Letters to the editor, January 6 2021: Suha says

Readers of the Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
Letters
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Suha says

Regarding “Second Intifada was a mistake, says Arafat’s widow” (January 3), Suha Arafat’s epiphany doesn’t even begin to go far enough.
Terrorizing and murdering hundreds of innocent civilians, the intifada was more than a mere “mistake” – it was a large-scale war crime/ crime against humanity.
ARLENE FAUNCE
Bat Yam
Don’t have a cow

Minister of Diaspora Affairs MK Omer Yankelevitch attacks the European Court of Justice for upholding Belgium’s prohibition of ritual slaughter (“Jewish unity is the answer to the EU’s kosher slaughter ban,” January 5).
 The world is entering the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly two million people have already died globally and 86.5 million have been infected but the Jewish Orthodox world is concerned about how Jews kill cows. A quick knife thrust to the throat or an initial shock required in apparently antisemitic Belgium.
Yankelevitch believes that this is the beginning of a European slippery slope and further antisemitic acts will soon be conceived and committed. She calls for a united strategy of Jewish power on all fronts to combat the European antisemitic hypocritical attack on core values of Jewish religious freedom and expression (my take).
All the Orthodox Jews in Belgium have to do is invest some money and a little effort to import the knife-thrusted slaughtered kosher cow meat from other countries, transport it to Belgium on kosher trains and store them in kosher warehouses. But no, this is the beginning of a new round of European antisemitism. I reject the call for Jewish unity to combat this menace to freedom. There are far more important issues threatening humanity – including Jews.
I support “When in Rome do as the Romans do,” a phrase attributed to Saint Augustine, instead of “cause problems and dissonance wherever you happen to live.”
YIGAL HOROWITZ
Beersheba
A blast of bias
The champion of human rights, B’Tselem, is on the warpath, again accusing Israel of the brutal killing of Palestinian children and giving lenient sentences to those investigated and found guilty (“B’Tselem war crimes report unlikely to have impact,” December 5). No mention is made of the almost daily stabbings, the car rammings, the rock throwing, the bombs, the violent demonstrations, the hateful incitement, the antisemitism, etc.
B’Tselem is not interested in Jewish human rights. Only when a Palestinian “B’Tselem” exists and begins reporting Palestinian war crimes to the International Criminal Court will we know that there is finally somebody to talk to. We came to Israel to live in peace but as with the tango – it takes two.
ORA MANDEL
Haifa

Incitement in sight

“Calls for ‘popular resistance’ behind upsurge in West Bank violence” (January 4), brings to mind the 1940s, when Arab radio broadcasts made exaggerated claims about Jewish attacks against Arabs aimed at getting the Arabs of Palestine to join in the fighting against the Jews. The spurious horror stories also frightened many Arabs into fleeing Palestine (a good number of their descendants have been trapped in refugee limbo by Arab leaders and UNRWA for generations).
Now stories of “settler” violence are being spread. If the stories were factual, the information should be reported to the Palestinian security personnel to be passed along to the Israeli security forces with whom they are co-operating so that the wrongdoers could be punished).
Instead, Palestinian youths are throwing rocks at Israeli drivers and lobbing firebombs at Israeli soldiers. No one should be surprised. The Palestinian leaders have long fed their people a steady diet of anti-Jewish invective and have praised and richly rewarded people who attacked and murdered Jews. Their leaders have an excuse for tolerating terrorist violence: “We cannot afford to be seen arresting young Palestinians for throwing rocks or firebombs at Israelis while Palestinian groups are urging people to engage in “popular resistance.”
Nonsense. The Palestinian leaders need to stop trying to destroy the nation-state of the Jews and begin to build a state in which the Palestinian people can become productive citizens.
TOBY F. BLOCK
Atlanta, GA

Misleading leaders

I fail to understand why The Jerusalem Post continues to publish Ehud Olmert’s screeds each week – the sole abusive agenda of which appears to be to denounce Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a criminal.
Olmert is guilty of the Talmudic adage Kol ha-possel bemumo possel (colloquially translated as “takes one to know one,” or “the pot calling the kettle black”, i.e. accusing someone else of a fault inherent in the accuser). Olmert himself was convicted of two counts of bribery, and of fraud, breach of trust, and tax evasion.
Until recently, the byline at the end of Olmert’s diatribes in the Post said, “The writer was the 12th prime minister of Israel.” This gave his writing an undeserved ring of sober moral authority as one of the prime minister’s predecessors. However, Olmert’s vituperations headlined “Criminal Gang” (January 1) had no byline at all, enabling innocent readers to believe that the writer’s words are voicing the official view of your newspaper.
I would therefore like to make two suggestions:
1. Until a court of law finds Netanyahu guilty of a crime – just as was the case until Olmert was found guilty – he is to be presumed innocent. The Post would be well advised to remember this; and
2. If the Post insists on continuing to feature Olmert as one of its leading opinion writers, there should always be a byline at the end of his pieces, and it should say words to the effect of “The writer was the 12th prime minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009 and mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003. He was subsequently convicted of bribery, fraud, breach of trust, and tax evasion.”
MIKE LOWY
Tekoa

Coming to life after COVID
Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen is inviting all Jews to come to Israel in the spring (“Israel, the best post-COVID-19 tourist destination,” January 4). She claims that ”there is light at the end of the tunnel” and is proposing a spring vacation to Israel.
Great idea! Why wait? Passover and Easter are just around the corner. Tourists, families, and others are anxiously awaiting to be allowed to come and celebrate these holidays with us!
The question is, are we ready? What are the ministry and other relevant authorities doing to open the skies and allow tourists to return?
Here are a few suggestions:
1) Sign the relevant international agreements with airlines and travel services to allow freedom of travel.
2) Require/accept an international Proof of Vaccination/Antibodies (POV/A) or international Green passport that would show that the tourist has been vaccinated and can travel abroad.
3) Get the Health, Defense and all other ministries on board with this new POV/A passport
4) Open the hotels and restaurants as soon as we can. Tourists will need places to stay and eat while they are here.
The sooner we can implement these agreements and guidelines, the sooner tourists will be able to come. And they are ready! Once they are here, tourists should be required to carry the POV/A passport with them at all times. This will ensure that we can welcome them safely.
Let my people go... and come!
DAVID SCHOENFELD
Owner, Daves’ Dynamic Tours of Israel
‘...until you’ve walked a mile’

Professor Ari Zivotofsky is to be thanked for fulfilling a vital public service of exposing what appears to be extraordinary brutal police conduct (“Are the police working for the people? Not currently,” January 3) His article notes two cases. The second is under investigation, so I shall not refer to it. But the first case is one of unbelievable callousness and cruelty.
According to Zivotofsky: “A 66-year-old mentally challenged Jerusalem resident, Yosef Fleischman, was awakened in the middle of the night and led barefoot in the cold Jerusalem night to the police station. At some point the cops realized they had the wrong person and simply released him. He was barefoot, alone and disoriented. He then wandered for over 12 hours, eventually being found semiconscious in the Jerusalem forest suffering from severe hypothermia. A few more hours and he would have been dead.”
This story is so horrendous that it is fair to ask whether persons responsible for such heinous conduct should be part of the police force. It is clear that Mr. Fleischman had no one with him, neither son, daughter, nor friend. He was dragged barefoot to the police station in the middle of a cold winter night and not allowed to even put on socks and shoes. One must ask why it was so urgent that it could not wait till the morning. After it was revealed that they had the wrong man, the police had a legal duty to ensure he was returned home safe and sound, either by police car, or taxi paid for by the police.
The task of the police is to save lives, not endanger them. They were criminally negligent and all concerned should be severely reprimanded for conduct that endangered the life of an aged, enfeebled person. The new police commissioner has his task cut out for him, to promote humane conduct by the police, not the reverse.
PROF. SHLOMO SLONIM
Jerusalem

Diminishing percentages

Regarding “In first, Jewish population in Israel drops below 74%” (January 3), there are numerous couples here who for a variety of reasons want desperately to adopt, but there are precious few babies available.
At the same time there are many abortions. The Efrat group estimates that it alone has saved the lives of about 76,000 babies and placed them in loving homes.
I would recommend that pregnant women planning to abort consider contacting groups like Efrat for the good of the child, of the adopting parents and of the country.
HANNAH SHENHAV
Hadera