Letters: Week of July 1

We must refuse: Palestinians treat President Obama’s call for 1967 lines as a concession on their part.

letters (photo credit: JP)
(photo credit: JP)
We must refuse
Sir, – In “Don Abbas makes an offer” (Another Tack, June 17), Sarah Honig is on the mark, as usual, regarding the clarity of the fact that the Palestinians are not really interested in peace.
They treat President Obama’s call for 1967 lines as a concession on their part, even though it was precisely their position from the start. Their unity deal with Hamas and demand for millions of Arabs to swarm pre- 1967 Israel should also show the clear light of their intentions – and the futility of expecting much of a land swap that satisfies Israel’s security and population needs.
Israel is expected to kick hundreds of thousands of Jews out of their homes and allow most Jewish holy sites to be placed off-limits, as all areas under Palestinian control now are dangerous for Jews. The fact that Western nations do not act shows we can really trust only the continuance of the open miracle of a reborn Israel upon the divine Protector of Israel.
New York
Side by side
Sir, – Your juxtaposition of two columns illustrates two diametrically opposing views of how to approach the resolution of our hundred-year conflict with the Palestinian Arabs: Alon Ben-Meir argues for Israel’s acceptance of the Arab Peace Initiative (“Is the Arab Peace Initiative still viable?,” Above the Fray, June 17), and Stewart Weiss reviews the sad track record of Palestinian rejectionism (“In God – and the Palestinians – I trust,” Guest Columnist, June 17).
The Saudi Arabian-sponsored Arab Peace Initiative calls for complete Israeli withdrawal to the lines of June 4, 1967; the division of Jerusalem; the right of return for Palestinian refugees; and a Palestinian state, all in return for an “end to the conflict.” But Ben-Meir omits the fact that Arafat rejected the “end of the conflict” clause and that the recent PA-Hamas reconciliation deal now changes the entire Middle East picture. And any serious support for a right of return to Israel by third-generation Palestinian Arabs would be a recipe for national suicide.
Stewart Weiss, in an entirely different level of analysis, brings the discussion to the realities that Ben-Meir wishes to avoid. It’s the age-old question: Whom do you trust? And what are our adversaries’ intentions? While one essay sees a rosy, peaceful solution, the other drives home the idea that Israelis cannot rely on Arab promises, that their threats and violence nearly always are the results of their distortions of history and hatred for Jews and Jewish sovereignty.
We Israelis long ago learned to differentiate between esoteric, abstract and philosophic pontifications – arguments that almost always prove incorrect – and the tachlis of preventing the loss of human lives. Show me the first Peace Now movement among any Arab government, Palestinian or otherwise, and I might change my mind.
Sir, – Alon Ben-Meir writes that “Israel is missing a historic opportunity now to capitalize on the contents of the Arab Peace Initiative, which offers full normalized relations with the entire Arab world in exchange for the return of the territories captured in 1967 and a negotiated two-state solution.”
I have to ask: What is being negotiated here? A true negotiation would not set conditions such as a return of all the territories. Moreover, Ben-Meir fails to mention that the Arab peace initiative requires the return of the refugees – why negotiate over something that isn’t a real “two-state solution”?
Sir, – Once again, Stewart Weiss hits the nail on the head and calls the shots as they really are. No J Street gobbledygook here. Straight shooting, he lets us know who the good guys and bad guys really are.
The good rabbi makes it clear that we really don’t have a partner at all and that it should be clear to all that those who think otherwise are seriously mistaken and being taken for a ride! He and other Jerusalem Post columnists continue to enlighten us and unmask the truth, even though it is a bitter pill for us to swallow. No sugar-coating here will do.
The Post should be commended for letting people hear the truth. We as Israelis and we as Jews have to wake up, read and absorb what these columnists have to tell us, and then do something about it! No one will be able to say “Oh, I didn’t read about it in the Post.” Thank you for this service.
Beit Shemesh
Same old same old Sir, – Jonathan Rosenblum would mislead the reader into believing the haredi community is spearheading a progressive educational revolution through the Shuvu school network (“Not just a drain on society,” Think Again, June 17). In fact, as the old Yiddish saying goes, Er vaizt di koshere chazer fislakh – he is showing the swine’s kosher feet, deliberately offering a distorted image that has little substantive basis.
Rosenblum touts the fact that Shuvu uses the “Waterford method, developed in America, of teaching English as a second language.” Would that this method were being deployed in actual haredi schools where, in fact, no English of any kind is taught, nor is math, science, current events or any other basic academic skill needed to function in the real world and provide for one’s family.
Yes, these subjects are okay for benighted Russian immigrant and Sephardi kids who would never be accepted by haredi heders and Beit Yaakovs because of their perceived inferiority or skin color. But they are unthinkable for genuine FFB – frum from birth – haredi boys and girls.
Rosenblum also does a disservice to the memory of Shuvu’s founder, Rav Avrohom Pam, the university-educated head of Torah Voda’ath, where secular studies were mandatory and every student was expected to complete a rigorous academic program and take the full panoply of government exams for admission to college – all of which is unthinkable in Israeli haredi circles. No doubt, these facts have been carefully censored in Ahuv al Kulam (“Beloved by all”), an abbreviated translation of an English biography of Rabbi Pam that he cites.
Sadly, there is little hope of Rosenblum ever reporting that the Shuvu curriculum is being implemented in the kind of schools to which he sends his own children. Would that it were otherwise.
Good reasons, too
Sir, – The rabbinical opinions that Rabbi Shlomo Brody cites in support of women’s increased study of traditional Jewish texts (“May women study Talmud?,” Ask the Rabbi, June 17) are essentially negative, in that such study is important only inasmuch as it keeps women in the fold.
Although this argument is valid, it leaves a bad taste as if to say that there is nothing intrinsically good about women studying Torah.
I would like to add two positive reasons for women’s Torah study.
First, people possess different aptitudes, none of which should be stifled. If a woman’s aptitude is for Torah or Talmud, she should be allowed to realize her potential. Second, the Jewish world is much richer thanks to the original contributions of the many women who currently teach Torah and Talmud in all sorts of settings.
To cite one example of the latter, many women teachers were featured on the schedule of the recent Tanakh (Torah) conference at the Har Etzion Yeshiva’s Herzog College, a conference attended by both women and men.