Two RFK articles miss the point
Your June 3 edition carried two major articles on the assassination of Robert Kennedy (“RFK’s finest moment,” written by an alleged rabbi, and “50 years since RFK’s assassination, a dream cut short”). As hard as it is to believe, the identity of the assassin and his motive were not even mentioned – in an Israeli newspaper published in Jerusalem. The closest either article comes to identifying the murderer was that RFK’s campaign was “cut short by an assassin.”
To refresh our memories, the assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, is a “Palestinian” with Jordanian citizenship, who shot and mortally wounded Senator Robert F. Kennedy on June 5, 1968; Kennedy died the following day. Sirhan was convicted of murder and is serving a life sentence in San Diego County, California.
After his arrest, Sirhan said, “I can explain it. I did it for my country.”
During his trial, Sirhan said he shot Kennedy because he disapproved of Kennedy’s vocal support for Israel during the 1967 Six Day War, which had begun one year to the day before the assassination. Hardly a coincidence!
Bobby Kennedy was a true friend of Israel, and an Arab terrorist took his life for this reason. We remember this great man, as we recall the motive for his murder and the identity of his assassin.IRA L. JACOBSON
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French President Macron said (“Macron says US Embassy relocation led to deaths,” June 6) that the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem was wrong because it cost lives. He said he would not make any move that might cost lives.
What a nonsensical statement for a leader and supposed decision-maker to state. In other words, if someone threatens to kill people if he makes a decision, such as protecting French interests against terrorism, he won’t make that decision.
It was not the US Embassy move that caused the deaths, it was the Hamas leadership that caused the deaths! Are we supposed to do nothing for fear of the reaction of the terrorists of the world? This type of French appeasement to blackmail is a recipe for stalemate and failure.JACK COHEN
BeershebaToying with Jerusalem
Regarding “Regev: If Eurovision is not in Jerusalem, it should not be in Israel” (June 8), what other country, having won the contest, would not be allowed to choose the city for broadcasting?
Yet due to political ramifications, non-recognition and threats of violence, the subject of Jerusalem as our city of choice will no doubt lead to months of chest beating, not only internationally but internally.
I say to state it now, loud and clear, that Jerusalem is our capital and this is where we choose to hold this event. Hesitation and endless wrangling will make it appear that we are running scared and not in control of our own destiny in this matter.
We owe it to ourselves and to Netta Barzilai for her unique talent and magnificent win. STEPHEN VISHNICK
Eurovision was won by Israel this year. Since Jerusalem is a political hot spot at present, I sincerely believe it would not matter if another city in Israel is chosen. Let us not, for political reasons, lose this magnificent opportunity to show the world what a wonderful country we have. MICHAEL PLASKOW
Only a game?
Regarding “Have we learned from the Messi mess?” (June 8), we shouldn’t be surprised by the Argentine Football Association’s cancellation of its scheduled soccer match in Jerusalem following threats that were made to the lives of its star player Lionel Messi, his family and others associated with the team.
The Palestinian cause first came on the international scene at the end of the 1960s when various Palestinian factions and their supporters began exporting terrorism to European cities. Their nefarious deeds included setting off bombs in central urban areas as well as a spate of airline hijackings. In a relatively short amount of time, many people, including heads of state who had never heard of a “Palestinian people,” sat up and took note. Serial murderer Yasser Arafat, leader of the PLO, began to be feted by Europe’s leaders.
Within just a few years “justice for Palestine” became recognized as a cause celebre throughout Europe and elsewhere. The lesson is not that “might makes right,” but unfortunately that threats and violence work. ARDIE GELDMAN
When terrorists infiltrate international sport, we’re in deep trouble. In 1972, Arab Palestinian terrorists murdered 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics as part of their ongoing attempts to destroy the Jewish state, one way or another. That terrorism reared its public, ugly head in another form this week.
Jibril Rajoub is the head of the Palestine Football Association. It would be a mistake to call him a former terrorist because all he did was substitute his military fatigues for a business suit and pretend to be civilized by taking on the appearance of a bureaucrat.
Through the making of various known and unknown threats against Argentinian soccer players and its government, Rajoub and his supporters pulled off yet another propaganda coup by inducing Argentina to cancel a planned World Cup warm-up match that was to have been played in Israel.
Maybe it’s the soft bigotry of low expectations that allows a country like Argentina to buckle to this blackmail. Maybe they’re just antisemitic. It would be better if they had the guts to admit it openly. If they did, at least the appropriate lines could be drawn between hypocrites and haters.DESMOND TUCK
San Mateo, CA
As much as I am disappointed about the cancellation and I am a Messi and Barcelona fan, I think we are making too big a deal out of it, considering the people who live on the border of Gaza, as I do, are suffering from fire damage, smoke, and a week ago, rockets raining down on us.
The game being canceled is not our main concern – it is the terrorists and BDS that we should be more worried about striving to ban Israel’s products around the world for the “crimes” our brave soldiers “commit” by defending Israel from terrorists.
It was only a game, not the end of the world for Israel.DON SALIMAN
Kibbutz Nahal Oz
Dealing with Gaza
Regarding “IDF fires first warning shots at Gazans sending kites” (June 10), isn’t it time for Israel to warn Hamas that incendiary kites and balloons directed at civilian targets are internationally forbidden military acts, in the same category as nerve gas, that justify full military punishment?
If Israel responds by destroying a military target in Gaza for each kite and balloon that does damage, it may stop this threat quickly.NAFTALI WAGSCHAL
In “Cut the politics” (June 8), the writer totally fails to understand that Hamas and its Gazans do not need to negotiate with Israel. Its leaders have everything they will ever want: universal approbation, unlimited wealth and a totally suppressed population.
This is a population that is daily fed by the hand that it bites and whose leaders have the neighboring Jews to blame for whatever suffering they wish to inflict upon their people. What possible terms for negotiation – other than our national suicide – can we offer that will give anything to these leaders better than they already have?
Hamas enjoys unlimited wealth from Europe, the US and Iran; an endless supply of today’s equivalent of suicide bombers; and a propaganda machine that makes Goebbel’s efforts look like elementary school lessons in composition.
Sympathy for the plight of the average resident of Gaza is only natural – so what !
The Cold War came to an end when Ronald Reagan upped the poker game stakes and the Soviet system’s corruption was exposed to daylight. The end of Hamas will come from such an approach – nothing else.KALMAN BOOKMAN
JerusalemOur own worst enemy
“If not now, then when?” (June 8), is a tragic description of what has become rather common, especially in the Reform movement and now in the Conservative movement as well. Their self-hatred of anything Jewish or Israeli is shocking and tragic. It is indeed the height of chutzpah to expect the Israeli rabbinate to recognize the conversions of those who applauded the antisemitic and anti Israeli speech at the Hebrew Union College in LA given by novelist Michael Chabon. I don’t understand why he needs the Reform movement. Hasn’t the time come for responsible non-religious leaders to denounce this shocking behavior? YITZCHOK ELEFANT
Chief Rabbi of Dimona
We don’t fund terrorism
As a foundation committed to advancing a just and durable peace in the Middle East, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund unequivocally rejects the baseless allegations made in “Rockefeller Brothers Fund contributes to group funding Palestinian terrorism (June 6).
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund conducts robust due diligence to ensure that our grantees comply with US laws and regulations. Using an industry-standard global screening platform, the Fund screens the staff and board members of all grantees to verify their identity and confirm that there are no known legal issues. Grantees also submit annual financial and narrative reports to demonstrate that RBF resources are allocated in accordance with their grant agreement. Our program staff maintain close relationships with our grantees and consistently monitor their work in the field.
We remain convinced that no resources from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund have been used to support any individual or group identified by the United States government as engaging in terrorist activities.
We believe that the only way to achieve peace in the region and true justice for Israelis and Palestinians is to bring the occupation to an end and ensure security and full human rights for all. We support Israel as a democratic state that represents the fulfillment of the right to self-determination of the Jewish people; we also support the self-determination of the Palestinian people. Our grantees and partners engage in a diverse array of nonviolent strategies to advance progress toward this vision despite the stalled political processes.STEPHEN HEINTZ
President, Rockefeller Brothers Fund
The medium is the msg.
In “The missing cellphone” (June 1), Dr. Batya Ludman writes “We must ask ourselves, what are acceptable boundaries, where does work end?”
Our grandson received notification of termination of his work in a school – together with a colleague – via WhatsApp. Have direct speech and manners become redundant?HASJA PALMER
ShoreshThis land is ours
Regarding “Israel and Europe – what has gone wrong?” (June 4), what has gone wrong with the writer? If she has the gall to criticize our politicians, she should be a bit more cognizant of political matters.
Israel never occupied the territories it regained in 1967. It was a liberation, and calling to get us out by any means and give it to our sworn enemies, who have vowed to destroy our country and its people, is tantamount to treason. What does it matter what others say the law is when sovereignty was clearly defined in the Mandate for Palestine, making the land legally ours? For some reason, this document is ignored by our politicians here and abroad. The terms have never been questioned and no UN resolutions have abrogated its provisions, which gives us the rights to all of the so-called West Bank.
We have, for good reason, not annexed the territory, which is why we have a military government over the million and a half Arabs living there. They have autonomy. They were offered full control of that area several times. Prime ministers Barak and Olmert even offered them a state over 95% of the territory, which they refused (thank heaven). We would have given up strategic depth to dedicated enemies, leaving us with a very narrow neck in the central region where Netanya is situated.
The Bible states God gave this land to us and we were in possession of it for about 1,000 years. It is legally ours and it would be madness to turn it over to people who would cut our throats with a smile. When will Rolef concern herself with Arab inhabitants disregarding the rights of the Jews in this land? Columnists like Rolef help to promote antisemitism and the BDS movement. It’s time she made what’s wrong with her right.EDMUND JONAH
Conversion and divorce musings
“It happened to my family. It can happen to yours” (June 8) is founded on a number of spurious suppositions. To refer to a child born to a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother as a “genetic abnormality” reeks from racial eugenics and is taboo in any civilized discussion. In addition, neither in America nor in Israel can the problem of mixed marriages be solved by the dilution of the conversion process based on scholarship alien to millennia of Jewish tradition. In other words, Jewishness in not an inheritance that may be mutated but rather a heritage which remains relatively constant and not subject to the whims of any popular movement or ideology.DR. SAMUEL DERSHOWITZ
JerusalemYour editorial (“Convert now,” June 5) is absolutely right.
The Chief Rabbinate was established by the first chief rabbi, A.Y.H.Kook, in recognition of the Zionistic “Beginning of the Redemption” of the Jewish people after 2,000 years in exile. Today’s rabbinate has been hijacked by ultra-Orthodox sages who do not share the recognition that the State of Israel is in fact that divine beginning of redemption.
Moshe Nissim has the right credentials – legal, Orthodox and hereditary – to propose a reform of conversion in Israel. He is also committed to strict adherence to halacha (religious law) as interpreted by sages such as Maimonides.
An overwhelming majority of Israelis and MKs concur with his proposal, so it should be declared a non-partisan issue by all Zionist political parties. They should jointly undertake to support the government in adopting Nissim’s proposals and this would include their guarantee not to allow the government to fall on this issue. Their failure to cooperate in this manner would be tantamount to allowing the perpetuation of the haredi domination of conversion to the detriment of Israeli society.
While they are at it, this majority could also join together to solve a few other haredi-dominated issues such as conscription, and prayer at the Western Wall.YEHUDA FEIGLIN
Jeremy Sharon (Groundbreaking ruling in rabbinical court frees 23-year ‘chained woman,’ June 5) writes that “Tzviya Gorodetsky ... has been freed from her marriage by a private, ad hoc Orthodox rabbinical court,” though it is unlikely to help her since “the Chief Rabbinate is certain to reject the validity of the divorce”.
Apparently her husband “has been sitting in prison for the last 18 years, unmoved in his determination never to grant his wife a divorce.” The real reason for her plight is that the Chief Rabbinate is not permitted to apply the halachic sanction of makkot mardut (flogging for contempt of court). Unlike the Biblical punishment, such flogging is not limited to 39 lashes but could continue ad sheteitsei nafsho (until he expires).”
If a husband refuses to issue a get when ordered to do so by an official rabbinical court then, after a year in prison, he should be told that if he still refuses he will be flogged. I would be surprised if more than one lash would be necessary to convince him that the court was not bluffing.
After each lash, he should be given the option of complying and being released. In the unlikely situation that he prefer to continue being flogged, eventually he would die and his wife would then automatically be released as a widow!MARTIN D. STERN
Michael Cohen’s random and simplistic musings about walls (“Fences, barriers and walls: A personal rabbinic reflection,” June 5), together with carefully selected quotes from the Koran about peace should be an embarrassment to his employer, Bennington College.
It may be true that the Koran borrowed concepts from the Torah about saving life, but it also encourages its followers to find the Jew behind every tree , call for them and kill them.
Peace will be possible When Cohen and other wishful thinkers confront the truth, but it will be elusive as long as they live in a fantasy world.
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