Truth 1, Sarsour 0
Regarding “Linda Sarsour: Jesus was a Palestinian” (July 8), first of all, at the time of Jesus, there was no such thing as Palestine. The name was first used by Roman Emperor Hadrian, and since his reign was 117 to 138 CE, it was obviously some time after the life of Jesus.
Sarsour claims that before the creation of the State of Israel, Palestinians and Jews lived together in peaceful co-existence. Nothing could be further from the truth. Ignoring the fact that in 1948, the term “Palestinian” referred residents of the British mandatory area of that name, and not the Arabs that she is thinking of, peaceful co-existence certainly was not the case. Sarsour is conveniently re-writing history to eliminate Arab violence such as the riots of 1920, 1921, 1929, 1936-39 and 1947, not to mention the total annihilation of the Jewish community in Hebron.
She also asserts that Bethlehem is home to a “predominantly beautiful Palestinian Christian community.” It is far from prominently Christian. At the time of Israeli statehood, the population of Christians there stood at around 85%; today it has fallen to around 12%. In Islam, Christians are not considered “beautiful,” but rather held in a state of dhimmitude; second class citizens with diminished rights, widespread physical abuse and subject to discriminatory taxation. This has been the main reason for the Christian flight – a common phenomenon throughout the Middle East.
By contrast, Israeli Arab Christians are protected, have equal civil rights and have seen a significant increase in absolute population numbers since 1948.
In historical sources and the so-called New Testament, Sarsour will find ample information on the Jewish nature of Jesus. She and her ilk need to back away from their hatred of Israel and of all things of the Western world – and stop making up history.DAVID SMITH
Don’t finance hostile art
Regarding “The Israeli cultural elite’s unearned sense of entitlement” (July 7), if you held a poll, the decision by Mifal HaPayis Israel’s national lottery to withdraw its NIS 150,000 prize funding the International DocAviv film festival held annually in Tel Aviv would win broad approval.
The arts should be supported and generously funded, but having voted The Advocate the winning film – a documentary that glorifies the work of anti-Israel attorney Leah Tsemel – is a strong slap in the face to those taxpayers that have contributed to the lottery.
Tsemel’s staunch defense of Hamas and PFLP terrorists that have carried out heinous bloody acts against Israeli citizens links this prize money to the “pay to slay” policy of the Palestinian Authority.
The arts and all other media should not be subject to overt censorship, but when something crosses the line, which it clearly appears to have done in this case, it should not be subsidized.
Yes, hold up a mirror to what’s happening but make sure it’s not severely cracked before you do.STEPHEN VISHNICK
Name-dropping and intimacy
Shmuley Boteach’s otherwise intelligent and educational articles are marred by his consistent and irritating name-dropping. He outdid himself (“Presidential candidates who refuse to hate evil,” July 2) by four (!) names: “my friend and presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker… Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii whom I consider a friend… my friend and presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, and “Elie Wiesel once told me…”
Incidentally, “New Tel Aviv store supplies 613 shades of kosher sex” (July 4) reports that Boteach’s daughter Chana opened a Kosher Sex store in Tel Aviv with her father’s blessing. This is a first in Israel and probably in the entire world. This raises the question of whether the kashrut will be under rabbinical supervision and, if so, can we expect to see similar enterprises opening in Bnei Brak and Mea She’arim.JAY SHAPIRO
That’s one small step for Iran
Regarding “Iran’s nuclear enrichment game” (July 9), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said World War II began in Europe “when Nazi Germany took one small step – to enter the Rhineland [in 1936]. A small step. No one said anything and no one did anything. The next step was the Anschluss, the connection with Austria [annexation of Austria in March 1938], and the next step was entering the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia [October 1938]. And the rest is known.”
Netanyahu knows what is at stake. According to Ari Shavit’s article from 2012, “A few years ago Netanyahu held an in-depth discussion with Middle East expert Bernard Lewis. At the end of the talk, he was convinced that if the ayatollahs obtained nuclear weapons, they would use them. Since that day, Netanyahu seems convinced that we are living out a rerun of the 1930s.”
So the question is not whether Israel is going to preempt; the question is only when.MLADEN ANDRIJASEVIC
Israel’s undivided capital
Regarding “A tale of one city” (July 5), the issues of trying to “Judaize” east Jerusalem and the archaeology digs around Silwan need context.
To begin with, Jerusalem was established as King David’s capital just over 3,000 years ago and his son, Solomon, built the first Temple on Mount Moriah, now called the Temple Mount. Jordanian maps, prior to 1967, called it Mount Moriah.
Jews were the largest ethnic group in Jerusalem since the mid-1800s. “East Jerusalem” only became Jew-free from 1948 to 1967, when Jordan occupied it and refused to allow any Jew to live or visit there.
From the 1850s, Jerusalem’s Jews had to pay the Silwan’s Arabs to not vandalize the graves on the Mount of Olives. Between 1881 and 1882, a group of poor Yemenite Jews established Kfar Hashiloah (Shiloah Village) in the Silwan area.
During the pogroms of 1921 and 1929, Silwan’s Jews were attacked. After the 1929 massacre in Hebron, their surviving Jews were transferred to Jerusalem, and in 1939 the remaining Jews of Silwan were forced out and Arab settlers moved in. From the expulsions till 1967, neither Hebron nor Silwan had Jews.
After the Six Day War, former residents started moving back.
As for the Palestinians’ anger with Israel’s continuing exploration of archaeological proof of its heritage, there’s nothing new in that. Arabs have tried to erase Jewish history, but they cannot. To deny Judaism’s connection with Jerusalem, denies Christianity’s as well.
Ethnic cleansing of Jews throughout the Middle East and North Africa is complete – except for in the Jewish State. Israelis have the right to their ancestral home.
Palestinian Arabs repeatedly refused a state of their own that leaves a viable Jewish state. They rejected the latest American proposal without even seeing it. They will continue to live on welfare until more of their donors tire of their obduracy.LEN BENNETT
A tale of two tunnels
“Another Hamas tunnel into Israel uncovered by IDF” (July 9) details the latest of some 16 terror tunnels dug by the Palestinians at extravagant financial cost to kidnap and murder people. It was discovered and exposed by the IDF.
Directly below that article on the same page is “PA: US violated laws of war in Jerusalem,” reporting that the PA, with no hint of embarrassment or irony, accuses the US of war crimes for its support of the archaeological tunnel dug to improve access the ancient “Pilgrimage Road.”
The juxtaposition of the two articles speaks volumes about the cynicism, depravity and inhumanity of the corrupt PA – and those people (like Roger Waters) who extol it while demonizing Israel.DAVID HALEVI
I was among the first to experience the Ethiopian demonstration last week. When driving out of Beit Shemesh I saw a group of teenagers in the middle of the intersection, with several policemen around them. It seemed harmless enough, although to my mind an inappropriate way to mark the terribly sad killing of Solomon Tekah.
Later that evening, trying to return home from Jerusalem at about 9 p.m., the roads to the exit of the city were impossibly blocked, resulting in our being held up in traffic with thousands of others until well past midnight.
At one junction, at a cross street totally blocked off by a line of buses, a car driver frantically jumped out of her car and ran into the cross street in a desperate attempt to get the buses to move. It was terribly dangerous for her and could have resulted in a second tragedy right there.
Random protests such as happened that night cannot right any wrong; on the contrary can lead to further injuries and even deaths.
A young man’s death is a tragedy whatever the circumstances, but in a democratic country such as ours, there are legal and political ways investigate and protest. If other issues remain, the vote is still the most potent tool for change.
(Un) Health Ministry
As president emeritus of “Jewish Veg” and author of three editions of Judaism and Vegetarianism and over 250 related articles online, I read with much interest “Health Ministry to mark ‘recommended’ foods with green check mark” (July 7).
While the Health Ministry commendably is critical of processed foods, candies and sweet drinks, I was disappointed and saddened that they recommend dairy products, chicken, fish and some beef – the foods that have been linked in many peer-reviewed studies reported in respected medical journals, to heart disease, several types of cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Some studies have shown that these diseases can be not only prevented through plant-based diets but reversed in many cases.
In addition to its health benefits, shifting away from animal-based diets would help reduce climate change and other environmental threats, inefficient use of water, energy and other resources, and the widespread mistreatment of farmed animals.
Shame on the Israeli Health Ministry for providing misleading nutritional information.RICHARD H. SCHWARTZ, PH.D.
Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island
Immunity: Skewed view
“Why an immunity law is necessary for Israeli democracy” (July 5) is clearly politically motivated, while the biographical footnote describing the writer as a “criminal attorney and a law professor” appears to be an attempt to portray her essay as an unbiased legal opinion, which it clearly is not.
Whether or not an “Immunity Law” of some kind is justified and/or desirable is a matter for parliamentary debate, but not when it is being thrust upon us by or on behalf of the very person who is in imminent danger of being indicted for serious crimes that would affect his ability to remain in power.
The writer presents a skewed view of the doctrine of separation of powers, in that she totally ignores its underlying purpose, which is to curb the excessive abuse of power on the part of the executive branch of government. An immunity law, such as the one being touted here, would enable a criminal to hold on to the reins of government despite his crimes. This would be infinitely more harmful to Israel’s status on the world stage than openly applying the rule of law equally to all its citizens.
If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had the best interests of the country at heart, he would stand down and allow judicial process to take its course.IAN BANKS
Regarding “Joint bank accounts for married couples?” (July 5), as the financial-manager wife of the same primary wage-earner husband for more than 50 years, I agree that “marriage is about teamwork.” Nonetheless, the definition of “joint tenancy” varies from country to country. For a married couple in the US, a “right of survivorship” feature gives each joint tenant a 100% share in the property (i.e., real estate/bank account). Israel has no such feature; each joint tenant has only a 50% share in their property. Upon the death of a spouse, the survivor can access only his/her share – plus some of the deceased’s, if there is a longevity clause signed on the account.
For both first-time and remarriage situations, to safeguard the prospective wife’s already acquired, and/or currently being earned, and/or potentially inherited assets from becoming the exclusive property of her prospective husband (i.e., not belonging to her, their child/ren or a new spouse), the couple should have a halachic prenuptial agreement drafted by an attorney knowledgeable in both halacha and secular law. During various stages of the marriage (births, acquisitions, changed circumstances, etc.), this agreement can be adjusted with the signed consent of both parties. A halachic will (dealing with issues after death) is essential; in many cases, a post-nuptial agreement (dealing with survivorship issues) should also be written.
Every single/married adult should nominate – through a Durable Power of Attorney in Israel and/or a Springing Power of Attorney in the US – a responsible person to act as their medical proxy, guardian and financial manager. These documents, executed when one is mentally competent, don’t become effective until one becomes mentally incompetent, God forbid. They are applicable only in their respective countries; if one resides a fair amount of time in both places, there should be multiple powers in place.TIRTZA JOTKOWITZ, ESQ.
Jerusalem‘Peace’ can cause war
Regarding “Lessons from a great war’s disastrous peace” (July 5), my grandfather, a rabbi in Germany, kept a running diary throughout the course of World War I, with almost daily entries. His entry of June 28, 1919 was remarkably prescient: “Today the peace treaty will be signed. What a horrible peace! This peace will be the cause of another war” (My Opa, Mazo Publishers, 2005).
Some 20 years later, almost to the day, his prophesy became reality.FRED GOTTLIEB
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