MDA’s hollow claims
Claims by Magen David Adom that it can no longer provide services to Judea and Samaria on account of financial limitations ring hollow (“United Hatzalah to boost presence in West Bank,” January 2).
Unlike United Hatzalah, whose services are provided gratis and whose response times are record-breaking, MDA charges hefty fees for its ambulance service – fees that, of themselves, should cover any costs, especially since their ambulances are all donated. What’s more, United Hatzalah seems able to offer its services without having to spend huge sums on never-ending fund-raising ads in both domestic and overseas media – money that might be better spent providing its services to Judea and Samaria.
Perhaps it is time that closer scrutiny were applied to MDA’s finances, payrolls and expenditures.
It seems it could learn a thing or two from its younger and much-resented competition.
J.J. GROSS Jerusalem
Guterres and Israel
Regarding “Danon on new UN chief Guterres: ‘Just be fair’” (January 2), by all means, Antonio Guterres should be fair. He should also be educated on certain issues of great importance.
Without being condescending, this is especially true of the eternal bond between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel and Jerusalem, both spiritually and legally. In light of the recent UNESCO vote purporting to annul this bond, a deep understanding is a prerequisite for the job.
The Jewish scriptures, with their more-than 900 references to the Land of Israel, the laws regarding its cultivation, the mandatory devotions on the Temple Mount as well as the daily Jewish prayer services that have stood in for those ancient rituals and clearly restated our claim each day of our exile, together constitute an unbroken claim to our land and our capital, Jerusalem.
This fact was recognized in the Balfour Declaration and enshrined in law by the League of Nations mandate compelling Britain to reconstitute the Jewish homeland in that part of Palestine west of the Jordan river. This mandate, a legal obligation on Britain and the only legal basis for its presence in the Holy Land after World War I, was passed on to the United Nations, for which it remains a binding obligation under the UN charter.
May Mr. Guterres have the courage his predecessors lacked.
RAFI BEZALEL Jerusalem
Views from America
Regarding “Congress looks at options against UN after settlement vote” (January 1), I am an American Jew. I am also a devoted supporter of Israel.
The US abstention in the recent UN Security Council vote on settlements was an effort to save Israel from its own suicidal policies.
Expanded settlement activity will render a two-state solution impossible because expanded settlers will not submit to Palestinian rule. The inevitable result will be a one-state solution, with Palestinian Arabs as Israeli citizens having significantly more power to change the balance in the Knesset.
Due to disparate birth rates, Palestinian Arabs will eventually outnumber Jews. Unless Israel is prepared to give up its democracy, it will be forced to marginalize its new Palestinian population.
The result will be apartheid.
No self-respecting Jew can want to live in a country in which the minority rules the majority.
Israel is on the verge of dying as a western democracy. This is not a complicated or difficult prognosis. It derives from a lifetime of practice in diplomacy and a knowledge of history.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must not become a witting ally of US President-elect Donald Trump. Trump’s support for Israel will be financially generous, but he will help obstruct and eliminate the possibility of a two-state solution. God help you and Jews everywhere.
LEIGH RATINER Reno, Nevada
The writer is an attorney and was chief negotiator on behalf of the State Department at the UN Law of the Sea Conference. He worked for five administrations, stretching from that of John F. Kennedy to that of Ronald Reagan.
Gershon Baskin’s unstinting support for the recent UN resolution and the two-state solution (“The state of denial,” Encountering Peace, December 29) is more troubling for what it ignores than what it says.
He asserts that pre-67 Israel “comprises 78% of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.” He fails to acknowledge that a new “Palestine” would yield two Palestinian/ Arab states, along with Jordan, occupying nearly 80% of the territory promised to the Jewish people under the Balfour Declaration and the British Mandate.
He suggests that “[a]nyone who supports the two-state solution should see this resolution as the new Kaf-tet of November,” the Hebrew-rendering of the date in 1947 on which the UN voted to support the creation of modern Israel. He forgets that the decision led to Arab efforts to destroy the nascent state even before it was declared.
Ironically, Baskin could be right. In the current hostile atmosphere, validating Arab claims to land “occupied” by Jews could herald the same violent response from Palestinians/ Arabs toward Jews that we saw following the 1947 decision.
The Palestinians might conclude that our presence in “their” land – from the river to the sea – is nearly at an end.
Only when people such as Baskin understand that the Palestinians’ refusal to accept the permanence of a Jewish state is at the heart of the dispute can we move toward a lasting peace.
The UN resolution is a tragic step backward.
ARYEH SHAPUNOW Skokie, Illinois
Bible session Instead of having the Foreign Ministry summon envoys from the nations that supported the recent Security Council resolution on settlements in order to reprimand them, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should have had the ministry give them copies of both the Bible and the Christian New Testament.
It should then have let them read aloud – together – the passages making it clear that only the Jews had a temple on the Temple Mount, that this was many centuries before the Muslims had their Aksa Mosque there, and that Jews lived in Judea and Samaria centuries before the Muslims ever came into existence.
By reading the appropriate passages in both the Bible and the New Testament, they could have perhaps understood that Jesus lived and was raised in Nazareth, and that when he came to Jerusalem, he overturned Jewish, not Muslim, tables on the Temple Mount because there were no Muslims in the world at the time. After reading these and other appropriate passages, the envoys would have to admit that this was a Jewish country for at least 2,000 years before Muslims claimed the Temple Mount, the city of Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria as theirs.
Perhaps after reading the Bible, they would advise their governments to take back their votes on the resolution, which fails to recognize the Jewish rights to this land, especially on the Temple Mount.
JOSHUA J. ADLER Jerusalem
Technology query After reading “Mobile device smuggling is a serious security problem” (Observations, December 30), it occurred to me to ask if we have the technology to put an electronic barrier around our prisons to prevent calls from mobile phones.
I know that the prison guards would have to use landlines.
They might find this tough, but aren’t they often part of the problem? If we don’t have such technology, perhaps we should ask Turkey’s Erdogan or Syria’s Assad for help.
GERALDINE THEMAL Tivon