Misuse of Anne Frank’s name
Regarding “Wiesenthal Center urges removal of Anne Frank’s Name from NGO due to antisemitism” (April 4), this is not the first time that Anne Frank’s name has been misused. In this case, the Frankfurt Anne Frank Educational Center was condemned for inviting an anti-Israel, anti-Jewish speaker in its venue. A few months ago, the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam refused to allow a Jewish worker to wear a kippah there.
I think that this is a result of a universalization of the Anne Frank story to a point where her Jewishness and reason for her death in a Nazi camp, have been placed in a secondary role and in some cases nearly obliterated.
Her entry in her diary in April 1944, a few months before her hiding place was discovered, belies this. She wrote, “If there are still Jews left when it is over, then Jews, instead of being doomed, will be held up as an example. Who knows, it might even be our religion from whom the whole world learns good. We will never become Netherlanders or representatives of any other country for that matter. We will always remain Jews, but we want to, too.”
Giving a proper name to who Anne Frank was and remembering the circumstances surrounding her diary will help to keep her memory in a proper perspective.MARION REISS
Beit ShemeshPolls apart
Regarding “Israelis abroad lament lack of absentee vote” (April 3), one can agree to some extent with overseas Israelis wanting to vote, but some have set themselves up in business and would appear not to want to return to Israel and should not be entitled to vote. This brings to mind many citizens living in Israel who cannot get out to vote, e.g. those in hospital for a long time, or are housebound, or have mobility problems. There will be many polling stations that are not accessible for such people. My polling station is one of them, which means that I cannot get to the polling room. One solution is to have postal voting, which has been the norm in the UK for decades. Surely it is not too difficult to introduce this in Israel.
Regarding “Think tanks, NGOs advocate for open primaries on election day,” this is only tinkering with the existing failed system. What is needed is for all MKs to be directly elected in constituencies. As this is unlikely to happen, maybe initially a half-way system would be acceptable, i.e. half the Knesset elected in constituencies and the other half, as now, by parties. This, together with an increase in the threshold to 5%, should ensure a more stable government.
I shudder to think that this election will result in a coalition of at least five parties and could even be six or seven, with each of the smaller ones having enormous power far beyond their size, leading to exorbitant demands.
NetanyaIrrational hatred vs. rational fear
Regarding “UN condemns Islamophobia and antisemitism” (April 3), the words used for these two forms of hatred clearly show the difference between them.
“Antisemitism” means an opposition to Jews without any hint of a rational reason.
“Islamophobia” consists of two words: Islam and phobia. The Oxford Dictionary defines “phobia” as a “morbid fear” as in hydrophobia (fear of water), claustrophobia (fear of confined space), xenophobia (fear of strangers), etc.
There is no fear of Jews, but the fear of Islam is a rational reaction to the inhuman violence that has been perpetrated by Muslims against infidels – as well as against fellow Muslims – since the birth of Islam, and now is seen too frequently on our TV screens. CHARLES OREN
HerzliyaIs the sky falling?
Prof. Richard Schwartz (Letters, March 4) blames climate change for the floods in Iran and Zimbabwe and says that Israel’s coastal plain will soon be inundated by the Mediterranean Sea.
Schwartz joins the long list of Doomsday predictors who blame every disaster on climate change. He seems to have forgotten the 40-day Genesis flood and all the other floods and droughts since then.
Al Gore in 2006 warned that we had only 10 years left to combat climate change. In a 1989 AP article, a senior UN environmental doomsday expert said that entire nations would be eradicated by rising water levels if global warming wasn’t reversed by 2000.
Schwartz’s solution is that we all turn to vegetarianism since the livestock sector produces more methane than all the means of transportation combined. This is about as practical or likely as also outlawing all means of transportation and returning to donkeys and the like, although increase in eating veggies will have health benefits for some.
In the meantime, the Kinneret has risen about three meters from this winter’s rains, yet Hayarkon St. is not flooded and the famous TA beach has not receded. In Holland, where about 20% of the country lies below sea level, the average sea level has risen only two centimeters in the past 10 years – not two meters.
More than 30 years after Al Gore’s “sky is falling” prediction, everything seems to be largely intact.
PROF. EMERITUS YIGAL HOROWITZ
BeershebaDon’t capitulate to Hamas
Regarding “Palestinian prisoners preparing to go on hunger strike today” (April 7), their demands (illegal cellphones returned, visiting rights, continuation of Qatari money, prisoner swap, etc) are blackmail, not negotiations. The jailed terrorists threaten to start a hunger start to put additional pressure on our government to agree to all of Hamas’s blackmail demands.
Our government should make counter-demands. 1) The hunger-striking terrorists can eat or die – it’s their choice (British prime minister Thatcher did that with IRA hunger strikers; some died, others gave in). 2) All counter-measures to continue: no illegal call usage, no family visits, no TV or radio, no newspapers.
Perhaps prison riots should face lethal force, with bodies of dead terrorists not returned until all of our troops and civilians are returned. No Qatari money. No cement for construction, as much or all of it is siphoned off by the terrorists. A complete cessation of all terrorist activities: balloons with IEDs, rockets, mortars, riots at the fence. All of the above are a fit response to Hamas’s “demands.”
Our military deterrence is diminished and our so-called negotiations show weakness. Our enemies must understand that it is a two-way street. The situation for our citizens near Gaza Strip is intolerable. The IDF must be given the order to completely destroy all of the terrorists. Only when civilian organizations vetted by Israel should the Qataris and EU start to rebuild (a Marshall Plan).
Victory needs to be total and surrender unconditional for peace to come to this region.MURRAY JOSEPH
Why are we Israelis obsessed with giving human rights to prisoners who are bent on killing us and the destruction of our state?
In most other democracies, they are allowed one phone call after being arrested, all their possessions confiscated for safekeeping and they have no special rights, other than exercise and food! Here, they are allowed to get education, cell phones, special diets, frequent family visits and a host of other benefits! It actually is a privilege to be a prisoner in an Israeli jail, all paid for by us taxpayers!
This results in, for any minor reason, such things as hunger strikes! I personally would let them kill themselves and save feeding costs! It is their prerogative, let them be!
There is a sheriff in Maricopa County, Arizona, who makes the prisoners wear pink suits and live in tents (he maintains that it is good enough for soldiers). When they waned television, he gave them cooking and sewing programs! Try that with our prisoners!S. GELGOR
Tel AvivEnough senseless funerals
Regarding “NGO director blames government” (March 31), the death of lone soldier Alex Sasaki is a tragedy.
The statement “Some lone soldiers are reluctant to report mental health problems… since they worry about their military profile” is true of Israeli soldiers, as well. There is pressure in Israeli society to have a high profile and serve in a combat unit. Many soldiers do not disclose mental health issues for fear of having their profile lowered and a permanent mark on their record.
Sadly, the death of a lone soldier of a drug overdose brought this issue to light. All organizations should join together to deal with this. A serious mental health examination should be part of the draft process for all soldiers. Lone soldiers who voluntarily join the IDF often give up a comfortable life. It is important for the IDF, with other agencies, to conduct clear and thorough interviews to understand their reasons.
Sometimes the young person, dissatisfied with life in his/her home country, hopes that moving to Israel and joining the IDF will solve their problems. We need to be mindful of the funeral for the young soldier who died under difficult circumstances. The message to another troubled young soldier might be that it is important to confront the issues.
Hopefully, with agencies working together to make soldiers and lone soldiers feel safe and protected, we won’t have additional senseless funerals.DEBRA WEINER
JerusalemInternational law: On our side
Regarding “Trump’s recognition of Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan” (April 1), once again Susan Hattis Rolef opens up with cannons roaring against our prime minister. If she is so fired up about international law, why does she not take the time to peruse the Mandate for Palestine, which is still legally binding and makes it clear that all of Judea and Samaria belongs to the Jewish people?
No mandatory changes to that law have ever been enacted. As for the Golan Heights, any law that proposes that implacable foes who go to war with their neighbors to destroy their state and slaughter the people have a right to land that would be suicidal for the defender to surrender, then the law (with apologies to Charles Dickens) ”is a ass.”EDMUND JONAH
Rishon LezionShould Israel reward Syria?
As a foreigner who lives in Israel (in the Scandinavian Seamen’s Church), I read with great sadness the article of Susan Hattis Rolef in which she claims that Israel according to international law has no right to the Golan Heights and that US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan is meaningless.
She probably does not know that the Golan Heights were part of the Mandate of Palestine when the League of Nations established it in 1922. This decision, which became international law, recognized the whole land (Judea, Samaria, Gaza, the Golan and the western part that became the State of Israel in 1948) as land of the Jewish people. But later, when Great Britain got the administration of “Palestine” and France administered the mandate of Syria and Lebanon, the two Western powers made a change and transferred the Golan Heights to the French Mandate.
This means that the Golan, according to international law, does not belong to Syria. Israel is the rightful owner. When Syria became an independent state, it only misused these areas, attacked the poor Israelis in the valley below again and again, tried to cut off the water to Israel and began two wars against Israel. It lost both and in the Six Day War in 1967, Israel liberated the Golan Heights, which it should have had from the beginning.
Should the rightful owner of the Golan, Israel, now reward the perpetual aggressor, Syria, and give him a part of Israel’s precious land?BRUNO WENSKE
HaifaGazan crash crops
In “The birth of the State of Palestine” (April 4), Gershon Baskin claims that after prime minister Ariel Sharon’s withdrawal from Gaza, “Gush Katif’s hothouses… went bankrupt quickly, as their produce aimed for the Israeli market was left to rot on the border.”
Yet Gazan officials themselves admitted that the greenhouses were looted by gunmen following Israel’s withdrawal. Deputy Palestinian finance minister Jihad al-Wazir said that looters stole irrigation pipes, plastic sheeting, water pumps and more. The looting of the greenhouses and refusal to accept the offer of Israeli expertise were the problem – not border regulations. The Israel border was open all year at that time; it only was closed later due to security concerns and the importation of firearms and concrete used to build tunnels.
Selective journalism and inaccuracies are not conducive to providing a believable narrative. KAREN PISK
Up in the air
Regarding “Regulators knew before crashes that Boeing 737 MAX had problems in certain conditions” (March 29), the crash of two Boeing 737 MAX aircraft has brought the safety of commercial passenger aircraft into public awareness. To satisfy the members of the flying public that passenger aircraft are safe, explanations must be provided for several points.
Aircraft software is now so complex that it has to have fault tolerance incorporated. This allows the software system to continue acting, even when part of it fails. How can an aircraft with such software be regarded as safe?
The Federal Aviation Authority is the main body charged with certifying the air-worthiness of commercial aircraft. It is known that the FAA does not have qualified personnel to check the software of modern commercial aircraft and relies on the manufacturers for this check. How can such software be regarded as safe?
In the Ethiopian Airlines crash, discordant readings from two sensors were reported. Before installation in aircraft, sensors should be tested to destruction. A sensor replacement program, based on this lifetime testing, should be mandatory.
When will these measures be implemented?GERRY MYERS
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