Letters to the Editor January 24, 2022: Time is running out

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Time is running out

An ambassador who refuses to visit the legal and historically Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria has no place in this country and should be refused recognition and most especially when he says that he might go to Judea and Samaria to meet with Mahmoud Abbas, the terrorist in a suit, and his officials (“Nides’s refusal to visit Judea-Samaria Jews,” January 23).

This is something that Israel should not tolerate as it is a clear and humiliating sign of a lack of respect for a sovereign nation, although it must be said that we do not act as a sovereign nation, which is where our problems stem from. It is well-known to America that Abbas pays $360 million per year to terrorists who murder Jews while still calling for and getting money to make up their shortfall of paying the terrorists. Israel of course is not without blame here as it has known for many, many years that Abbas, whom the previous prime minister continued to support, was paying for Jews to be murdered.

This surely was enough reason to either allow Fatah to collapse, which it would have done without our support, or destroy them. Judea and Samaria is our heartland and site of Jewish kingdoms that existed for hundreds of years but rather than quote all the many organizations like the San Remo Resolution, Covenant of the League of Nations, and so on.

I prefer the most legal and justified reason for this land as the historic one and only Jewish land for the Jewish people, and that is the word and promise of God to our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their progeny in perpetuity. We are here because we belong here; because only we have the provenance. And time is running out fast for us to make good on this special provenance: one land, one people.

 US AMBASSADOR Thomas Nides arrives at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem last month to present his credentials.  (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90) US AMBASSADOR Thomas Nides arrives at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem last month to present his credentials. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)


As a US citizen, who made aliyah eleven years ago and has since lived in Ma’aleh Adumim, I’d like to invite you, my US ambassador, to come and pay a visit to our beautiful city in Judea-Samaria. I like referring to Ma’aleh Adumim as an illegal settlement with 40,000 inhabitants.

Apparently, you and I have something in common, as we are both former employees of Morgan Stanley, although I left the firm after 28 years when we made aliyah in 2010 from Los Angeles as a retail broker, three years before you apparently became employed by them.

I think that by stating that you will “absolutely not” “under any circumstances” visit the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, you are missing out on seeing the biblical heartland of Israel. I hope that you are not one who believes that the State of Israel was created in 1948 as a compensation to Jews for suffering the Holocaust of World War II, but – in fact –  you know, as a Jew, that the modern State of Israel is a realization of God’s prophecy and promise from the Bible to the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, our forefathers.

When the prophet Joshua led the Jewish people into this land, he didn’t disembark from a cruise ship in Haifa or Tel Aviv, nor did he land at Ben-Gurion Airport. He crossed the Jordan River and conquered (yes, conquered) first the City-State of Jericho, right down the hill from my home in Ma’aleh Adumim.

When Jews prayed for thousands of years to return to their land in Israel, they didn’t mean Tel Aviv or Herzliya or Hod HaSharon (not that there’s anything wrong with those beautiful modern Israeli cities). We prayed to return to Jerusalem, Hebron, Shiloh, Beersheba and Bethlehem. This so-called West Bank, or more correctly Judea and Samaria, is the true heart of Israel: the raison d’etre of the State of Israel.

Shame on you Ambassador Nides for exhibiting such utter hypocrisy in agreeing to visit the so-called Palestinians in Ramallah, but not your fellow Jews in Ariel.

Maybe you are just toeing the line for a State Department which has long been notoriously “Arabist.” Or maybe you are following instructions from an administration that cowers in the face of far-Left and progressive forces in the current Democratic Party.

Or maybe you just don’t get it.

By the way, I’m quite serious about having you as a guest in our home in Ma’aleh Adumim. 

Call me.


White Paper

Further to “The most shameful document of modern history” (January 20), standing right behind the Wannsee Conference protocol for this dubious distinction would be the British White Paper of 1939 that, in effect, had shut the gates of refuge to the Land of Israel, then Palestine, and doomed our six million brethren to the clutches of the Nazi monster and their industrialized extermination.


There is no question that the most horrifying aspect of the Wannsee Conference, where 16 German bureaucrats methodically outlined the techniques for the murder of all the Jews in Europe, was the businesslike and matter-of-fact approach of its participants. There were a few among them who had already displayed proficiency in killing Jews, such as Adolph Eichmann, but most of the participants were civil servants and department heads.

Although they were not the ones who initiated it, and the “final solution” came from above, none of them declined or objected. In fact, it was considered so routine a matter that a secretary, Ingeborg, was brought in to take the minutes. The plans were set in motion in just 90 minutes followed by a luncheon at the elegant estate in which the meeting took place.

So efficient were these officials that within the next year alone, almost two million Jews were murdered in Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka, increasing in numbers in Auschwitz and other killing camps, till the six million mark was reached by 1945.

Recent research by Matthias Hass questions what happened to these engineers of death? None were tried at Nuremberg for their participation at Wannsee.

Several died during the war, and several were tried for other crimes, one executed in Poland, and of course Eichmann, who was tried and executed in Israel. Others simply faded back into their prewar lives, living to advanced ages and touted in their obituaries for their contributions to family and community.

It is the inhumanity of ordinary men, who agreed to become killers, that remains one of the ongoing and difficult topics for research about the Holocaust, but coming to grips with it is essential to ensure that such genocides will never happen again.


Those were the days

As I read the “Hiking with the hassidim” (January 23), it brought back a host of memories to me. Having worked as a cantor/hazzan for over three decades at one of the landmark Jewish hotels in the Catskills –  Kutsher’s Country Club – your article made that era come to life.

What an absolutely fabulous time. A vast array of Jewish hotels – Kutsher’s, the Concord, Grossinger’s, et al – a mere two-hour drive from most metropolitan NYC locales. Those were truly the days, my friend.


Ready for the challenge?

I am glad that Yad Vashem chairman Dani Dayan and Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai have come to the realization that both antisemitism and the Diaspora exist and that most Israelis (even Israeli officialdom) do not really understand either of them (“‘Antisemitism did not disappear. It just has new forms,’” January 21).

May I offer a suggestion to these two officials regarding the largest Diaspora community, American Jewry. They should speak to those of us who made aliyah from America and are in constant contact with our friends and relatives who remained there. Then we can inform them about the abysmal ignorance of Judaism, Hebrew, Zionism and Jewish history; the decline in synagogue attendance (exacerbated by COVID-19), evident in the merging of many Reform and Conservative congregations; the falling birthrate; the large number of intermarriages where the non-Jewish spouse does not convert to Judaism of any denomination and the children are raised as “nones”; the many Jewish young adults who are not affiliated and not interested in any form of Jewish expression or activity; and the growing disaffection of Jewish students on college campuses, some of whom are virulently anti-Israel and others, simply apathetic. All of this is taking place with a rise in antisemitism – not only on the extreme Right, but also on  the “progressive” Left.

With all due respect, no amount of programs on awareness of the Holocaust can mitigate the situation described above. Far more thought and action are necessary to reverse those trends. Are Mr. Dayan and Mr. Shai ready for the challenge?


Desecrating God’s name

Thank you for your wonderful, powerful editorial “Don’t be silent” (January 23) which also relates to your news article on the same day, titled “Settlers violently assault Israeli, Palestinian activists planting trees in West Bank.” The settlers’ actions are scandalous, truly a desecration of God’s name.

The Torah indicates 36 times, more than any other teaching, that Jews are to be kind to strangers and not oppress strangers, because “we were strangers in Egypt.” Certainly the horrific actions of these settlers are not consistent with these teachings. The settlers’ actions should be strongly condemned by Israeli politicians, rabbis and others, especially those in Judea and Samaria. And the government should offer a reward for information leading to the conviction of the participating settlers so their punishment can serve as an example that will prevent similar future events.


Better tomorrow?

My, my, the differences from one year to the next, huh? How vividly I recall the two mantras that were with us day in and day out not that long ago, but have currently been converted into something different altogether, which, as Gil Hoffman pointed out (“The coalition consequences of possible Bibi plea deal,” January 21), may very well have serious consequences for the coalition. Remember how Bibi, during the early stages of the investigation into his wrongdoings, kept promising that “they’ll find nothing because there is nothing.” Well, there is something, isn’t there? Otherwise his legal team wouldn’t be struggling to bulldoze an opening through which he can regally – or at least honorably – crawl through, though I understand the desire to get this embarrassment out of the way and preserve us from nightly blow-by-blow reports of the seemingly never-ending trials. 

And now we come to the “Anyone but Bibi” refrain, and how the idea of having the prime minister in the opposition provided, in essence, motivation for positioning the varied pieces of the coalition into a viable entity. One would have thought that Bibi out of the way – whether in the opposition or out of politics altogether – would have been enough to glue those pieces together. Instead, we now have “No one but Bibi” since the coalition rightly fears that without being bogged down by their current leader the Likud could very well reinvent itself and provide an incomparable appeal to the Center-Right. And they’re not wrong. I was never very comfortable with the divergent platform that is represented by the current coalition, and would prefer one less pointedly reformist or threatening to my personal beliefs – provided, that is, the leader of such a coalition was not morally or ethically compromised.

We’re living in a period of great turbulence. The pandemic, Iran’s increasingly growing nuclear capability, proactive antisemitism… the list goes on. And yet, at the same time, there is considerable room for optimism. Maybe it’s time for a new mantra. How about “A better tomorrow starts today?” Who knows, it might even last more than a year.


Untoward places

In her Friday column, “Peace and the non-rational enemy” (January 21), Liat Collins once again made concise and relevant points on the issue in question.

A Brit decided to seek out in a fairly remote part of Texas a community synagogue and threatened to cause deaths and mayhem – go figure. 

However, that’s the point where antisemitism is concerned. It raises its ugly head in the most untoward places and in circumstances which clearly messages for us to be on guard, as an unfortunate priority.

However, it’s also a wake-up call should it be needed that our main protagonist Iran does not hide its antipathy like a thief in the night but brazenly announces its hatred and threats of complete annihilation of our state. 

It is therefore imperative via various areas of intelligence that we are ready to be proactive, as being reactive as far as Iran is concerned will not be an option.


The plethora of published opinion pieces regarding the Colleyville synagogue invasion understandably focus on what we Jews can take away from this clearly antisemitic attack. They say little about the broader lessons for the Biden administration and America. 

Biden and his minions maintain that the greatest threat to the country comes from right-wing extremists. They ignore the antisemitism and racial hatred from the Left. For example, there has been scant criticism from the Democratic Party leadership of egregious antisemitic pronouncements from some of its own members of Congress. The “horseshoe theory” asserts that the far-Left and the far-Right, rather than being at opposite and opposing ends of a linear political continuum, closely resemble one another, analogous to the way that the opposite ends of a horseshoe are close together. Colleyville demonstrated once again that hatred and terrorism are not limited to a single political philosophy. 

Biden has also spoken forcefully of “domestic enemies.” He implies that Americans who object to his policies (including even parents at school board meetings) are potential terrorists who must be identified and dealt with. But what of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants from nearly 100 countries who have entered the US illegally through the southern border, and the 75,000 Afghanis welcomed simply because they were able to grab a seat on a rescue flight? They go through no effective screening process. Just as the Texas terrorist came from a foreign land, it is beyond question that at least a few of these new arrivals intend to do harm to the country through either political violence or crime.

Most importantly, the Colleyville attacker had a history of radicalism. Past statements and deeds can be a strong predictor of future actions. Consider China’s express desire to become the world’s superpower within decades (coupled with its apparent release of a deadly virus that has brought America to its knees); Iran’s promise to annihilate Israel (along with its obvious desire to obtain nuclear weapons and its ongoing worldwide support of terrorism); BLM/Antifa’s calls for the destruction of the current political system (buttressed by their violent riots lasting several months). People should be taken at their word. Their threats must be opposed vehemently, not minimized or ignored.

Jews and Israel are the “canary in the coal mine.” What happens to us does not end with us. The United States ignores the broader lessons of this recent attack at its own peril. 

EFRAIM COHENZichron Ya’acov