Two thoughts entered my mind as I read the article pertaining to Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef’s remarks about blacks (“Gov’t mulls action against chief rabbi,” March 30).
First: How would Rabbi Yosef react if I, an Orthodox Jew, walked into his synagogue to attend services accompanied by my two adopted, interracial sons, both black! Second, I am sure that Rabbi Yosef is familiar with the biblical story regarding how God struck Moses’s sister, Miriam, with leprosy for comments she made regarding the fact that Moses’s wife, Zipporah, was black (Numbers 12, 1-16).
Whatever action taken by the Justice Ministry’s National Anti-Racism Coordinator’s Office against the rabbi – even if it’s unlikely to be an attack of leprosy – will be equally well-deserved and well-earned!MICHAEL D. HIRSCH
Kochav Yair All the unsung heroes
Greer Fay Cashman’s March 30 Grapevine feature “For the sake of his grandfather” pays all due respect to Shimon Peres for his great contribution, inter alia, to Israel’s security, which was possible only due to the support of Technion-trained and other physicists, chemists and engineers, many of them native French speakers. Some of these unsung Israeli and other heroes paid with their lives in order to build our defense systems from scratch.
One of these was the late nuclear scientist, Prof. Saadia Amiel.
Were Ms. Cashman finally to mention members of the Begin, Ben-Eliezer, Dayan, Meir, Peri and Weizman families (just for starters), it might dispel a false impression of Peres as a one-man show, which is very far from the truth. As is the case today, we all owe a huge debt of gratitude to scores of nameless Jews who have done and continue to do their utmost to ensure that Israel long will live.ESTER ZEITLIN
Jerusalem Easy access, cheap living
“Foreign buyers of Israeli properties: Are the good times over?” (Business & Finance, March 30) could use an addendum: One can purchase property in Israel with no purchase tax (mas rechisha) and, upon sale, no Israeli capital gains taxes.
Through a little-known exemption, I have saved thousands of shekels for my clients. I represent a number of homes in Hashmonaim, right near Modi’in, where a foreign buyer can get a full exemption on these taxes since we are officially over the Green Line.
Other communities like Efrat and Ma’aleh Adumim also benefit, but for Hashmonaim, you don’t have to traverse a border-control barrier or drive on dangerous roads.
The writer is a licensed real estate broker.
Fly blue and white
El Al is doing the right thing (“EL AL sues government over rival’s right to fly over Saudi airspace,” March 29), especially when policy completely precludes the airline in favor of a competitor that belongs to a country whose prime minister, visiting Ramallah, called Yasser Arafat a “great man.”
Saudi Arabia is historically hostile to Israel. As such, we have no business humbling ourselves by accepting that our national airline is forbidden to enter that country’s air space. Are we really so desperate?
We cannot continue along this road where we, a sovereign nation, are prepared to portray ourselves as having no pride.
Nothing should take precedence over flying blue and white.PHYLLIS STERN
You write: “Israel’s flag carrier, El Al is facing tough times, as the company has been steadily losing market share at its main hub, Ben-Gurion Airport.”
This is hardly surprising. Maybe if El Al were to offer better service and timely departures – and stop canceling flights at the last minute – more people would be willing to pay extra for the security and safety of traveling blue and white.
Twice in recent years, we booked with the airline only to face a last-minute cancellation or schedule change. Maintaining service and punctuality are every bit as important as the security of the passengers.
Stop whining, El Al! Get your act together! Competition is healthy – monopolies aren’t.
By choice, we prefer to travel El Al, but we have had our fingers burned too many times.I. SIVAN
Kiryat Bialik The illness of antisemitism
“Invitation to Polin” (Comment & Features, March 28) is commendable from Kornel Koronowski’s viewpoint, showing Poland during the Holocaust in the best possible light. However, all my grandparents left Poland before the war on account of the terrible antisemitism demonstrated by an overwhelming majority of Poles.
This “illness” made Poland a huge collaborator with the Nazis in the extermination of millions of Jews, and with little remorse afterwards. This ancient hatred allowed the Polish Holocaust.
There are almost no Jews in Poland today yet antisemitism thrives there. Let’s not delude ourselves or change history in an Orwellian manner. We Jews well know the effects of propaganda.GISELE BEN-DOR
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