Eye of the storm
“Regev in eye of storm over Ophir Awards walkout” (September 25) makes apparent the opposing stances of two Israeli parliamentarians over the reading of the poem opposing the existence of Israel by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish at last week’s Ophir Awards ceremony, Israel’s version of the Oscars.
Kol hakavod to Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev to walk out during the reading and object to Israeli tax money being spent on a wish to destroy Israel, whereas what a disgrace to the name Herzog when the leader of the Zionist Union, MK Isaac Herzog, has the audacity to defend the reading.
Herzog’s famous grandfather and namesake, the first chief rabbi of Israel, would roll over in his grave if he knew what his grandson was supporting.
How can this party leader represent a “Zionist” party if what he espouses is anti-Zionist?
Let’s try to understand the tempest at the Ophir Awards ceremony.
Tamer Nafar, a Palestinian rapper and actor, was given the honor of performing before the prize for best picture was awarded to Sand Storm, a drama about two Beduin women. In his performance, Nafar included an excerpt from a poem by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, who, through his poetry, calls for the destruction of the State of Israel.
Some questions: Why did Nafar choose to act as a spokesman for the Palestinians at an Israeli cultural event that included Jewish and Arab citizens? Why wasn’t he criticized for turning his performance into a political statement? Why was Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev criticized for asserting, in defense of the State of Israel and its citizens, that quoting Darwish’s words was inappropriate at an event meant to bring people together? Isn’t this democracy in action? Where is the appreciation from Nafar that he was chosen to entertain? Where is the appreciation that Sand Storm was chosen on its artistic merits to represent Israel at film festivals around the world? Where is the appreciation that a drama about two women from a society that oppresses women would reach the pinnacle of success? Kol hakavod, Miri Regev! ELISHEVA BORENSON
The wrong picture might emerge from “Regev in eye of storm over Ophir Awards walkout.”
As was clear to those of us watching on TV, it’s not that Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev “spoke strongly for 20 minutes” against Mahmoud Darwish. She said a sentence or two against him, and then marched embarrassingly on and on as the audience’s heckling failed to die down.
Moreover, if the final speaker “railed against Regev for several minutes,” as reported, I failed to hear it. The speaker disassociated herself from Darwish and called for mutual tolerance. Of course, some could interpret her appeal as railing against Regev. It could apply at least as well to the people who disrupted the minister’s remarks.MARK L. LEVINSON
HerzliyaTalk of tradition
Yitzchok Elefant, chief rabbi of Dimona, refers in “Status quo at Wall” (Letters, September 25) to “2,000 years” of tradition of prayer at the Western Wall.
Prior to 1948, there was no regulation as to prayer, and any Jew who could reach the Wall was able to pray in his own manner.
The current organized division at the Kotel and its status as an official supervised location are relatively modern in historical terms.
I, personally, am in favor of the old tradition, where the wall was an object of personal pilgrimage.CLIVE LEIGH
NetanyaSame sources, no?
Having just read “EU court adviser recommends removing Hamas from terrorism list” (September 23), I ask to be forgiven for outing Eleanor Sharpston, whom I know personally. We are both karate black-belt practitioners.
We have often practiced together at the same venues in Luxembourg and other places in Europe, and discussed the Middle East.
Having listened to her decidedly anti-Israel opinions, I should like to ask her (and shall, next time we meet) one question: Since, as she says, the decision to list Hamas as a terror organization was and is based merely on “press articles and information from the Internet,” EU accusations against Israel must be based on the very same sources.
Why then, are the anti-Israel reports treated with such gravitas by the EU advocate-general while Hamas, which can be proved a terrorist organization – and not only by such reports – should be taken off the terrorism list? Isn’t the provenance of such reports the same? CHARLES PHILIP LEHRER
Netanya Side by side
Thank you for printing “B’Tselem’s lies” and “How many dead children?” side by side (Observations, September 23).
This is the best way to show how the two writers, Yesh Atid MK Yair Lapid and B’Tselem executive director Hagai El-Ad, respectively, go about defending their positions.
Mr. Lapid, argues both sides and uses facts to establish the truth. Mr. El-Ad quotes numbers without telling us where they come from, and uses inflammatory rhetoric to sway the reader.RICHARD SPITZBERG
Congratulations to Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid for his assault on the lies by B’Tselem, and its perpetual distortion of truth.
Hagai El-Ad uses statistics as lies against Israel. Can he prove that those killed were not human shields so consistently used by Hamas and their like? I think not.
The fool in all this is Israel, for patting itself on the back by continuously saying “we are a democracy” and allowing such distortions of facts while thinking it “honorable.” It is not. It is first-degree cowardice.
It has been said a million times that the system of democracy is for responsible people (and nations), and that it’s not a license to subvert, undermine and perpetrate lies.
Rabbi Dov Lipman’s “Teaching aliya” (Observations, September 23) reminded me of the late, esteemed Rabbi Max D. Raiskin, who was the principal of New York City’s East Side Hebrew Institute, where I studied from ages three to 12.
I can never forget how, during a spring outing on the Circle Line around Manhattan, I asked the rabbi where we were going. His response: To Israel. That is the education I received at ESHI.
Rabbi Raiskin made aliya with his wife and their seven children in 1963. Unfortunately, he passed away at the young age of 48 from heart problems, but the rest of the family is here, and most live in Judea and Samaria.
I owe my own aliya to Rabbi Raiskin for teaching us the biblical commandment of this miraculous opportunity.TERRI GRANOT
Dov Lipman makes some perceptive remarks. The concept of aliya as an integral part of Judaism would be very difficult to teach at this time in the Diaspora.
But there is an alternative.
Jewish teaching fuses together our own individual actions with the actions of the Almighty. This is a special and unique partnership, and it can be taught in a modern Jewish history course that explores the characters that made a significant impact on the establishment of the State of Israel.
The course could also emphasize the life-saving reality of the Jewish state since its foundation.
Jewish students should be inspired and then encouraged to study the biblical sources and their links to the importance of the Jewish state.LYNETTE ORDMAN