November 21, 2018: Airheads at Airbnb

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November 20, 2018 20:45
Letters

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Airheads at Airbnb

Regarding “Airbnb caves to BDS, nixes settlement listings” (November 20), trying to defend their ban against Jewish properties in Judea and Samaria, Airbnb exposed their historical ignorance, writing in a blog post, “Many... have stated that companies should not do business here because they believe [they] should not profit on lands where people have been displaced.”

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The truth is that Arabs were not displaced by Jews; it was actually Jews who were displaced by Arabs – from Hebron, from Gush Etzion, Neve Yaakov, the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and other neighborhoods of Jerusalem and more. After we overthrew Jordan’s illegal occupation in 1967, we moved back into many of these areas, as was our legal and moral right.

Israel did not displace or transfer the local Arabs; these people still live peacefully and securely in their growing towns; 95% of the Arabs are in Areas A and B, enjoying self-government. In almost all cases, Jewish communities were built on legally acquired unoccupied land.

There are many disputed territories around the world; by banning Jews only, Airbnb, under pressure from anti-Israel activists, is doing something morally reprehensible.

Action items?

1) Right-thinking people in Israel and overseas should write to Airbnb and explain why we are now choosing other accommodations options. 2) Israel should levy a tax against Airbnb activity here with the money going to those areas unfairly boycotted. 3) We should promote accommodations available – particularly in Area C.

Additional suggestions are welcome. Let’s not do nothing in the face of injustice.

ZVI MENDEL
Ramat Aviv


Visiting the Temple Mount

In “PA: Israel planning ‘religious war’” (November 19), the writer quotes assorted Muslim sources describing Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount as “storming the Aqsa Mosque” four times without once providing an accurate description of visits by Jews to the Temple Mount.

In reality, Jewish visits to the Temple Mount are calm walks around the perimeter of the Temple Mount, keeping a safe distance from the Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, the two structures of Muslim religious significance. Jewish visitors are accompanied by Israeli police officers who both protect them from potentially violent Muslims and strictly enforce the illegal, immoral and anti-democratic ban on non-Muslim prayer and religious expression. Occasionally, Jews visiting the Temple Mount are arrested by the Israeli police for the “crime” of bowing or uttering a prayer.

This one-sided article, which presents the Muslim view of Jewish visits to the Temple Mount without pointing out how utterly inaccurate and ridiculous it is, constitutes blatantly irresponsible journalism.

Additionally, the concluding paragraph of the article states, “Jews consider... the Temple Mount to be the site of Judaism’s two ancient temples,” as though there is any respectable opinion that disagrees.

A more appropriate wording would have been “The Temple Mount, site of the Judaism’s two ancient Temples, is Judaism’s holiest site.”

DAVID NEUSTADTER
Nof Ayalon


Kudos to Bennett and Shaked

Regarding “Disappointed opposition mocks Bennett and Shaked” (November 20), now that Education and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked have thrown their lot behind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, they must be praised for putting the nation and its people before any personal interests.

This action hopefully sounds alarm bells to Netanyahu to take the positive action required to restore the image of Likud as a party that will no longer tolerate the terrorist action that has been perpetuated on the Gaza border with only a minimal response.

This apparent lack of resolve has emboldened Hamas to believe – and no doubt currently rightly so – that weakness emanates from our government as we await violent skirmishes every Friday with hundreds or thousands of rioters. This culminated in a concerted missile attack that was perceived by Hamas as a major victory. Let’s hope they and their supporters are not so naive to believe that Israel might be getting tired and our resolve is not what it once was.

The time has come for our leader and his party to show that the start-up nation is not just sitting on its laurels but is fully geared to be proactive. The people – especially those immediately affected – deserve and demand it.

STEPHEN VISHNICK
Tel Aviv


MKs Bennett, Shaked and others from the Jewish Home Party (Bait Yehudi) are to be congratulated for their courageous and unselfish decision not to resign from the government and bring about new elections. In my opinion, they placed the good of the nation before political and personal considerations. While criticisms may be leveled against some aspects of the government handling of the recent Hamas attacks, it just might be possible that military and security heads know what they are doing. Nor is it clear just how the current party leaders calling for elections would have done anything different.

Moreover, the current make-up in the Knesset would likely not change significantly unless the former chief of the IDF joined the “Zionist (dis)Union” Party. However, as his positions are as yet unstated, it is not clear how or where his influence might be felt. On an objective basis, it may be concluded that elections at this time would be a waste of time and money and not in the overall interests of the country.

S.R. SAMPSON
Rehovot


Not Churchillian enough

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knows the strategic dangers we face: the Iranian nuclear threat, Hezbollah’s 150,000 missiles pointed at us, Gaza’s grad rockets and tunnels, Russia’s duplicity and more. Constrained by so many factors and knowing that Hamas will break a ceasefire the minute they find it convenient, what has Netanyahu done wrong?


He should not have continued this balancing act at the expense of Israeli citizens in the South. It has become almost impossible to live there. People see rockets keep falling for months and the government not acting effectively.

Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said that Hamas’s response was relatively minor and differentiates between Tel Aviv and other communities. Had Israeli policy been to react the same whether Hamas attacked Sderot, Beersheba or Tel Aviv, we would be in this situation; Israelis in the South would not feel like second-class citizens and be marching cross-country in protest.

The government has failed to expose Hamas jihadi ideology of and Iranian “twelver” eschatology, which would help deflect some of the world’s opprobrium against the action Israel should have taken against Hamas. Killing three Hamas terrorists after a barrage of 470 rockets on Israeli population centers is not a deterrent. Tougher action from the air should have been taken with less concern about world reaction.

Netanyahu is a fan of Winston Churchill, yet for all his public relations skills, he has failed to do what Churchill managed to do best: tell the truth to his people about the enemy and about what they were up against.

MLADEN ANDRIJASEVIC
Beersheba


The Defense Establishment says that they are not more afraid of legal action than Hamas (“Mandelblit, Eisenkot reject Bennett’s claim that IDF more afraid of law than Hamas,” November 20).

So why is the IDF not given the order to kill enemies at first sight, before they have an opportunity to kill or harm our men? Why did our soldiers have to go house to house in enemy territory in previous wars, risking their own lives to prevent killing so-called innocent civilians? Why are our soldiers ordered, even when fighting for our very existence and survival, to be humane to terrorists? 

This is a betrayal of our soldiers, our people and our Land, and a sign to our guys that their lives are not more important than the lives of the enemy. No one with that mindset should be allowed in the defense establishment. We need leaders prepared to fight to win.

Even though Netanyahu has once again subdued Naftali Bennett, he is wrong that no one can take his place.

PHYLLIS STERN
Netanya

Raise pension allowance!

Regarding “Cabinet approves cuts to finance higher police salaries, pensions” (November 19), the police, among others, are to receive a salary increase that is, no doubt, due to them.

It seems that most salaries have increased over the past few years – but not old-age pensions.

From what I have gathered, 20 years ago the monthly pension was NIS 1,680 while the salary of Knesset members was NIS 17,000. In 2018, monthly pension has risen to NIS 1,686 while the salary of MKs is now NIS 44,000! It seems something is seriously amiss!

Over the years, taxes were paid, with subsequent increases. However, pensioner allowances remain static. It’s about time that pensioners, who have given their due to the country, are treated with more respect and paid a decent allowance.

GORDON BLOCH
Ramat Poleg Netanya


Antisemitism on the Left

“Trump also divisive among Orthodox” (November 7) highlights the opposition to Trump even in the Modern Orthodox community. In the 2016 presidential election, the writer estimates that the Republican/Democratic breakdown in this community was about 50 /50 (although statistics are not provided). Of concern to those opposed to Trump was his lack of condemnation of the “Radical Right.”

It is noted that neither Barak Obama nor Hillary Clinton eschewed the support of the “Radical Left,” which also had elements of antisemitism.

It is further noted that, before he was elected president, Barak Obama chose to travel 20 kilometers in Chicago street traffic to attend a church whose preacher was a virulent antisemite. There were many other closer Baptist churches.

Donald Trump has Jewish grandchildren; with an intermarriage rate of over 70%, this is a claim that most in the American Jewish Community cannot make, according to Orthodox Jewish standards.

TUVIA MUSKIN
Rehovot

Hard to make it sound easy

Regarding “Sacred chants from the Moroccan Coast” (November 12), your regular journalist/music critic, Ury Eppstein, commenting on a concert given by the Andalusian Orchestra, observes that the piyutim were sung with “rich improvised ornamentations, often climbing up to the highest possible notes without any audible effort.”

Having taken part in a Jewish Music Festival a few years ago in Krakow, I had the privilege of performing alongside the great Paytan Emil Zrihan, and I can assure you that “without any audible effort” is the very last phrase one would ever choose to describe his mode of singing.

The late and great Luciano Pavarotti, responding to an interviewer’s observation that whenever he opened his mouth to sing, the sound appeared to emerge effortlessly, said smiling, “My dear friend, you have no idea how much effort is required to make that sound appear effortless.”

STANLEY COHEN
Jerusalem

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