Letters to the Editor November 30, 2022: Heal the divide

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Heal the divide

I agree with Robert Singer; Israel must be the Jewish home for all Jews, even those who are not considered Jewish according to Halacha, especially if they have suffered persecution because of their Jewish roots (“No longer a Jewish safe haven?” November 28).

But to be truly welcoming to Jews who have little knowledge of their people’s religion and traditions, Israel must institute a program of outreach to the newcomers. In some cases, that would include people born of Jewish mothers. Even though they are halachically Jewish, they may know very little about Judaism, whether it because antisemitic or anti-religion governments prevented children from receiving Jewish educations, or because militantly secular parents saw no reason for their children to learn about Judaism.

To begin to heal the divide between Orthodox and non-Orthodox branches of Judaism, the outreach programs should include Reform and Conservative (Masorti) rabbis as well as Orthodox and haredi rabbis. No one should expect that every new immigrant will become strictly observant overnight.

For those not considered halachically Jewish, the state should define the criteria for conversion to Judaism to be followed by all rabbis, and everyone must accept the fact that not all converts will become fully observant at the moment of conversion. No “new Jew” should have to live in fear of having a conversion rescinded by an overzealous government bureaucrat who finds some flaw in the Jewish life he or she lives.



Bloodthirsty indoctrination

Regarding Lahav Harkov’s analysis, “Arab street unmoved by Abraham Accords” (November 28): At long last, for possibly the first time – at least for me – the desperately needed truth is spelled out in The Jerusalem Post: “Decades of anti-Israel propaganda don’t just disappear with the flourish of a pen.”

The COVID-like virus of Jew/Judaism-hatred, cooked up in their religious laboratories by the early Christian Church fathers, have mutated over the centuries throughout Christian Eastern and Western Europe via blood libels, expulsions, forced conversions, murdering Crusaders, pogroms, and lies. All of this led inevitably to the destruction of synagogues, Jewish homes, places of business, and ultimately the wholesale barbaric murder of six million of our Jewish brethren during the Holocaust.

Rampant Jew-hatred is again on the rise, but this time with the addition of it for the State of Israel particularly among radical Islamists via the bloodthirsty indoctrination of their children in school books, summer camps, sermons by an unknown number of imams in their mosques, and in their media, “especially on Al Jazeera – the anti-Israel, antisemitic lodestar of the Arab world – based in and funded by none other than World Cup host Qatar,” writes Harkov.



Looming catastrophe

Seth J. Frantzman’s analysis of the nuclear proliferation strategies being employed by Iran and North Korea is exactly correct (“Iran sees message in N. Korea nuclear threats,” November 27). These two countries have accurately discerned that the major Western powers have no intention of effectively trying to stop them from fielding arsenals of nuclear weapons.

There is a very unfortunate historical precedent. During the 1930s, Hitler’s Wehrmacht broke the Treaty of Versailles by rearming with forbidden weapons and vast numbers of troops. Simultaneously Japan broke the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and built forbidden naval ships. The Western powers did nothing except beg for peace, and the consequences were horrific World War Two.

A nuclear armed Iran is a worldwide danger because of its sponsorship of global terror, and because its regime’s religious fanatical ideology requires it to conquer all whom it considers to be infidels. Of course the destruction of Israel is its top priority.

Will the West wake up and act to prevent this looming catastrophe? If not, the tyrants of Tehran and Pyongyang will sow a bitter harvest.


Williamsville, NY

Terrorist in a suit

Regarding “Six months into Operation Break the Wave: 3,000 Palestinians detained, 500 attacks halted” (November 29): We should look on such news as a travesty of Israel’s failure to declare sovereignty over the Jewish land. But a different article in the same day’s newspaper takes the cake: “Settler violence on rise against Palestinians, IDF.”

The military has found that following terrorist attacks against Israelis, settlers (Jews living on their own land) tend to carry out revenge attacks – sometimes violent – against local ‘Palestinians.’ Such attacks negatively affect the security situation in the area. If there was security, there would be no need for victims of attacks to take action thereby doing the job of the IDF.

Jews have paid in full for the failure of others to look after them and now the proud Jew is finally standing up for his/herself in their own land. Defense Minister Gantz’s concern that right-wing policy by Itamar Ben-Gvir could “lead to the severance of coordination with the Palestinians,” led by the terrorist in a suit Mahmoud Abbas, is pathetic.

It is pathetic that we depend on our enemies for security. Israel needs to show pride, faith and courage, not dependence. Been there, done that. It didn’t and can never work



Chaos and mayhem

The November 28 editorial – “Stop road rage” – highlights the horrors experienced by an increasing number of innocent victims on our highways, but fails to recognize that this is just one symptom of a wider societal malady. For too long, Israeli youth have been taught that violence is an acceptable method of expressing displeasure at perceived offenses and enforcing personal rights.

Consider the sordid saga of 12 Israeli teens charged with gang rape in Cyprus. As appalling as the alleged actions of these boys were (I cannot bring myself to call them young men), the hero’s welcome they received when they returned home was mortifying. It gave the impression that we as Jews not only condone but actually celebrate acts of violence and wanton immorality.

Young people watch in amazement as doctors and nurses are attacked by people who are dissatisfied with the care provided at hospitals. Attacks against bus drivers by groups of young people are all too common. The perpetrators often are let off with little more than a slap on the wrist.

Worst of all is our turning a blind eye to unprovoked attacks by “hilltop youth” in the disputed territories. These lawless assaults against Palestinian farmers trying to make a living and support their families are nothing less than terrorism. Yet some in our midst lionize the perpetrators, arguing that they are filling a gap left by an army that is unwilling to do what must be done. Allowing vigilantism to fester can lead to chaos and mayhem elsewhere as the accepted rules for an ordered society are no longer respected and adhered to.

The editorial concludes correctly, “The victims of road rage deserve no less attention than the victims of terrorism.” But that does not go far enough. We cannot hope to bring this type of violent behavior under control until we impress upon all members of society from a very early age their obligation to forgo violence for the good of us all. 

Failing that, we will sink ever deeper into a society in which the law of the jungle prevails. 


Zichron Ya’acov

Moral equivalence

Pope Francis, leader of the organization primarily responsible for the slaughter of millions of Jews over two millennia, including the crusades, the inquisition and the Holocaust, is making a moral equivalence between the liberal democracy that is Israel and the Palestinian Authority/Hamas terrorists (“Pope urges Israeli-Palestinian dialogue,” November 28).

An honest man would acknowledge that Israel includes all of what was the British Mandate for Palestine, under international law, and that the followers of Nazi war criminal Haj Amin al-Husseini have never accepted this, killing over 26,000 Jews in wars of aggression and terrorism. The Jews in 1947 and Israel since then, have offered to share their land with the Arabs, only to be rebuffed.

Peace will be possible when the PA stops paying terrorists to kill Israelis and Hamas stops firing rockets into Israel. The first step is for the PA to recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland. That’s the message any politician should propose.



The wrong direction

As one who made aliyah in 2016, I find much about Israel that deserves strong commendation, including the great help we have provided the world as a start-up nation in many areas, including health, agriculture and technology; the fact that more Torah is now studied here than ever before; and our willingness to rush to help other countries when they experience natural disasters.

However, as some of your recent headlines and subheadings in the November 27 newspaper indicated, we seem to be heading in the wrong direction in many areas, and it is urgent that we consider how to improve things. Just a few of many examples include:

Five soldiers suspended for beating left-wing activist in Hebron” is just the latest of many recent examples of some Israelis using violence against people with whom they disagree.

Otzma Yehudit first to sign coalition deal with Likud: Ben-Gvir to get broad National Security minister role” discussed the great criticism which the presumptive next prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been receiving for appointing inexperienced extremists to key positions, primarily for political reasons, even from other Israelis, as indicated by your sub-headline, “Gantz warns of ‘security chaos,’ Eisenkot: A sad joke.”

Trump hosts Kanye West and prominent antisemite Nick Fuentes at Mar-a-Lago” made me wonder how so many Israelis still support former president Donald Trump, despite his antisemitic statements and his frequent failures to condemn antisemitic and other biased statements and actions.

Yes, he did some positive things for Israel, but he harmed Israel and, indeed, the entire world by appointing climate deniers to key environmental positions and workIng to end or weaken legislation designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and pulling the US out of the Iran nuclear deal which professional inspectors agreed was working well. Trump’s pullout, on the other hand, resulted in Iran becoming much closer to being able to build nuclear weapons and in obtaining a better bargaining position.

Reversing the gains made in gender equality,” an op-ed article, discusses setbacks for women in their struggles for equal treatment.

Finally, “Maoz to head new ‘National-Jewish Identity Dept.’” (an article which appeared on November 28) has led some Israelis, including Prime Minister Lapid, to warn that this appointment will create “first and second class Jews,” because of Maoz’s record of intolerance.