Targeted for extinction
Cnaan Liphshiz’s article (“Request to wear kippa rattles the Anne Frank House,” April 23) reminded me of my recent visit to that historical site, which had an almost completely Dutch nationalistic character.
Although it documented the persecution of the Jews, it nonetheless created a universal picture of “man’s inhumanity to man,” which could be a good thing and a lesson apparently well learned, judging by the unending lines waiting for entrance to the museum.
The Dutch had an impressive history of networking to hide Jews and even held a brief though disastrous demonstration against persecution of the Jews. It is a historical anomaly that despite this, Holland had one of the highest percentages (77%) of Jews murdered during the Holocaust.
The question of permission for a Jew to wear a kippa while working in the museum brings to mind Anne Frank’s own words: “Who has made us Jews to be different from all other people?... We can never become just Netherlanders or representatives of any other country for that matter. We will always remain Jews.”
No matter how valuable the universal lessons, the fact that all Jews in Europe were targeted for extinction should never be forgotten.
Regarding the letter from Stuart Erdheim (“Bomb the bridges,” May 7) we all know that few countries did anything to stop the genocide of the Jews. But all comments complaining about the failure to bomb the extermination sites and the rails leading to them forget one very important thing.
Before the creation of the extermination camps already about two million of the six million Jewish victims had already been killed by Einsatz groups and military personnel in Belarus, the Baltics and Ukraine, as well as in Romania.
Auschwitz and the other camps have gotten a lot of attention because of the spectacle of industrial murder they represent, but the old-fashioned way of murder with guns and other weapons also killed many.
A single set of laws
Tova Hartman’s article (“Not the Jewish way: Haredi reticence on Remembrance Day,” May 6) encapsulates all that is wrong with haredi society in its total lack of empathy toward the state of Israel and the sacrifices made by a great number of its citizens.
This approach by the majority of its community shows a very high level of disrespect, coupled with the hypocrisy of looking to others to safeguard their security along with receiving (expecting) numerous benefits, which in turn affords them the luxury to pursue their beliefs with scant regard for others.
Israel is a democracy and as such has a set of laws that should apply to all sections within; citizens cannot be allowed to pick and choose the ones they will or won’t obey.
Tova Hartman’s thoughtful and insightful article regarding the haredi attitude toward the state contains one glaring error.
She writes that what is commonly referred to as “Israeli High Holidays” begins with Passover and ends on Independence Day. Actually, this holiday period continues several more weeks until 28 Iyar, the day that Jerusalem returned to Jewish sovereignty after two millennia of an often bitter exile.
During that exile, Jews turned toward Jerusalem three times a day and prayed, “May our eyes witness Your return to Zion,” and introduced the prayer after eating with Psalm 137, which includes the well-known phrase, “If I forget you, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill.”
This hope and prayer sustained our people.
The fact that Jerusalem Day is only commemorated and celebrated by the residents of the city and the religious-Zionist community manifests a failure of the educational system and plays into the hands of our enemies who claim that we are intruders and usurpers in a land that we stole from others.
The Ministry of Education and other responsible agencies should correct this missing element in the cognizance of who we are and why we are here.
Giro d’Italia on Shabbat
It was a great coup for the Ministry of Tourism and the Jerusalem Municipality to organize and welcome the Giro d’Italia to Jerusalem. Sadly, it was badly spoiled by the flagrant desecration of Shabbat and violation of municipal by-laws.
The barriers on the street were removed on Shabbat. There was a very large lorry parked outside the Jerusalem Great Synagogue on Friday night in full view of worshipers coming out of the shul. Late Friday night (after 11 p.m.) there was a large amount of noise on Ramban Street from the barriers being loaded onto the lorry.
Municipality by-laws forbid noise after 11 p.m. Here the by-laws were flagrantly being broken by employees or sub-contracted employees of the municipality. How can the haredi members of the Jerusalem City Council allow such public desecration of Shabbat?
Alternatively, if they were not aware of all of this, why was this issue not discussed at a council meeting in advance of the cycle race? A response from the mayor or one of his hareidi deputy mayors would be welcome.
Both Susan Rolef (“Iran lied”) and Jeff Barak (We know the Iranians lied”) on May 7 eagerly pointed out that Iran lied and that there’s nothing new about that. Ho, hum!
Neither of them mentioned Iran’s development of long-range ballistic missiles nor did they mention Iran’s export of terrorism from Yemen to Gaza to Syria nor the sharp increase in Iran’s intervention in Syria.
They’re bothered by Netanyahu’s showmanship – for which he received support from the security cabinet. The fact that Abu Mazen lied about why Jews were slaughtered 75 years ago receives no mention from them either.
Maybe they should both ask themselves a very simple question. If Netanyahu is such a failure, why is it that the Israeli public repeatedly reelects him?
In reading the multitude of articles about the Iran Deal or JCPOA, one fact is rarely raised: the JCPOA was an agreement with the Obama administration. It was never presented as a treaty to be ratified and agreed to by the US Senate, which would have made it a binding obligation on the part of the American people. Obama knew the Senate would never have voted in favor of the JCPOA.
In other words, the deal was personal to Obama and Kerry. This means that Trump has the ability to disavow it as having been a spectacularly ill-conceived bargain.
The world must not forget that the JCPOA is not a US treaty! That makes all the difference.
One hardly knows whether to laugh or cry after reading the reported statement by Likud MK Yuval Steinmetz that Israel may have to eliminate Syrian dictator Bashar Assad if he continues to allow Syria to be a base of operations against Israel.
How kind of Steinmetz to warn Assad in advance! Perhaps he thinks that Assad will cooperate and be a willing target in this reported plan.
What has happened to the renowned Israeli intelligence?
Congratulations to 17-year-old Azriel Shilat for being crowned this year’s champion of the Bible quiz (“Azriel Shilat wins 2018 International Bible Quiz,” April 20).
Each year I wonder how many of those questions I could have answered – and I imagine others have had the same thoughts.
Does anyone know where one can get a copy of the questions and answers?
Corbyn’s lack of concern
As an ex-Brit I was saddened to read in “Än open letter to Jeremy Corbyn” (May 6) of the disgraceful behavior toward John Mann’s family due to his defense of the Jews. I sincerely hope that he will not be de-selected by the anti-Israel activists in his party.
I wish he could be named a Righteous Gentile – he certainly is one.
If the shoe fits
I’m Japanese, and after reading “Offensive dessert at Abe-Netanyahu dinner appalls Japanese diplomats” (May 8), I had to laugh.
The article quotes a senior Israeli diplomat saying, “There is nothing more despised in Japanese culture than shoes.” We don’t despise shoes. We generally like them. We do find it very unusual to find one on the dinner table, but I guess that’s not Japanese-specific.
The diplomat continued, “You will not find shoes in their offices either. Even the prime minister, ministers and members of parliament do not wear shoes to work.”
Ummm, you do find shoes in our offices. I’m wearing them right now, as well as every single colleague on this floor of a typical office bldg in Tokyo. Everyone, including the PM and parliament members, wears shoes to work.
So, let us Japanese enjoy our shoes. Of course, maybe not on the dinner table, but if it’s done tastefully, many Japanese will get it. Please don’t blame the chef too much – and I’m sorry for the humorless Japanese diplomat that you interviewed.
I’m sure our PM found it more amusing than offensive.
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