Destruction of the wicked
Seth Frantzman (“Colonizing Gaza’s dead for Kaddish theater,” May 28) is correct in decrying the “group of 50 Jewish activists ... [who] attended a Jewish prayer event at Parliament Square in London to, in the words of one attendee, ‘express grief and anger in the most Jewish way possible.’”
However, Frantzman’s question “isn’t Kaddish supposed to be said for one’s relatives, not for random people one has never met, half a world away, whose families didn’t even ask you to say it?” betrays a misunderstanding of the true nature of kaddish. It is not primarily a prayer for the dead, but rather a proclamation of the Almighty’s holiness as manifested through His control and guidance of the universe.
What the participants were doing, though may not have been aware of it, was not expressing mourning for the Palestinian dead, but praising the Almighty for ensuring that those killed were, in the main, active terrorists – though even the so-called “unarmed civilian protesters” among whom they were hiding were not entirely innocent bystanders. This was confirmed by Israel’s High Court Justices, who unanimously agreed in rejecting petitions to stop the IDF from using live fire in Gaza border riots, that “Hamas and other terrorist organizations were posing a huge challenge to the security forces by deliberately mixing terrorists in with civilians, including women and children, to make it hard for the army to pick out the former.”
Perhaps a more legitimate objection to the group’s theatrical performance is that it is not seemly to gloat over the destruction of the wicked which, in reality, is what they were doing.MARTIN D. STERN
Tension between different branches of the governing system are common in all democracies, perhaps even desirable. While Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Treasury Minister Moshe Kahlon are battling the issue of the Supreme Court override clause on the overheated political and popular playing fields (“Bennett vows to rein in top court,” May 25), I would ask to inject some cooler points.
Firstly, the Supreme Court does not “disqualify” laws with which it disagrees for ideological or other reasons. It simply rules whether a new law is consistent with an existing Basic Law (passed by the Knesset), usually the law on Basic Rights and Freedoms. One cannot ask a court to declare what its opinion is, when it isn’t its opinion. If the Knesset wants to “override” the court, it would need to amend the basic law itself. This it can do whenever it wishes, subject of course to the special majority required which again the Knesset itself determined. The “override” clause is therefore a non-starter and an oxymoron simultaneously.
Secondly, packing the court with judges of a particular “line” is very difficult since the current judges’ selection procedure includes different groups including politicians, judges and professional lawyers. The difficulties facing the Israeli political governance system today are of course a direct result of the failure of the state to institute a constitution, either written (like the US), or “conventional” (like the UK). Until such a step is taken – and the taking of which the religious parties, one of which Bennett is the current leader, have been the main obstacles – the tensions will remain and ad hoc “solutions” will be counter-productive and totally incoherent.
This is no way to govern a nation, which is why in Israel, it is exactly what is likely to happen.ANTHONY LUDER
Rosh PinaCovenant of blood
Haim Leiter’s article on ritual circumcision (“Blood on our hands, May 27) is both disturbing and deceptive. In describing two incidents of complications from mila, he minimizes the fact that Jews have practiced mila since the time of Abraham and that the procedure, in competent hands, has a serious complication rate of less than 1%. Such articles only strengthen the hands of those who criticize mila and would have it abolished.
The article questions the role of the rabbinate in training and controlling mohalim. However, it would seem that their role should be limited to teaching and testing candidates in the details of the pertinent halachic requirements. The surgical details are not in their realm
Leiter advocates the development of an overall institution committed to the training and monitoring of mohalim. For such a model one need look no further than the Initiation Society in England, which has been training and certifying mohalim for more than 250 years. This institution has a membership of 60 to 70 mohalim, some 15% of whom are also physicians. A physician-mohel heads the institution and has the knowledge and capability to manage the common medical problems. In certifying mohalim, the Initiation Society demands of them the highest medical, surgical and ethical standards, including strict guidelines for post-operative care. Families seeking referrals of a mohel from the Society can expect such qualities with confidence.
Israel deserves such an organization.FRED GOTTLIEB, M.D.
As a mohel in London for 33 years, I was very disturbed when reading this article. Nothing has changed since I made aliya 18 years ago. I decided not to register as a mohel here as it needed a well-ordered and disciplined organization where mohalim (medically insured through the organization) are trained by designated doctor-mohalim and know who to turn to in a case of urgent need. In the United Kingdom, the Initiation Society, founded over 200 years ago serves this purpose adequately.
The article deals with a mohel who did not handle a case of bleeding in the correct manner. During my time, I was faced with two cases of hemophilia where no one knew that the baby had this condition. Luckily, the high standard of training I received to be a mohel served me in good stead. In my opinion, when a mohel first receives his certificate to perform mila, his first 10 cases, which will be few and far between until his name is known, should be with a competent mohel standing by.(REV) MICHAEL PLASKOW
NetanyaFriendship with China
“Honoring the millenial friendship” (May 27) is deficient in two respects.
1.Colonel Joseph Meisinger, the Gestapo Chief in Japan in 1942, was given the mission to destroy not the Jews of Shanghai, as stated, but the Jews of Kobe. The story is fully described in the book The Fugu Plan by Rabbi Marvin Tokayer. The incident was personally related to me by one of the Kobe Jewish community, Rahmo Sassoon, when I visited them in 1947. At the time I was a doctor in the New Zealand Army of Occupation of Japan, a member of a group of Jewish servicemen visiting our co-religionists. We were their first Jewish visitors since before the war.
2. In their discussion of Jewish-Chinese relationships, no mention is made of an outstanding Jewish personality, General Morris Abraham Cohen (known as “Two-Gun Cohen”), a general in the Kuomintang Chinese Nationalist Army prior to the Communist Revolution.
I published two articles about him in the Jerusalem Report
. One describes a key behind-the-scenes contribution he made in 1945 to the UN, before the establishment of the State of Israel. This was a critical event for the nascent state.
The second describes his personal intervention with Chou En Lai, China’s foreign minister at the time, on the matter of Chinese supplies of button mines to Arab terrorists (known then as Fedayeen). Mine was the first-ever publication about this event. It was told to me personally by General Cohen, who was my cousin, on his visit to Israel in 1966 at the invitation of prime minister Ben-Gurion.CYRIL B. SHERER
JerusalemKorean denuclearization threat
Analyst Tim Kelly (“US bolsters Asia missile defense as Trump-Kim summit approaches,” May 23) reports on the run-up to the planned summit with the regard to Korea. The heavy focus in the media on the issue of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is deceptive as to all issues involved. Kelly’s report opens a window when it states that the dialogue may collapse “if the US insists on North Korea unilaterally abandoning its nuclear arsenal.” Here is the catch – not the much-mouthed nuclear threat from North Korea, but the inverse, the “denuclearization threat.”
The North Koreans can be expected to demand in exchange the removal of all American forces and nuclear presence, not just from the peninsula but also from the surrounding waters. After “peace in Korea,” there will remain the question as to what any US president would do if North Korea should launch its million-man conventional forces deep into the South. The triggers of immediate danger to American troops and of a North Korean nuclear threat option would both be gone. It is less likely that the US would launch onto both northern and southern Korean soil the one weapon system capable of stopping the North’s onslaught – tactical nuclear weapons. And if so, there is the greater parallel danger that the North Korean tyrant may just bet, even if wrongly, on Washington not reacting to his invasion. A Korean Peninsula thus finally united, not through peace but by force, and then renuclearized with the collusion of Iran, will be an even greater danger to the Middle East than currently, not to mention Japan, the rest of Asia and America itself.
Only a comprehensive, phased “package” plan of both denuclearization and demilitarization can hope to save one and all. Such negotiation will also test the true intentions of North Korea’s current “peace” offensive. The clincher will be whether we can be more confident on this with the new team around President Donald Trump in the White House.AARON BRAUNSTEIN
Jerusalem Gaza: International commotion
Regarding “The return of the Gaza numbers game” (May 22), even after the Hamas terrorist government that runs Gaza openly admitted that 85% of the dead from a recent one day Arab assault on the Israeli border were terrorists, the international commotion to blame Israel for their deaths is deafening. The Hamas charter explicitly calls for Israel’s destruction and its leaders will sacrifice as many of its own civilians as it needs to in order to make those who are forced to kill them look like murderers.
It seems difficult for some to understand that when the party that “the world” wants you to make peace with requires you to die, there’s nothing to negotiate. Luckily, the Obama doctrine in international politics is defunct, because there’s little doubt after his final, shameful betrayal of Israel at the UN in December 2016, that he gave a nod and a wink to the notion that the national home of the Jewish people is expendable.DESMOND TUCK
San Mateo, CA
I would have just added that the hypocrisy and moral decadence was topped by Emily Thornberry, UK Shadow Foreign Secretary, who on May 15, 2018, said the following in the House of Commons:
“What makes yesterday’s events all the worst is that they did not come as a result of some accidental overreaction to one day’s protest but as the result of a culmination of six weeks, an apparently calculated and deliberate posse to kill and maim unarmed protesters who pose no threat to the forces on the Gaza border.”
This whole incident, according to Emily Thornberry, was calculated by Israel to deliberately kill and maim unarmed Palestinians!? How much more absurd can this be? Shame on the UK Parliament to be discussing such an inversion of reality! MLADEN ANDRIJASEVIC
BeershebaAnd the loser is...
In the light of Holland’s vicious parody of Israel’s winning Eurovision song (“Israel lodges complaint over Dutch parody of Netta Barzilai,” May 23), I would like to propose a new prize category – the sorest loser. Maybe the country earning that (dis)honor should be banned from the following year’s contest.NAOMI SANDLER
JerusalemUp in smoke
I am shocked and extremely disappointed that your international English publication, the only one of its kind here in Israel and overseas, should fall into the pit of advertising tobacco. Ubiquitous to rags shackled in the doldrums of mediocrity, tobacco ads are a thing of the past for publications such as yours. TANIA HAMMER
JerusalemHell-bent on self destruction
Why are we so hell-bent on self destruction (“Jewish-Christian list approved,” May 24)?
A party that includes Arabs and 30% of non Jewish Russians the government willfully and with malicious intent tries to make our country one for all people instead of the Jewish state for the Jewish people that it was always meant to be.
Dennis Avi, founder of this abomination, intends for their supporters to speak on the country’s behalf around the world and improve its image. Such arrogance. We won’t have an image left to either improve or support. Lipkin is of the somewhat twisted opinion that “when Israel faces an existential threat of Islamic terrorism we need a Judeo-Christian love party.”
Is this muppet unaware of the part that Hashem plays in our Jewish land and that it is to Him we look, whether or not we are faced with an existential threat? The way Islamic terrorism should be dealt with is by destroying it totally and not by bringing in a Trojan horse. If this party is allowed to come to fruition then it is just one more disaster that this government has brought upon us and for which we will pay dearly.
On the same page we have US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman “disappointed that anyone would take advantage of his visit to Bnei Brak to create controversy.” (“Friedman photo causes storm,” May 24). The “storm” was about the photo presented to him by an activist in the NGO Achiya, which works to ensure the rights of children with learning disabilities in the haredi sector, showing, shock and horror, a rebuilt third Temple on the Temple Mount, the site where the Dome of the Rock currently stands. Worth noting that this was built long after our Temple and that Islam did not come into existence until 2,200 years after Judaism.
Of course an apology was immediately forthcoming from the NGO who assures us the activist with be dealt with in an appropriate manner. The US is concerned the controversial event has the potential to cause backlash and dissent among Palestinians (what “Palestinians”?) A spokesman then reiterated, “US policy is absolutely clear: we support the status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount.”
Our very best friends in the whole world that we just cannot live without, don’t even give us “first billing,” showing without any doubts where their primary loyalties lie.
The terrorists win every time. Seems they can do no wrong.EDITH OGNALL
NetanyaDisclosure with political consequences
Around the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel a bizarre revelation concerning the founding year 1948 became better known, and it has far-reaching political consequences.
In May 1948, Israel was declared a sovereign state, with David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister, saying, “To be a realist, you must believe in miracles.” After the devastating Holocaust, the foundation of the state of Israel, homeland for Jews worldwide, was seen by many as a miracle. Many saw it as evidence of the existence of God and the truth of the Bible, which states several times that the Jewish people would return to their own country and regain possession of it.
The Jewish people use a different calendar than the common ones. May 1948 corresponds to the Jewish year 5708. The independence of Israel became a fact in the year 5708. That appears to be foretold in a hidden way in the Hebrew Bible. In Deuteronomy 30:5 Moses says, “And the Lord your God will bring you into the land that your fathers had in possession, and you shall take possession again; and He will do you good and make you more numerous than your fathers.”
The bizarre thing is that this bible verse is the 5,708th verse of the Bible, exactly the same as the year 5708 (1948)!
Neither the author of Deuteronomy, nor the Jewish people, nor the Christian church, nor Islam (for whom Moses (Musa in Arabic) is one of the greatest prophets and the most frequently mentioned biblical figure in the Quran) realized that this verse foretold when this promise to the Jewish people would be fulfilled.
There is no question of manipulation, speculation, juggling with numbers or cabalistic calculations. You do not have to be religious; even the most convinced atheist can only observe that these are two facts, verifiable for everyone: Deuteronomy 30:5 is the 5,708th verse of the Hebrew Bible and 1948 is the year 5708 in the Jewish era.
The only one who knew thousands of years ago that many centuries later a verse classification would come into the Bible and that 1948 would be the current year 5708 in the current Jewish era, was .... God Himself.
This bizarre revelation first of all indicates that the proclamation and origin of the state of Israel in 1948, the year 5708, was by no means a coincidence. In an incredibly subtle (and for centuries long hidden) way, it had already been predicted that this would happen. This has a major political impact: Jewish, Christian and Muslim politicians can not deny that the God that some say all three religions believe in, lies behind the formation of the State of Israel.
The Prophet Moses/ Musa whom they share has foretold this and it has now been fulfilled. From now on, this will have to be fully taken into account in all political discussions and negotiations concerning the situation in Israel and Jerusalem. Islamic leaders will have to communicate this with their populations. It will have consequences for peace plans, setting limits, etc.
You can even say that God is back on the world stage again as the One who leads history through everything and brings it to fruition. That is why God may have provided confirmation of this fulfillment for this extra (hidden, but now revealed) confirmation. What a huge encouragement for countless people!ALFONS VAN VLIET