Stating the obvious
Regarding “Tens of thousands protest Nation-State Law” (August 5), I really don’t know what all the fuss is about. While there is a distinction made between “church and state,” the United Kingdom is characterized as a Christian Protestant entity.
One obvious example arising from this nation state definition is that while Christmas Day is a public holiday in the UK, Yom Kippur is not. English is the official language rather than one of the many others that are widely spoken. That does not make me feel like a second-class citizen. I respect the fact that this is so and it does not alter my allegiance to my country in any way.
What I do expect, however, is that as members of a longstanding, loyal, peaceful and productive community, Jewish employees should be treated with understanding and respect by their employers and that, wherever possible, mutually agreeable arrangements should be negotiated in order to ease the burdens that would otherwise arise for those members of the Jewish community who wish to comply with the requirements of Halacha. In broader society, I would expect the practices of shechita and brit mila, for example, to be respected and protected in law.
The Nation-State Law recently passed in the Knesset is surely no different in principle. As long as minority populations within Israel can continue to enjoy the same civil rights and legal protection as its Jewish citizens, then the law is simply – using a phrase that fans of Monty Python’s Flying Circus may recognize – a “statement of the bleeding obvious.”
DANIEL B. MYERS
While it does appear that there were thousands at the protest rally, I have to wonder where all the funding and organization for these rallies comes from. They have a concert stage with multiple multimedia screens so they are not exactly spontaneous. That is really rather expensive to set up. I’d be curious to know who was funding it and what their actual motivations are.
Perhaps it would behoove your paper to print what the law actually says. I’ve read it and I like it; it does nothing to cause unequal treatment before the law (the major claim of the protesters).JAMES BLEVISS
I have always been a staunch disciple of Ze’ev Jabotinsky and Menachem Begin. I am also a child of South Africa’s Apartheid laws. I am mortified to tell you that Ahmed Tibi’s latest anti-Israel vituperation that the Nation-State Law makes Israel an Apartheid State has a kernel of truth in it and should be avoided at all costs.
In April 1950, the Nationalist Party-dominated South African Parliament passed the Group Areas Act, stipulating that the various racial groups live in areas segregated from one another. While the National camp-dominated Knesset was not so blatant, it did make provision for the exclusion of non-members of a group to be excluded.
Furthermore, to avert appeals to the Supreme Court against its apartheid legislation, the Nationalist party passed the High Court of Parliament Act in 1953, to allow the Parliament (expressing the wishes of the majority of the – white – people) to override attempts by the Supreme Court to nullify Apartheid laws.
We haven’t yet created “The High Court of the Knesset,” but there have been rumblings by members of the National camp that our Supreme Court should be similarly circumscribed.
These pronouncements could make the current process a slippery slope – and demonstrate the self-defeating nature of the Nation-State Law.JAC FRIEDGUT
Both sides now
In “Heroes and Terrorists” (August 2), Gershon Baskin laments the use of force by the IDF to break up a nonviolent protest that eventually turns violent. He is also proud of Ahed Tamimi for demonstrating her opposition to the “occupation” by slapping an IDF soldier.
Now let’s talk about what Baskin does not mention. He does not mention the incitement, the corruption, the generous payoffs to the families of cold-blooded murderers by the PA, the recent murder of Yotam Ovadia in Adam and the father of two by a 17-year old boy. Mr Baskin never mentions the three wars fought with the Hamas after the complete withdrawal from Gaza.
Interestingly, he also fails to mention the fact that he cannot run for the Jerusalem City Council because a Fatwa has been issued prohibiting him from doing so (as reported by the Jerusalem Post). One wonders if Baskin will have the courage to criticize those who prevent him from participating in this upcoming election. This writer thinks not.MATTIAS ROTENBERG
If Gershon Baskin really believes that members of the Tamimi clan are seeking peace, he must be living on a different planet. They are professional agitators who receive outside funding from Europe. Members of the clan include suicide bombers and other convicted terrorists. Ahed Tamimi was convicted of assaulting an Israeli soldier who didn’t react to her provocation. I think that Baskin has crossed a red line with this column.SHMUEL SCHWARTZ
We read the letter (August 1) from Ludo van Campenhout, Vice Mayor of Antwerp with pleasure and some surprise, as it is so rare to find someone living outside Israel who really understands the damage that is being done to Israel by the lack of and also totally biased media coverage. The British Israel Group (BIG) works constantly to combat this by sending weekly mailings to its many subscribers around the world of all religious and political views containing articles and videos about news that does not get published. BIG also has a website and we would be very interested in some kind of cooperation with the vice mayor & hope we can be in touch with each other and with other interested people soon.LOLA and NORMAN COHEN
Joint chairpersons of The British Israel Group (BIG)
JerusalemAverting a catastrophe
After reading “Europe deals with massive heatwave” and “Study sees dramatic rise in heat wave deaths by 2080” (Aug 4), I am wondering why averting a climate catastrophe isn’t a major focus today. It seems that there are almost daily reports of severe heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, floods and other effects of climate change, so it is time to end business as usual and to make major changes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
As a vegan in Israel, the country with the highest percentage of vegans, I want to stress that shifts to vegan diets would have a major positive impact. A 2006 UN Food and Agriculture report indicated that the livestock sector emits more greenhouse gases, in CO2 equivalents, than all the means of transportation worldwide combined. More recent studies have reinforced this conclusion.
Given that there are now many delicious, nutritious vegan dishes, and that the production and consumption of meat and other animal products has negative health effects and massively mistreats farm animals, I urge my fellow Israelis to shift to vegan diets. It would be very positive for your health and that of our precious planet.
Startup Nation Central hosted a delegation in Israel of African agritech experts from AGRA, and not as reported on Page 4 of Sunday’s paper.
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