Letters to the Editor March 16, 2020: Chinese coronavirus commentary

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Letters
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Chinese coronavirus commentary
Coronavirus exposes our moral corruption” (March 11) ignores basic science and facts, and we must make the following clarification.
Diseases know no borders, and all mankind is in a community of shared future. When the whole world is fighting against the epidemic, unity and cooperation are the best weapons at our disposal. Such devious actions like spreading rumors, xenophobia and stigmatization must be rejected and condemned.
The Chinese government and people, with resolute actions and huge sacrifices, have created a strong first line of defense against the international spread of the virus. China is protecting its people and the entire world. What China has been doing exemplifies its respect and safeguard of basic human rights.
Currently, the virus is spreading in multiple countries, and China is not hesitating to share its experience and offer help. We believe in the philosophy of the community of shared future, and are confident that mankind will overcome any difficulties as long as we stay united.
WANG YONGJUN
Chinese Embassy Spokesperson in Israel
Orit Arfa (“The virus of gov’t control,” March 13) goes off the deep end in her outburst on the way the government has dealt with the coronavirus – closing the borders, closing the schools, and the meek Israeli public accepts it. She would have everybody deciding on their own how to deal with the pandemic: government out, informed people in.
I guess the same construct goes for rocket attacks from Gaza: let the people deal with it. All able-bodied people should grab their rifle, tank, plane or whatever and open fire. The government forces us to have driving licenses? Let everybody decide on his own if he knows how to drive. The government forces everybody to send their children to school? Let the parents and kids decide what to study, when to go to school, when to lie in bed. The government forces us to procure gun licenses? Wrong again. Everybody who wants a gun should be able to have one and practice in their backyard.
There is a limit to free market philosophy – a good example is the newspaper. Not everything deserves to be published in it.
YIGAL HOROWITZ
Beersheba
I couldn’t disagree more with Orit Arfa’s assessment that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is exerting too much control over Israelis’ personal lives by insisting on self-quarantine for those who may have been exposed to the coronavirus. This is a global emergency situation, of the type no one alive today has experienced. It’s easy to criticize and advise someone who, unlike her, not only has much more information through a wide range of professional sources but also carries the responsibility of a nation on his shoulders. I am quite satisfied that Netanyahu took the steps he did, when he did, to close off the borders in order to contain this pandemic from wreaking havoc on our citizenry. Other nations are only now adopting measures we took a week ago. The PM’s decision may make the difference in the number of casualties we suffer and the ability of our health care facilities to handle the pandemic. Europe’s open borders and lax control have led to the catastrophic results in Italy, Spain and other locations. Personal freedoms are one thing, but quite another when exercising them can be a threat to the lives of others in your community.
MEIRA OVED
Modi’in
The current corona pandemic (viral) has in common with the bubonic plague (bacterial) of the 1400s the lack of a remedy to protect people. In contrast, however, this time the Jews are not being burned at the stack for “causing” the disease (except, perhaps, for the Iranians who might wish they could).
GARY STEINMAN, MD, PHD
Jerusalem
Textbook case of PA hatred
UK MPs demand Palestinian schools stop using textbooks inciting against Israel” (March 11) mentions, inter alia, a PA reading comprehension textbook that glorifies Dalal al-Mughrabi, who murdered 38 Israelis, including 13 children, on a bus in 1978.
Prior to that massacre, she butchered US Senator Abraham Ribicoff’s niece, Gail Rubin, a 39-year-old specialist in Biblical wildlife photography).
I was thinking about Rubin during vice president Joseph Biden’s March 2010 visit to Israel, which coincided with the anniversary of the March 11, 1978 attack, hoping he might take a moment to visit the site of the massacre or at least say a few words about the murder of the family member of his Senate colleague. Guess I was being naive. The vice president ignored the anniversary.
But Biden’s PLO interlocutors in Ramallah didn’t ignore it. PA leader Mahmoud Abbas marked the March 11, 1978 massacre by naming a public square near its capital city, Ramallah, after al-Mughrabi. According to a PA newspaper, the square was intended to “commemorate her memory and her sacrifice as a Palestinian woman who resisted the occupation.”
KARL HUTTENBAUER
Berlin
Blue and White, Black and blue
Regarding “Orly Levy’s flipflop kills minority gov’t” (March 11), the ugly infighting among some of the top officials in Blue and White will result in not a Blue and White Party, but rather in a bruised “Black and Blue” Party. Serves them right for their willingness to sink to any level in their self-righteous efforts to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
DAVID SHANTALL
Modi’in
Regarding “Orly Levy: Like father, like daughter” (March 11), while I don’t agree with many of her political positions, by all measures Orly Levy-Abecassis is an accomplished, intelligent woman who is beyond reproach when it comes to caring about Israel and her people. She is under attack today by her own coalition of left-wing parties because she refuses to support the treasonous idea of allowing the Arab Joint List to be a determining voice in our government.
Current and former Meretz leaders, Nitzan Horowitz and Tamar Zandberg, are casting aspersions against her and wondering how she lives with herself. The question they ask is, in reality, rhetorical. How do they sleep at night knowing they’ll do anything to gain power, including welcoming into their government a party who works to undermine the existence of Israel as a Jewish state and supports and abets Israel’s sworn enemies.
Israel’s leaders should take a close look at themselves and do what’s right for their country – not what’s politically expedient for themselves and cohorts.
ALLAN KANDEL
Los Angeles, CA
In “Imagine an enlightened Jewish-Arab government” (March 13), David Weinberg gives us positive aspects of a Jewish-Arab government. The time has come to allow our Arab minority a say in their lives if we are to remain a democratic country. However, they are a minority and some of Weinberg’s ideas are far-fetched in our democracy.
Yes, we should lead the Middle East and be free from religious domination and allow all sections of our society to enjoy a Shabbat with public transport. Shopping restrictions must be carefully thought out and consider the people working in the retail sector besides the shopper. It is in the interest of big business to squeeze the small trader, but there are sufficient opportunities to shop without doing so on Shabbat.
Weinberg brings up the problem of yeshiva students. Religion plays an important part in most societies, but many create a balance between study and living in the 21st century. We have to cultivate this important section of our society by allowing them a broad education and equip them to take a prominent place in our society.
The article points out that MK Basel Ghattas was caught smuggling cell phones to Palestinians in jail. From Ghattas’s point of view, he was a patriot working for his beliefs. Countries have their “spies”working for their beliefs. Remember and honor Eli Cohen? Let us try to create a society, without spies, where people can live happily together – which for us means working with our Arab minority as equal citizens. Given decent conditions, the average worker, Jew or Arab, Catholic or Protestant, Hindu or Buddhist are not interested in conflict; they are interested in enjoying life. Let’ work for decent conditions for all.
CYRIL HIRSH
Kibbutz Nachshon
The “Absence of the Left” editorial (March 11) correctly notes the difficulties that the Left has in forming a coalition. Yet, it is worth noting that for the most part the Left is not really the Left of yesteryear, before most Israelis wised up to the fact that the Palestinian idea of peace not does include us in the equation. Of, as they say: we “cease” and they “fire.”
So, what is the problem? The leadership of the Joint List appears to preclude the possible formation of a Left-Center government.
We have, in part, the Supreme Court to blame for this. In their effort to bend over backward not to disqualify even a single member of the Joint List for political views anathema to democracy (and our safety), and similar to those they disqualify on the Right side, they allowed this party to be led by those that represent the worst tendencies of the Palestinians, rather than their constituents, many of whom identify as being Israeli.
When the same standards for being a member of the Knesset are applied to those on the Left and Right, Israel’s government may truly become representative of all its peoples.
BARRY LYNN
Efrat

Regarding “Israel’s diminishing democracy” (March 12), why do Israel’s detractors always drag out the nonsense of Israel’s “diminishing” democracy?
Israel’s democracy is secure and robust. It is what America’s Left wants: representation by popular vote, without an electoral college’s input. It is what Canada’s fringe parties want also. Canada’s government rules with only 30% of the vote.
All adult Israelis have the vote, without exception. The Arab List, most of whose members want to destroy the state, is the third largest block in the Knesset. Arabs are represented on the Supreme Court, and in universities and hospitals in proportion to their numbers.
Israel’s democracy has idiosyncrasies, like everyone else’s. The threshold is too low for party status, for example.
Right now, with antisemitism rampant in the world, and with a new peace proposal on the table that both major parties support, Israel needs a national unity government to move forward.
Western nations that don’t respect their own borders and are being inundated with illegal immigration are the ones who have to worry about their democracies.
LEN BENNETT
Ottawa, On.
Regarding “Erekat: West Bank E1 road start of annexation and apartheid” (March 12), so the planned road will make the future Palestinian state non-contiguous and, therefore, unviable? Odd that we never hear people remarking on the future state being unviable because funds donated for the people’s benefit have been embezzled by Palestinian leaders and diverted to efforts to destroy Israel, instead of being put to use in building infrastructure and developing the economy of the new state. As usual, Mr. Erekat is speaking of Palestinian “rights,” not their responsibilities.
And Peace Now/Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz goes along, telling us that Jerusalem must be part of a two-state solution. I disagree. A two-state solution can be achieved only when the Palestinian leaders prepare their people for life in a state of their own, co-existing peacefully with the nation-state of the Jews. This necessitates dropping the demand for Israel to take in Arab “refugees” (millions claiming descent from Arabs who fled Arab-initiated violence against Jews decades ago).
When co-existence is reached, contiguity will no longer be an issue. There will be no need for checkpoints and security barriers and the drive between Gaza and land now administered by the PA should be a relatively short, pleasant trip.
TOBY F. BLOCK
Atlanta, GA
Regarding “In change, US describes east Jerusalem Palestinians as ‘Arab residents’” (March 12), some people believe that the State of Israel colonially displaced an ancient “State of Palestine” in 1948.
This is false.
Though there are two peoples with claims to the land, the nomenclature should not be used to minimize the standing of the Palestinian Jews by branding them as occupiers who have stolen land from “natives.”
Indeed, it was Emperor Hadrian (r. 117-138 CE) who merged Judea with the Roman province of Syria to form a new united province: Syria-Palaestina. The French and British were given respective mandates over Syria and Palestine by the League of Nations. Before 1948, there were native Palestinian Jews here, as well as Arabs who, unlike the Jews, had never had an independent identity – here or anywhere else
NISAN HERSHKOWITZ
New York
Clearing the record
In response to Dr. Leon Chameides’s March 11 letter, Chameides’s saver was the younger brother of the Metropolitan, Priest Sheptytsky Abbot Kliment, Head of the Greek Catholic convents in Western Ukraine who endangered his life by hiding Jewish children in Abbey buildings. For this, he was granted The Righteous Among the Nations Award by Yad Vashem in 1995.
Chameidas knows well that Metropolitan Sheptytzky refused to hide his mother and his father, who was the rabbi of my town Kattowitz. He also knows that his father (whom I knew personally) asked the Metropolitan, in writing, to take action with his faithful Ukrainians to stop the killing of Jews in Lwow in 1941, and that he never received an answer. Shortly after, his parents died.
Metropolitan Sheptytzky called for Ukrainian youngsters to volunteer to the SS, despite being aware that they were collaborating with the Germans in the mass murder of Jews in ghettos and extermination camps. Over 150,000 Ukrainians participated in murdering Jews of Ukraine, including 33,000 at Babi Yar and continued to serve Hitler and his representatives in Ukraine.
One of them, General SS Otto Von Wachter, wrote in his memoirs about Sheptytzky, “He never called for an uprising against Nazi Germany. We were very much helped by him and his clergy. They supported the SS units and prayed in their liturgy for the Fuhrer.”
MICHAEL GOLDMANN GILEAD
Former Bureau 06 officer investigating Eichmann
Givat Shmuel