Letters to the Editor December 22, 2021: Nonstarter

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)


Closing borders to Jewish family members wishing to come to life-cycle events seems to me a nonstarter (“Time running out – 5th wave begins Monday,” December 20). In fact, it appears that it is the Israeli population itself, which insists on traveling abroad and returning home with the virus, that is the biggest contributor to the spread of the Covid variants in this country. 

You want to stop the incoming variants? Then stop Israelis from leaving the country in the first place. On their return they are flouting the rules, left, right and center, without any regard to isolation or testing. 

If people could just be trusted to protect themselves, their families and communities, we wouldn’t be in this mess. The government can do its best to protect the population, but people – you need to take responsibility, too. Stop playing the blame game.

I. SIVANKiryat Bialik

Goldstein’s wrong

Rabbi Warren Goldstein is misguided when he says barring Diaspora Jews’ entry is bad for Israel (“SA chief rabbi: Entry ban on Diaspora Jews ‘a disgrace,’” December 20). The “long-term damage” he speaks of is monetary and selfish.

To be a “state for the Jewish people” does not allow for endangering lives. This is hillul Hashem. Even I have children living abroad and would not ask them to come.


Rabbi Warren Goldstein has got his values in a twist. The closure of our borders in these times of rampant contagion is indeed the most moral and responsible step that our leaders can take.

It is not undermining the very reason for our existence. The opposite is the case; it is perpetuating our safe existence, guarding it against the invasion of Covid from uncontrolled foreign administrations and ensuring that it will still be there, as a state for the Jewish people (including Goldstein’s South African Jews).

Yes, it is indeed dividing families. It is dividing that part of the Jewish family that has chosen to make aliyah and be part of the rebirth of the nation in its own land, from that part of the family that has not. It is that former group that will be there for the others when they come.


Two states?

There is another well-meaning and reasonable-sounding attempt to promote the two-state solution in Tuesday’s Jerusalem Post (“Stop slamming the two-state solution,” December 21). After all, there’s no decent alternative.

This is like saying, you’re going to die anyway, so why not commit suicide? 

The two-state solution sounds reasonable only until you take a close look at the map. There isn’t room for two states in the tiny territory of Israel. It would be impossible to divide Israel and the West Bank with their mixed populations into two viable states, even if the two nationalities living in them loved each other, let alone when there is deep-seated enmity between them. It would be like trying to divide a one-room apartment between two feuding families.

There are decent alternatives. Various types of federations have been suggested in which semiautonomous areas would be federated under a single national government, with possibly choice of Jordanian citizenship for those considering themselves Palestinians. Perhaps, eventually, Egyptian citizenship could be an option for Gazans. This couldn’t happen immediately, but then neither could a two-state solution.


Nakba attitude

I really believe that Susan Hattis Rolef should realize that the Nakba was of Arab making and not ours (“Our attitude toward the Nakba,” December 20). Had the Arabs accepted partition and not set out to destroy the nascent state, there wouldn’t have been a nakba in the first place.

There never was an Arab state called Palestine, and that, Susan is not a myth but a fact.

While the Palestinians are proud that their sons are murderers (parents of Jenin terrorists: “we are proud of our sons”), we, on the other hand, cringe and hold settler violence to be unacceptable, and are certainly not proud of those who want revenge for the terrorism against Jews.

It doesn’t matter how much we want to understand, nor the compassion we may feel for, the Palestinians. At the end of the day, only our destruction will satisfy them. After 73 years of violence against us, you’d think we and the world would acknowledge that fact.

Until then, expect more violence, verbally and physically.


Thank you, Gil

Thank you, Gil Troy, for a beautiful, uplifting article (“The Israeli dream,” December 25). It was a pleasure to read, after all the Israel bashing lately.

Our family moved to Israel in 1969 with four children. We moved from New York. All of the children and their spouses did army here, studied here and live here.

My grandchildren are spread out over many “settlements.” Unfortunately, there are many in Israel, besides Gershon Baskin and Omer Bar Lev, who are intent on equating “settlers” with violence. None of these places are violent. Living there are army men, doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects, occupational therapists, social psychologists – a wonderful cross section of humanity.

Where did all this bashing begin, and who initiated it? Esawi Frej stated there is a great deal of violence that originates in the settlements and it shouldn’t be ignored.

I may not be politically correct, but have any of these bashers noticed the violence coming out of Arab “communities”?

Give me a break. Let’s try to love ourselves a little bit.


Parliamentarian Pinto

I am always amazed at the convenient amnesia the press seems to suffer from. In reference to Shirley Pinto and her terrible plight (“Carrying baby, Pinto rushes to Knesset vote,” December 16), I wish to remind The Jerusalem Post and all its readers of the history of the offsetting process since the new coalition was formed:

June 10: The opposition requested an offsetting due to the memorial of Rehavam Ze’evi, and the coalition refused.

June 7: The coalition itself forced Meir Yitzhak Halevi to get up from his shiva house to vote, after the opposition had agreed to offset.

Why, after this behavior, would the opposition agree to the offsetting process?

In addition, Pinto could blame her own partners. She would not have had to come in to vote, had Abir Kara not thrown a childish tantrum and left the building.

Finally, Pinto’s appearance with her newborn baby was a photo-op, if ever there was one. Who brings a baby, under the dire threat of Omicron, to a crowded Knesset, where few, if any, were wearing masks?

As to Pinto’s insistence that she could not possibly bear to be apart from her baby, I will remind readers that a mere four days later, Pinto appeared on N12’s Meet the Press, where she was interviewed without her baby.


Morally unkosher

In reference to kosher foie gras (“Hungary, kosher foie gras and Orban’s windfall,” December 19), foie gras is produced by gavage – force-feeding ducks and geese up to one-third of their body weight, using a pipe down the throat.

How can a product, the production of which involves animal cruelty, be regarded as kosher?


Israelis and Arabs

Having read with interest the article by the Jordanian writer Hasan Ismaik (“What Israelis know and Arabs must learn,” December 19), I wish to take exception to his premise that the Arabs would be wise to make peace with Israel despite supposed historic injustices.

The first “injustice” Ismaik mentioned was when, after Nasser blocked the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping in May 1967, “Israel quickly seized the opportunity to invade the Egyptian Sinai, the Syrian Golan Heights and the Jordanian West Bank.”

Ismaik neglected to mention that blocking another country’s seaports is an act of war, and that Levi Eshkol’s government had exhorted Jordan’s King Hussein not to join Egypt in attacking Israel. The Jordanians attacked, they were repulsed, and Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem came under Israeli control.

As for the Golan Heights, from where the Syrians had staged countless attacks against Israeli settlements, the area came under Israeli control as a result of Syria’s joining the war against Israel.

The second “injustice” described in the article was the premise that the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine trumped Arab rights, in that the Arabs had to pay the price for European Christianity’s antisemitism.

Ismaik seems unaware not only of the historical connection of the Jewish people to Zion, but of the intrepid efforts of Jews to rebuild our national homeland and to establish ownership, “dunam by dunam,” long before the European powers became involved.


He’s the Boss

As I read the article on Bruce Springsteen (“Springsteen sells song catalogue to Sony for $500m.,” December 20), it brought back some wonderful memories from long ago.

As a young man growing up at the shore in New Jersey, I and my friends frequented a music club along the boardwalk in Asbury Park by the name of The Stone Pony.

There, we were introduced to a young performer from nearby Freehold by the name of Bruce Springsteen! Some 60 years later, and now I read of his selling his music catalogue for half a billion dollars! The young man from Freehold has sure come a long way.

It is a privilege to be able to say I knew him when.


Erroneous editorial

I read with disbelief your editorial of December 15 (“No second Nakba”) in which you attack right-wing media personalities and also the head of the Religious Zionist Party, Bezalel Smotrich, for their use of extreme language and threats of expulsion against Arabs. 

However, as I understand it – both from their words and from the context – their threats were not aimed against Arabs in general but against terrorists and their supporters, including in the Knesset.

At the same time your editorial writer describes the events that occurred in May this year in the mixed Jewish-Arab cities of Lod, Ramle, Acre, Jaffa and elsewhere during Operation Guardian of the Walls as “civil unrest.”

Apparently, to the writer it does not matter what the Arabs do; it matters what the Jews say. The editorial reeks of hypocrisy and a double standard.


Welcoming olim

Micah Levinson’s point is well taken (“Preparing for a wave of Ukrainian and Russian olim,” December 19). Deteriorating conditions in Russia and Ukraine are likely to lead to an increase in antisemitism, and hundreds of thousands of people who “don’t consider themselves Jewish and aren’t Jewish according to Halacha” will suffer, nonetheless. As “zera Yisrael,” they are entitled to seek refuge in Israel.

Let us hope that they will be welcomed, offered classes on the Jewish heritage their parents and grandparents were denied under Soviet rule, and provided with a smooth path for conversion. 

Let’s also hope that outreach to the new wave of Ukrainian and Russian olim will provide an opening for mending the rift between Orthodox and non-Orthodox streams of Judaism. People who have grown up in totally secular societies may very well feel more comfortable starting their journey back to Jewish observance in a Masorti or Reform congregation.

TOBY F. BLOCKAtlanta, Georgia

Climate change no joke

In the excellent interview about the Netflix comedy Don’t Look Up (“Why Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence couldn’t say no to Netflix comedy ‘Don’t Look Up,’” December 19), climate change was mentioned several times. Sadly, it is not a joke here.

Politicians infrequently discuss the severity of recycling; it’s really not a very sexy topic!

I am compelled to wonder about our own environmental concerns here in Jerusalem. Several of our plastic recycling cages have been removed. Why? I really have no idea. I understand that plastic recycling has a limited value as a recycled material. I also know that throwing plastic into these bins probably will lead to yet more buildup in our landfills and sadly at our cherished waterfronts. 

And now we have our brand-new bottle deposit rules from early in December, including big bottles. Yes, I read that “Jerusalem has the largest amount of waste recycled,” according to our mayor, but what about folks who prefer to empty their homes of their big bottles into plastic recycling cages?