Letters week of September 2

‘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.'

September 1, 2011 12:42

Sick tendency

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 revolution.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 anti-establishmentarian.

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 these ideas.


Two-sided tragedy

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 vindicate herself.

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 father.”

Had Rauf’s father had the same socio-economic status as Lee’s mother, such a one-sided, damning story would never have been published.


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, August 19).

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 Jew.

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 tactics.


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 Eisenbud describes.

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.

To most young American Jews, being Jewish is a cultural and moral stance.

To most 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 was.

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 racist.

Los Angeles

Not the time for luxury

Sir, – Kudos for publishing Leah Morris’s letter (“Not this year, dear,” August 19).

The Magazine 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 horizon.

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.

As 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, etc.

AAEJ helped with some financing and clothing. Edith put the whole thing together, and then wrote her Florida contacts, who sent money.


Related Content

Cookie Settings