(photo credit: Courtesy)
Post readers react to Eligados' story
Sir, - Larry Derfner does an excellent job of portraying the Eligado family's battle to make a life for themselves in Israel ("Up from underground," Cover Story, October 19). On a personal level, it is easy to identify with their struggle, sympathize with their plight and be happy that their lives have improved.
However, as a Jew who chose to move with a wife and children to Israel over 20 years ago - in no small measure because of a desire to live in a Jewish nation in which it would be possible to avoid many of the difficulties faced by committed Jews in America - I am distressed by the increasing numbers of children of foreign workers who are living in Israel and appear ready to stay permanently.
Perhaps at one time it was possible to think that foreign workers would come for a few years, improve their financial situation and then return to their countries of origin with no thought of settling down in Israel. Today it is clear that many of these workers are here to stay, and that their non-Jewish children are ready to integrate fully into Israeli society, and in many cases marry Jewish children who have grown up here.
By limiting the number of Palestinian workers entering Israel we may have helped reduce the threat of terrorism, but we have brought a difficult social problem upon ourselves.
Sir, - Perhaps I am missing something here. Is it now only necessary to evade arrest for a few years, have kids and not pay taxes, and then be granted residency?
No, I am neither xenophobic nor racist, nor do I look for Israel to be Thai- or Filipino-free. I do, however, want 100,000 illegal migrant workers to be deported and replaced with people who will enter and respect the law.
What has this country come to when I am treated to the delicious sounds of sizzling pigs' ears and spicy pig kishkes? Somebody tell me I am wrong.
Sir, - When my Filipino-Jewish wife read the cover text introducing the Eligados' story - "the portrait of one Filipino family's struggle for survival... By the way, it also has a happy ending" - her response was, "Why, did they all convert to Judaism?"
In his own inimitable way, Larry Derfner managed to find one Filipino family amongst the tens of thousands of happy Filipino workers and highlight the bitter experience of almost every aspect of the Eligados' 12-year Israeli experience.
Ironically, this same week, Jerusalem Post columnist Michael Freund assailed Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit for placing insurmountable obstacles to aliya in the path of the Bnei Menashe, genuine Jews committed to the Jewish religion and the State of Israel. In this context it seems tragic to feature the "fairy-tale ending" of the Eligado saga: the granting of permanent residency to a family that is not committed to the Jewish people and land. The Eligados did not come here because of political or religious persecution; they openly admit that their reasons were purely financial.
Israel is a small nation with limited resources, surrounded by a fifth column of disloyal Arab citizens, anti-Jewish liberals and non-halachic Jews and an unending line of enemies who are trying to destroy us. It is not in the interest of our state to open its gates to all the indigent in the world. We do need true Jews who are dedicated to Zionism and Judaism.
All good people wish the Eligado family the best. Life is tough, and they showed fortitude and persevered. But in my opinion, they should return to their homeland and kindred, where they will really feel at home.
Sir, - What a wonderful story. The Eligados will be a great asset to this country, unlike some of those they worked for.
A failed Judaism
Sir, - I am as disturbed by the facts that Jonathan Rosenblum brought to our awareness as he is, and thank him for informing us of them ("The end of the bargain," October 19). However, I have a different understanding and draw very different conclusions.
Mr. Rosenblum may have an easy time pointing to the "majority of young American Jews" who express a "lack of interest in their Judaism" because of their lack of authentic Jewish experience. But when he connects them to "the majority of young Israelis (who) share in common a lack of interest in their Judaism," we are talking of a totally different situation.
The Israelis who share a lack of interest in their Judaism have lived most of their lives in a country in which only Orthodox Judaism is recognized as being legitimate - in other words, the only Judaism most Jews here know is the Judaism they reject: Orthodoxy. It is the Judaism that has failed here.
I believe that the vast majority of the Jews Mr. Rosenblum is complaining about in the US and/or in Israel are descendents of Orthodox grand- and great-grandparents.
Orthodoxy is not the solution; it is the basis of the problem.
True healer, or not?
Sir, - In Ruthie Blum's interview with Oren Zarif ("Snake oil salesman?" October 19), Mr. Zarif came across as real and unpretentious. Miraculous healers have always existed, and he just might be one today. However, three things were troubling: his claim of seeing 400 people per day, his long waiting list, and his constant advertising. Other successful healers are known of, without advertising.
I would have liked to see a sidebar in which Ms. Blum recorded the responses of a variety of people interviewed by her who had been healed by Oren Zarif.
It was also quite annoying that he gave her a personal scare, without healing or helping or offering any advice about it.
Sir, - I canceled my subscription to The Jerusalem Post a few weeks ago so as not to be party to the fraud perpetrated by Oren Zarif and the newspapers which help lure helpless, sick people to him. So when I saw your headline on Jpost.com I hoped that the Post was finally going to fulfill its civic responsibility and expose him for what he is. I thought you would do some serious investigative journalism.
Did you really think that superior interviewing skills could outwit an experienced con-man?
Sir, - "Most people wait two months to get an appointment" and "[Zarif] claims he sees an average of 400 people every day." If he works a 10-hour day and treats patients individually, that's two months to wait for a one-and-a-half-minute visit, not counting walking between examination rooms.
Sir, - "There's a sucker born every minute" said Phileas T. Barnum, master circus leader and magic-stunt showman. Of course no one has the right to interfere if the gullible, simple, ignorant, bewildered and fed-up wish to part with their hard-earned cash for whatever irrational purpose they wish. And Oren Zarif has the right to his own opinions even if they are somewhat off-beat (a little bit of carcinogenic cigarette smoke is good for you). By the same token, the general public has the right to be protected from outrageous promises and completely unsupported claims in advertising. This is true in all fields, not just in health matters.
In the US and Europe, authorities routinely clamp down on misleading advertising and can enforce changes and even cessation of such practices, backed by severe penalties. This is blatantly not the case in Israel and the Israeli press.
ANTHONY AND JUDITH LUDER
Sir, - As soon as I read this interview, I became taller, my post-holiday belly disappeared, and I was suddenly even more irresistible to women than I had been previously.