Letters to the Editor August 15, 2022: Strong connections

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Strong connections

Regarding “Looking out for the Orthodox in the Maccabiah Games” (August 10), RootOne admires the Orthodox Jewish community, including its vast number of day schools and yeshivot which continue to inspire youth and young adults to have strong connections to the land, people, and State of Israel.

RootOne was established to strive and build that same connection for Jewish teens from families for whom travel to Israel is not already normative, so that we could create generations of proud Jewish youth with strong connections to Israel. As well as subsidizing travel to Israel, RootOne is deeply committed to providing an educational framework prior to and post the trip itself to ensure ongoing commitments to the Jewish people. RootOne is delighted to be working with over 39 youth-serving organizations, including NCSY and Chabad in order to bring this mission to fruition.

Realizing that the cost of travel to Israel is still an ongoing issue for many Jewish families, RootOne continues to expand and is actively in conversations with other foundations which are specifically interested in expanding the number of teens who attend Orthodox day schools to travel to Israel in the summer. 


Executive Director, RootOne at The Jewish Education Project

Hurt and hurt hard

Like all other concerned people in the State of Israel, I was appalled by your report “Two more deaths on nation’s roads raise week’s fatality total to 18” (August 14): the carnage on our roads, the tragic and senseless mowing down of innocent men, women and children going about their daily business.

Is it not enough that we have to deal with the Islamic terrorist atrocities (as occurred yet again early Sunday morning in the Old City of Jerusalem)? There is a national organization called The Society for the Prevention of Road Accidents – what do they do ?

Has anyone seen any evidence of actions that they have taken, other than posting large expensive advertisements? How do they justify the huge budget bestowed upon them by the government?

Admittedly it is difficult to find a way to improve this devastating situation, but I should like to propose a three-fold approach:

1. Heighten the awareness of drivers to the lethal nature of the hunk of metal machinery which they are propelling along public roads in juxtaposition to pedestrians and children. The remains of cars which have been in an accident should be displayed at every major intersection with a large sign telling us how many died and how many were injured in this collision; video clips should show how the lives of families have been destroyed and display actual victims who have been injured or disfigured for life. Yes, it is a drastic and frightening  suggestion but that is what is needed.

2. Increase the sanctions and penalties for dangerous driving.  Firstly, it must be mandated that every person found guilty of dangerous driving should suffer disqualification from driving or owning a vehicle for very extensive periods, not a few years, but for many years. Any person found to be driving without a valid license should be banned for life from driving and his vehicle seized. Drivers who have caused an accident should be ordered by law to administer to their victims any support that is needed on a regular basis for several hours of each week (a sort of National Service). And of course, monetary fines should be designed to hurt and hurt hard.

3. Education, starting in the schools and continuing regularly in the media.

I don’t know how much this will all help, but it is the minimum that must be done.



Fearing retribution

Regarding “Particularism, universalism and advocacy for Israel” (August 12): Stuart Weinblatt characterizes the responses received to the Zionist Rabbinic Coalition’s letter imploring the various Reform and Conservative seminaries to “include ahavat Yisrael as a criterion for admission” in very positive terms.

These “very thoughtful” and “very positive conversations” were with the executive leaderships of the selfsame Reform and Conservative seminaries whose graduates include alarmingly increasing numbers of individuals who espouse vocal and blatant anti-Israel agendas.

There seems to be a parallel with the current situation of American academe in general, where the university presidents and governing boards distance themselves and their institutions from the BDS initiatives that occur on their campuses, asserting such even as the anti-Israel activities increase in frequency and contentiousness.

As an example, the chancellor of the City University of New York, Félix Matos Rodriguez, recently released a statement saying that “CUNY cannot participate in or support BDS activities.” Dr. Matos Rodriguez opened his resoluteness to question when he subsequently failed to show up at a New York City Council hearing on antisemitism at CUNY that had been re-calendared to accommodate his schedule.

Prior to his elevation to chancellor, Dr. Matos Rodriguez served as president of Queens College – CUNY, where I taught for more than 20 years. Various students of mine there, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, confided in me that they feared retribution from some instructors of other courses in other departments if they were to express their views on various controversial matters. Rabbi Weinblatt reports hearing of similar trepidations on the part of pro-Israel students at the Reform and Conservative seminaries.

One must wonder whether the rabbinical seminaries share American academia’s disconnect between the idealistic pronunciamentos by the leaders and the realities in the classrooms. Rabbi Weinblatt’s observation that there are “some [seminary leaders] who don’t recognize that there’s a problem” is cause for concern.


Petah Tikva

Need for war?

May I point out to Tehila Wenger (“The cost of Operation Breaking Dawn,” August 12), and any or all who continually blame Israel, that the facts are that the Palestinians do not take any responsibility for their own lives, continue to educate their children to hate Israel and continue to spend millions in arming themselves to eventually destroy Israel.

Israel disengaged from Gaza. Had the Palestinians taken the initiative and built industry, tourism, agriculture and a better future for their kids, would there have been any need for war from Israel?

Instead they took the millions of dollars to make tunnels, buy arms and regularly threaten Israel with annihilation.

Then we have the real “do-gooders” who have the temerity to say that Israel is keeping the poor Gazans in a ghetto. They have an open border with Egypt. They could come and go and even trade if they wanted to, but instead managed to anger the Egyptians with terrorist activities.

Dear Tehila, when the Palestinians decide they finally want peace, they will find a hand outstretched.

However, while they continue to threaten us with annihilation, they cannot ever expect us to agree to our own demise to please you or your delusional partners.


Petah Tikva

I wish I could share Tehila Wenger’s rosy view of an end to the conflict being cheered on by masses of Israelis and Palestinians. But I am not sure how many Palestinians have been able to withstand generations of anti-Jewish incitement spewing from mosques, schoolrooms, and media outlets. I also don’t think that Hamas and the other terrorist groups in Gaza would take kindly to public displays of Gazans’ willingness to coexist with the Jewish state.

The fact remains that Palestinian leaders are less interested in building a state in which the people living under their administration could become productive citizens than they are in destroying the nation-state of the Jews. As evidenced in recent Palestinian efforts to gain full recognition of their “state” at the UN, Palestinian leaders are still calling on Israel to take in millions of Palestine refugees, 95% of whom were born in UNRWA camps and have grown up seeing their peers being honored and rewarded for murdering Jews.

Mahmoud Abbas has sworn that not a single Jew will be allowed in the future Palestinian state. Coupled with the call for a Muslim-majority Israel, it is clear that the Palestinian view of “two states” would bring a modern day Shoah to Israeli Jews and the Arab “collaborators” who worked to achieve peace with them.



Politicizing the problem

Regarding “80-year-old Liz Holtzman hopes to make Congress comeback” (August 12): The former Democratic member of Congress alleges without evidence that president Trump supported antisemitism and seemed reluctant to denounce white supremacists. During my time as assistant US special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, I was constantly amazed and gratified by the unstinting support our efforts received from the Trump White House and secretary of state Mike Pompeo. 

Also, Trump stated unequivocally, “Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

No doubt antisemitism exits on the Right, but it is by no means the only source of antisemitism, and may not even be the most dangerous. Holtzman ignores the “horseshoe phenomenon.” Just as a horseshoe’s ends are close together, the far-Right and far-Left agree on their Jew-hatred. Far-Left antisemitism is especially dangerous when it cloaks itself in anti-Zionist rhetoric, thereby hiding its true target.

Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar has made a long series of antisemitic statements. Omar’s partner in crime Rashida Tlaib’s dishonest anti-Israel charges fit perfectly within the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have come to their defense even as the rest of the Democratic Party remains silent.

Consider the Left’s support for BDS, a movement recognized by the State Department as intrinsically antisemitic. Its focus on Israel, while ignoring other far more egregious international human rights violators, exemplifies the double standard that is a hallmark of antisemitism. Israel has become the “Jew among nations.”

American journalist Batya Ungar-Sargon observes that “[w]okeness is terrible for Jews.” It grants permission for antisemitism because Jews are falsely identified as white oppressors. She warns that those who are obsessed with race are “always going to come for the Jews.”

Thus, founders of the BLM organization have a history of antisemitic rhetoric and actions, including close ties to terrorist Linda Sarsour. There was little if any outrage from the Left when BLM supporters attacked Jewish institutions in California, or when Jewish Trump supporters were pulled from their cars and beaten.

To successfully fight the growing scourge of antisemitism we must admit that it exists on both ends of the political spectrum. Those who defend or ignore antisemites are enablers and accessories to the crime. Focusing on only one source of antisemitism unnecessarily politicizes the problem, preventing cooperation in the fight against a common enemy while emboldening those whose antisemitism goes unopposed.


Zichron Ya’acov 

Silver lining

Your headline “Russian Embassy slams Lapid for ‘contempt’ of Palestinians” (August 11), provokes an irresistible, albeit obvious comment.

All the information which reaches the man in the street here indicates that  Russia is counted among the leading countries which feel no preference for truth over lies, and no embarrassment in making public statements that are obviously glaring infantile lies.

The Russians openly equate the behavior of Israel in the recent hostilities from Gaza, with the behavior of Russia in the Ukraine. Russia’s population is about 15 times that of Israel.

 Where were the 15,000 missiles (the equivalent barrage from Ukraine) directed into population centers in Russia that triggered Russia’s widespread inhuman destruction of Ukrainian civilian structures and infrastructure?

On the other hand, where was the destruction of civilian life in Gaza, in the pinpoint demolition of PIJ military installations by Israel? A Post article on August 9 quoted a Palestinian report that a total of 26 “innocent bystanders” were killed in the action there. Only 11 of these were killed in Israeli air strikes, the other 15 by Islamic Jihad  rockets.

To compare this with the devastation wrought by Russia is mind-boggling.

As a silver lining to this cloud, logical analysis tells us that lying on a country-wide scale must affect that country negatively in the long term, so that truth will always tend to be a positive force in our natural evolution. A classic example of this principle was demonstrated by Israel’s success in the 1967 Six Day War. A detailed description of that war shows that Israel’s victory was partly due to the widespread confusion among the Arab states and their supporting powers resulting from the misleading lies spread by them throughout the war.