Letters to the editor

What a relief!

March 31, 2015 21:57

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

What a relief!

With regard to “Following release of tax funds, PA won’t pursue Israeli settlements at ICC, or stop security cooperation” (March 30), don’t you feel relieved? Such a good deal, worked out by Mr. Security himself, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu! It sounds similar to the deals worked out last summer during Operation Protective Edge, when the prime minister agreed to Hamas’s cease-fires. He thought we could be fooled into thinking we were winning. In fact, he gave our enemy time to regroup.

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I do realize that between Netanyahu and Zionist Union leaders Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni, we had no alternative but to go with the incumbent. This is a sad indictment because it means only that progress toward the surrender of Jewish land will be just a little slower.

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Regarding “As Iran deal nears, PM steps up criticism” (March 30), it seems to me that such criticism has been ongoing for many years. But all Netanyahu does is threaten that we will not stand by while Iran reaches a nuclear capability (similar to the threats we make to our enemies not to test us). Iran, meantime, merrily went ahead with its centrifuges and whatever else it takes to go nuclear.

When will we accept that the sky will not fall if we stand up for ourselves and our historic and legal rights to the Jewish land? YENTEL JACOBS Netanya

Lost his respect

“Efrat chief rabbi Riskin compares Obama to Haman” (March 30) destroyed my respect for one of the great American-Israeli rabbinical leaders.

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin left the incredible pulpit he had developed in New York City, the Lincoln Square Synagogue, when he was a young man and at a peak in the American rabbinate.

He made aliya four decades ago and succeeded dramatically in a multitude of ways. Sadly, his sermon, as quoted in your new item, showed us how a great mind can become politically corrupted.

Haman had a decree signed by the Persian king authorizing that the Jews be killed. As much as I distrust US President Barack Obama, I think Rabbi Riskin used his public forum to act in a very underhanded manner.

In the past 10 days, I wrote a letter to relatives and friends about the various Shabbat Hagadol sermons given by my grandfather and family patriarch, Rabbi Tuvia Geffen. He preserved his earliest sermons for Shabbat Hagadol in Atlanta (1911-1916) in a notebook that my family still has.

On Shabbat Hagadol in 1915, he spoke about Leo Frank, incarcerated a few blocks away from his Shearith Israel Synagogue.

Frank, the Jewish superintendent of a pencil factory, had been convicted – wrongly, many felt – in the murder of a 13-year-old girl who worked there. Rabbi Tuvia’s main question in his sermon was: “What can we do to free Leo Frank, unjustly charged?” A year later, after Frank was lynched, my grandfather bemoaned the fact that Atlanta Jewry had not done more to free a fellow Jew. He cried during his 1916 Shabbat Hagadol sermon because a fellow Atlanta Jew was dead, horribly murdered.

What does Rabbi Riskin do? Rather than devoting his sermon to mobilizing Israelis and Americans to work even harder to free Jonathan Pollard, he shows the world how off-the-track a very sane rabbi can get. He listened to the wrong drummer and belittled himself and the rabbinate.


Good idea

I wish to thank Michael Freund for making our regular Monday ACES (Ashkelon Community of English Speakers) luncheon more meaningful.

We reviewed his column “Happy Land of Israel Day!” (Fundamentally Freund, March 30) and agreed it was “essential to accentuate our roots here and to point out that 33 centuries after Joshua and the tribes of Israel crossed the Jordan, the Jewish people are once again making the journey home.”

We look forward to not only embracing the 10th of Nisan in Ashkelon, but to acknowledging Land of Israel Day as a national holiday.

MARGO DONOVAN Ashkelon Michael Freund proposes instituting a Land of Israel Day on the 10th of Nisan in order for Israel to “reclaim its sense of self and to reassert the justness of its cause.” He feels this is necessary because the world is becoming “increasingly hostile” to Israel.

Perhaps Israel’s legitimacy could be improved if Zionism also emphasized the continuity of the Jewish people in its homeland for the past 2,000 years. If this were done, it might be that Israel’s position would improve. It would allow us to make a better case for the legitimacy of our title to our homeland, seeing as how the Jews had never abandoned it.


Electoral reform

In the 15 years I have lived in Israel, The Jerusalem Post has published many articles, op-eds and letters about electoral reform. The latest was reader David Feigenbaum’s letter “What about how?” (March 30), posing the obvious question regarding Lior Ackerman’s “We need electoral reform now” (Observations, March 27).

I believe that the way forward is as follows: 1. All MKs need to be directly elected.

2. There should be constituencies, regions or whatever fancy name the powers that be choose. Assuming that the next government lasts its full term, there will be approximately six million registered voters, approximately 50,000 per constituency, for the next election.

3. To be elected an MK, one must obtain at least one vote more than 50 percent; otherwise, there will be a run off of the top two in a second ballot.

4. An election should be called no more than one month before the actual voting. The current three months is inordinately long and totally unnecessary.

5. All political ads and poll results should stop on the second Monday prior to the election.

In last month’s election, many voters were strongly influenced by polls published the previous Friday.

6. In order to save money, Election Day should not be a national holiday. Countries that are much larger than us do not do this.

In the 1970s and 1980s, both Labor and the Likud had opportunities to change the system because each had more than 40 seats. They didn’t, though, because they were frightened that such changes would give an advantage to the other side.

The problem now is that smaller parties will not want to make these changes. As usual, we voters will have no say.

I am sure my suggestions would result in larger parties and fewer small parties being represented in the Knesset. This would make for much better governance and longer-lasting governments.


Makes him proud

Kudos to Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein on receiving the Humanitarian Award from the Simon Wiesenthal Center (“Harvey Weinstein urges Jews to kick anti-Semites ‘in the ass,’” Arts & Entertainment, March 29). Kudos as well for his advice.

Weinstein deserves a third kudo for retaining the original spelling of his surname. Many Weinsteins in the US changed their names to Winston – this, I presume, to avoid revealing their Jewish background.

Not so with Harvey Weinstein and his brother, Bob. When I see one of their movies, it gives me great pride to see their names in the credits.



In “I voted Likud” (Comment & Features, March 31), Franklin D. Roosevelt was president of the US before and during the Holocaust, and not Theodore Roosevelt.

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