Letters to the Editor October 18, 2022: Truly misguided

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Truly misguided

As someone who spent his years in grade school through college in yeshivot, I agree wholeheartedly with the editorial, “Misguided haredim” (October 18).

Particularly during high school, when I attended Telshe Yeshiva in Cleveland, Ohio (formerly situated in Lithuania), and college, when I attended the yeshiva of Rav Yisrael Gustman in Crown Heights, Brooklyn during the day and Brooklyn College in the evening, I simultaneously advanced through my yeshiva studies and secular studies.

There is an old adage in the yeshiva world, “ain kemach, ain Torah.” Literally, this translates to “If one does not have flour [sustenance], one does not have [i.e., cannot expend time on the study of the] Torah!” Haredim who believe otherwise are truly misguided.

The thousands of men who like myself expend a set amount of time daily on learning (Daf Yomi, the weekly Torah portion, et al), combined with their regular work/job are proof positive of just how misguided these haredim truly are.


Tzur Yitzhak

Age-based discrimination

Leah Scheier’s very disturbing account of how her parents’ aliyah is being stymied by the Israeli bureaucracy (“Israel, let thy elderly in,” October 16) is yet another aspect of the ageism that pervades Israeli society. If, as haughtily indicated by the bureaucrat encountered by Dr. Scheier’s parents, older people are “a drain on national resources,” the reluctance of Israeli employers to fairly employ older people significantly contributes to this “drain.”

My wife and I were in our fifties and sixties when we made aliyah, and while the process did not entail the Kafkaesque bureaucratic interactions encountered by Dr. Scheier’s parents (my wife’s prior significant record of accomplishments in her sought-after medical specialty no doubt eased our aliyah process), each of us has noticed instances of age-based discrimination in the workplace.

I do understand a supervisor’s challenges of supervising older individuals. Years ago, when I was a branch chief at the US Defense Department, more than half of my subordinates were older than I was; these included two individuals who were with the US government before I was born (and also included a survivor of the death march from Auschwitz to Ravensbrück). 

But I was able to assert my supervisory duties and prerogatives while maximizing benefits from the wisdom, experiences, and personal connections of my chronological elders, and giving serious regard to the concerns they expressed to me.

Ageism is deeply rooted in Israel’s history; even during the Mandate era there were blatant policies by Jewish organizations, including the UJA and the Mapai party, to specifically disfavor older people for aliyah to Israel.


Petah Tikva

Badge of honor

Reading the accusatory article “Trump warns American Jews to ‘get their act together... before it’s too late’” (October 18), purporting that former US president Donald Trump is an antisemite was very disappointing. As an American Israeli who supported Trump, I understand his statements. His criticism of American Jews, while overly non-specific, nevertheless rings true. (At least for many of the some 75% of American Jews who voted against him.)

Yes, Israel is not near the top of most American Jews’ interests, but many who voted against him bought the near universal, mass media campaign branding him a racist. In his case, Christian Zionists had a more objective opinion of Trump than the Jewish Democrats.

If the writers thought that Trump’s banning by Twitter was proof of his racism, they are wrong. It’s more a badge of honor than an indictment. There has never been an American president more supportive of Israel than Trump. There are many examples, especially the Abraham Accords and the belated move of the American Embassy to Jerusalem – more than two decades after the embassy move was approved and made into law.

The current president is showing much favor toward Iran, and is endangering Israel’s existence. At the least, the Defense Department should be empowered to provide Israel with several MOBs (massive bombs) and airplanes suitable for deploying them.

Trump puts America first, a good and necessary thing, which includes empowering Israel to protect western interests from Iranian and other jihadists intent on destroying the West.


Kfar Saba

Not a footnote in WW II history

The question of whether or not to play Wagner compositions in Israel (“Wagner, Israel and cancel culture,” October 16) should take into account the following points. Wagner is infamously connected to the Holocaust especially with his link to Hitler, being his music of choice.

A comment must be made that should Wagner be alive today, with some certainty he would not be invited on a lecture tour of Israel. Likewise then this very same aversion should apply to his music in perpetuity, as respect must be showed to those who perished and the reducing numbers of survivors who are still alive.

It’s for future generations to make sure the Holocaust never becomes a footnote in WW II history, and to make clear the reasons for rejecting Wagner’s music and his racist comments.

The Holocaust for Israel must remain something of major historical significance and its importance must be emphasized on all relevant occasions, and therefore it is imperative with regard to Wagner that cancel culture action is followed unimpeded.


Tel Aviv

Chaos and lawlessness

Regarding “US: Recent hostilities are horrific and must stop” (October 16): Why is there increased military activity in the disputed territories? What is the background for the violence in Judea and Samaria (not the “West Bank”)? It is the lack of elections, and therefore legitimacy, in Palestinian-controlled areas which is driving the many factions to vie for supremacy. Mahmoud Abbas is old. There is no clear PA succession. Power and its attendant corruption are up for grabs.

 Abbas has ordered his security forces to apply law and order so as to avert IDF operations. He fears gunmen in Nablus and Jenin could drag the population into an all-out confrontation with Israel.

Palestinian society is tribal and family-based. There are many criminal organizations and allegiances. Some are acting on direct orders from Hamas and Islamic Jihad. They are working to undermine the PA by encouraging chaos and lawlessness. Even some Fatah factions, opposed to Abbas’s leadership, are adding to the incitement.

The PA is under pressure from Israel and international parties to rein in these armed groups. Abbas knows that if he cannot dampen the violence, the IDF might launch a large-scale military operation, which would be deadly and certainly end his rule.



Such chutzpah: the United States “remains deeply concerned by the worsening situation in the West Bank” (Judea and Samaria). America, which has become like the original Wild West with out of control shootings throughout their country, “calls on Israel and the [fake] Palestinians to do everything possible to contain the situation.”

We in Israel are fighting for our survival while the Arabs are fighting to take over our land, no holds barred, yet we are expected to “contain” the fighting. We are not one of your satellites but a sovereign Jewish state and I object to the demeaning demands emanating from the US.

America should be concentrating on containing its own lawlessness and keep out of our affairs. We don’t need the hypocrisy. We already have more than enough of that within our own pitiful leadership.



120 Israeli citizens

As expressed in your editorial, “A done deal” (October 14), the maritime border deal with Lebanon has turned into something overwhelmingly political. This comes, of course, as no surprise. Elsewhere, public policies and legislative actions are evaluated through computer-generated metrics, simulations and scenario optimizations in order to determine the costs vs. benefits that can be expected from the item being studied. 

Here, such evaluations have different objectives. When proposed changes are being considered for implementation, great minds attempt to determine how the existing coalition will be affected; can the implementation be used to strengthen the existing government or, conversely, can it be a source to weaken and ultimately bring down the government. Under the existing system, the current deal with Lebanon, for all practical purposes, is relevant for 120 Israeli citizens. The rest of us simply go along for the ride.

And this, by the way, is why we are finding ourselves in a Dante-esque, never-ending roundabout of repeated elections. There was a time when our leaders – despite their varied political points of view – demonstrated civic responsibility and not party pandering. They were motivated by what they sincerely believed was best for the county and were less concerned with Right, Left or Center. 

Granted, the tragedy of Oslo and resulting Palestinian aggression significantly modified the political landscape of this country, but that, in and of itself, is no excuse for turning every law, policy or regulation into a political battleground. And until this lesson is learned, objective critiques and analyses of government-related agreements, treaties and contracts will focus less on what is good for the country and more on what is good for those sitting in the Knesset.

As for the maritime deal itself, well, other than the fact that it is turning into a brawl between Lapid and Netanyahu, it cannot be overlooked that any peaceful resolution between Israel and its neighbors should be examined objectively and carefully before reaching any conclusions. Lebanon is going out of its way to assure everybody that this agreement should not be seen as a first step toward normalization with Israel, but it seems that the declaration is overly resounding and a bit too loud.

It’s not at all unlikely that we are seeing a spillover from the Abraham Accords, something that everyone throughout the political spectrum should be cheering. The trouble is that sensibility and rationality are not qualities to which we are particularly accustomed. What lies between “historic” and “catastrophic” is, unfortunately, too banal for the Israeli taste.


Ginot Shomron

Anti-energy policies

Douglas Bloomfield (“With friends like the Saudis…,” October 13) excoriates Saudi Arabia for reducing its oil production, thus putting “the royal thumb on the scales in next month’s midterm Congressional elections.” Bloomfield has things backward.

He misleadingly states that “the US is energy independent.” That was true two years ago, and still could be today. Unfortunately, Joe Biden declared war on the fossil fuel industry immediately upon taking office. The results of these misguided policies were entirely predictable and clearly intentional – oil prices and inflation rose long before Russia invaded Ukraine.(In fact, this spike in prices has financed Putin’s war from its inception.) 

Biden’s objective was to raise oil and gas prices in order to reduce consumption and make renewables more palatable. But there is no reliable, economical replacement for this plentiful source of energy in the foreseeable future.

Bloomfield asserts that “gas prices and inflation were going down.” He does not mention the reason for this temporary minimal decline: Biden’s unconscionable raid on the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The SPR is meant to protect the US from interruptions in supply caused by war or natural disaster. Biden decided to use the stores for political benefit, masking the destructive impact of his anti-energy policies in the run-up to the election. In exchange, he ignored the serious harm to the country’s long-term security profile.

The clearest indication of Biden’s hypocrisy is his effort to pressure the Saudis to delay announcing their production cuts for one month, i.e., until after the midterms. This attempt to recruit a foreign country to influence an American election precisely mirrors the charge used to impeach president Trump. Democrats are now eerily silent.

Biden’s attack on US fossil fuel production is simply virtue-signaling to the far-left wing of his party. He is driving up energy prices, thereby harming US businesses and causing deep pain to the American people. He is willing to make the US dependent on and subservient to foreign producers (potential suppliers include Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela and Iran).

This foreign oil, which is dirtier than the US oil it replaces, will be shipped to the US on tankers that are massive polluters. The result will be unnecessary harm to the environment.

Biden’s protestations to the contrary, he evinces neither concern for the environment nor understanding of the harm that reduced US oil production has wrought. His overarching goal is to keep his party in power.


Zichron Ya’acov