Not a smart move
Sir, – As an ardent Zionist, Holocaust survivor, and Jerusalem Post subscriber, I must admit that the statement released by Human Rights Watch (“HRW: Israel’s demolition of Palestinian terrorists’ homes is ‘war crime,’” November 22) regarding the demolition of the homes of the terrorists who killed four rabbis and a policeman in the Jerusalem synagogue massacre is correct, despite the organization’s notorious anti-Israel policy. The demolition does not make sense – it takes away the attention of the world and the media from this horrific atrocity against Israelis and Jews by Palestinians, and refocuses it on an unfavorable action by Israel.
Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have to start acting smarter, even when it hurts.
Oakland Gardens, New York
Sir, – Following the unspeakable atrocity perpetrated by two Israeli Arab cousins at the Kehilat Yaakov Synagogue in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood Itamar Shimoni, the mayor of Ashkelon, has called for all Arabs working in his city to be dismissed.
It was premature for Shimoni to react with such a far-reaching decision, but I must censure Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat in the strongest terms for what was arguably his most embarrassing and unfortunate pronouncement since succeeding to his post.
To liken Shimoni’s move to what was done in Nazi Germany 70 years ago (“Jerusalem mayor: We cannot discriminate against Arabs,” November 22) is not only factually incorrect, because it would bring us to 1944, the height of the Holocaust, but it does not even bear comparison to the treatment of Jews in the 1930s and its reasons.
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As a teenager who experienced the treatment of Jews in Germany throughout the ’30s, let me explain to Barkat the folly of his statement.
The actions of Ashkelon’s mayor are surely the result of the many recent attacks by Arabs, some who are even in Jewish employment and who with cars, knives and guns murdered Jews standing at bus and train stations, walking on sidewalks or lawfully driving their cars through city streets and highways, culminating in the cruel and multiple murders in Har Nof.
This is vastly different from the events in Nazi Germany, where to my best knowledge and belief there were no recorded cases of a Jew attacking innocent Germans. Yet as early as 1935 Hitler announced the Nuremberg Laws, which excluded German Jews from citizenship and prohibited them from having any relations with Germans or persons considered to be Aryans.
Many more ancillary ordinances to the laws disenfranchised Jews and deprived them of most rights including employment, which had the effect of their total economic strangulation. All that, not for reasons of any violent unlawful behavior, but just because they were Jews This, I suggest to Barkat, is vastly different from the situation that pertains in Israel today and without doubt moved the mayor of Ashkelon to make his decision.
The writer hosts Walter’s World on Israel National Radio.
Sir, – Any obituary of Mike Nichols (“Hollywood turns its lonely eyes to Mike Nichols,” November 24) is incomplete without recalling his brilliant early career as a performer. He was a star improviser in Chicago’s famous Second City Theater (then known as the Compass Theater), with such luminaries as Elaine May and Alan Arkin. His subsequent collaboration with May created the most successful improvisational comedy duo of their or any other time.
The good fight While I pride myself on being an Israel advocate, I cannot help but feel mountains of discouragement as I look back on the recent months of brutality and hate.
While I have been lucky enough to experience the power and strength of AIPAC in the past, this past week was exceptionally meaningful in a way that I have never experienced before. While joining 500 high school students in Washington DC as a peer facilitator at Schusterman Advocacy Institute High School Summit, I was able to watch as students from all backgrounds came together to dialogue, learn and actively engage in pro-Israel advocacy.
These high school students did not hold back when sharing their personal and brave experiences of anti-Israel sentiment on high school campuses.
Although I tried endlessly to shake the recent terrorists events from my mind, these young adults left behind the negativity of the outside world and confronted the issues head on.
I was beaming with a newfound confidence for Israel watching these young adults thrive. I was able to assist many of these young adults in their first lobbying experience to Capitol Hill. As I watched them enter into the offices of many remarkable political figures, I envisioned that these students were entering into the thresholds of many before them that took pride in advocating for the safety of Israel and the only true democracy in the Middle East. AIPAC reinsured these high school students that they are not alone on campus, even when it feels like an uphill battle.
Everyone from that weekend left understanding the binding relationship Israel has with America.
Stop domestic violence
Sir, – Today, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, reminds us to ask ourselves why we ignore scenes of domestic violence? What causes us to decide not to help in any way during a fellow human being’s time of need? The reasons are unfortunately clear. The thought that someone else will probably do it, the feeling of not wanting to get involved, and sometimes just the hope that ignoring the situation will somehow make it stop.
Jewish law speaks of being a Good Samaritan. The bystander’s duty to come to the rescue of his fellow man who is in peril is religious, ethical and legal. A citizen is expected to engage in the act of rescue, both personally and with his financial resources.
There is no doubt the responsibility is on the authorities to take even the slightest situation as serious as possible, and to do all that is in their power to stop men who allow themselves to abuse their spouses or children.
However, in addition, the responsibility belongs to us as civilians to take action. This is the world we live in, and it is our duty to be there for those in need.
Although it is clearly not a natural trait for most, we as people need to do all that is in our power to fight those natural thoughts and decide we are going to be do-ers and not bystanders. It is not enough to blame it on the police for not getting there fast enough or wondering how has nothing been done. It is our duty to stand up and be the voice for those poor women and children that don’t always have the power to speak for themselves.
In honor of this day I call upon every person to try and make the change.
I believe that in order for our society to be a better place, we need to take a stand and do the right thing when the time comes, and the time is now.
The author is a social work student at Bar-Ilan University
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