Letters to the editor, June 22, 2022: Completely transparent

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Completely transparent

Your editorial “Radical views” (August 21) is nothing more than a disingenuous hit piece on Itamar Ben-Gvir. On the one hand, the Post criticizes Ben-Gvir for being a snake in the grass for constantly smiling, joking, and disarming reporters with his cheerfulness and friendliness in order to disguise his “true face” and “dangerous” agenda.

But then you go to great lengths to criticize Ben-Gvir for being radically transparent in his comments about wanting to promote a “Deportation Law” – all leading to your assertion that his words suggest that “there are two sets of laws in Israel: those for Arabs and those for Jews.” You say that in making this suggestion, Ben-Gvir means “to divide and rip apart our social fabric.”

But if Ben-Gvir is suggesting this, he is merely suggesting what is already true. All one has to do is look at the massive illegal Arab construction in the Negev and in Area C of Judea and Samaria that our government ignores and even encourages. How is it possible that young Jewish communities are destroyed on a daily basis while dozens of Palestinian settlements like Khan al-Ahmar are still standing?

What is appealing about Ben-Gvir is that he is completely transparent and never hides his true face. Whether he is walking across the Temple Mount, or setting up an office in Sheikh Jarrah, or standing outside a hospital ward where a terrorist is being treated, Ben-Gvir wears his beliefs on his sleeve. You may dislike him but you always know where he stands – because he is standing there.

In sum, you denigrate Ben-Gvir for claiming “that the government is weak, does not do enough to fight terrorism and capitulates too often to western powers like the US.” In fact, Ben-Gvir is exactly correct and no radical for saying it. 



Your real home

Regarding "Project RAIN" (August 15): The ever-increasing antisemitic incidents in what should be the land of the free and home of the brave calls for an organized network of security to protect Jewish lives and property. One such organization is Project RAIN (Realtime Actionable Intelligence Network). 

In the article, Michael Masters, the national director and CEO of the Secure Community Network, apparently the official safety and security network for the Jewish community in North America, describes their work. Situated in Chicago, they monitor more than 12,000 Jewish facilities and identify threats on the dark web, from Muslim extremists and white supremacists.

Masters compares it to Israel’s Iron Dome as a protective shield over the North American Jewish community. Project RAIN moved the community from a reactive security posture to a proactive one. In today’s current situation, it is an important and commendable effort. I have, however, serious reservations.

That project is presented as the universal remedy, the permanent protection against antisemitism that plagues North American Jewry “today, tomorrow and for future generations,” they say. Even the community is requested to be a part of the effort. That means that they will forever have to look over their shoulder.

Is that the quality of life which Jews in America are willing to endure? Is that the future to which Jewish children born in the US should look forward? It is high time for American Jews to realize that the once “Goldene Medina” is no more, and that the creeping antisemitism will sooner or later affect your comfortable home and lifestyle, unless you protect yourself and your future generations from this change of climate today, by considering moving to your real home, the Jewish State of Israel.

As Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, the co-founder of Nefesh B'Nefesh said: ”Israel is not just a destination, it is your destiny.”



The ultimate price

Writer Sherwin Pomerantz needs to check his anti-Trump prejudices at the door ("Can America save itself?" August 15). He persists in calling the events of January 6, 2021 an "insurrection," even though of the 895 people charged to date, not one of them was for the crime of insurrection.

The reason? The riot did not even come close to the legal definition of insurrection. The United States House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack (its official title) is biased in its primary objective, that is to make sure that Donald Trump does not run for president in 2024.

It is the only committee of its type not to be bipartisan. Although Democrats claim that Republican vice chair Liz Cheney's participation met the standard, she was selected only for her passion to take Trump out. 

She recently paid the ultimate price politicians pay, by being ousted from the House by Wyoming voters who wanted her to represent them rather than continue with her anti-Trump career obsession. She instantly became a footnote in American political history, after winning 69% of the vote in 2020, and then going down to an almost unprecedented loss of 66% voting for her opponent Harriet Hageman in last week's primary.

Pomerantz continues with the statement that the Supreme Court is now an obstacle to the continuation of democracy in the US, saying that the five-person conservative majority is intent on deciding for itself how America should function. 

In justifying that outlandish statement, he somehow claims to predict future rulings of the court, saying that the Roe v. Wade ruling "seems just the first in many decisions that could forever change the fabric of personal freedom in the US,” and claiming that this ruling takes away a woman's right to determine how she controls her own body.

No it did not; it returned the responsibility to each state to democratically decide.



God's compassion to animals

Kudos to Richard H. Schwartz for his informative article "Restore and transform: The ancient Jewish New Year for Animals," (August 21). Ending the horrific conditions in which animals are kept should be a no-brainer especially in modern times when there are plentiful alternatives.

Next time someone is sitting down to eat what was an innocent animal, give a thought to how it was treated for the duration of its miserable life. It’s not enough to quote God’s compassion to animals and then make their lives such that death would be preferable. It is surely time for humans to take responsibility, for the sake of this and future generations.



Cycle of strikes

In the editorial "Teachers' strike" (August 19) you write of the impending teachers' strike and the neglect that has befallen conditions in the educational system. However, the editors offer no practical solution to this unending cycle of strikes on the first day of school.

So here is what needs to be done:

1. Public sector employees such as teachers, train engineers, social workers, doctors, port workers must be prohibited from striking.

2. All contract disputes must be settled by compulsory arbitration.

In this way, the teachers' grievances are fully aired in a timely fashion and the students, parents and economy are not hurt.


Petah Tikva

The depth of Jew-hatred

Regarding "Palestinians defend Abbas’s comment" (August 18): Mahmoud Abbas is proudly antisemitic. As he has done since his university days in Russia, he minimizes the Holocaust, its horrors and its lasting impact.

The civilized world sees the Holocaust as the ultimate human rights violation. Abbas sees it as an opportunity lost. Haj Amin al-Husseini, grand mufti of Jerusalem in the 1930s and 40s, had Hitler’s agreement to expand the Holocaust into the Middle East when the Nazis would sweep the British out of the Mandate. 

The mufti organized the Bosnian Islamic SS stormtroopers and personally sent 4,000 Hungarian Jewish children to Auschwitz. Abbas sees himself as al-Husseini’s successor.

That influential Palestinians support Abbas and his feeble attempt to rationalize his statements in Germany, attests to the depth of Jew-hatred in the Palestinian Authority and its education system. And yet, the West continues to support him financially, with no strings attached.



Further discussion and investigation

The most recent trivializing of the Holocaust by Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas only serves to highlight the significance of Judy Siegel-Itzkovich's article "Study: Holocaust museums help to elicit social change" (August 17), about the role of Holocaust museums in combating injustice and seeking to promote human rights.

She mentions the Illinois Holocaust Museum, as well as Yad Vashem and The US Holocaust Musuem, all of which I am very familiar with, as well as with the Museum of Jewish Heritage/A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, where I served as a gallery educator for many years. These all do an excellent job of relating the horrors of that period in a historical context, as well as in the case of Illinois the very personal hologram experience of "talking" to a survivor.

The strength of these museums is the sequence of exhibitions, even without a guide, which serve to unfold the causes and consequences of the historical events which led up to the murder of six million Jewish men, women and children, so that the visitors can ponder on how to prevent such a tragedy from occurring again.

I think that this historical analysis is the crucial issue in affecting social change, even more than the viewing of the horrors of the killings themselves. I remember hearing from an Israeli high school student on her return from a school visit to Auschwitz that her teacher told her never to discuss what she had seen with anyone, but to keep it hidden in herself as a remembrance.

I thought then as I do now that this was not the right approach to Holocaust education, which should lead to further discussion and investigation so that it becomes part of the fabric of social discourse.

Only by providing the opportunity for study and reflection will the Holocaust museums accomplish their purpose to effect the betterment of the world. 


Beit Shemesh

Debilitating elected officials

Regarding "Elections in Israel face cyberthreats and foreign intervention," (August 17): With greater democratic freedom likely comes weaker national security, and vice versa. While I wouldn't exchange my (western) freedom for stronger national security, it is still foolish to pretend a national-security sacrifice isn't being made in exchange.

Still, Israel has a truly democratic, proportionately representative electoral system, thus governance, which I envy. 

From my understanding, the first-past-the-post electoral system, which both Canada and the US utilize, barely qualifies as democratic rule within the democracy spectrum. The FPTP does seem to serve corporate lobbyists well, however. I believe it is why such powerful interests generally resist attempts at changing from FPTP to proportional representation electoral systems of governance, the latter which dilutes corporate influence.

Low-representation FPTP-elected governments, in which a relatively small portion of the country's populace is actually electorally represented, are likely the easiest for lobbyists to manipulate or 'buy.'

As it is, corporate lobbyists actually write bills for our (Canada's) governing representatives to vote for and to implement, supposedly to save the elected officials their own time. I believe the practice has become so systematic here that those who are aware of it (which likely includes mainstream news media political writers) don’t bother publicly discussing it.

Regardless, powerful business interests can, and sometimes do, debilitate our high-level elected officials through implicit or explicit threats to transfer or eliminate jobs and capital investment, thus economic stability, if corporate ‘requests’ aren’t accommodated. 


White Ro​ck, British Columbia

Triggering such action

In "Nixing professional training for Gaza doctors" (August 16), Lee Caspi makes some valid points in connection to the hurdles which needed to be overcome when attempting to gain access to Israel for a group of Gazan physicians to attend a three-day trauma care course at Sheba Medical Center.

However, I draw the line with her comment “that at any moment Israel may decide to launch a renewed round of bombings and destruction.” I believe everyone in Gaza will be clearly forewarned of any attack as prior to this, rockets and or some major terrorist attack emanating from there against Israel would have triggered such action.

Gaining sympathy for dealing with the authorities' so-called red tape is one thing, but it certainly dissipates when accusations are made of Israel initiating violent aggression.


Tel Aviv