June 10: Quixotic quote

One prominent Palestinian Arab would totally disagree with that statement.

June 9, 2013 21:34

Letters 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )

Quixotic quote

Sir, – The front-page article “Palestinians launch campaign for Latrun,” (June 7) quotes a document which reads “two-thirds of the Palestinian population were forcibly expelled from their home by Zionist militias prior to the State of Israel.”

One prominent Palestinian Arab would totally disagree with that statement. He noted that “Arab armies... forced them to emigrate and to leave their homeland, imposed upon them a political and ideological blockade and threw them into prisons similar to the ghettos in which the Jews used to live in Europe.”

This prominent Palestinian Arab was none other than PA President Mahmoud Abbas himself. This was published in March 1976 in Falastin al-Thawra, the official publication of the PLO.


Good for us

Sir, – Herb Keinon tells us that US Secretary of State John Kerry thinks that a two-state solution is good for us (“John Kerry: ‘Am Yisrael hai,’” Frontlines, June 7).

In fact, it is essential to our long term survival and security. My guess is that the Palestinian leadership also reads The Jerusalem Post, but nowhere do we ever hear that a two-state solution is good for the Palestinians! Last week, the Post told us that the Palestinians now claim the area around Latrun for their state. On Sunday, we saw that a British trade union is banning trips to Israel because we continue to deny the Palestinians their “rights” (“British trade union to ban trips to Jewish state arranged by pro-Israel organization,” June 9).

It’s obvious that the Palestinians will never agree to anything so long as they know it is in our – but not their – best interests for them to do so, and further unilateral withdrawals will only whet their appetites for more.

Instead, I’d like to suggest that any unilateral actions we take should turn the tables on them.

Instead of retreating, let’s simply dismiss their claims with a wave of our hands, and admit that there already is a “Palestine” (you know when you’re there, although you’re not always sure when you’ve left).

True, it’s quite small, but it exists and we have nothing else to negotiate over.


Sir, – I have several observations on this weekend’s excellent Frontlines section (June 7).

Firstly, how is it that the non-Jew and non-Israeli US Secretary of State John Kerry appreciates the dangers of taking unilateral actions – “You have no idea how many times I hear people say ‘We withdrew from Lebanon, we withdrew from Gaza, and what did we get? We got rockets.’ Well, folks, it’s worth remembering these withdrawals were unilateral” – but some of our own so-called experts of the “constructive unilateralism” variety referred to by Martin Sherman, have not yet learned the lesson (“My Prediction: Please help prove me wrong,” Into the Fray, Observations, June 7)? Speaking of Martin Sherman, though I am delightfully entertained by his very clever use of alliteration, I have to admit my appreciation of it frequently distracts me from concentrating on his message, which, whether I agree with it or not, is always worth considering.

In addition, though I agree with Rabbi Warren Goldstein’s essential message that Jewish literacy should be as core a subject in Israeli schools as math, etc., I am not sure the Chumash itself does the trick (“Defining Jewish illiteracy,” June 7). If the Chumash is the ultimate source of Jewish values, can we adequately justify to today’s youth such things as the charge to wipe out Amalek generations later, or the treatment of a mamzer, among others? Certainly the curriculum that is developed would have to include a lot more as well.


Sir, – I couldn’t have agreed more with Warren Goldstein that “Defining Jewish illiteracy” means realizing that the Five Books of Moses must be taught in schools – until he stipulated that “only people who believe that the Chumash is historically accurate are qualified to teach it.”

If children are taught that the whole edifice of Jewish thought rests on the belief that on our own planet, several millenia ago, Eve literally met a talking snake, then the job of education won’t have been done right. After leaving school, many of those children will require explanations that challenge their skepticism less brutally, and such explanations may be hard for them to find.


It’s about unity

Sir, – Susan Weiss just doesn’t seem to get it (“Separating state and religion at the Western Wall,” Comment and Features, June 5).

It’s not about whether Israel is a democracy. Nor is it about women’s rights and equality. It isn’t even about wearing tallitot and tefillin.

The issue is unity, as in “united we stand, divided we fall” unity.

What is at stake is the unity of Am Yisrael, the nation of Israel.

Demonstrations and counterdemonstrations are counterproductive to the Jewish people. This, then, begs the question, should the Western Wall become an “anything goes” prayer venue or adhere to century-old tradition.

Tevya had it right: “Tradition, tradition.”

I am not a rabbi and would not dare voice an opinion on the permissibility of women wearing fringes and little black boxes. But I do know that the Wall has become the focal point of our yearning and religion. There is no holier symbol to which Jews have prayed for centuries than the Kotel.

We may be a “Jewish democracy,” but calling the Western Wall a “public site” is like calling Grand Central Station my private boudoir! Not wearing prayer shawls and tefillin and praying separately from men does not make me inferior. It does, however, differentiate between males and females and I, for one, say, “Viva La Difference!” I would also like to be able to say, “Viva our unity!” Women of the Wall, you are not right and you are not wrong.

What you could be is so much better, if you would take a small step back to promote this unity. It is for the greater good.

SARA REINES Ma’aleh Adumim

Terrible tycoons

Sir, – The crises with “debt ridden tycoons” should raise concern for the government to investigate why the public’s hardearned savings and pensions are being withered away (“Elsztain arrives in Israel in support of Dankner,” Business and Finance, June 5).

When the government decided to place all these public funds in the money market, they should have realized it was a difficult task to place the full responsibility on the hundreds of thousands of small investors to check the prospectuses and ensure the guarantees provided would give ample protection, and that the rate of interest offered was at a level commensurate with the risks involved.

By suddenly flooding the market with funds for investment, the chances of finding an investment placed the investors in a very difficult situation, resulting in numerous investments made by the public based on the percentage return but ignoring the traditional in-depth examination of the prospectus.

Sadly, many of the institutional investors faced with huge sums to invest followed the public’s approach. The regulators whose prime function should be to protect the public’s money followed the same approach – even encouraging overseas investments based only on looking at the return. Some sort of regulation should be introduced to stop the investment of savings and pensions in very speculative projects which have turned out disastrous.

The government cannot use the excuse that the world economic situation is to blame. Prudent fiscal polices are always required in good and bad times. There are numerous opportunities for the government to provide solid economic avenues for investment of critical savings and pension money in Israel instead of directing funds to overseas investments, which do little for the Israeli economy.

Kiryat Ono

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