October 23: Ukrainian-Jewish relations

Sir, - Our embassy is a constant and devoted reader of The Jerusalem Post. Our staff finds it extremely useful in its work due to the fact that the articles published are usually informative and level-headed.

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October 23, 2006 04:14
letters to the editor 88

letters to the editor 88. (photo credit: )

 
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Ukrainian-Jewish relations Sir, - Our embassy is a constant and devoted reader of The Jerusalem Post. Our staff finds it extremely useful in its work due to the fact that the articles published are usually informative and level-headed. At the same time, we cannot but express our deep surprise by the evident biased nature of some materials concerning Ukrainian-Jewish relations. After reading them one may have an impression that their authors strive for sensation at any cost, even at the cost of objectivity, while not being able to overcome established stereotypes. We believe that this does not comply with the editorial policy of the Post. Vivid example of such unbalanced approach is provided by recent articles concerning the commemoration in Ukraine of the Babi Yar massacre. In our opinion, the international forum "Let My People Live!" supported by Jewish organizations all over the world, with the participation of President Viktor Yushchenko, attested to the high level of interracial and interreligious tolerance inherent to the Ukrainian people. We suppose that allegations concerning the "role of Ukrainians in murdering Jews" and "rising Ukrainian anti-Semitism" did not help the readers to feel and understand all the importance for Ukraine and the world of the Babi Yar commemoration, its real significance, that lay in the aspiration to promote the above-mentioned values further by commemorating those who perished in Babi Yar. The history of Ukrainian-Jewish relations, including those during World War II, is more than intricate and can hardly be described in black-and-white colors. We are far from denying tense periods in the relations of both peoples, but believe that some separate incidents cannot overshadow the efforts of Ukrainian authorities directed at the establishment of historical truth, fighting anti-Semitism and promoting tolerance in society. Hereby, we express hope for understanding. MAKSYM OSAVOLIUK Press attach Embassy of Ukraine Tel Aviv Disband UNRWA Sir, - Frans Makken, the Dutch representative to the Palestinian Authority, makes some good points in his letter in response to a critical article on UNWRA (Letters, October 20). But, even if we accept that UNWRA is not as mismanaged as was described, nor as infiltrated by terrorists, that misses the main point of criticism of UNWRA: Why is it that the Palestinians are the only people in the world who have their own UN refugee agency, when all other refugees are covered by the UN High Commission for Refugees? Why is it that UNWRA receives separate funding from other UN agencies, and as a result the Palestinians receive anywhere from two to 10 times the amount received by other refugees? Why is it that only Palestinians inherit the designation of refugee status (now to the fourth generation) while all other refugees do not? Why is it that in UNWRA camps the schools teach anti-Israel propaganda and glorify Palestinian "martyrs"? The fact is that this whole institution exists to perpetuate the Palestinian refugee crisis, to the detriment of Israel and of peace in the region. That is the overriding problem, and to help solve the "refugee crisis" and bring peace after 65 years UNWRA must be disbanded. JACK COHEN Netanya They're Israelis too Sir, - As a veteran Hebrew University teacher, I applaud the universities' efforts to end the defense establishment's ban on Palestinian students seeking to study in Israel for higher degrees ("Universities urge end to ban on Palestinian students," October 19). However, I reject your misleading caption to the photograph accompanying the article: "Arab and Israeli students at the Hebrew University's Givat Ram campus." The two Arab women students in traditional Muslim garb seated on a wall in the background are Israelis, just as much as the kippa-wearing Jewish male student in the foreground. They are Israeli Arabs. Hundreds of Israeli Arabs study at universities in Israel. RUTH RIGBI Jerusalem Peres for president... Sir, - Permit me as an outside observer to comment on the presidential candidates ("Labor's Avital says Peretz backs her bid for presidency," October 22). Regardless of their abilities and party affiliations, the acceptable face to the rest of the world is without doubt Shimon Peres. He is respected, admired and sleaze free. I appreciate internal party struggles and a certain ambivalence toward Peres (something I have never understood), however he comes across extremely well on the media. Peres is one of the last "founding fathers" and his time has arrived. It is time to put petty politics aside and think of the greater picture. JEFFREY MARLOWE Leeds, England ...Not for me Sir, - I am sorry to hear that Shimon Peres thinks that he should be president. Yasser Arafat, the murderer, and 10,000 of his cohorts were invited to Israel by Peres, who thought that his vision of "the new Middle East" would be realized. Shortly after Arafat's arrival, we experienced the disaster at Dizengoff. Who can forget that first suicide bombing that killed so many and maimed so many others. I will never forget watching and listening to the horror and heart-rending stories and experiences. I never heard that Peres had ever been to the hospitals to visit the injured. He will never have my support nor respect. May I suggest that Ruby Rivlin would be an asset as our president. I think that he is beyond reproach. B.M. JOFFE Haifa Appalling Sir, - I am appalled by "ATVs left unguarded on Gaza border" (October 20). What has happened to the IDF? Will this be swept under the rug, along with all the other mistakes and lapses of judgment we have been hearing about since July - but really for much longer? I have been a staunch Zionist for at least 60 of my 70 plus years, but this kind of conduct is unacceptable. RABBI MARION SHULEVITZ New York Blatant prejudice Sir, - I was shocked and appalled by "You there, with the American accent" by Greer Fay Cashman (October 19). Without stating any supporting statistics or facts, Cashman accuses religious American immigrants and tourists of unsafe road habits. Has any research shown that more observant Americans are involved in traffic accidents than other parts of the population? Would the always so politically correct Cashman dare to comment on the driving habits of other minorities in Israel? How about drunk secular Israeli youths driving home from all-night parties? Global statements about any group or culture are the essence of prejudice and racism. Cashman is correct that we all need to practice more safety on the roads, but she totally lost it with her blatant anti-religious American Jew prejudice. SUSAN KLEID Ma'aleh Adumim Dangerous idiocy Sir, - I agree with Greer Fay Cashman that people should not jaywalk. However, I must point out that I have seen a number of crossings at which the pedestrian gets the green light to cross at the same time that drivers have a green light to turn into the pedestrian crossing. I simply cannot understand this sort of dangerous idiocy, and it certainly does not inspire one with a desire to obey the traffic rules. If a pedestrian gets a green light to cross, he should be sure that no car is going to be coming at him. If a car has the right of way at the same time as he does, why shouldn't he just cross at his own discretion? ESTHER SHURIN Jerusalem Are we crazy? Sir, - I read again and again and still cannot believe that the police, with the approval of the Southern District Attorney's Office, paid NIS 600,000 of public money to the Perinian crime family to buy back stolen public property ("Private eye, attorney wage war of words at Zeiler commission hearing," October 19). This was in 1998, and in 2006 neither the prosecutor, the police officers nor the mafia people are on trial or in jail! Are we all crazy? DAVID WAINTRAUB Rishon Lezion

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