Letters to the Editor November 14, 2022: Obstacles in the path

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Obstacles in the path

I agree wholeheartedly with Eliyahu Berkovits in “The end of the masquerade” (November 10). While Israel’s electoral system (proportional representation) has left many Israelis feeling they have no representative to whom they can turn to request help for the needs of their communities, the haredi “deputy ministers” are concerned only with the demands of their community leaders while ignoring the needs of the state.

Israel needs to maintain its Jewish majority. Yet the state rabbinate and haredi MKs failed to reach out to hundreds of thousands of olim from the Former Soviet Union who obtained Israeli citizenship legally, under the Law of Return, but are not Jewish according to Halacha. Indeed, obstacles were placed in the path to conversion for these Zera Yisrael. 

And, truth be told, the olim who’ve been denied the right to marry legally in Israel are not the only people who are in need of schooling in Jewish religion. The children born to Jewish mothers in the FSU I agree wholeheartedly with Eliyahu Berkovits in “The end of the masquerade” didn’t receive much Jewish education nor did the children of militantly secular Labor Zionists. And, of course, there are the many Conservative and Reform Jews in America who have found that conversions performed by their rabbis are not acceptable in the eyes of haredi MKs.

Israel is the nation-state of the Jews, not the nation-state of only one type of Jew. The state should be giving the answer to the question of “Who is a Jew?” and setting the criteria that must be met for the recognition of conversions made under the supervision of rabbis ordained by the seminaries and yeshivot of the various branches of Judaism worldwide.



Jewish values

Permit me to add a postscript to the fine article “A communist who defended the Jewish state” (November 11) about Moshe Sneh, the longtime head of Maki, the Jewish Communist Party in Israel. Although he  traveled far from the traditional Jewish education that he received as a boy in Poland, he retained many Jewish values. His will, which was written shortly before his death, stipulated that Tehillim (Psalms) and Kaddish should be recited at his funeral, and this wish was fulfilled.



How ironic

Regarding “Nides: US will push back on any annexation attempts” (November 11): Consider the following hypothetical – a colonial power in Europe installs a foreign monarch in an overseas territory it controls. A river geographically divides the territory into a larger and a smaller portion. In the smaller portion of the territory, which is across the river from the governmental seat of the territory, a series of political and military events cause the government of the larger part of the territory to give up control over the smaller part of the territory. 

Meanwhile, a significant portion of the smaller territory’s population, which has strong ties to a geographically-adjoining nation, proclaims the smaller part of the territory to be an independent country. The newly-independent entity proves to be a financial, political, and administrative failure in which lawlessness is the norm. In the adjoining nation, deeply contentious controversy develops over proposals for the adjoining nation to annex the territory on the other side of the river.

This hypothetical describes the situation vis-à-vis proposals that Israel annex Judea and Samaria.

How ironic, then, is Ambassador Tom Nides’s strident threat that the United States will oppose any annexation attempts by Israel, when the United States annexed Texas in 1845 under conditions strikingly similar to the foregoing hypothetical.


Petah Tikva

Mr. Ambassador: On Thursday, as reported in The Jerusalem Post, you warned Israel against any attempts to annex parts of the West Bank (better known as Judea and Samaria).

It is strange, Mr. Ambassador, that as a guest in a foreign country, you would be so outspoken and demanding of your hosts. You are here to see to the interests of the US. However, I and most Israelis would believe you’ve overstepped your bounds.

How many Palestinian/Arab issues, such as “pay for slay “ or car ramming and knife attacks on Israeli citizens have you warned against?

How many times have you asked PA President Abbas to cease his terroristic maneuvers, at the same time warning him that, “by the way [it is] the position of most of the Arab countries?”

In addition, Mr. Nides, what makes you think that the United States has the right to “determine what conversations can take place,” assuming you mean between government officials? Last I understood, free speech was prevalent in the US as well as Israel.

The so-called “squad” of antisemitic, anti-Israel congresswomen in America who openly discuss ways to reduce Israel’s presence in all important arenas, seem to have escaped the world’s view of hatred. Openly and without any stopgap measures they spew forth their hatred.

Yes, the United States, my birth country, supplies Israel with weapons and cash, but it should never come with strings attached. We should have each other’s back, as Israel is still the only strong, proud democracy in the Middle East.

That should be the mantra that you hold dear, Mr. Nides.



Subjective morality

This is a response to the article “Back to the Dark Ages?” by Andrea Samuels (November 11). No, Israel’s democratically-elected government will not bring us back to the Dark Ages but the “progressive” platform she espouses certainly will. It will return us to the subjective morality before the flood. 

It will lead us back to the demise of the Greek Empire due to the same immorality and rejection of the family unit. Humanity has already been there and done that. The beliefs she so disparages have kept the Jewish people throughout our long and bitter exile; long enough so that we merited to return to our land after two thousand years.

Our deed and only right to this land is given in the Torah. Israel will never become Iran because the Jewish religion is a moderate one. It advocates for social welfare, the sanctity of life and observance of the Sabbath so that we don’t become slaves to materialism. The world before the Torah was given was a jungle.

Of course we have our fanatics, as every group does, but they alone cannot determine the policy of the government. Israel is not like the other nations even though many Israelis wish it were so. We are destined to “dwell alone” as we see every day in the global media.

It is incumbent upon us to make sure that the one and only Jewish state remains Jewish without harming the rights of other citizens. Every Jew has free choice as to his own level of observance but in the public sphere Israel should proudly maintain Jewish tradition.



Patent nonsense

Nir Braudo’s article “Beyond election tribes and tribulations” (November 10) is such a travesty of the truth, that one wonders if his organization, BINA, is also fictional. For those who were fortunate enough to miss his article, he claims our forefather Abraham left his parents’ home to meet different people and learn from them. He then makes a comparison with Yitzhak Rabin’s journey for the sake of peace and the well-being of the Jewish people.

The former interpretation is patent nonsense as the Torah explains that Abram (later changed to Abraham) was instructed to leave his home, because it was idolatrous and he was to inherit a promised land – this land.

The outcome of Rabin’s peacemaking was an Intifada, hundreds of dead Jews, loss of some of the promised land and kudos for the terrorist-supporting Palestinian Authority and its corrupt leaders. Braudo’s dream of harmony among our tribes is laudable, but his article is delusional.


Zichron Ya’acov

Flattering questions

Seth Frantzman (“Elections in Israel, Brazil and US show democracy is thriving,” November 10) misses one of the crucial lessons of the US midterm elections: Honest, objective news media are essential to a vibrant democracy.

During the 2020 presidential election campaign, major news outlets and social media platforms prevented most Americans from learning about Hunter Biden’s laptop.  A substantial number of President Biden’s supporters – very possibly enough to have reversed the outcome – say they would have changed their votes had they known of the laptop’s contents.

This time social media arrogated to themselves the power to proscribe any thought they deemed offensive, simply by calling it “misinformation” (read: anything that might have been detrimental to their favored Democrat candidate). They also deplatformed funding sites, costing Republican candidates many millions of dollars.

Recently-revealed evidence shows that government officials met regularly with social media representatives to identify people and ideas to be removed from their sites. These actions were clearly unconstitutional. 

Legacy and broadcast media took a similar biased tack. Coverage of Democrats was almost always positive; that of Republicans consistently negative. For example, a cable news presenter opined absurdly that stroke victim John Fetterman, who won a Senate seat despite his obvious difficulties in forming coherent thoughts and communicating, should be considered “presidential material.” Biden began his post-election news conference by stating, “I have been given a list of ten people on whom I should call.” He knew that those ten reporters would ask unchallenging, often flattering questions.

A free press must serve as a check on the overreach of those in office, not work to ensure that they remain in power. Freedom of expression is the bedrock on which all other liberties rest. Unpopular speech, painful though it may be, is protected by the Constitution. Popular ideas are in no danger of being censored, and need no special safeguard. 

Collusion between the news media and the government or a political party threatens a democracy’s viability. Elections in which voters are prevented from expressing or considering opposing viewpoints may be technically free but they are far from fair.


Zichron Ya’acov

Hotel rooms

I hope that all your readers were as upset as I was upon reading of the threats of the Palestinian Authority to object violently to the possibility of making changes in the conditions of the poor security prisoners (“PA warns: Don’t worsen conditions of security prisoners,” November 13). How terrible it is of the incoming public security minister to even think about removing some of the privileges that these murderers presently enjoy. 

Indeed they say that these animals should be allowed to continue their evil machinations and planning of future murderous attacks on Jews by being permitted to be housed together in the same “hotel” room ( sorry, I mean “cell”), thus perpetuating the unity of purpose of the gang of subhuman beings.

It is no secret that these prisoners enjoy hotel conditions, all expenses paid by you and me, three meals a day, opportunity to study and advance themselves, protection from rival gangs and the satisfaction of knowing that their loved ones are being cared for with the monthly pay for slay payments by the PA. When you consider it, it is not a bad existence, a way of living that many would willingly opt for.

I hope and pray that substantial changes will indeed be made in this farcical and pathetic situation which previous governments have allowed to develop merely in order not to “rock the boat.” This is one of the factors which influenced the voters in the last election to vote as they did.

The time has come for our leaders to rid themselves of the last vestiges of ghetto philosophy and stop looking over their shoulders and worrying about “what the goyim will say.”

We all know that whatever Israel will do will always bring about the “concern” of other nations. There is a job to be done and the new government should cast political correctness aside, call a spade a spade and a murderer a murderer, and do what needs to be done.