Regarding “A return to the JCPOA is nearly impossible” (July 26), some things to consider:
It was a major blunder for former US president Trump, in response to strong pleading by former prime minister Netanyahu, to pull out of the 2015 agreement. Iran is now much closer to obtaining a nuclear weapon and is in a much better bargaining position.
Many retired Israeli military and strategic experts support a US return to the nuclear agreement as the best approach for Israel’s security.
All diplomatic efforts must be continued because attacking Iran would result in very harmful retaliations and would greatly worsen an already negative economic situation for Israel and other countries, possibly resulting in a major recession or depression.
Of course Iranian statements and actions should continue to be condemned and strong sanctions against Iran should be continued until their behavior greatly improves.
RICHARD H. SCHWARTZ
Foolish and ill-considered
Your analysis headline “Lapid playing it cool with Russia over Jewish Agency” (July 26) is apparently a gentle and politically correct way of saying that Lapid is crawling away with his tail between his legs after the enormous debacle he initiated in his foolish and ill-considered reaction to the situation with Russia. A more appropriate title would have been: “Lapid: A bull in a china shop.”
But we should not have been surprised by the clumsiness and buffoonery of Mr. Lapid. The political jockeying and entanglements of the last few years have landed us, through no fault of the general populace, with a prime minister who has no training or education in international relations, nor in economics, nor in finance, health, science, ecology, law – indeed not even in bagrut.
And now we will need to pull out of the hat some other individual who has proven capability and experience in dealing with such awkward situations, (be it Herzog or Bibi) to take control before the situation reaches the point of no return and Russian Jews are totally banned from emigrating to Israel and the skies of Syria are closed to the IDF.
I agree with the article "US should stop funding UNRWA" (July 26) that in his recent trip to the area, President Joe Biden should not have made the promise to provide serious funding for the perpetuation of the "Palestinian refugee" problem. As the writer noted, the welfare agency should be in the "going out of business" business. Its funding can also be regarded as child abuse in that instead of enjoying life, children are trapped and inculcated into the reign of hatred.
If Biden wants to be useful, then he should make sure that the Taylor Force Act is fully enforced. That is the act named to honor the American who lost his life to a Palestinian terrorist on a rampage in Jaffa, with the act designed to stop rewards given out by the PA for slaying innocents.
What is not often talked about is the fact that many of these so-called refugees are actually internal refugees. For example in 1947 and 1948 many of the Arabs fleeing went to places such as Nablus, Fureidis and east Jerusalem. In any discussions on the Palestinian right of return, they want Arabs living in these and other places the option of returning to 'Israel proper.' One notable example is US Congresswoman (and Squad member) Rashida Tlaib, whose parents hail from Ramallah and east Jerusalem respectively.
Of course the comparison has to be made to Jews fleeing the Arab countries of the Middle East and North Africa starting around the same time and in similar numbers. With great difficulty at the time, they were fully absorbed into the Israeli state. If the same definition of refugees were to be applied to these Jews and all their descendants, I am sure they would number more than the total population of Israel.
It is not at all relevant to ask how many of them self-identify as refugees. None are sequestered into camps of hatred, to be used as pawns by those purportedly looking after their best interests. The world needs to work toward a solution to this age-old problem.
Regarding "Beyond Zionism'' (July 24): In elementary school, I was taught to multiply two whole numbers and the product, obviously, is a number larger than either of the whole numbers. However, when one multiplies two fractions, the product is not larger but smaller than either of the two fractions, which to a child's mind seemed counterintuitive.
Shireen Abu Akleh was the product of being a hack journalist and a propagandist for the virulently anti-Israel Al Jazeera television. While Al Jazeera does fine reports on the Third World, it is certainly not a respected news organ like BBC television.
One can notice this in the opinion section of Al Jazeera on the Internet, where all of the hugely disproportionate number of contributors' articles portray Israel as a scourge of humanity. Similarly, on the Internet, one can watch Al Jazeera public affairs shows on the Arab-Israeli conflict where of the three invited pundits, two will always denounce Israel.
Unfortunately, the killing of Abu Akleh in unclear circumstances will be a gift that keeps on giving for the Palestinians, who will exploit the tragedy to vilify Israel. In contrast, the killing of Clark Todd, a journalist for the respected Canadian CTV Television Network in unclear circumstances in Lebanon in 1983 was quickly forgotten. In 2010, WikiLeaks revealed a secret American military video that showed a 2007 attack by US Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed two Reuters news staff. Again, quickly forgotten.
Limbo for generations
Regarding "Palestinian weakness: Curse in disguise" (July 26): Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In a similar fashion, one’s point of view will determine whether something is a blessing or a curse.
Nearly three decades after the signing of the Oslo Accords, it is clear that the goal of the Palestinian leaders is not establishing a Palestinian state coexisting, peacefully, with the nation-state of the Jews. Indeed, Palestinian leaders still dream of a Palestinian state from which all Jews have been banished and a Muslim-majority Israel, populated by people condemned, by Arab and Palestinian leaders, to refugee limbo for generations, as their leaders also taught the “refugees” that killing Jews is the ticket to entering Muslim heaven. Israelis should rejoice that Palestinian leaders have been too weak to attain this goal.
Yet, there is a case to be made for the opposite point of view. If Palestinians become thoroughly disillusioned with the corruption of their leaders and the abuse the Palestinians have suffered at the hands of those leaders, more Palestinians may overcome the Jew-hatred with which they have been indoctrinated, and those living in Israel may opt to take citizenship and eventually have enough votes to destroy Israel’s Jewish character.
Interestingly, a link in Avi Gil’s article suggests that the danger may not be as great as some have feared for years. The birthrate among Arab women has been decreasing while the birth rate among Jewish women has been increasing. Thus, there isn’t a demographic threat as long as Israel doesn’t take in the 5,500,000 Palestine refugees on UNRWA’s rolls.
In addition, the increasing numbers of Israelis living in Area C (designated by Oslo to be under full Israeli control) do not preclude the possibility of a Palestinian state arising in Gaza and in Areas A and B of Judea and Samaria. The key to success is simply a willingness for coexistence and a sense of mutual respect. The nation-state of the Jews must retain its Jewish majority; the Nation-State Law specifies that the future Palestinian state must be Israel’s neighbor, not Israel’s replacement.
Even Palestinians who have resisted being brainwashed into hating Jews may prefer being part of a majority in an Arab state to being part of the minority in a Jewish state. Perhaps Israel’s partners in the Abraham Accords could help, by offering citizenship to Palestine refugees and giving carefully-monitored aid in building the infrastructure needed to create a viable Palestinian state.
TOBY F. BLOCK
I found Uri Pilichowski's article "An Orthodox, Conservative and Reform rabbi spend Shabbat together in Judea and Samaria" (July 24) disingenuous at best. Of course all Jews from different religious persuasions, sometimes from the same family, regularly spend Shabbat and holidays together. It does not indicate a coming together of theology but rather, of Jews.
An example of what has been happening between halachic Judaism and other practices can be found in Monsey, New York, during the past 30 years. When I moved there in the 1970s, there was an enormous Reform temple on Viola Avenue, matched by a equally imposing Conservative synagogue around the corner, each boasting memberships in the thousands. By contrast, the half dozen Orthodox synagogues tallied together membership barely in the hundreds.
By the time I left 30 years later the membership in the Reform temple had declined to almost zero and the huge edifice was sold to developers. The Conservative synagogue, also facing declining membership, was forced to merge with a similar institution in a neighboring town, making the Shabbat walk to shul for those neighbors who previously could do so, impossible.
In contrast the number of Orthodox synagogues proliferated.
No matter how much their advocates wish to push Reform and Conservative practices, halachic Judaism remains the choice for most practicing Jews.
"Women's hockey a hit in Maccabiah debut" (July 25) reports on the welcome addition to the Maccabiah schedule of a brand-new sport for a previously unrepresented group of athletes. Another addition to the Maccabiah deserves recognition.
This year, for the first time in the history of the Games, a team of disabled IDF veterans was incorporated into the golf competition. Caesarea Golf Club has helped build the Disabled Warriors golf program from scratch, and has been a strong supporter of the team for over a decade, providing specialized training and equipment.
Through this unique program, these brave warriors (including two Druze players) who physically defended the State of Israel now represent the country in competitions in Israel and abroad. At the end of the Maccabiah competition, the gold medal for this team was awarded to Shlomo Ivgi, a former Golani soldier injured in 1974. Zohar Sharon, another member of the team, is a six-time world blind golf champion.
Out of the question
The ideas expressed in the article by Gershon Baskin headlined “The road to normalization” (July 21) will not lead to any normalization at all.
His latest idea is for Israel to place its trust in Saudi Arabia. His suggestion that a country ruled for the past 100 years by one family with no democracy or elections of any kind, no rule of law, no religious freedom, no women’s rights, no press freedom, and no respect for human rights, should be the country that should replace the US as the broker in trying to achieve a two-state solution is absurd.
The Saudi peace plan is not about peace. It is about the destruction of Israel in stages. All the other ideas put forward by Gershon Baskin are equally out of the question. The only idea of Baskin that is correct is his own conclusion that his ideas are not very likely to succeed.
For just over the past hundred years, the Saudi royal family have been the custodians of the Islamic holy sites of Mecca and Medina. For nine hundred years before that, the Hashemites and the Ottomans were the custodians. The Hashemites lived in the western part of Arabia known as the Hejaz. The Hejaz included Mecca, Medina and the Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah.
With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the conquest of the Hashemites by the House of Saud, the position changed. The Hashemites were expelled from Arabia and the House of Saud became the rulers of what is now called Saudi Arabia.
In 1922, Winston Churchill, the British secretary of the colonies, issued a White Paper. In it he stated that the Balfour Declaration of November 1917 had never promised the whole of Palestine to the Jews, and that the British had decided to offer Transjordan to the Hashemites. The Hashemites accepted and changed the name of Transjordan to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
By a stroke of a pen, the British had given away over 70% of their mandated area of Palestine to the Hashemites from Saudi Arabia. Today more than 50% of the population of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan are Palestinians. Jordan is de facto a Palestinian state, but not a legal de jure Palestinian state.
Had the Hashemites remained in Saudi Arabia, it seems possible that a two-state solution based on the division of the whole of the British mandated area into Israel and Palestine might have been achieved. The actions of Saudi Arabia and Britain back in the 1920s coupled with subsequent Palestinian maximalist demands of a Palestinian state from the river to the sea have contributed to preventing any viable two-state solution from ever being achieved. It should be noted that it was only in 1938 that oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia. Before that the Saudis were known as camel traders and were among the poorest people on earth. How times have changed.