Letters to the Editor April 25, 2022: We never left it

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say

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

We never left it

That Amotz Asa-El speaks so glowingly of Yair Lapid ("Back to square one?" April 21) comes as no surprise. Your columnist did, after all, nominate the Yesh Atid leader for Person of the Year honors. It would be too much to expect that Asa-El would look beyond that endorsement and make an honest and objective evaluation of Lapid’s performance as Minister of Foreign Affairs or his overall contribution to the wellbeing of our nation.

What is surprising, though, is Asa-El’s outlook regarding Israel’s Arab population and the role they play in both the current and future governments. That he advises the Israeli Left to “nurture” Mansour Abbas is nothing short of myopic. While Abbas has, in the interest of political expediency, adopted a somewhat conciliatory acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state, it would not take much, believe me, for him to shed his sheep’s clothing and show his true colors. While it is, admittedly, preferable that the United Arab List be included in the government than in the opposition (you know, keep your friends close and your enemies closer), it would be reckless to assume that Abbas is ready to pledge allegiance to the flag of Israel, or to abandon any commemoration of Nakba Day.

That, however, is only part of Asa-El’s faulty arguments. He cites political stability as the price for aligning the Arab population to the political periphery. Surely, he must realize, but will not admit, that until that community is ready to accept the reality of Israel’s existence, cease from aiding and abetting acts of terrorism, and appreciate that they have full and equal rights in this region’s only democracy, there will be no other place for them except in the periphery.

Oh, and as to the question Asa-El asks – "Back to square one?" – the answer, I should think, is woefully clear. Considering that our prime minister seems paralyzed to take assertive action against terrorism, a single and relatively insignificant parliamentarian has brought the government to the brink of dissolution, and planned changes to conversion protocols promise nothing but havoc, we can pretty much conclude that, no, we are not back to square one. The sad fact is we never really left it.


Ginot Shomron

Foundational Jew-hatred

Mark Regev in his history of Muslim intolerance for Jews ("Islam and the Jewish state, April 21") omits the critical birth of this Jew-hatred which is still celebrated every Friday in mosques by Muslims.

According to the Koran in 627 in Medina, Muhammad personally decapitated 600-900 unarmed Jewish men and kidnapped and sexually enslaved 1,000 Jewish girls and women. Muslims are taught that everything Muhammad did was perfect and to emulate him at all times.

Further in Islam's other holy book, the Hadith (Saheeh Muslim 2922) Muslims are taught: "The Hour will not begin until the Muslims fight the Jews and the Muslims will kill them, until a Jew hides behind a rock or a tree, and the rock or tree will say:'O Muslim, O Slave of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'"

This antisemitic genocidal Hadith is so popular with Muslims that it is incorporated into Article 7 of the Hamas charter. All the more recent Islamic Jew-hatred Mr. Regev refers to has its roots in the foundational Jew-hatred of the Koran and the Hadith.


Margate, Florida

Some appreciation

Once again, Gershon Baskin sees only Israeli provocation and presents the Palestinians as innocent victims ("Desecrating the holy sites," April 21). He disregards Jordan’s refusal to keep its agreement to allow Jews to visit the Old City of Jerusalem during its nearly two-decade illegal occupation of eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Baskin speaks of Israel’s destruction of Arab homes when the Western Wall Plaza was built in 1967, claiming that the building project was the cause of Arab attacks on Jews.

However, he fails to note that the displaced Arabs were living in substandard housing and were compensated for the loss of their homes. He doesn’t mention the Jews who had been ethnically cleansed from areas occupied by the Jordanians; although the Jews received no compensation for their lost homes and businesses, they did not develop a society that honors and rewards people for killing Arabs.

The Jordanians had not only killed Jews and driven survivors from land of historic and religious importance to Jews, the occupiers also destroyed synagogues and desecrated Jewish graves. Even if the move was partially driven by Orthodox feelings that modern Jews are not pure enough to walk on the Temple Mount, Israel’s decision to allow the Jordanian Wakf to administer the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque was still quite remarkable. It is not unreasonable to expect some appreciation of that fact from the Waqf. 

Now that some Jews wish to visit the Temple Mount, even to pray there, the Wakf should find a way to accommodate Jewish prayer, just as Israel found a way for Muslim prayers to take place at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, in addition to Jewish prayer there. And, certainly, the Wakf should stop tolerating Palestinian desecration of al-Aqsa, bringing weapons to the holy site, using them to harass Jews praying at the Western Wall and targeting Israeli officers attempting to protect the Jews being harassed.



Gershon Baskin asserts, "Israel has once again completely failed to convince the Palestinians and the Muslim world that it has no intention to change the so-called status quo in the place that Israel calls The Temple Mount." He fails to explain why this status quo is sacrosanct. The history of the Jewish people has seen a constant struggle against status quos. For millennia, Jews dispersed throughout the world suffered under a status quo characterized by repression and brutal antisemitism climaxed by the murder of six million of our brethren. The year 1948 saw the end of centuries during which our ancestral homeland was ruled by the Ottomans and then the British. The year 1967 brought a change to the 19-year status quo which prevented us from visiting our holiest sites even as numerous synagogues and cemeteries were razed and desecrated. Although the Six Day War greatly expanded our access to the Kotel and other holy sites, it ushered in a period during which Israel has scrupulously protected Christian and Muslim religious freedom while our own access to the Temple Mount has been severely hampered. This new status quo includes harassment and sporadic violence directed at Jewish worshipers both on and below the Temple Mount. Absurdly, the world lectures us on the dangers of "provocation." As the old saying goes, "The trouble started when Jews defended themselves against attack." The issue is not convincing Palestinians/Muslims. For many of them our manifest good intentions are problematic in themselves; our partial surrender is not enough. Our presence, indeed our very existence, is unacceptable. 

As we approach Yom Hashoah and Yom Hazikaron, we recall the sacrifices of those on whose shoulders our democratic and Jewish state rests. Millions died for the crime of simply being Jewish without benefiting from the condition we now take for granted – living as a free people in our own land. Others died heroically while fighting to create and defend the nation-state of the Jewish people. 

Israel must not interfere with the peaceful exercise of religion by all communities. However, it is long past time that Jews demand this same level of freedom and protection. We dishonor the memories of those who came before us by acquiescing to modern day dhimmitude. 


Zichron Ya'acov

Becoming the Roman Empire

Hasan Ismaik lays bare, for the US, a harsh look at the reality that they are facing ("Look east, America, but first, look in the mirror," April 17). China, Russia, Iran and North Korea are actively engaged in slaying the giant. As he so directly points out, “America is a hot mess." And that encapsulates it all.This well thought out and provoking article should be mandatory reading for every single American. Starting with Biden, his whole administration and all the self-appointed talking heads who mouth platitudes and empty ideas and positions. The once great nation which was a true beacon of democracy is fast becoming the Roman Empire of the modern era. I refer to the Roman Empire not in its ascendancy but rather during its decline and fall from grace.The US would be well served by taking to heart the thesis presented by Ismaik, and to mark his words carefully. Unfortunately, the current administration is so bereft of minds capable of multi-tasking that I fear for their ability to recognize the dangers facing them, to be proactive in dealing with the varied scenarios and in meeting the dire challenges racing toward them. The woke Left liberals and socialist class in the US have hamstrung the Democratic Party into a state of atrophy, and they are incapable of doing what is right for the country, for the long-term survival. They can only manage soundbites, and they have no national strategy to play the "long game."

As Ismaik points out, the clearly visible threats facing the US will not sit on the sideline until a change of administration, rather they will seek to take advantage of the lack of will displayed by the current administration and will seek to bring today’s Roman Empire to its knees.

Note to Jerusalem Post editors: More articles of this caliber, as written by Hasan Ismaik, would surely be appreciated by your readers. 



Rabbinical ordination or PhD?

Regarding ''Haredi employment: Isolation to integration'' (April 14): While Israel may be lucky in persuading many haredim to join the workforce, they will not aid the country in being a leader in the high-tech world. Haredim have a different worldview – hashkofo in yeshivish language or hashkafah in modern Hebrew – than other Jews.In sharp contrast to modern Orthodox Jews who strive for excellence both in Torah study and in a profession or activity, haredim live in another world where rigid observance of religious rituals is paramount and secular education and knowledge are belittled.

I often wonder about the Rabbi Dr. honorifics of modern Orthodox rabbis, whether they are more proud of their rabbinical ordination title or their PhD? On January 14, Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, president of Yeshiva University in New York – the flagship of modern Orthodoxy in America – wrote in an op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal of his joy that his university had produced a team which had become a powerhouse in basketball.

Haredi culture does not promote a passion, in fact disdains to be a success in the secular world like others, although there are individuals who are exceptions. The obituary of Sidney Altman, Jewish Nobel laureate in chemistry, who died on April 5, described his hard work and fascination for science. Similarly in the non-Jewish world, while youth in Jamaica aim to be the top sprinters in the Summer Olympics, young people in small Norway are leading medal winners in the Winter Olympics, aside from the fact that the country has a well-educated population.

In contrast, the current excitement in the haredi world in Israel and the Diaspora is the Torah study program called Dirshu, funded by a Toronto haredi philanthropist, which pays adults to master the Talmud and Halacha, full-time work.