16 April 2018: Messianic Jews

Our readers weigh in.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Messianic Jews
Yet again I am extremely distressed that you published yet another reader’s letter in support of the group that calls itself Messianic Jews (“He hears them knocking, April 15). I believe that the term constitutes a fraud and a deception.
The fact that some are Jewish by birth is not relevant here. They have adopted the basic tenets of the Christian religion. They assert that Jesus is the Messiah. Many of them are baptized. The correct description should be Messianic Christians.
There are also persistent reports of their involvement in missionary activities in Israel, including among minors, which is against the law. I was upset to discover that the Postal Company is distributing their literature in our mailboxes – I recently found one of their CDs stuffed into my post office box.
Miami Beach is watching
I enjoyed reading “Local gov’t head Bibas: We need $100m. for home-front defense” (April 12). There is only one problem. Before Chaim Bibas, chairman of the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel, asks Diaspora Jewry to give funds for our defense, we need to get our house in order. I am referring to the 60 mayors awaiting indictment for corruption.
Jewish Americans don’t like to hear what my family is going through.
They are appalled that I was asked for a bribe to get a permit to build 60 meters and a security room in my home. The bribe was in the form of giving land to someone.
If this country doesn’t fix the municipal corruption quickly, we will lose Diaspora Jewry’s support.
I have a daughter who sits on the Miami Beach Commission. Does Mr.
Bibas think that in Miami Beach, someone has to wait seven or eight years for a building permit? No. They get permits in two hours or at most two weeks.
Hopefully, we will change our situation in the next election, but in the meanwhile, we have suffered greatly for the last 10 years in the Mateh Yehuda Regional Council. And Miami Beach is watching.
Ramat Raziel
A graveyard’s story
With regard to “A scandal in Ivansk” (Arts & Entertainment, April 9), the full story was not revealed in David Blumenfeld’s new film.
The scandal refers to the uproar that occurred in the Polish town in 2006 in response to the word “collaborators” being inscribed on a monument in its restored Jewish cemetery. The memorial was erected by people with roots in Ivansk to commemorate the lives of the Jewish townsfolk murdered during the Holocaust.
To many Poles, collaborators is interpreted as an attempt to denigrate the honor of their nation. To them, only the Germans, and not Poles, were guilty of killing Jews. Sadly, there is evidence to indicate the some Poles participated in the deportation of Jews from the town.
I was the leader of the group that restored the cemetery. I want to provide additional information on what precipitated the scandal. This was not documented in Blumenfeld’s film.
In 2005, we undertook to reclaim the Jewish cemetery in Iwaniska (Ivansk in Yiddish). We commissioned a US-based Jewish charity to carry out the project. The charity had the necessary expertise because it had restored 17 other decimated cemeteries.
It appointed a project manager. Based in Warsaw, this man became the key player in triggering the scandal. In the film, he is mentioned only once and characterized as “a crook, stripping the budget, zloty by zloty.” But this does not adequately describe the criminal potential of this individual.
When it was time to inscribe the memorial on the monument, we were required to submit a draft of the text to the authorities for their review and approval. The draft included the following: “The Nazis and their collaborators brutally transported the town’s Jews to their deaths in Treblinka.” The project manager was paid to deliver the proposal on our behalf.
About two weeks later, he announced that it had been fully approved without any alterations. We went ahead and installed the monument, and in October 2006, the cemetery was rededicated, with over 100 guests from Iwaniska, Canada, Israel and the United States in attendance.
In July 2007, rumors began to circulate that there was a problem with the word “collaborators.” Soon, the media picked up the story and the scandal gained momentum with frenzied accusations that we had denigrated Poland. We thought we had obeyed all the rules. Moreover, we had secured the formal approval of the text from the authorities.
We were at a loss to explain what went wrong.
We questioned the project manager, but he was evasive and I sensed that he was concealing something. Then, one of the organizations representing the interests of the Polish-Jewish community revealed that he had never submitted the draft. Now the authorities were demanding that we delete “collaborators” or take down the monument.
Had we been told that this word would create problems, we would have omitted it.
In November 2017, my daughter Audrey and I flew to Poland to explain to provincial authorities in Kielce and to Iwaniska’s newly elected mayor and his staff what had happened. We were accompanied by representatives from Jewish communal organizations. We apologized for our ignorance about the sensitivity of the word, but reminded them that collaborators had been active in all Nazi-occupied countries, including Poland.
In an attempt to mitigate the negative impact of the word, I offered to install a plaque on the obelisk to honor Poles who had risked everything to help their Jewish neighbors. But I was naïve in thinking that we could change anything. We were forcefully reminded that the word had to be completely deleted or the monument would be destroyed.
Throughout all this there was no acknowledgment that the project manager had been guilty of any wrongdoing. Officials who were responsible for protecting Poland’s honor never prosecuted or even disciplined him. Only the descendants of the destroyed Ivansk Jewish community were held to account.
The monument – and the word – are still standing in the abandoned Jewish cemetery. We no longer feel welcome in Iwaniska. The graveyard is neglected and is slowly being overtaken by nature. Soon, it will disappear forever.
Wants a wonder weapon
Lockheed Martin has a new laser defense system called ATHENA, which can be used to blast drones, planes or vehicles at the speed of light.
It is a huge step forward.
The IAF recently shot down an Iranian drone as it crossed our border.
It used an attack helicopter. ATHENA could have taken the drone down in seconds.
With the massive quantity of missiles facing us from Lebanon, our capability to hit enough of them is insufficient. Imagine if we had the ATHENA to help us. The system could also be useful in protecting our airport and infrastructure, as well as our population centers.
I sincerely hope our government will look into this seriously and quickly.
CORRECTION IDF Sgt. Eliyahu Drori was 20 years old at the time of his death, and not as stated in “US-born Sgt. Drori, 22, latest of 71 troops killed in action in past year” (April 15). We regret the error. In addition, the figure 71 includes all deaths of soldiers, whether in action or not.