEJ helped with some financing and clothing. Edith put the whole
thing together, and then wrote her Florida contacts, who sent
MURRAY S. GREENFIELD