April 27, 2017: Survivor’s response

For survivors, Holocaust Remembrance Day is not only one day of the year.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Survivor’s response
In regards to Jeff Barak’s “Holocaust Remembrance Day is just one day out of 365” (Comment & Features, April 24), he ends his article with: “But that is history, and it is important we look forward as opposed to constantly looking behind us. Today’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, for as long as we have survivors among us who can tell their story, is an important day in modern Israel’s calendar, but it is only one day out of the year, and should not be the day that defines how we, as Israelis, view the world.”
It is astounding that a former editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post writes this in the paper published on Holocaust Remembrance Day. He shows a complete lack of understanding for the people that have survived the Shoah.
I was born in the Netherlands, a friendly country where 75% of Jews were murdered during the Shoah, the highest percentage of Western Europe.
I came out of the War II as an orphan. I lost my whole family.
Jeff Barak was lucky not to have these experiences, but if he takes time to speak with survivors he will learn that most of them have tried to build their lives looking to the future, but he will also learn that for them Holocaust Remembrance Day is not only one day of the year.
Radiohead ruckus
In “Desmond Tutu, Roger Waters call on Radiohead to cancel their upcoming show in Israel” (April 25), the article recounts that a number of artists and activists, including Tutu, have signed an open letter to British rock band Radiohead to “think again” about performing in Israel. The reason given is that “a system of apartheid has been imposed on the Palestinian people” and thus to stay away.
Tutu appears to have a fixation on continually accusing Israel imposing apartheid on the Palestinian people. He is an honorable man, a retired Anglican bishop, and yet he persists in his constant criticism. It’s about time Tutu be invited to visit Israel and see for himself the error of his thinking.
That would be the honorable thing to do.
I lived in South Africa for many years and can vouch that the apartheid practices that occurred in South Africa do not exist and have never existed in Israel.
Kfar Yona
Diverging opinions
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s canceling of his meeting with the German foreign minister is schoolboy stuff and very damaging to Israel’s interests.
If we have a problem with some NGOs, as we do, we need to deal with them at the government level. Preventing visitors from talking to them does nothing to address the issue and only helps isolate Israel more. Netanyahu should know better than to expect visiting politicians to succumb to his bullying. After all, he ignored pressure from former president Barack Obama, not to address Congress on the Iran issue.
There appears to be no limit to his hubris. What a shame.
Kiryat Tivon
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was right to cancel his meeting with the German foreign minister who insisted on continuing with his arranged meetings with left-wing anti-Zionist NGOs. But why did he single out the German foreign minister for this when only a few weeks ago the UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson also met with such NGOs? It is not surprising that European countries who still insist, wrongly, that West Bank settlements are illegal, as a result of which United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 was passed in December 2016, still get a mixed message from the Israeli government.
Schooled on schooling
In “Private and public schooling in Israel – not what you thought” (Comment & Features, April 25), Yoni Schwartz supposedly provides an analysis of the two public religious school systems. He bases his opinions simply on his own positive experience as a student in the mamlachti dati (national religious) system. At the same time, he scandalizes the mamlachti dati Torah schools by charging that the fees paid by parents for extra Torah studies are really being diverted to other areas of the system. He also decides that the Torah schools are elitist based on a study of family economic conditions by the organization Ne’emanei Torah Va’avoda.
What is completely ignored is the basic question of what percentage of graduates in each school remains religiously observant and what percentage becomes “datlashim” – i.e. former Orthodox Jews. I have learned from an indirect reliable source that close to 40% of the mamlachti dati graduates become datlashim.
The article lacks relevant content and is a harangue against Mamlachti Torah schools. At the very least, the Torah schools should have been offered a chance to reply.
Herzl’s lodging
With great interest I read Greer Fay Cashman’s “Grapevine” (April 21), regarding Herzl’s visit to Jerusalem in 1898.
May I be permitted to comment on some minor inaccuracy in her report. When Herzl visited Jerusalem he did not stay at the Fast Hotel. In fact, the room that had been reserved for him at the Hotel Kraminitz had been occupied by the German Emperor’s entourage, and therefore the Jewish family of Max Stern from Germany, who had purchased from the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate in 1874 a plot on what was then Mamilla Road, volunteered to have Herzl stay in his house for four days. The house that was later turned into a small Herzl-related museum, has been razed, despite vehement public opposition, to make room for luxury apartments that the authorities considered more valuable than the preservation of historical city sites.
Outsourcing construction
Regarding “The Chinese construction workers are coming... but they’re not going to work beyond the Green Line” (April 24), please tell me why our own denizens cannot be employed for construction work? Is there near 100% employment in this country? Do we truly need outsiders? In the time it took to negotiate the plan, our own citizens could have been drilled through schools and taught the trade. The haredim (ultra-Orthodox), secular, emigrés, and all others already here should be given the tools to become construction workers. Bringing in foreign workers means additional expenses to our government for health care, living and educational benefits.
Our people were construction workers in Pharaoh’s Egypt, and built wonders, their monuments are still extant today! What better resume!
Caption criticism
I would like to commend your choice of the front page picture (April 25) depicting Monday’s March of the Living.
The picture shows a trio of Israelis that led the march. These three truly symbolize Israel of 2017.
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot is marching next to Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau (who perhaps is one of the few remaining survivors capable of participating in the march) holding a Torah, next to Education Minister Naftali Bennett, all striding in front of thousands of other participants.
Then you go and blow it with a caption that does a serious injustice to the great picture and the entire event.
Your caption, which doesn’t mention Lau or Eisenkot, gives the impression that Bennett is the only significant person in the march.
In my opinion, Lau and Eisenkot are worthy of more prominence than any government minister that participated.