Letters to the editor April 17, 2023: Psycho-social issues

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Psycho-social issues

In an opinion piece titled “Aliyah isn’t a sacrifice” (April 16), Uri Pilichowski condescends to Olim by assuming that our “sacrifices” amount to little more than a lack of Ziploc bags, learning a new language and dealing with bureaucracy. While it’s true that making aliyah in the 21st century is far easier, physically, than at any time in the past, the psycho-social issues are not.

Many of us were entrenched in communities, in our case for 20 years, where we had friends who were family. We left jobs and careers that were not always easily transferable. We left family, often aging parents, siblings, etc. Many of us ripped grandchildren away from their grandparents.

For many, yes, the benefits outweighed the negatives, but these sacrifices cannot be ameliorated simply by importing a few Kirkland products. I think Rabbi Pilichowski owes us all an apology for belittling what we went through and also for propagating the “spoiled American” canard.


American and Israeli Jews [Illustrative] (credit: REUTERS)American and Israeli Jews [Illustrative] (credit: REUTERS)

Beit Shemesh

The wrong question

Regarding “Lapid in NY urges Jews to oppose Netanyahu gov’t” (April 14): US Orthodox leaders are right. Opposition leader Yair Lapid is undermining Israel, not just its current prime minister.

Lapid’s visit will speed up the decline of Diaspora communities. It is axiomatic that the more Left one is, the more likely they are to be anti-American and antisemitic.

Lapid asks the wrong question. He should ask where the liberal congregations will be in 10, 20 and 50 years, not whether they helped weaken Israel at a time of rising antisemitism and increased aggression from Iran and its proxies. Progressive temples will have fewer and fewer members as they merge with mainstream America and their children intermarry.

It has been predicted there will be few Jews left in Europe by the time of Israel’s centennial. Europe invited in the intolerant Islamic migration. The future of American Jewry rests with the Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox.

Progressive Jewry is an oxymoron. It is self-destructive. But then, it’s their choice. The real question is how long will it take mainstream America to fully accept them?



High-school level

I read the “Editor’s Notes” column, “These are our values” (April 14), with optimistic anticipation. As a spoiled Anglo Oleh, I have been reading The Jerusalem Post for a long time. Though I am clearly biased, I believe that your first bullet point is much in question.

The panoply of post-Zionist opinion writers who fill the op-ed section, especially on Thursdays with the twin insults of Gershon Baskin and Doug Bloomfield, do not testify to the truth of your intent.

I am well aware of the financial pressures of the print media; however, if the Post is to survive and embody your stated goals, it cannot do so by publishing the opinions of high-school level writers, nor filling both the news and editorial sections with only woke, anti-Bibi pieces.

I look forward with glee to the fulfillment of your goals. And, I fervently hope I do not have to say, again, “ah for the days of [former Post owner] Conrad Black!”

 THE TOP headline in The Palestine Post of February 2, 1948, tells of the bombing of the newspaper’s offices. (credit: Courtesy) THE TOP headline in The Palestine Post of February 2, 1948, tells of the bombing of the newspaper’s offices. (credit: Courtesy)



Intransigent, supremacist attitude

Regarding “It is wrong and has to end” (April 13): Gershon Baskin seems to have forgotten that during the 1948 War of Independence, Jews living in Judea and Samaria (aka the West Bank) and the Gaza Strip were driven out or killed, and their communities, homes and property were destroyed or confiscated. After 1967, these communities were rebuilt.

Mr. Baskin apparently does not recall that in a 2013 briefing to mostly Egyptian journalists, Mahmoud Abbas stated that no Israelis could remain in a future Palestinian state. Mr. Abbas did not say that no Palestinians should remain in Israel.

Does anyone detect an intransigent, supremacist attitude on the part of the Palestinian “leader” that always has and always will doom the two-state solution?

To determine who is persecuting whom, read the PLO and Hamas charters. These documents will help you figure this out.


Davis, CA

I’d first like to welcome the new editor-in-chief, Avi Mayer, to the Jerusalem Post family. May he continue in the footsteps of many before him who have made the Post a necessary read in Israel and beyond.

His “Editor’s Notes,” however, needs some clarification on one of the bullet points he presented as part of his goals for the future of the paper.

“We are a marketplace of ideas.... we will, from time to time, provide a platform for perspectives we find difficult to swallow because we believe they inform and enrich the conversation.”

Well, Mr. Mayer, Gershon Baskin’s weekly Israel-bashing does nothing to enrich nor inform me about anything. The fact they are force-fed his poisonous dribble week after week, including after three sets of siblings were murdered in cold blood, by his precious down-trodden Arabs, is more than most of us can bare. He does nothing but enables this, by not preaching to the right choir – the Arabs, rather than Israel.

His platform is non-existent. He has not “dedicated his life to peace between Israel and its neighbors,” as claimed in his tagline bio. Instead, he continuously plays the blame game against Israel, without acknowledging any Arab culpability, in the ongoing murderous rampages against innocent Israeli civilians. He has the chutzpah to tell us that “no moral human being can look at what we as Israelis are doing to the Palestinian [Arab] people and not feel outrage.”

I was beyond shocked and outraged at that statement alone.

Organizations (political parties, according to him) which he has added to his “accomplishments” mean absolutely nothing to us, and certainly don’t add to his standing. I, and I’m sure other readers, have no clue what these organizations are or do. All they seem to be are additions to his self-centered feelings of worth.

So, this reader’s opinion is: give him space to sprout his propaganda every few months and let us enjoy the paper without having to ignore his articles. After all, I’m sure there are other writers who may hold our attention far better than he does.

In this way, the Post will truly “win in the end.” Please listen and act.



Current turbulence

Yair Lapid continues to attempt to stir up the cauldron with his incendiary remarks, encouraging disruption and unrest (“Lapid after Netanyahu briefing: I arrived worried, left more worried,” April 10).

“One hundred days ago we handed over a safe and prosperous country to them,” he proclaims, implying that the current turbulence all happened because of the new government. Abraham Lincoln defined a hypocrite as the man who murders his parents and pleads that he is now an orphan.

 Israeli foreign minister and Head of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid walks next to Head of opposition and head of the Likud party Benjamin Netanyahu at the assembly hall for a special session in memory of Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, on November 8, 2021.  (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90) Israeli foreign minister and Head of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid walks next to Head of opposition and head of the Likud party Benjamin Netanyahu at the assembly hall for a special session in memory of Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, on November 8, 2021. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Meanwhile, Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas are taking note of the inner dissension on the streets of Israel, encouraging them to take action against their perceived weakened enemy. One wonders if the quest for power is so strong in this man that it overrides national security.

Protest is part of democracy, but there are red lines that should never be crossed. One of those lines is weakening the defense of its citizens. Not condemning IDF reservists in effect encourages them and Lapid should rethink his words going forward. Otherwise history will judge him as having spilled blood on his hands.



Nothing significant in common

For a fleeting moment, I was almost swept up in the warm and fuzzy sentiments of Amira Mohammed (“Smotrich, let’s talk over Iftar,” April 7) in her walk through a land of kumbaya, about all she claims to have in common with Bezalel Smotrich. But then I was brought back to the land of reality, after hearing about yet more horrific and needless murders committed by Amira’s fellow Palestinians.

And I realized, no matter how many minor points she may chalk up as having in common with us Jewish Israelis, the most important – and at this point the only significant – characteristic that we most definitely do not have in common, is our value for life, while her fellow Palestinians celebrate murderous terrorist attacks with candies and fireworks, encourage more of this heinous behavior, and continue to acquiesce to their leadership’s financial incentives for terrorism.

Until the people who call themselves Palestinian-Israelis can agree that life is precious and may not be needlessly wiped out by Amira’s compatriots, we, unfortunately, have nothing significant in common from which to move forward.


Tzur Hadassah

Obstacles in the path 

In “Israel at 75: Leaving the Promised Land” (April 9), Uzi Rebhun cites the aliyah of Jews from the FSU as a factor ensuring that Israel will maintain its Jewish majority. Yet a significant number of “Russian” Olim are not considered to be Jewish according to Halacha. And, since the state rabbinate put obstacles in the path to conversion for these people (who entered Israel, legally under the Law of Return and had suffered discrimination because of their Jewish backgrounds), there are now hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens who cannot marry legally in Israel.

However, being unable to marry legally will not stop many of these people from entering into relationships and building families of Sabras who won’t be considered Jewish according to Halacha. The system has to change.

No one should be forced to convert, but the state needs to define the requirements that must be met by prospective converts, as well as establish criteria for certifying who can offer classes on the basics of Judaism and certify that the would-be converts have met the requirements.

In fact, in the interest of ensuring that the Jewish citizens of Israel are knowledgeable about Judaism, classes should be offered not only to non-halachically Jewish Zera Israel, but also to children of Jewish mothers who were denied Jewish education by virulently anti-Jewish governments, ardently secular parents, or intermarried parents who chose not to educate their children in either parent’s faith.



The rights of bus-riders

Ruthie Blum in her column of March 31, “The Hametz Law and Supreme Court coercion,” has it backwards. It is the Knesset that is doing the coercion with the passing of the Hametz Law that overrides the Supreme Court ruling of April 2020 “that hospitals don’t have the legal authority to ban hametz during Passover.”

She refers to the Supreme Court ruling as a travesty and quotes the explanatory note in the bill that states that as a result of the ruling, “the majority of the citizens of Israel who keep kosher for Passover are not able to receive medical treatment or stay in hospitals…” presumably because visitors or hospital staff may enter the hospital with hametz.

What’s next? A bill protecting the rights of bus-riders by banning the boarding of a bus on Passover with hametz so that the majority of the citizens of Israel who keep kosher for Passover are able to take buses?

As an observant Jew who is knowledgeable about Jewish law (having taught it in various synagogues for over 30 years), there is no reason to ban non-Jews, or even Jews, from entering hospitals with hametz. An observant Jew is not violating any Jewish law by receiving medical treatment or staying in hospitals that do not ban hametz. As every seventh grader in yeshiva knows, the prohibition of hametz is to eat it, own it or have it in one’s possession. There is no prohibition for a person to be in the same room with someone who is eating hametz (as long as he is not eating at the same table resulting in the possible exchange of food). 

Although our rabbis tell us that it is praiseworthy to be extra stringent with the laws of Passover, stringencies should only apply to individuals of their own volition and should never be imposed on the public. It is quite obvious that the bill was passed within the first 90 days of the new government just to show the Supreme Court who is boss.

Even Ruthie Blum admits that with the new law, “nothing has changed in practice.” If nothing has changed, why was the bill so important to pass? Both sides of this divide between the coalition and the opposition should be acting to unify us, not to further divide us.