November 30, 2016: Friends with Riyadh

As Jews and the People of the Book, we must be honest to our conscience and sense of truth.

November 29, 2016 20:50

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Friends with Riyadh

As I read Edy Cohen’s “Israel must seek Saudi Arabia’s friendship” (Comment & Features, November 28), I saw a strong case for this need. Certainly, it is equally true that we want and need the friendship of all the world.

It is very rewarding that under our current government, we have attained new levels of cooperation with several very important countries. It surely takes much time and effort to grow from cooperation to true friendship, yet we must make that investment. We recently gained cooperation from Turkey, a former avowed enemy that clearly wished our destruction.

But in my opinion, we should never forget the Turkish genocide against the Armenians. And it does not follow that we should allow terrorism to fester anywhere in the world. Nor should we turn a blind eye to its existence even yesterday.

As Jews and the People of the Book, we must be honest to our conscience and sense of truth.

We must never allow ourselves the dishonesty the writer suggests, even if it solves a need of ours.


God’s intentions

Reader Rosina Fisher (“Raging fires,” Letters, November 28) purports to know God’s will by claiming that the recent horrific fires were caused by the Women of the Wall’s Rosh Hodesh prayer service, which included women praying with tefillin and prayer shawls, and a Torah reading.

If she wants to object to the Women of the Wall’s customs, she has every right to do so, even though they were upheld by a district court and supported by a government decision that, if implemented, would solve the dispute. But to claim to know God’s intentions is wrong and dangerous.

Nobody knows why bad things happen, and certainly not what God thinks or feels about our actions.


The writer is a board member of Women of the Wall and co-chairwoman of the Adat-Shalom Emanuel Masorti Congregation.

The biggest complaints about access to the Western Wall come mostly from non-Israelis. Maybe if local non-Orthodox residents were active, it would make a difference.

Allow me to suggest that those who feel deeply about the subject should join any of the struggling non-Orthodox congregations here. The old saying is “Put your money where your mouth is.”

Tel Aviv

Unreliable airline With reference to “Progress on El Al labor troubles” (News in Brief, November 28), it is high time that the national airline of Israel got its act together.

It is all very well for travelers to book with other airlines that fly to points east or west, but going to South Africa directly, one has no option but to go El Al. (Ethiopian Airways flies south, but there is a long stop-over in Addis Ababa.) Air travel today is not a relaxing experience, so wondering if one’s flight is actually going to take off adds to the angst.

El Al at the moment does not represent Israel in a good light, and the country can ill afford the reputation of having an unreliable airline.


Kfar Saba

False alarm

Reader Eliyahu Holley (“Genetic Roulette,” Letters, November 28) raises a false alarm when he says that genetically-modified (GMO) foods are a more serious issue than the quantities of sugar and sodium in our processed foods. The Ministry of Health has its priorities straight in trying to protect the public from these additives, which make up much of our junk food.

I refer Mr. Holley to a clear statement in the November 2016 issue of Scientific American (“5 Things We Know to be True – A Compendium of Irrefutable Facts for These Fact-Starved Times”): “Despite extensive testing, genetically modified organisms have never been shown to be dangerous.”

Some organizations might be trying to cause a general panic, but genetically-modified organisms are not a significant issue.


The writer has a PhD in biochemistry.

Nothing new

there In a changing world, with Brexit and now Donald Trump having been elected president of the United States, it is nice to know that some things remain the same. But how can I explain to my non-Jewish friends and neighbors back home in the UK that my synagogue in the Land of Israel was defiled, with death threats being made against Reform leaders? Do we not have enough enemies who wish to defile our synagogues and threaten our leaders?

Netanya/Cornwall, UK

Light-rail issues

Regarding “Capital residents pushing new light-rail plan” (November 25), there are many reasons residents are against the Blue Line running along Emek Refaim Street. Construction will hurt or even bankrupt businesses; the construction itself will be a nuisance; many of the trees and buildings will be destroyed; and people with cars will have difficulty accessing homes or businesses.

These are all very good reasons for not wanting the light rail.

But one thing that seems to be particularly problematic about the light rail – and not just along Emek Refaim Street – is security.

To board a plane, a person needs to go through metal detectors and extensive security checks. To get on an intercity train, one must pass through a metal detector and a security guard. To board even a bus, a person must pass the scrutiny of the driver. (There have been plenty of incidents in which terrorists attempted to board a bus, only to be stopped by the driver.) The light rail has no such security measures in place. The train simply stops in the middle of the street, with its many doors opening and with nobody controlling access. There are security guards on the trains to try and prevent disasters, but without controlling who can and can’t get on, we are creating a recipe for disaster.

It is a miracle that such a disaster has not happened already.

It seems extremely shortsighted to invest billions in new rail lines with the same security shortcomings. Maybe before creating new lines, the time has come to make the existing light rail lines safe before it’s too late.


What liberalism isn’t

Regarding Melanie Phillips’s “American Jews get it wrong” (As I See It, November 25), the tribal loyalty of liberal US Jews is not to Judaism, but to liberalism. They pretend that liberal, universalist values are Jewish values. They are not. They are anti-Jewish.

American Jewish-style liberalism wrongly associates liberalism with tolerance, inclusion, rationalism and lack of bias and prejudice, but it has become the opposite of these values. The university-style liberalism to which many American Jews subscribe is hysterical, shrill, bigoted, narrow-minded and often antisemitic as these young, “educated” Jews are indoctrinated in self-hatred by neurotic, liberal professors who have intellectualized this rot into their secularized curriculum.

There is nothing Jewish in these values other than the cultural decay of Jews desperately trying to find themselves beyond the materialism of their parents’ surroundings and their irrational fear and guilt toward anyone claiming oppression, especially potential oppression by other Jews (for example, by their “rich” parents or the “oppressive” State of Israel). Hence, the all-too-subservient and pretentious embrace by many American Jews of Israel haters on the Left.

Thank God for Israel if this what we have to work with.

St. James, New York

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