November 16: Misleading statistics

Israel is one of the few countries in the world with a large positive flow of immigration in which many are elderly.

November 16, 2010 06:05
letters to the editor 88

letters to the editor 88. (photo credit: )

Misleading statistics

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.

Jerusalem Vote often

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.”

Prime 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.


Paving over history

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, country.

Surely there are better ways of achieving security.

Bodmin, Cornwall, UK

UNESCO is wrong

Sir, – 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.

The 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.

• The 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 months.

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.

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 holes.

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 over.

Hanania should try talking to Zahar about Jews living in Palestine.

I appreciate that Hanania has a vision, but it must be based on reality. We here see the Arab Palestinian political philosophy somewhat differently.


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.


New Zealand appeal

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 elsewhere.

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)

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