(photo credit: Courtesy)
Anglos in the fray
Sir, - In "The election we've all lost" (UpFront, February 13) Daniel Gordis suggests that Western immigrants who "actually believe in something," namely, Zionism and a strong democratic tradition, should move from belly-aching to getting involved in Israel's political battles.
He is right that we can help improve Israel's political system, which has suffered from corruption and policy gridlock. But perhaps Gordis isn't familiar with the fact that many English-speaking immigrants have already jumped into the fray and taken part in politics in a big way - for example, in Natan Sharansky's Israel Ba'aliya party, which later merged with the Likud.
Today in the Likud, there are Anglos involved from the highest level down, including Binyamin Netanya's bureau chief, Ari Harow, and policy adviser Ron Dermer.
There were several viable Knesset candidates in the recent primaries, including Yechiel Leiter and Tal Brody. Many English speakers are members of the Likud central committee, and on the grassroots level, Likud Anglos mobilized hundreds of volunteers around the country, including 50 Anglo poll-watchers on election day in Jerusalem alone.
Gordis is right that there is a valuable role for Western immigrants in Israeli politics. But he should know that the effort has already begun.
Sir, - In "Jesus for Jews" (UpFront, Cover Story, February 13) Larry Derfner wrote that Messianics "don't coerce or brainwash Jews into joining them anymore than Chabad, Aish Hatorah, Bretslav or other Jewish 'outreach' movements do."
What he doesn't explain, though, is that "Messianics" attempt to convince Jews of their claims by mistranslating and misquoting the Torah, and by taking handpicked passages completely out of context.
This may not be coercion, but it is dishonest and misleading. An honest and serious look at any of their "proofs" will easily dispel their claims of Jesus being the Jewish messiah.
Derfner also missed an opportunity to mention another organization - much less controversial than Yad L'achim - that is working hard to keep Jews Jewish. Jews for Judaism opened a much-needed office here in Israel last year, and works to educate Jews so they won't fall prey to the deceitful tactics of Jews for Jesus and other, similar groups.
Anyone who truly wants to "find the bugs" in the Messianics' claims should contact Jews for Judaism at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mines & vines
Sir, - Just returned from a two-week trip to Israel. Toured the Golan Heights. Looked down into Syria from the eastern slope. One fact was certainly clear: Where Syrians planted mines, Israelis planted vines.
Any Israeli leader who surrenders this land for a scrap of worthless paper and empty promises, land that was purchased with sweat and blood, should have his or her name chiseled into the top row of history's wall of shame ("Syria building chemical weapons facility, Jane's reports," February 18).