Sir, – In his op-ed piece “Unexpected expectancy”
(November 14), Prof. Amnon Rubinstein marvels at the unexplained miracle of
Israel having the 10th highest life expectancy in the world.
It is no
miracle – it is the result of skewed statistics. Israel is one of the few
countries in the world with a large positive flow of immigration in which many
are elderly. I’m certain that if the life expectancy of native Israelis was
measured, it would be considerably lower.DR. SAMUEL DERSHOWITZ
Sir, After reading “Boycotting the boycott” (Arts &
Entertainment, November 14), I must ask who is acting more humane – the South
African Opera, for defying Desmond Tutu’s demand for a boycott of Israel, or our
artistic Left, which seeks the boycott of Jews in Ariel? I would vote for the
South Africans – with both hands! E. POR Haifa The words say it all Sir, – The
Palestinian position remains unchanged – a Palestine free of settlements, with
Jerusalem as its capital, the right of refugees to return to their homeland, and
all prisoners released from Israeli jails.
In “Abbas vows to walk in
Arafat’s footsteps to Palestine” (November 12), the PA president is quoted as
saying “The Arab city of Jerusalem, including the holy sites, is an integral
part of the l967 territories. Everybody knows that.”
Minister Netanyahu should be asked just what it is that he does not understand.
He must step back from the brink of disaster to which the “peace process” is
taking the Israeli people and the Land of Israel, as his “peace partner” could
not be more specific in his statements.EDITH OGNALL
Netanya Paving over
Sir, – I hope you can forgive the intrusion of a non-Israeli, non-Jewish
commentator on the highly political and emotive issue of settlement expansion,
but I have only one point to make, and I make it as a trained archaeologist who
conducts small groups through Nabatean landscapes, and also as someone who loves
and admires much about your country.
Whatever the political gains
associated with settlement expansion, the simple fact is that you are coming
perilously close to destroying your own historic landscape. By building in the
Judean hills and tarmacking swaths of the Negev, you are damaging even the more
remote areas of your very beautiful, but small and fragile,
Surely there are better ways of achieving
Bodmin, Cornwall, UK UNESCO is wrong
Larry Derfner engages in selective reading to defend UNESCO’s Palestinization of
ancient Jewish holy sites (“UNESCO is right, Israel is wrong,” Rattling the
Cage, November 11).
Derfner argues that the purpose of the UNESCO
declaration was to recognize that the sites are holy to three major religions
while opposing Israeli sovereignty. But the official Explanatory Note that is
the basis of this declaration accuses Israel of having looted hundreds of
Palestinian archaeological sites since 1967, “denying Palestinians their
cultural patrimony, as well as denying development and access to heritage sites
and historic places of worship.”
Thus, the declaration is not a benign
statement of equal respect for these sites – it is an implied condemnation of
the brutal occupiers’ mistreatment of the downtrodden Palestinians.
truth is just the opposite: Muslims already have free access to these sites, as
well as to the al-Aqsa compound on the Temple Mount. Compare this access with
the destruction of Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter from 1948 to 1967, the ransacking
of Joseph’s Tomb by an Arab mob in 2000, and the difficulties that worshipers
often experience when trying to reach the Cave of the Patriarchs – and the
absurdity of the UNESCO declaration is obvious.
Derfner also ignores the
other UNESCO declarations that make its purpose crystal clear: • The Executive
Board expresses “deep concern over the ongoing Israeli excavations and
archaeological works on Al-Aqsa Mosque compound” (a questionable assertion), but
is silent about the Muslim excavations on and under the compound.
Board is also concerned about “the harmful impact of the separation Wall,”
without indicating that its construction was necessitated by repeated terrorist
attacks from the territories into Israel proper.
• Finally, the Board
“deplores the continuous blockade on the Gaza Strip,” yet fails to recognize
that this necessary response to repeated rocket attacks directed against Israeli
civilians has been substantially softened over the previous few
Taken together, the UNESCO declarations are a political statement
whose purpose is to make unfounded allegations of illegal actions by the Israeli
occupier while disregarding Israel’s right to selfdefense.EFRAIM A.
Zichron Ya’acov In your dreams
Sir, – Ray Hanania tries to project a
utopia in his article “Can Jews live in a Palestinian state?” (Yalla Peace,
November 10). However, his dream state is made of Swiss cheese – it’s full of
Can Jews live in a Palestinian state? Not according to Mahmoud
al-Zahar who, in an earlier Post article (“Jews will be driven from Palestine
like they were from Europe, Hamas official says,” November 7) clearly stated
that Jews would be evicted from Israel once the Palestinians take
Hanania should try talking to Zahar about Jews living in
I appreciate that Hanania has a vision, but it must be based
on reality. We here see the Arab Palestinian political philosophy somewhat
Sir, – After reading his column, may I
draw Ray Hanania’s attention to the map of Palestine published by W&K
Johnston of Edinburgh in 1909. The area includes what we today would call
Jordan, as well as Lebanon! Hanania should realize that the statement “Jordan is
part of Palestine” is historically accurate. He could argue that it is outdated.
He should not argue that it is racist – that invites the response that Jordan is
judenrein and consequently racist in nature, which, unfortunately, encourages
skepticism about the rest of what he says.ALBERT JACOB
Sir, – The recent introduction of an animal welfare code has
banned shechita (Jewish ritual slaughter) in New Zealand. All kosher red meat
must be imported at considerable cost, but no chicken at all cannot be imported
due to bio-security concerns.
On November 29, Jewish congregations in
Auckland and Wellington are going to court to argue for their right to continue
to practice their religion.
The Jews of New Zealand are small in number,
less than 7,000, and the court case will pose a heavy financial burden. We
urgently need financial support. We need it from those who have family and
friends in New Zealand, and we need it from those who recognize that banning
shechita in New Zealand may well lead to similar legislation
We need your help. Please send donations to New Zealand
Shechita Appeal, Account No. 01 0297 0024731 27, ANZ Bank, Swift Code ANZBNZ22.
Please reference your last name and first initial or organization name. Thank
you.JOHN BARNETT (on behalf of the Auckland Hebrew Congregation)