Shameful, indeed

Of all people, I would expect Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi to understand why there has been no public outcry over the violent takeover of Damascus’s Yarmouk refugee camp by ISIS.

April 8, 2015 21:57

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Shameful, indeed

Of all people, I would expect Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi to understand why there has been no public outcry over the violent takeover of Damascus’s Yarmouk refugee camp by ISIS (“Tibi: Shame on Arab world for ignoring Yarmouk massacre,” April 7).

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As we have seen time and again, such outcries are limited to when Israel is the perpetrator.

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As one who has made a career of chastising Israel for the smallest of acts against its enemies (Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, et al), MK Tibi should know better.


MK Ahmad Tibi rightly says shame on the Arab world for ignoring Yarmouk. So how about heaping shame on the Arab world for refusing to let the inhabitants of the various refugee camps integrate into their countries? These people have been sitting in camps since the unsuccessful attempt of the Arab states to eliminate Israel in 1948, under the illusion that they would return when Israel was defeated.

The inhabitants of these camps have everything in common with their hosts – language, religion and culture – but lack the rights of citizenship. Shameful, indeed.


It’s about survival

US President Barack Obama is quoted as having said he would consider it “not just a strategic failure,” but a “moral failure” should he render Israel “more vulnerable” as a result of his deal with Iran (“Obama tells Israelis: If anybody messes with you, America will be there,” April 7). By “vulnerable,” it would seem he suggests vulnerable to destruction or, worse, annihilation.

Mr. Obama fails to realize that the vulnerability he is creating for us has nothing to do with his pride, self-esteem or performance as a conductor of foreign policy.

It has everything to do with our survival and continuity as a people and a sovereign nation.

We in Israel are again approaching the commemoration of the Holocaust, a genocide unparalleled in human history, when no nation of the world came to our defense. Neither the State of Israel nor the people of Israel will allow a rogue nation such as Iran to threaten our destruction – especially when the world’s response to these threats is to accept a document of empty promises signed by the masters of deceit and deception.


Sure of himself

In “Bayit Yehudi’s Smotrich wants Israel to talk about Jewish rights to the land, instead of concessions” (Meet the New MK, April 7), MK Bezalel Smotrich states that “there is only one truth” (his, obviously); that it is clear (to him) how Torah came from God (where is the evidence?); that Orthodoxy is the authentic Judaism while other denominations are not legitimate; and so on.

A zealot with Smotrich’s brand of spiritual clarity is clearly not interested in facts, since he knows things and therefore they are the true truth. However, we lesser mortals want to ask questions before Bayit Yehudi installs its own brand of inquisition to silence the heretics.

What is Orthodoxy? That of the anti-Zionist Natorei Karta, which regards Smotrich as an apostate? That of Chabad, many of whose followers worship a dead rabbi and call him the Messiah? That of the late Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz, who branded the settlers “Judeo-Nazis”? What criteria do we use to decide – apart from blind faith toward Mr. Smotrich? There are some ignoramuses who think that Judaism has always vigorously debated within itself, from the times of Hillel and Shammai, and even before, and that it has constantly changed, adapted and evolved. “Reformed,” if you will. But Mr. Smotrich knows better.

This makes me wonder why, if there is an “Orthodox” consensus, as he states, the majority of Jews in the world are not Orthodox? It also makes me wonder why, after 67 years of official, subsidized religious coercion, the majority of Israelis are still secular or non-Orthodox, and why Bayit Yehudi was emasculated in the last election? Could it possibly have something to do with the intolerant bigotry of people like Mr. Smotrich?


Problem? Solve it!

Rabbi Jerome Epstein (“‘Let all who are hungry come and eat’ – unless you’re an Ethiopian living in Israel,” (Comment & Features, April 6) tells us he has an organization and that Ethiopian Israelis in absorption centers were left on their own for Passover.

Where is the rabbi’s organization? Do its supporters not have homes they can invite Ethiopians to? Why did the organization wait until the last minute to note that there was a problem? In the early days, before the two major periods of Ethiopian aliya, we had the American Association for Ethiopian Jews. We made sure that we complained to the authorities, but we also solved the problems. No one was ever “denied a Seder.”

Yes, Ethiopian Israelis, like every immigrant group, have had, and still have, problems.

But the progress is great.

MURRAY S. GREENFIELD Tel Aviv The writer was volunteer director of the Israeli office of the American Association for Ethiopian Jews.

We’ll make do

The outrageous letter by Gerald J. Niedermaier from Michigan (“Waning support,” April 3) must be answered.

Niedermaier refers to our prime minister as “rude, arrogant and insulting.” Exactly what terrible deed did Benjamin Netanyahu do to deserve all these derogatory adjectives? He appeared before Congress at the invitation of its leadership to present Israel’s position on an issue that directly threatens the lives of all Israelis.

Because Israel has received an enormous amount of foreign aid from the United States, when Netanyahu disagrees publicly with President Barack Obama, the letter writer gets insulted and informs us that his “support [of Israel] is waning rapidly.”

If becoming a banana republic is the price we must pay to receive Mr. Niedermaier’s support, I prefer to get along without it.


Neighborly indigestion

Regarding your review of Jerusalem’s Pompidou Bar and Bistro (“They know their customers,” Billboard, April 3), people live on Wedgwood Street, which, the year before Pompidou moved in, was voted one of the three most charming lanes in the city.

Pompidou caters to a latenight crowd. Patrons generally come by taxi or car. They block the single-lane street. They double- park on Wedgwood or pull into private driveways. Car horns sound. People get angry.

Pompidou advertises that it is open till 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m.

on Saturday nights, but people are often there an hour or more later. The noise of loud jokes, long goodbyes, car doors and engines is now a regular part of the nightly ambiance. Revelers throw their cigarettes and other trash on the ground, and often export the content of their stomachs into the street. In the morning, a once-charming, beautiful lane is a mess.

Emek Refaim Street, around the corner, is zoned for business.

Wedgwood Street is not.

Pompidou got around this inconvenience by having its address and entrance on Emek Refaim, and a larger area “around the corner” and “in the back.”

Once, we asked Gal, the owner, if there was a way to keep down the noise. Gal told us: “The mayor is trying to bring the youth back to Jerusalem.

With all due respect, your time is past.” On another night he graced us with: “We’re here to stay. If you don’t like it, leave.”

I’m glad your reviewer had a nice dinner.


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