End the rejection
With regard to “Michael Douglas: I want to be part of the Jewish tribe” (May 23), it is high time that this unfair anomaly was rectified.
In Temple times, the Judaic lineage was via the father; it was only after our time in exile, in the galut, that lineage became via the mother. This was done in order to maintain our heritage.
Obviously one could not verify the father. However, of the mother there could be no doubt. Now that DNA reading is so advanced, it seems grossly unfair and wrong that children of a wholly Jewish father are deemed “not quite Jewish enough,” yet with a Jewish mother and non-Jewish father, are accepted.
In my time, while living in the UK and working for Jewish/Israeli charities, I met some wonderful people working for the Jewish people. Some had Jewish fathers only, and I know after talking to them how upsetting it was to not be totally accepted or to be deemed “not kosher,” as one Israeli guide told a sincere senior volunteer fund-raiser I brought to Israel. There were also the unintentional, hurtful remarks sometimes made toward them by so-called kosher Jews.
We cannot as a people continue to lose what is becoming in the Diaspora possibly 50 percent of our tribe by making these people feel not quite “one of us.” Many are told or led to understand, as was Michael Douglas, that they do not qualify.
This must be revisited and corrected.
The hurtful rejection of loving members of our family must end!
JEFFREY MARLOWE Tel Aviv Ross no credit
Regarding “A mosaic of Israel and America on display in NYC” (May 23), The Jerusalem Post should be more careful in vetting the speakers for its annual conference.
Dennis Ross reports in his book The Missing Peace (p. 438) that during the Wye Conference of 1998, he was asked by then-president Bill Clinton whether imprisoned Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard should be released as part of the deal being negotiated. Ross replied: “If you want my advice, I would not release him now. I would save it for permanent status [talks]. You will need it later, don’t use it now.”
In a footnote, Ross adds that he “believed Pollard had received a harsher sentence than others who had committed comparable crimes. I preferred not tying his release to any agreement, but if that is what we were going to do, then I preferred saving it for permanent status.”
Permanent-status negotiations, of course, never came, but that is immaterial.
Ross unabashedly states that he recommended that a man he believed to already have been punished excessively remain in prison to be used as a negotiating tool. This cost Pollard another 17 years of his life.
Ross brought no credit to The Jerusalem Post Conference.
JAY SHAPIRO Jerusalem
A vote for death
In “Sanders wants Democrats to prioritize Palestinian rights” (May 23), you report that presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders is calling for increased support for people whose children are taught that they should kill Jews because Jews are apes and monkeys.
A vote for Sanders, therefore, would be a vote for killing Jews.
JOSHUA J. ADLER Jerusalem Hardly a new idea
With regard to “Israel’s cronyism drags on economy, suggests IDI study” (May 23), Israel Democracy Institute president Yohanan Plesner calls for merit- based hiring. Is this a new idea? It should be the primary concern of any responsible employer of a prospective employee.
In light of the unethical example set by our political parties, which choose our governments according to this same kind of horse-trading, we also need a merit-based government, not one based on “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” In the analyses I have read, the motivation of politicians seems to be about personal advancement and one-upmanship, not who is qualified for which post.
Our politicians should bear in mind a quotation by John F.
Kennedy, who famously said: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
DEENA SPIGELMAN Jerusalem Gratuitous jab
Gil Hoffman’s jab at the prime minister for “showing Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon the door the way he did” (“Netanyahu created a monster,” Analysis, May 22) is notably gratuitous, to say the least.
If anybody showed Ya’alon the door, it was Ya’alon himself, beginning with his hair-trigger denunciation, prior to factual investigation, of Sgt. Elor Azaria for shooting a wounded Palestinian terrorist in hebron, and ending with his open invitation to IDF commanders, still on active duty, to turn the army into a political advocacy forum.
A scarier attempt to meddle with the IDF’s 68-year image as an apolitical construct dedicated exclusively to the nation’s defense cannot be imagined. Its crowning touch was the then-defense minister’s intimation that anyone taking issue with his vision of a politically involved IDF command was in serious need of having his moral compass repaired.
BILL MEHLMAN Efrat
In a recent email reportedly sent to prominent Jewish Republicans, Sheldon Adelson, a major financial backer of pro-Israel causes, said that presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump will be a “tremendous president when it comes to the safety and security of Israel.”
Now Mr. Adelson is again in the news (“Adelson, allies pave way for Trump visit to Israel,” May 22). If he comes, we should give Mr. Trump a very warm welcome.
ISSY RIEBACK Kfar Yona We’re still Jews!
In his excellent “Israel’s qualitative edge” (Editor’s Notes, May 13), Yaakov Katz mentioned that there are four streams of Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist).
But I want to assure him that there are at least five, and that one of them is Messianic Judaism.
There are more than 100,000 adherents in the US alone.
Certain people have concluded that when a Jewish person believes in Yeshua as the messiah, he or she is no longer Jewish.
This is absolutely wrong. If you ask any Messianic Jew if he or she is Jewish, that person will say: “Of course I am. I was born Jewish and I will die Jewish. I believe in a Jewish man who fulfilled the prophecies of the Jewish messiah from the Jewish scriptures. The idea that this makes me a non-Jew is absurd!” Let’s say that, worst case, we are wrong and Yeshua is not the Jewish messiah. So take the case of Rabbi Akiva. He proclaimed that Bar-Kochba was the Jewish messiah. Today, we know otherwise.
Not only was Akiva mistaken, but his mistake brought enormous catastrophe upon the Jewish people. But do people say he was not a Jew? So how is it that a Jewish person who believes in Yeshua as the Jewish messiah, even if he or she is wrong, is no longer a Jew? One of the more prominent streams of Judaism today is the Chabad movement. Many of its adherents believe that their late rebbe is the Jewish messiah. I believe this is wrong, but I have no doubt that these people are still Jewish.
Mr. Katz invited us, his readers, to share our thoughts, and I am glad he did this. It shows that we live in a country where freedom of belief and freedom of the press still exist.
TERRI MOREY Poriya Illit