Letters to the editor April 13, 2022: Still here, alive and thriving

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

The vitriolic anti-religious diatribe of Uri Regev (“Religion & state – no longer under the rug,” April 12) caused my digestive system to threaten to regurgitate the breakfast I had just eaten. His denial of the cohesive value of our Jewish traditions and customs is inexcusable, particularly for one who calls himself “rabbi.” I would venture to assume that at least one of his grandparents, if not all of them, were religious and steadfast in their clinging to those very same values and that it is only because of them that the writer is still nominally Jewish and that we have a Jewish country today to call our own. Yet, in his infinite wisdom, he rebels against his forebears and rejects our traditions.

How refreshing is it, therefore, when we recall last week’s defiant statement of MK Idit Silman, as she bravely faced up to the decadent leadership of our country in an attempt to remind the people of Israel who we are, why we are here and what it is that distinguishes us from other peoples and has ensured our existence as a people since the times of Jacob of old.

May I remind the “rabbi” that the Greeks created an empire, it prospered and collapsed; the Romans flourished, ruled, innovated and disintegrated; Persia of yesteryear was an enormous hegemony but it too disappeared into the ravages of time. (Let us hope it does again.) But the Jewish people, or that which remains of it after the scourges of the Inquisition, the Shoah, the pogroms of Russia and, yes, Ukraine, is still here, alive and thriving as an independent state protective of the Jews of the world.

Silman brings home to us what it is that has so dictated the fluctuations and realities of our fate and history. We are what we are because of our Jewish values, principles and religion (even if there are those who do not practice) and the customs to which our parents and grandparents so steadfastly adhered, and which are based on those values and principles. Silman is not just revolting against the boorish foolishness of our health minister, with regard to his directives to the hospitals to allow the introduction of hametz on Passover, she is trying to bring to order this convoluted conglomerate of unlike-minded ministers, some of whose personal lifestyle is as far as one can be from Jewish principles of healthy, family-based social structure. And since she now sees how hopeless a task this is, she has stood up with tremendous courage and has said: no more, enough is enough. 

Rabbi Regev’s followers of denial, rejection and dilution will disintegrate as did the Greeks, Romans, et al (There is never a third-generation Reform Jew.), but the descendants of Silman will continue to exist as they have for many generations.



High-strung opera

Some say that allowing hametz (leavened products) in the state-run hospitals or in the IDF is another step in the dismantling of the Jewish State of Israel (“Hametz in the army - dismantling a Jewish Israel,” April 12). Others say that it is a fundamental human right to eat whatever I want, whenever I want, wherever I want. 

There can be no compromise between these opposites. On the sidelines (for awhile) is the fundamental question of whether Israel will become a  theocracy organized along halachic law or a western-style democracy organized along liberal values. The jury is still out, which explains both the fury and the fear on both sides. Again, there can be no compromise between these opposing fundamental values. One thing is for sure: neither side wants a police state where visitors sneaking in a pita to a hospital on Passover are arrested or a Bedouin or Druze or a secular Jew serving in the IDF are caught snacking on a leavened-based sandwich and are thrown into an army jail.

In the meantime Israel is a high-strung, twelve act, opera. Almost everybody is suffering from the endless arguments and discord and we are only in the first act. So be it.



Modern Middle East historian

Israel has made a wonderful out of left field choice of Noa Tishby as special envoy for combating antisemitism and the delegitimization of Israel (“Lapid names Noa Tishby as antisemitism envoy,” April 12).

Only last year she established her gravitas as a modern Middle East historian with her book Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth.

She also is an established film and television actress and producer as well as an IDF veteran. Her credentials and yes, her appearance and articulateness, should enable her to present Israel’s history and achievements throughout the Diaspora including American universities and colleges in a unique and persuasive way.

Kudos to the Israeli government for moving outside the box in this crucial battle for hearts and minds.


Margate, Florida

Front page headlines

I would like to refer to the article “Reichman University students compete in Oxford’s intellectual property contest,” which appeared hidden away on page five on April 11, and to stipulate or hope that one day similar articles will be printed as front page headlines in your newspaper, instead of terrorism acts, wars of destruction, pandemics, etc. in our crazy upside-down world.

Two students represented Israel among 30 teams from all around the world at the Oxford University International Intellectual Property Law debate competition. They were the only women’s team but also of interest, was that one student is an Israeli Jew and the other an Israeli Arab. That alone should wake up or shake up Amnesty International to the realization of their slandering antisemitism and their constant claims of Israel being an apartheid state.

May these two young women continue making their families and their country proud. This is a historic achievement for them and for the Reichman University. They are the first Israelis to compete in this event and make it past eight months of a long tough written round.



Otherwise, we’ll have chaos

Regarding your editorial “Common Sense” (April 8), you make reasonable comments about decency and common sense regarding the issue of kashrut and hametz in public environments during Passover.

But I submit that decent conduct should never have allowed this to become a political crisis in the first place. MK Silman withdrew from the coalition over her objection to the government issuing an order to permit hametz in Israeli hospitals over Passover. But all the government really did is issue an order to implement a ruling of the High Court of Justice. 

Government officials, and certainly members of Knesset, must respect the rule of law. MK Silman’s real gripe is with the court ruling. Her anger at the Government for issuing an order to follow a court ruling is entirely misplaced. Government officials, and members of Knesset, cannot arrogate the law unto themselves. Otherwise, we will have chaos. Most people will find that they are unhappy with, and may even disagree with, a host of court rulings. But we must accept them as part of a civil society.


Los Angeles

Consistent with Jewish values

Kudos to Richard H. Schwartz for his article “Can climate catastrophe be averted?” (April 11), in which he discusses how serious climate threats are and how it is essential that there be a society-wide shift to plant-based diets if we are to have a chance to avert such a tragedy, so as to leave an environmentally sustainable world for future generations.

Since, as he also points out, there is now an abundance of plant-based substitutes that are in many cases indistinguishable from meat and other animal products, and veganism is the diet most consistent with basic Jewish values and best for our health and that of our endangered planet, what justification can any Jew offer for not becoming a vegan, or at least sharply reducing their consumption of meat and other animal products?



Irrelevant in foreign affairs

How ironic that Amotz Asa-El’s pretentious lecture on truth relies on dishonesty through omission (“Truth goes on the offensive,” April 8). For example, he decries president Trump’s criticism of the media without mentioning that the Fourth Estate manipulated the last election, hiding from the electorate critical information regarding Joe Biden’s son’s highly suspect foreign business dealings. 

Even now, the press shields President Biden from questions regarding his own involvement and the possibility that he is therefore compromised. Asa-El also fails to mention that Trump was forced to spend much of his term defending against spurious allegations of Russian collusion based on a fraudulent Hillary Clinton-financed dossier gleefully disseminated as “truth” by his opponents. 

Love him or hate him, Trump was a force on the world stage – respected by some, feared by others, but never trifled with. By contrast, Biden has made the US irrelevant in foreign affairs. It is no coincidence that Russia, quiet in the face of Trump, began massing troops at the Ukrainian border months after Biden took office. 

Biden’s disastrous surrender of Afghanistan was humiliating in the extreme and hugely destructive to America’s standing in the world. It gave evidence of American decline that had been unthinkable under the prior administration. Putin concluded that he could act with impunity, fearing no serious repercussions.

Among his first acts, Biden lifted sanctions on the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline, while pursuing policies aimed at destroying the oil and gas industry that had made America energy-independent. The resulting worldwide increase in oil prices is funding Putin’s brutal war of aggression. Unbelievably, Biden is using Russia as an intermediary in his quest to enter an even worse version of the JCPOA.

We were assured that Biden would be a calming influence following the tumultuous Trump years. Instead, the country is being led by a president whose cognitive abilities are deteriorating before our very eyes and an incompetent vice president who regularly embarrasses herself and America.

Biden’s America is suffering record inflation and gas prices (which Biden dishonestly blames on Putin), rampant crime, the poisonous effects of Chinese fentanyl pouring over a non-existent southern border, and divisions in the social fabric that threaten to tear the country asunder.

Trump is certainly no angel, but neither is he the devil incarnate. Those who insist on blaming him for everything while giving Biden a free pass should recall Cassius’s trenchant declaration: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”


Zichron Ya’acov

I’d like to congratulate Amotz  Asa-El on his article. It was a brilliant explanation of the situation in the Ukraine and the world’s response to it. The world needs a Churchill who took on Germany’s war machine and the slaughter of six million Jews, and though it took six long years of bloodshed, truth was the winner in the end. 

It is my fervent hope that Vladimir Putin meets the same fate, and the sooner the better,   truth will once again be victorious.