His first read
Sir , – Again, Sarah Honig has written something (“They just
don’t get it,” Another Tack, November 1) that should be read by everyone,
perhaps especially by the US administration.
It reminded me of the
statement by Saddam Hussein after he was captured: “You guys just don’t
understand. This is a rough neighborhood.”
As always, Honig’s column is
the first thing I read when I get the Friday Post
One side now
Sir, – In “Financing Mideast flames on a burned-out budget”
(Observations, November 1), Edwin Black gives an enlightening and informative
report about the New Israel Fund, a tax-exempt US charity whose grants “steer
millions of dollars to scores of confrontation- oriented Israeli
They include B’Tselem, “which circulates video cameras to Arab
villages that are hotbeds for confrontation,” and Adalah, which “brags that it
has devoted itself to getting Israelis prosecuted for war crimes.”
cameras are “calculated to capture the scene after soldiers are taunted into
I witnessed this sort of activity first-hand on the
Shabbat of October 26 during a walking tour of the Arab market place adjacent to
the cave of the Patriarchs.
I spoke to two cameramen who stated they were
from the Philippines and Brazil, and that they were there to take pictures of
Israelis who were abusive of Arab civil rights in the “occupied territories.” As
we were leaving the casbah there was a group of Arab children playing on a
terraced area above us who were spitting on Jewish passers-by and soldiers
below. One of the cameramen took pictures of soldiers who were shooing the
children to the rear of the playground.
When I asked if he had also taken
pictures of the children spitting, he insisted he had. I asked several times to
see those pictures. He walked away from me to a smiling Arab.
Sir, – Juxtaposed with the release of
Palestinian prisoners are the new building plans (“Israeli official: PA and US
knew building plans would follow prisoner release,” October 31).
our government believes it’s smart to throw the Palestinians a bone to achieve
this more important goal. Dead wrong.
The result, as we well know,
emboldens and gives strength to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
(“Abbas vows there will be no peace agreement unless all prisoners go free,”
October 31). Well of course. If you had gotten the same results without action,
wouldn’t you do the same? Far worse is the unknown damage of fostering a false
fear in ourselves and generations to come that we need permission to build in
Jerusalem or anywhere else in Israel. It screams out to the world, “It’s not our
God-given land, but please let us live here.”YEHOSHUA PINTO
Sir, – How cruel and horrifying this “gesture.”
The whole world must
think the Israeli government (excluding a few Knesset members with their hearts
in the right place) is one big gesture of unbelievable madness and weakness. I
am sure there is not one Israeli citizen who is not hurting. So extremely sad
for the victims’ families.
When will this madness stop? One leader after
another, the same story.
Netanyahu will certainly not get my vote
Sir, – Seeing that neither the
Palestinians nor the international community have any interest in honoring their
commitments to Israel, I suggest that we treat our commitment to release
terrorists in the same way.
The freed prisoners should be liable to
rearrest at will. As soon as the parties are over, they should start
Sir, – Congratulations and
Fifteen-hundred new apartments for the release of only 26
Palestinian prisoners. Brilliant, considering you still have approximately 5,000
more Palestinians in your jails. That’s 57 units per prisoner, 190,000 new
With an average of six people per apartment , that’s
1,140,000 settlers in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. Not a bad
Very clever. Keep it up.EDWARD ELIMELECH WAGSCHAL
Just, healthy diet
Sir, – Recent revelations about serious animal abuses at
kosher slaughterhouses (“Environment Ministry launches investigation of Soglowek
slaughterhouse after ‘Kolbotek’ report,” October 31) should make us Jews
seriously consider our diets. After all, we are to be rachmanim b’nei rachmanim
(compassionate children of compassionate ancestors) and are to imitate the
actions of God, “Whose compassion encompasses all His works.”
president emeritus of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA), I want to
stress that vegetarianism is the diet most consistent with Jewish mandates to
preserve human health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment,
conserve natural resources and help hungry people.
In addition to the
massive mistreatment of animals on factory farms and sometimes at kosher
slaughterhouses, animal-based diets contribute substantially to widespread
diseases in Jewish and other communities, and to climate change and other
environmental problems that threaten all humanity.RICHARD H. SCHWARTZ
New YorkEasy to see
Sir, – The validity of Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s
statement (“Lapid: A ‘Jewish and democratic’ state is an unsolvable
contradiction,” October 29) is incontrovertible and can be demonstrated in a
manner so simple as to be comprehensible to virtually any high school
Given the democratic principle of “one adult/one vote,” if the
Arab citizens of Israel constituted a majority of the country’s voting
population, the majority of the Knesset’s membership would consist of Arabs, and
that, in principle, would be sufficient to terminate the so-called Jewish state
This contradiction is a direct consequence of Israel’s 1948
Proclamation of the State, which declares (in a dubious way) that “The state of
Israel... will be based on precepts of liberty, justice and peace taught by the
Hebrew prophets; will uphold the full social and political equality of all its
citizens without distinction of race, creed or sex....”
Nothing more need
be said to demonstrate the validity of Lapid’s statement.PAUL EIDELBERG
The writer has authored books on the US Declaration of Independence
The real Reichmann
Sir, – The article “Paul Reichmann, Canadian Jewish
philanthropist and builder, dies at 83” (October 28) quotes the Toronto Star as
saying that “Paul Reichmann was not particularly comfortable with riches” and
that “the Reichmanns seemed anxious to shed personal wealth.” The Star assumes
that if he and his family gave so much it must be explained away psychologically
rather than philosophically.
Having had the privilege of knowing Mr.
Reichmann well, I beg to differ.
We Torah Jews proceed from the axiom
that there is free will and that despite the conflicting proclivities of human
nature one can decide the right thing to do not merely as a consequence of
psychological orientation but as a moral decision.
With his sense of the
challenge to achieve and his deeply ingrained recognition that with all his
talents and perseverance, success was a gift from on High, he was a custodian of
that largesse, quite comfortable with those riches but committed to the
realization that the greater the success, the more it is laced and threaded
through with a sense of responsibility and mission.NOTA SCHILLER
The writer is a rabbi and heads Ohr Somayach APOLOGY
Due to a
technical error owing to the end of Daylight Savings Time, we provided the
incorrect times of the beginning and end of Shabbat in the November 1
issue. We apologize to our readers and will do our utmost to ensure that
this does not happen again.