April 18, 2017: Personal agendas

Could there be a better example of how leaders distort events to create insecurity and fear in order to further their own political and personal agendas?

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Personal agendas
With regard to “Stabber kills British student on Jerusalem Light Rail” (April 16), the murder of Hannah Bladon on April 14 was a senseless tragedy committed by a mentally unstable man from east Jerusalem.
Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon tied the attack, committed by a person with a history of mental illness, to the global terrorism that is striking world cities. Could there be a better example of how leaders distort events to create insecurity and fear in order to further their own political and personal agendas?
Shades of gray
Your April 16 editorial “Kosher for Passover” relies on surveys that indicate “Israel’s population is almost evenly divided between those who choose more stringent religious observance and those who choose to ignore it,” implying with reference to Jewish observance that it is all or nothing.
I am an Orthodox rabbi who has worked with Keren Hayesod for 30 years both in Israel and abroad. Like our prime minister’s hair color, observance both here and outside Israel is all shades of gray, regardless of the false classification of “religious” or “secular.”
The respect and love I have received from “those who choose to ignore” has been as high as their respect for observance for Jewish practice. In their private lives, there were all shades of gray, often coming to me to participate in Jewish life-cycle ceremonies. I have found this not only in my career, but throughout Israel.
It is time to drop labeling Jews religious or secular regardless of their of their affiliation. We are all Torah Jews, just with different shades of gray.
Won’t be silent
Thank you to David M. Weinberg (“Beware the tyranny narrative,” Know Comment, April 14) for giving us advance notice of the nature of “the nasty and false story” that foreign critics are already preparing for the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War.
Weinberg says: “Israeli and Jewish leaders worldwide must push hard against such slander, beginning now.” History teaches us that such an important task cannot be left to our leaders alone. Besides, it is easier at this time, with emails, Facebook and Twitter, for individual Jews to make a significant impact against this slander.
We need to believe in ourselves.
The message that goes round the world as a result will then be a different one: We will not be silent again against those who wish to destroy us.
Tikkun olam...
For non-Orthodox Jews, tikkun olam, repairing the world, has become the mitzva of all mitzvot – which is absurd (“The tikkun olam myth,” Editor’s Notes, April 14).
Tikkun olam has no basis in Judaism because its adherents omit the latter half of the invocation from the Aleinu prayer: “to repair the world under the sovereignty of God.” Tikkun Olam thus becomes an atheistic, materialistic goal.
In Hebrew, just as the stress is often on the last syllable of the word, so the stress is on the end of a religious verse.
...and classical maps
Yaakov Katz is wrong to call the Peel Report of 1937 the “first time... a partition of the land” was “recommended.” It was the third.
The year 1922 saw the first partition of the classical map of Palestine that had been universally envisioned in 1917 – which is not to be confused with the ridiculous distortion of the classical map drawn up by the League of Nations. The League of Nations dishonestly drafted lines of an expanded Palestine to suggest that 77% of it had been given to Abdullah of the Hejaz.
This writer has written a book displaying the classical maps of Palestine exposing this disfigurement of the country that the League of Nations, for the purposes of realpolitik, came up with.
The second partition was agreed upon after five years of negotiations between the British and the French, who had a similar mandate for a part of classical Syria and used it to create the new states of Lebanon and Syria. Not until 1923 did the two superpowers settle on the boundary between Lebanon-Syria and Palestine. That agreement formalized the amputation of the northern tier of Palestine, or the Land of Israel, whose classical northern boundary went as far as the Sidon-Damascus line.
The Peel map was thus the third dismemberment, so that ever since, Israel – even with the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria – rules over less than half of the classical map (47%, to be exact). The remaining 53% is in the hands of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.
If Israel is in occupation of Palestine, then these three Arab states are in occupation of even more.
Four questions
Three news stories over the past few weeks pose questions that the media and others should ask:
1. The unfortunate, supposedly Israel-friendly doctor from the Gaza Strip who lost three daughters in the Gaza war.
Question: Why is he suing Israel for his loss, rather than suing Hamas?
2. The police investigation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for negotiating with the publisher of Yediot Aharonot for better coverage. Questions: Why aren’t the police investigating the publisher for blackmail? And how could Yediot prostitute its coverage as a bargaining chip in return for a Knesset bill?
3. The British exchange student murdered by a terrorist after giving her seat to a pregnant woman on the Jerusalem Light Rail. Question: Why were there no Israelis willing to give their seats to the pregnant woman?
The missed questions raise many other questions about Israeli society, media and politics.
Beit Shemesh
Three prongs
Many of the proponents of the BDS movement act from pure ignorance. This should be fought with a three-pronged attack, being explained and reiterated to them that their actions are anti-peace, anti-Christian and anti-Palestinian.
If they really want peace, they should fight to stop the anti-Jewish incitement and Israelis’ fear of terrorism, so that Israel can safely dismantle the checkposts and provide free travel, work and security for all Palestinians.
They should note that in Israel, Christians (Arab and others) have full equality as citizens; they should work against discrimination against Christians under Palestinian rule and put an end to Christians’ need for flight from Bethlehem and other towns under Palestinian control.
Finally, by their actions, BDS proponents should know that they are denying thousands of Palestinians the possibility of earning a livelihood in Israel or the disputed territories.
Is this what they are agitating for? Are they working for or against the Palestinian people?
Kiryat Ono
• In “NYU team flies in to participate in unusual surgery at Shaare Zedek” (April 18), the penultimate sentence should have said: The NYU team came to Jerusalem again in March and activated the device, and they saw that it functioned properly.
• The UK’s St. Andrews University is located in southeastern Scotland, and not as stated in “Picking up where Darwin left off” (Science & Health, April 16).
In addition, there was a typographical error in the article, and studies of animal behavior by Prof. Kevin Laland’s team noted how birds kill rabbits – not rabbis – “by dropping them onto rocks.”