With regard to “Local Arab leaders accuse PM of inflaming anti-Arab hatred” (November 27), out of the hundreds of fires that have raged in Israel, virtually none have been in the open countryside, as would be expected if they were caused by the weather. Even those in the West Bank occurred in or near Jewish settlements.
How many Arab arsonists need to be caught before we can surmise that most of the fires were started deliberately? How many Arabs have had stones thrown at them or have been knifed or worse? The clear majority of Israelis do not hate Arabs – you cannot stoke something that does not exist in the first place. What we hate is the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel rhetoric of the Palestinians, how they inculcate even their young children, and the resulting violence we suffer.
You will not find such hatred taught in any school in Israel! Are these local Arab leaders unaware of the gloating coming from their compatriots because Israel is in flames? Even the Palestinian firefighters who came to help on humanitarian grounds and were welcomed by us have been vilified on returning to their homes.
This week, our Arab neighbors are still stocking the shelves in our local supermarkets. They are still working in our restaurants.
They are still working as nurses and doctors and pharmacists and in many other professions.
Show me one Israeli working in Ramallah, Hebron or Nablus without risking his life due to anti-Israeli incitement.
It seems these local Arab leaders are the most racist people in the world, yet they accuse us of being the racists! They should not accuse our government of stoking hatred. They should set their own house in order!
DAVID KAHN Zichron Ya’acov
The arson terrorism in Israel is not only an attack on Jews – it is an attack on Arabs who want to live peacefully with the Jews of Israel.
The arson is intended to enhance the polarization of Israeli society, to force the Arabs of Israel to chose sides, either passively suffering the backlash of unfocused Jewish anger or joining the rejectionists. But there is a third possibility, and that is to actively join in fighting the fires and fighting the terrorists.
To the Arabs of Israel: The terrorists might be your cousins, but they are also your enemies because they are trying to destroy your lives. As an Israeli Jew, I ask you, my fellow citizens, to support our country. We want you and we need you to heal our shattered community.
BARRY LEONARD WERNER Netanya
The real problem behind the fires plaguing Israel is negligent forestry management.
Good management includes education; the separation of areas by blank land to contain fires; watchtowers; and, above all, the clearing of brush. The state would make money if it gave concessions in each area for sheep grazing and clearing away brush, which would drastically reduce the amount of kindling.
DANIEL FARB Beit Shemesh
I truly feel that these unbelievable fires are being caused by God’s anger over what happened at the Western Wall at the beginning of the month when, together with men, members of Women of the Wall, wearing tefillin, brazenly marched into the women’s section carrying our sacred Torah. This was an extreme provocation! The government and police have enough to do protecting our beloved country. It was an enormous desecration of God’s name.
It is never to be forgotten and, I hope, never to be repeated.
ROSINA FISHER Jerusalem
Regarding “Shoah in Poland...”
(Letters, November 25), professors Dina Porat and Havi Dreifuss of Yad Vashem remind us of Polish involvement in the killing of Jews in Jedwabne and Kielce. But the sad case in Jedwabne (probably 1,200 Jews) happened under Nazi German occupation, and the one in Kielce (over 40 Jews) took place under Soviet rule.
The Polish government has established monuments at these sites. Several books have been written in Polish and other languages.
Polish students are informed about these dark points in history. And when Polish president Lech Walesa addressed the Knesset in 1991 and sought “forgiveness in the name of the Polish people” for any wrongs it had committed against Jewish citizens, thenprime minister Yitzhak Shamir accepted his hand.
Polish involvement is not forgotten.
But when remembering, one should also mention that more than 6,500 Poles were recognized by Yad Vashem for having saved Jews under Nazi occupation.
Being myself an eyewitness and survivor of the Holocaust perpetrated on Polish soil by occupation forces, I deem it especially important to recognize and support today’s extraordinarily good and positive relationship between a free Poland and Israel.
HILLEL GOLDBERG Jerusalem
In “What American Jewry can learn from Emperor Franz Joseph” (Fundamentally Freund, November 24), Michael Freund properly highlights Jewish admiration of Emperor Franz Joseph.
My late father-in-law, Jacob L.
Goldberg of Philadelphia, told me that as a pre-World War I heder pupil in Cholojow, Galicia, all the children went out on a picnic every August 18 to celebrate on Franz Joseph’s birthday.
I have also been told that in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Rehavia, there was an annual celebration of the beloved emperor’s birthday until the 1950s.
It would be a fitting tribute to the emperor if a researcher gathered all the Jewish stories about Franz Joseph, who, as Freund points out, was lovingly called Ephraim Yossele.
SHALOM BRONSTEIN Jerusalem
Regarding “Health Ministry obesity campaign to label junk food” (November 22), with all due respect to the minister of health, probably the most dangerous elements found in processed foods are genetically- modified food products.
The global movement addressing this subject, “Just Label It,” stated the following: “Currently, 64 countries around the world require labeling of genetically modified foods. Unlike most other developed countries – such as [the] 28 nations in the European Union, [as well as ] Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia and even China – the US has no laws requiring labeling of genetically modified foods.”
Why is such a significant issue that is expressed in legislation in so many countries not reflected in the public debate in the Knesset and our media? What information is known to these countries that caused them to label such products, but which has not been told to us? You can find many answers in Genetic Roulette, viewable on YouTube.
ELIYAHU HOLLEY Mevaseret Zion
No worries there
In “Start worrying, details to follow” (Washington Watch, November 24), Douglas Bloomfield bemoans the silence of the American Jewish leadership when faced by some of the appointments made by President- elect Donald Trump.
If only this were so! In fact, the leaders of organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League have clearly exceeded their mandates by expressing opposition as individuals, equating some of Trump’s appointments with antisemitism.
Trump is probably the most pro-Jewish president ever. His business and family connections to Jews are extensive and undeniable.
If his policies run counter to liberal causes that many American Jews deem important, that is too bad.
I, for one, see no reason to start worrying.
RITA STAR Ma’aleh Adumim
CORRECTION The Haifa firefighter interviewed in “‘It’s not like a forest fire, everything was inside the city’” (November 27) was Eitan Rippa, and not as stated. We regret the error.