Letters to the Editor March 14, 2022: Ukraine crisis, refugees and marriage

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Defining moments

In discussing the Ukrainian refugee crisis, Herb Keinon (“Jews count as refugees, too,” March 9) brings to light an oft-forgotten Israeli humanitarian response in the 1970s when it took in boatloads of Vietnamese refugees, otherwise left adrift. 

This was considered so extraordinary for its time that the Museum of Jewish Heritage/A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, which opened its doors in 1997, featured this event in its exhibition portraying “Lessons Jews learned from the Holocaust,” alongside the narratives of the fight for Russian Jewry and the ingathering of the Ethiopian Jews.

As a gallery educator in the museum since its inception, I always found this display to be one of the defining moments for the students coming to learn about the causes, events and results of the Holocaust, many for the first time.

It is not new for Israel to respond to world humanitarian needs, and it certainly is in keeping with its ideals.


Accepting the facts

I was more than a little surprised – and pleasantly, I might add – to read something from Gershon Baskin (“Living together as equals,” March 10) that was not utterly offensive or bordered perilously on treason. His call for coexistence using the village Wahat al-Salam Neve Shalom (WAS-NS) as a representative model was reasonable and even tempered. That his proposition is nothing more than a fallacy and his arguments terribly flawed make no difference; for once objections can be raised on something other than pointless rambling.

His insistence, in the first place, on using the term Palestinian Israeli is thoroughly baseless. My understanding is that the WAS-NS villagers object to the term Israeli Arab since the term Arab is somewhat all inclusive (as is, for example, European) and does not distinguish national identity. Fair enough, but, then again, neither does Palestinian, a made-up word that has no geographical or historical roots. The first condition for true coexistence should be complete honesty and acceptance of the facts, be that what they may.

I’m prepared to accept that Rayek and Dyana Rizek are indeed sincere in their desire for a harmonious relationship with the Jewish citizenry of Israel, but will not accept the opening premise that the Arabs in Israel are not already enjoying complete equality. Granted, there may be some Jewish groups that have expressed unjustified bigotry toward the Arab community, but there is absolutely no systematic or governmental discrimination in matters of health, education and job opportunities. More significantly, although the Rizeks will undoubtedly deny this to be true, there exists within the borders of Israel a camouflaged underground of bona fide Israeli Arabs ready to applaud and even support acts of terrorism against Israeli targets. This movement may not, admittedly, be terribly widespread, but a certain degree of wariness is not by any means uncalled for.

Baskin, I’m sure, would demand as a prerequisite for such a model community that Israel abandon the Jewish Nation-State law that declares, among other provisions, that the “exercise of the right to national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.” I’m sorry Mr. Baskin, but this is what Israel is all about and provided the long-term vision that helped us survive through centuries of persecution. I’ll gladly share this country with peace loving Arabs, but I will not give a nod to any agreement denying that Israel is, first and foremost, a Jewish state.

And that acknowledgment, like it or not, is the first step for a lasting and mutually beneficial coexistence.  


New world order

Turkish Chief Rabbi Isak Haleva thanked President Herzog for “bringing ties of peace and friendship for Israel and Turkey” while President Herzog said that he relayed a message of interfaith tolerance in his meeting with Turkish President Erdogan (“Herzog to Turkish Jews: We have a shared destiny,” March 11). In fact, the shared destiny can only be realized once Jews accept that they have only one true home and that’s the one given to them by God called Eretz Yisrael. 

As for interfaith tolerance or any kind of tolerance with an enemy country like Turkey, the tolerance is always from Israel otherwise known as groveling. Remember the Marmara that sailed from Turkey with terrorists on board to crash the blockade Israel had at that time on Gaza to stop terrorist infiltration? Our guys boarded that ship when it refused to back off and were immediately attacked with iron bars and guns, incurring serious injuries. Our boys killed four terrorists during this attack and were thanked by seeing their government actually apologizing to Turkey and paying compensation to the families of the terrorists killed. 

That is serious groveling and something that Israeli governments continue to this day. In fact we have no destiny while we are prepared to surrender any part of our historic land which unfortunately we have already done to terrorists erroneously called Palestinians and legitimized by Israel and the world. Those ‘Palestinians’ have a very dangerous agenda which is played down here and certainly throughout the Arab-loving world, which is the total destruction of Israel and the emergence of Palestine free of all Jews. Welcome to the new world order.


Pie in the sky

Your editorial which espouses that the Russia-Ukraine war may be a gas opportunity for Israel (“Gas opportunity,” March 9) is somewhat delusionary having ignored basic facts. I write as a retired oil and gas professional and chartered chemical engineer. 

The capacity of the original EastMed gas pipe line proposed in 2016 was 10 billion cubic meters per annum with a subsequent possible doubling of capacity. Last year, a new route was proposed via Egypt with a similar capacity and an alternative scenario was proposed. These were subsequently effectively vetoed by the US in January of this year.

The latest statistics available from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2021 (70th edition June 2021) show the total world proven reserves as 188 trillion cubic meters of which Israeli reserves represent 0.3%. Europe consumed 541 billion cubic meters per annum with a total import of natural gas of 326 billion cubic meters, 211 billion cubic meters through pipelines, the rest being liquefied natural gas (LNG) by refrigerated tanker – overall representing 34% of total international trade.

The capacity of an EastMed pipeline, if European imports remained constant, is between three to six percent, decreasing as consumption increases. This is far from the original claim that “Israeli gas would be used in every home in Europe” when the project was proposed.

Further, Israel’s consumption is 11 billion cubic meters per annum and to meet the pipeline capacity new offshore wells would have to be spudded but the Energy Ministry has declared a moratorium on such actions. The international steel plants capable of providing such pipes for the pipeline are operating at full capacity with a lead time on new orders up to three years. Of course if the original proposed route is still to be considered then it must  be recognized that it is the longest and deepest pipeline ever to be constructed and as such subject to technical validation on its viability.

It really is time that those pundits and commentators who are not oil and gas professionals stop pushing for pie in the sky ventures, which lack technical viability, to satisfy their own egos.

DR. COLIN LECI Jerusalem

Making short shrift

Ukrainian Ambassador Yevgen Korniychuk has witnessed the massive outpouring of justified public support for the Ukraine, the material help and the risk taken by the Israeli government in trying to mediate. Nevertheless (“US, Ukraine call on Israel to sanction Russia,” March13), he has chosen to criticize Israel in a public manner far removed from diplomatic norms. He has issued demands-not-requests for military help, an increase on the cap of the number of refugees and even complains about the lack of a “proper excuse” for the proposed alternative forum for an address by President Zelensky to the Knesset.

The ambassador makes short shrift of Israel’s balancing act which has to take into account realpolitik with its delicate concerns involving Russia and the infiltration in Syria by an enemy sworn to our destruction. He knows that his country has had no similar worries which can justify its inexplicable support for all the anti-Israel resolutions in the UN.

In extending help to the heroic Ukrainian people, Israelis have rightly chosen to ignore the horrific Ukrainian centuries of pogroms culminating with cooperation in the Nazi murders carried out in the Ukraine. Nevertheless, in the light of this past, is it too much to expect a moral stance on Ukraine’s part in the UN in order to atone for these crimes? Or, in this instance, is realpolitik mysteriously justified?

At the very least, and despite Ukrainian concerns, may we expect less hypocrisy in future? A small step would be to change the name of a central street in the capital Kyiv which at present honors Symon Petliura, complicit in the mass murder of Jews.


Under fire everyday

In the one country in the world where Jewish demographics are of paramount importance, Ayelet Shaked is doing everything she can to protect and solidify Israel’s Jewish character and majority. Eliav Breuer should know better (“Shaked’s new policy to allow in Ukrainian refugees is not enough,” March 11). 

If Shaked is getting some additional props by counting the already 20,000+ Ukrainians in the country as part of the 25,000 we agreed to take in, so be it. Our population make-up is under fire everyday by the Palestinians, the EU and others and however she can keep the balance strongly (if not overwhelmingly) in our favor she should do it. And Breuer should not take her to task for it. Israel does not have a good track record when it comes to deporting illegals who have overstayed their visas and welcome, so a little prevention wouldn’t hurt.


Losing everything dear

Regarding “UK fears Russia will use chemical weapons” (March 11), how many more hospital bombings, how many more chemical warfare threats, how many more millions of wretched, desolate, homeless and hungry refugees, how many more near-radiation-disasters from destroyed nuclear energy plants, how many more towns totally destroyed? What more is it going to take for the “enlightened” western world to intervene and say “that’s it, we cannot let this go on any longer – we have to go in and stop this inhuman monster before he finishes the job and goes on to the next victim in line,” because that, he will.

Yes, I know that the entrance into this conflict of NATO countries will endanger a much more widespread conflagration, even a world war, but what we now need is another Kennedy who, in the Cuba crisis, faced up to the nuclear threat of Russia on its doorstep and didn’t blink – and it was Russia that stepped down.

Well here we are again, but where is our Kennedy this time? Who will stand up and say “you have to get past me before you carry on the slaughter and destruction?”

The moment is far more propitious this time, since Russia is substantially weakened, it has lost several thousand soldiers, its attack is not proceeding as planned, the sanctions are taking effect and the internal situation in Russia is a tinderbox, ready to burst into flames as the masses seethe and prepare to revolt and the international anti-Russian emotions are running high.

There are two steps available to the western world: assassinate Putin or strafe and destroy the line of tanks advancing on Kyiv which are lining up like sitting ducks, easy prey for the anti-tank weaponry of the NATO countries.

Let us make no mistake; the fate of the world as we know it is in the balance. Continuing to sit on the fence  and we could lose everything dear to western democratic society.


End of marriage

In “Women judged by men” (March 11), Kylie Eisman Lifschitz rails against the fact that women, desiring to divorce from their husbands must appear before a rabbinical court composed of three usually ultra-orthodox men and reveal the secrets of the abusive marriage – even details of the sex lives. Eisman Lifschitz demands that the rabbinical courts have women representatives as well.

I’ll go one far further step. Divorce is a personal matter. Period. If a woman (or a man for that matter) wishes to divorce from their spouse, for whatever reason, the side desirous of the divorce should be able to do so by filling out a form, signed and witnessed by a notary public. End of marriage. Division of the resources decided in a civil court, hopefully with female and male judges in equal percentages. The current situation is a disgrace, an insult and an affront to human rights. What kind of person would want to remain in a marriage where the other side wants out?