Feminists are “up in arms” over the photograph of the all-male group of 21 Israeli and German business leaders (“Merkel photo at all-male event inspires feminists, October 8) and rightfully so. Even though 12 of the 21 men in the photo were German males, Merkel found it necessary to state her hope that maybe the next time there would be women.
Wasn’t Merkel (a woman wearing fuchsia) aware that there were no women in the German group? Some 19 of the men in the photo wore black suits, one a grey sports jacket and one no jacket at all. Only two of the men wore brown shoes. At least three men did not wear ties. Netanyahu sported a bright red tie, which set him off him prominently.
Anyway, the silver lining is that there is no (or very little) chance that years from now there will be complaints of too-close shoulder rubbing and groping by the male members.
Women of valor
Regarding “Christine Blasey Ford and the women of the Bible” (October 4), please tell me that this article is some sort of joke in the realm of an academic hoax. If not, then I fear that your newspaper has moved into a category in which it is willing to sacrifice intellectual standards and truth for fake news and identity politics.
In comparing Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick to the heroines of the Bible, the author left out Stormy Daniels.
ALAN KRUGER, MD
Barkan murder musings
The Barkan slaughter (“IDF continues manhunt for Barkan terrorist,” October 9) of two innocent Israelis continues the cyclical progression of murder, apprehension of the killer and imprisonment, blowing up his house and payment by the PA to his family.
Obviously there is insufficient disincentive to become a Shahid. The killer has generally been raised in a home that espouses hatred of Jews. His immediate environment has been part of his upbringing. I suggest that another strong disincentive needs to become routine by taking his immediate family and expelling them to Syria. A house can be rebuilt, but expulsion is permanent and will be a powerful reason to avoid any action that may lead to this result.
International condemnation may ensue, but saving future Jewish blood from being spilled should overcome this hypocritical international reaction.FRED EHRMAN
After all the rhetoric and hopefully the capture of the murderer of innocent Israelis, it comes down to one thing: unless the Palestinian Authority condemns this attack outright and refuses to pay a lifetime stipend for such a heinous crime, any talk of peaceful coexistence is totally futile.
Words are cheap and besmirch the memory of the lives of the innocent people who perished at the hands of an enemy within.
The Palestinian leaders and their people must wake up to the fact that this war of terrorism by stealth is the road to nowhere. Only full recognition of the Jewish State and all the security that goes with it can possibly lead them to a mutually respectful future.
Anything else said is just meaningless words.STEPHEN VISHNICK
When we will learn that joint ventures with Palestinians can be dangerous, tragic? How many more executions will it take?
It is time to reexamine employing Palestinians in commerce, construction, as cleaners, etc.NAME WITHHELD UPON REQUEST
To support or not to support
Regarding “Defining a nation” (October 5), it seems to me that the connection made between the way the Jewish nation is defined and the fact that Diaspora Jews have to celebrate festivals four days a year more than their Israeli brothers do is reductive.
First, many Jews don’t define themselves as per the festival days, whether in Israel or in Diaspora, and this does not make them less Jewish.
Second, the Jewish Diaspora is much more than only American Jewry. The gap between “Israel and the Diaspora” is in fact only a gap between “Israel and the American Jews.” Even though the second festival day is celebrated by religious Jews all over the world, it does not change the way they feel toward Israel.
Third, many Reform congregations have decided to cancel this second festival day and it didn’t reduce the gap between them and Israel… maybe quite the opposite.
The gap between the Diaspora and Israel is under the control of the Jews who decide to remain there. Any Diaspora Jew can decide by himself how close he wants to be to Israel and how much he wants to belong to this people whose gravity center moves increasingly toward Israel. If he is not happy with the way Israel turns, he can become an Israeli citizen literally overnight and be part of this vibrant democracy.
Until then, his choice is reduced to supporting Israel as it is, or not supporting. That is the Jewish Shakespearean question.
Diversity and heresy
In “Diversity and Judaism in Israel” (October 7), Yehuda Michael writer laments the fact that some Jews question the legitimacy of other Jews and proposes that we should accept the diverse nature of modern-day Israel and Judaism.
In the 16th century, Catholic priests cried “heresy” when they found out that some Christians were reading the Bible in English or French, instead of in Latin. In the 21th century rabbis cry “heresy” when they hear that some Jews have Shabbat prayers where men and women sit together.
Many Israelis will agree with the Michael, but nothing will change until thousands rise to make their view heard.A. HASSNER
Fleeing from Gaza to Israel
So now some UNRWA staff have fled into Israel, chased out by Hamas mobs (“Some UNRWA foreign staff members leave Gaza for safety reasons,” October 2). It reminds one of the Hamas/PA civil war when PA supporters and Bedouin were forced out in 2007 and sought safety in Israel.
UNRWA, the biggest “refugee” scam in history, has helped keep the Arabs under their control in poverty, while supporting the terrorist agenda.
UNRWA was supposed to help the 700,000 Arabs who fled or were forced out of their homes in the 1948 war of genocide against the Jews, but not one refugee has been permanently resettled and taken off the welfare rolls in 70 years. Instead, millions have been added. That is a scandal.
Contrast this behavior with the situation of the 1,000,000 Jews forced out of Arab lands and Iran. Most were welcomed into the newly created Israel and led new, productive lives. These Jewish refugees and their descendants got no aid of any kind from the UN.
UNRWA should be abolished and UNHRC should assume responsibility for all the world’s refugees.
Preventing a Gaza collapse
Regarding “Angela Merkel’s duplicity on Israel” (October 5), the writer is mistaken in accusing German Chancellor Angela Merkel of duplicity on Israel, both from a factual standpoint as well as because this accusation is not in Israel’s interest.
Merkel has always been one of the staunchest political allies of Israel and the Jewish people. Accusing her incorrectly will just backfire on Israel’s interests.
Considering the writer’s credentials (as a fellow at JISS, etc.), I am surprised that he did not take into account that other considerations are also in play. For example, on the issue of UNRWA, even Israel does not want funding to Gaza to stop. In fact, it was recently announced that Israel is considering taking funds owed to the PA and diverting them to Gaza.
Until there is a replacement for UNRWA (may it die a quick death!), funding it may be how Germany is acting to prevent a total collapse of Gaza, which Israel also agrees is not in Israel’s interests.
Ma’aleh AdumimSpa experiences
Reading “Entering a time warp to the 19th century in the Alps” (October 7) by Motti Verses, I could not help but think of the Aharon Appelfeld masterpiece Badenheim 1939, which describes how a group of culturally dedicated Jews sat out the year 1939 in a similar spa setting, ignoring the warnings of the Nazi advance. Eventually, still in denial, they were led to their fate.
As the inspiration for his trip, Verses cites his parents’ love for the Alps going back to the 1930s. We should remember that Jews were in fact excluded from most resorts in Germany and Austria throughout the 1930s due to the Nazi ideology; Jews could only go to the few places that would accept them until even those places closed their doors to Jews.
In looking at what the writer describes as a time warp to the 19th, century we should not forget the more recent history of the tragic events of the 20th century.MARION REISS
Denial of Jewish history
In “From New York to Paris: Antisemitism at UNESCO” (October 5), Shimon Samuels suggests addressing the problem with “in-house education in the 3,500 years of Jewish history.” A spot-on idea, but perhaps we might do one better, by substituting “on-site” for “in-house.”
Last March, at the MFA’s Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism, I spoke with Irina Bokova, a former UNESCO director general sitting with Samuels on a panel entitled, ‘The Denial of Jewish History in International Organizations: The Case of Jerusalem in the UN and UNESCO.’ I queried Bokova about the lack of response from UNESCO, after I had invited its leadership to join me in a briefing on the Mount of Olives, arguably the greatest repository of 3,000 years of Jewish Jerusalem history. She said she would put me in touch with the right people at UNESCO, and, true to her word, she did just that on her return to Paris.
My invitation was referred to the UNESCO cabinet, and, some weeks later, I received a missive from its assistant director general for external relations. Filled with the most convoluted diplomatic doublespeak imaginable, the inane brushoff only served to reinforce Samuels’s point about UNESCO’s systemic antisemitism.
My invitation, nonetheless, still stands as I pursue other avenues.JEFF DAUBE
Director of the Israel Office of the ZOA
I read, then reread “Palestinian mirage” (October 9), Kenneth Bandler’s article outlining the achievements of Abbas in the 14 years of his four-year term as head of the “State of Palestine,” including gaining the support of 139 UN members for this non-member observer state of the UN.
I continue to wonder what these experienced worldly representatives to the UN have learned about the peaceful, economically advanced, happy people of this “State of Palestine” that they can share with its neighbor, Israel.VICKY MANNIS
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