Pay the borscht
Sir, – Regarding “Social workers feel let down by minister, Histadrut” (March 24), preventive care saves money in medical problems and it will save money in social problems as well.
What we save now by not paying social workers what they deserve is borscht compared to what we’ll have to shell out in the future to take care of the problems we could have prevented.JOEL RUTMAN, MD
Zichron Ya’acov Broad-minded enough
Sir, – Ray Hanania’s “‘Miral: A Palestinian story” (Yalla Peace, March 23) is written in classic liberal tones that ask Jews to be more broad-minded, “to step back from their anger and hostility and try to understand the Palestinian side.”
I haven’t had the opportunity to see the movie, but judging from Hanania’s adulation it presents the Arab/Muslim position. Yet who made this movie? Julian Schnabel, a Jew. How many movies presenting the Israeli position have been made by an Arab? Hanania then shows us how broad-minded he is. “Just as we [he and his Jewish wife] want our son to know and understand the Holocaust, he’s also going to know and understand the Nakba. That’s what true peace is all about.”
The tragedy marked by the Nakba is the establishment of our Jewish state. This Hanania equates with the industrialized mass murder of a third of our nation.
Mrs. Hanania should have a long talk with her husband and her son.
They have much to learn.CHAYIM SEIDEN
Sir, – Once again, Ray Hanania does not get it. The Nakba, as he calls it, was brought about by the Arabs. If they had agreed to have their own state instead of trying to destroy ours, Miral’s parents might still be alive.
Had the Arabs agreed to make peace, none of this “occupation” would be happening.FREYA BINENFELD
Petah Tikva And her own GPS?
Sir, – Anat Hoffman (“Where is our Jewish GPS?,” Comment & Features, March 23) criticizes those leaders she feels characterize other human beings and even fellow Jews as Amalekites. How does she describe them? Ironically, by stating that they themselves represent Amalek – “I see Amalek every day.”
The language in her piece also includes such phrases as “destroying the Jewish soul” and “should be eradicated,” referring to those with whom she disagrees, and their views.
Our rabbis say “Kol haposel, b’mumo posel” – one who delegitimizes others does so through his own blemish. Hoffman is welcome to take issue with those with whom she disagrees. However, if she is concerned about those who delegitimize the “other” and bandies about the terrible term “Amalek,” perhaps she should begin by examining her own writings.GERSHON KAPLAN
Hashmonaim They can afford it
Sir, – With all due respect, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is delusional if he thinks he can convince wealthy absentee homeowners to rent their luxurious residences to students (“Jerusalem to launch Pessah campaign against ‘ghost apartments,’” March 22). People who can afford million-dollar third homes that they use only on Sukkot do not need the income.
Moreover, these residences are usually designer showpieces that well-heeled owners would never entrust to strangers, let alone students.
Yet what is especially wrong about the mayor’s misbegotten idea is that it attempts to shift responsibility from City Hall to the overseas owner. After all, it is the municipality’s job to establish zoning regulations that would prevent the lion’s share of Jerusalem’s center from catering to the feeding frenzy of greedy developers and absentee show-offs.
If overseas owners are willing to pony up for the outrageous prices of their homes, surely they would be prepared to pay a special absentee-owner tax that would generate revenue for affordable housing for those who actually live here.J.J. GROSS
Jerusalem Live here or shut up
Sir, – Jesse Rothman and Logan Bayroff (“Why J Street speaks to us,”
Comment & Features, March 22) say that although Martin Luther King
and Abraham Joshua Heschel loved the United States and supported it,
they were not blind to its flaws and criticized it when necessary. This
is true, but these two were citizens of the country they criticized.
I made aliya and became an Israeli citizen, and my son served in the
Israeli army. I have the right and maybe even the obligation to
criticize Israel if I see fit. But before my aliya, when people would
ask my opinion on Israeli politics and how Israel should act, I would
preface my answer by saying I could not really say what the Israeli
government should or should not do.
The same holds true for me now in relation to US politics.
If the authors feel they want to criticize Israel rather than express an
opinion, I – and, I’m sure, the rest of Israel – would welcome them as
olim and encourage them to add their voices.JUDY REBACZ
Sir, – Jesse Rothman and Logan Bayroff both say that the reason they
forged a “new” relationship with Israel expressed by their affiliation
with J Street is because they “do not support Israel’s policies
Jews have the right to praise or criticize the Israeli government when
it comes to any of its policies, whether it’s the debate about a
five-day work week or its relationship with our Arab minority.
That is fair. But when Jews here and abroad side with organizations that
have hijacked what it means to be pro-Israel or left-wing without truly
having Israel’s interests in mind, it crosses all lines.
J Street, B’Tselem and similar groups claim to care about the Jewish
value of social justice, but in reality discriminate against certain
populations within the Jewish community because of where they live in
regard to a fictitious line on a map. Standing up for Arab rights
without standing up for Jewish rights is nothing short of bigotry.JOSH HASTEN
Elazar That would be news
Sir, – Gershon Baskin wonders why no Israeli newspapers reported PA
President Mahmoud Abbas’s interview on Channel 2 (“Abbas, man of peace,”
Encountering Peace, March 22). The answer is inherent in the question.
It’s easy for Abbas to claim he supports reconciliation when speaking
directly to an Israeli public that hungers for peace. But it would be
frontpage news if he said the same thing in Arabic to his own people.
And every newspaper would rush to report Abbas telling Hamas in no
uncertain terms that there will be no internal Palestinian accommodation
until that organization forswears violence and accepts Israel’s
fundamental right to exist as a Jewish state.
For now, his interviews are essentially non-events.EFRAIM A. COHEN
Sir, – Gershon Baskin’s column is naive to the extreme. What did he
expect the Palestinian president to say? Something soothing about his
efforts to join Fatah with Hamas? The sole, undisguised goal of Hamas is
to destroy Israel.
The Hamas leadership has been widely quoted as saying it will never
recognize Israeli sovereignty over any land. So why does Baskin believe
Abbas, who failed to accept wide-ranging peace proposals from two
previous Israeli prime ministers?
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