A symbolic gesture only
It’s unfortunate that the interesting Reuters- sourced article on the Muslim keeper of the keys to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre makes only passing reference to the revered object’s import with respect to the history of Muslim custodianship of Christianity’s holiest site in Jerusalem (“Muslim holds ancient key to Jesus tomb site in Jerusalem,” December 3).
Adeeb Joudeh states that it is a “great honor for a Muslim to hold the key to the Church” that has provided pilgrims access to the place venerated by much of the Christian world. The article, however, makes no mention of the expressions of revulsion and pain recorded by Christian pilgrims in reaction to the Muslim domination of their sacred shrine.
To cite but one example, George Sandys, an English Protestant who was in Jerusalem in 1610 (and whose account, A Relation of a Journey, published in 1615, is a classic in the literature of travel) wrote of his visit to the church: “O who can without sorrow, without indignation, behold the enemies of Christ to be the Lords of his Sepulchre! Who at festival times sit mounted under a Canopy, to gather money of such as do enter….”
Mr. Joudeh is understandably honored to be carrying forward a centuries-old tradition. However, the article should have noted that the “opening and closing” by the Muslim keeper is now no more than a symbolic gesture. Today, in the united and sacred city of Jerusalem, adherents of all religious persuasions, and those without denominational affiliation, can find unimpeded fulfillment of their unique patrimonies.JACK E. FRIEDMAN
Jerusalem ‘Tougher to love Israel’
“Reform rabbis are finding it tougher to love Israel” (Comment & Features, December 3) is another example of implied pressure on Israel: Either do it the Reform-Diaspora way or we may not be there for you.
The piece quotes Rabbi Jen Lader, who says it is difficult to connect young Reform Jews to Israel when Israeli guards manhandle Reform rabbis. Absolutely incorrect. The disconnect, unfortunately, has been existent for tens of years due to the disconnect of the Reform movement to tradition and the return to Zion, as had been deleted in their prayer books for many years.
And as for Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, anyone who saw his behavior as being in violation of the rules governing entrance to the Western Wall understands that he actively sought the publicity he received. If Haredim behaved like that, we would never hear the end of it.
One more point is important to clarify: The non-Orthodox movements have a place to pray as they wish at the Kotel. The rift is being caused due to their insistence that they be in charge of administrating the area, something that has nothing to do with their supposed claim to wanting a place for their prayers.
The writer is chief rabbi of Dimona.
Why call it an ‘outpost’?
On the front page of your November 30 edition there is a photo of the forced evacuation/ demolition that took place the day before in Gush Etzion (“We will not go”). It was the beginning of a process of destroying 17 homes built with government permission, with all the necessary documents in place, all legal and paid for with hard-earned money by young, growing families.
The High Court of Justice decided that despite all the government’s mistakes of giving permission to build when perhaps it shouldn’t have, these young families must lose their homes and all the money and sweat they put into building them just for a few centimeters of questionable land that no one else has claimed.
When The Jerusalem Post
uses the word “outpost” to describe a neighborhood of Netiv Ha’avot, it is showing that it views all places of residence over the Green Line as being illegal despite government approvals.
“Outpost” is a word used to describe a temporary structure set up away from a larger town. When the Post used it in the past, one got the impression that there were a few youths on a hilltop somewhere building illegal, worthless structures. That is certainly not the case with Netiv Ha’avot, which is contiguous to Elazar.BATSHEVA RUBACK
Efrat To be read in a vacuum
Anyone reading Gershon Baskin’s “November 29 – a national holiday” (Encountering Peace, November 30) in a vacuum would perforce conclude that Israel is the only thing preventing the Palestinians from establishing their long-denied independent state. Any objective observer familiar with the region’s history knows better.
Had the establishment of their state been of paramount importance, the Palestinians would have accepted the 1947 partition plan or any of the offers subsequently made to them by Israeli leaders. Instead, they and their brother Arabs repeatedly sought to eradicate the “Zionist entity.”
Indeed, the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence, cited with approval by Baskin, notes “the historical injustice inflicted on the Palestinian Arab people” by the partitioning of Palestine into two states; calls Israel a “fascist, racist, colonialist state built on the usurpation of the Palestinian land”; and expressly promises “to provide all means and capabilities needed to escalate our people’s intifada.”
Baskin outrageously concludes that, just as the 1947 partition plan required a painful compromise in order to allow Israel to exist, “the same need for compromise is necessary today.”
Put another way, because the Jews were willing to accept much less area than previously promised in order to fulfill our national dreams, the State of Israel must now compromise further on its historical rights and critical security interests in order to help birth a potentially hostile state on its borders. Nowhere does he mention the need for Palestinian compromise.
International law does not provide for do-overs when attempts to destroy one’s neighbor fail. Palestinians will have a much better claim to their own state when they finally recognize the legal and moral rights of Jews to live in their historical homeland and honestly decide to live in peace.EFRAIM A. COHEN
Thank you for publishing another good piece on the beleaguered Kurds, this time by Rachel Avraham of the Center for Near East Policy Research (“Israel should arm the Kurds,” Comment & Features, November 28).
The piece rightly points to the Kurds as one bulwark in the struggle against Iran’s aggression in the Middle East. It goes on to call on Israel to be proactive against Iran by further empowering the Kurds in Iraq and Syria.
The same should apply to the oppressed Kurds of Iran itself. They are one of the many non-Persian minorities under Tehran’s heavy boot. In fact, they are close to half of Iran’s population.
It is time to recognize that Iran is not just under an evil regime, but also illegitimate as a unitary state. For the peace of the world, it needs be branded an evil internal empire that must be restructured, at least along federal lines to give an equal voice to all its ethnic groups.
Arming the Kurds of Iran should also go hand-in-hand with worldwide psychological warfare against Tehran. The same should go for its pillaged Arabs.
The struggle of the Kurds is for freedom and human dignity in all the countries occupying their territories.AARON BRAUNSTEIN