Turning away some Jews
With regard to “Daughter of Holocaust survivor faces deportation on grounds of alleged messianism, child baptism” (November 21), what a story! How can this nation become so cruel? I thought that Israel was always looking for Jews to come home! If Ze’ev Jabotinsky were still alive, I might hear him crying in the streets of Sweden, saying: “Can’t you feel the fire under your feet? Get out while you can!” Sweden has become a haven for noted enemies of the Jews, whose hatred of the Jews becomes more and more evident day by day.
Israel, the home of the Jewish people, did not exist before World War II. Now that it does, any person who can prove he or she is Jewish should never be asked “What do you believe in?” Did our Nazi tormentors ask what people believed in before transporting them in cattle cars to the concentration camps? No. They only needed to know if there was one Jewish grandparent.
That was enough.
Rebecca Floer’s grandparents and her father’s siblings perished in the Holocaust. Her father was spared along with his two sisters in a kindertransport to Sweden.
This is a shame and an embarrassment for our nation. Change is needed.TERRI MOREY
There is no greater societal weapon today than the label.
It’s easy. If people are not supportive of gay marriage, label them homophobes. If people are against the positions of a black politician, label them racist. The label libel works every time. It effectively shames and even destroys a person’s reputation.
It happens all the time in America, but it’s also happening here in Israel. All Messianic Jews are “missionaries,” and with that label, the granting of citizenship is a non-starter because once you are deemed to be a threat to the state, it doesn’t matter if you were born Jewish.
It’s been an effective trick, but it has also been a despicable tool to keep out individuals who are eligible for citizenship through their bloodline and through their obvious passion and desire to be part of the homeland of the Jews, with no goal to missionize.
I am one of those individuals who immigrated before the world of Google arrived. I would not be so fortunate today in obtaining citizenship, but I can categorically say that I have never been or am now a “missionary.” I do not stand on street corners with a megaphone, and I do not scout out people upon whom to beat over the head with my message – unlike many Orthodox Jews who accost drivers at intersections, either attempting to hand out literature or solicit donations.
I am a law-abiding citizen, a proud Jew and someone who gave up a comfortable life to live in the land of my forefathers (not that I’m living any less comfortably here). I bitterly resent those who use the “missionary” label. It is blatantly false and it is totally meant to prejudice the entire Israeli population against those who believe that the messiah has already come in the person of Yeshua of Nazareth. It does not change one’s birthright any more than believing the Lubavitcher Rebbe or Bar Kochba was the messiah.
It is a result of this great prejudice and fear that I must withhold my name, but I will not withhold my voice in stating that turning away Messianic Jews from living in their rightful home is tantamount to turning away the ships of Jews who longed to come home but who were not permitted to do so.
More and more, the world is becoming a very dangerous place for any Jew, and no Jew can, in all good conscience, cut off a segment of his or her own flesh and blood from coming home simply by using the label libel.
More than 15,000 of us are already here, serving in the army, working and paying taxes, living as cultural Israelis, often much more observant than many in the secular population. We harm no one and mostly live our lives quietly and peacefully.
The time has come to accept all Jews for who they are. Cease with the label libel and understand that Jews have never been a “one size fits all” people.NAME WITHHELD
Like many things in life, eligibility for living in the Jewish state is complicated.
According to the Law of Return, it means anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent. Simple enough. But a Jewish person who embraces another religion – and embracing another messiah means embracing another religion – has in effect turned his back on the Jewish people, for whom Judaism is the common bond.
Yes, it’s complicated.ARI BEN-SENDER Jerusalem Equal education for all
The headline of the opinion piece “Investing in Israeli Arab education” (On My Mind, November 21) misled me into thinking it actually addressed the poor quality of Israeli Arab education from K through 12.
Kenneth Bandler trumpets programs at the university level – access, affirmative admissions, assistance and scholarships – as if they solve the true reason for lower Arab participation, which is the low-quality pre-college education they get in common with most poor non-Arab Israeli students.
Besides the shameful absence of an adequate education for all Israeli kids outside posh communities, Arab students suffer from not being taught Hebrew. In addition, their curriculum is permitted to be below the supposed Israeli standard for non-Arab children.
If Israeli education quality were raised for all schools to the same standard as those in posh areas, all children would benefit, and all, including Arabs, could act upon their potential.
We have too small a population to ignore the bad education Israel generally offers to most poor children, trapping them in low-paying jobs and making them unable to aspire to or succeed in higher education. Our country needs not only better educated and more capable Arabs, but better educated and more capable Israeli children in general.
The shameful and scandalously poor education of most Israeli children is criminal to them and destructive to our future. All Israeli kids deserve a quality education to prepare them for the rigors of higher learning if they so choose – then universities could base all admissions on merit rather than complicated and expensive social engineering.ROCHELLE P. EISSENSTAT
Jerusalem Everyone’s a suspect
Following the recent spate of allegations relating to sexual misconduct by a number of high-profile males, and relating to your November 19 article “‘Downgrade of S. African Embassy will harm ties,’” I am intrigued to know what the chairman of Investec Bank in South Africa meant when he spoke about the “commitment to engagement.”
After all, his name, as reported, is Fani Titi.
Beit ShemeshMiscarriage of justice
Reader Tuvia Muskin (“No sainthood for Rabin,” Letters, November 7) briefly refers to Yitzhak Rabin’s actions in 1948 with regard to the Irgun ship Altalena. I would like to elaborate.
Sixteen people who had jumped overboard were mowed down in the sea by soldiers on shore. The soldiers opened fire on the illegal orders of Rabin. The victims were unarmed and posed no threat.
The perpetrators – especially Rabin – should have been prosecuted and convicted of murder, and punished with the maximum punishment possible. Instead, their actions were lauded by prime minister David Ben-Gurion.
What a miscarriage of justice.EPHRAIM STEIN Jerusalem