Even limited borders
Aliza Pilichowski’s writes a stirring article (“Every inch of the land,” August 27) about the historical Jewish attachment to the Land of Israel. It is a given that the land is “the birthright and property of the Jewish people” as it was thousands of years ago. The return to Jerusalem has been the theme in synagogue liturgy and all Jewish artistic expression over the last two thousand years. In the world of realpolitik, however, the actual hegemony of the Jewish people in the modern State of Israel began in 1947 with the vote of the United Nations at Lake Success. Ben-Gurion had decided, years before, to accept even limited borders, in order to declare Israel a sovereign nation.
It was the invasions of Israel’s Arab neighbors over the next years that led to the expansion of the original borders to create a buffer zone of safety. Many may remember when Jerusalem’s Mamilla Street was a no-man’s-land, the buildings of both sides riddled by bullets. The original UN Partition Plan was not to divide up the borders of ancient Israel but rather to divide the British Mandate of Palestine between Arabs and Jews, thus creating the State of Israel.
It is important to remember that it was this legal action that conferred political statehood upon Israel, and this is why continued diplomatic action among the nations of the world remains necessary to ensure that indeed, as Pilichowski avers, “the Jewish people [remain] connected to all parts of Eretz Yisrael.”
Let’s be honest
Kudos to David Brinn for stating the simple truth in “The freedom to arrive home safe and sound” (August 28). On the one hand, it’s about time Itamar Ben-Gvir employed a personal coach. I’m totally unhappy with the way he seems to put his foot in it each time he utters a statement.
But let’s be honest; we all need to feel safe on our roads wherever we may be. If it means hated restrictions and barriers, we, being all our residents, have to accept it for our own good.
This article should have been featured together on the front page with your editorial of the same day, “Misplaced criticism,” for the world to understand. Sadly, they don’t get it. Israel has every right to protect all of its citizens from cowardly terrorism.
Still cannot understand
Kudos for placing Douglas Altabef’s “There is no ‘either/or’” (August 28) on the front page of the op-ed section, above the fold. Too bad you felt the need to dilute it with Sharon Roffe-Ofir’s meandering article, “A battle for Israel’s future,” below it.
We have now entered the third decade of our aliyah and I still cannot understand why grownups want to consign their decision-making to unelected (and clearly biased) cliques who guard their power by veto, and represent only the most leftist philosophical positions.
Who knows? Maybe in another ten years, I will get smarter.
CHAIM A. ABRAMOWITZ
Hyperbole used by Barry Newman in “The peripheral costs of protesting” (August 27) that “despotism was... the trigger for both the American and French revolutions” is not a helpful addition to his argument.
Newman is spot on when he claims that the huge amount of money spent on the protests could be put to better use, for example toward relieving poverty; and that he would not be surprised if someone was benefiting financially from encouraging more disruptions.
The concept of “reasonableness” is hardly the issue and most protesters don’t understand or care that legal precedent is strengthened by this law, making Israel’s democracy stronger and not left to the whim of a subjective, unelected, self-appointed left-wing judge. It is ridiculous (as Newman does) to compare our situation in Israel to the American or French Revolution.
We are not ruled by a foreign power (the American Revolution), and the Estates General in France was akin to the High Court here. We do not have a king and we have a democratically elected government.
Let’s hope the protesters and supporters, like Barry Newman, cease being money machines for slick entrepreneurs who use the naivety of easily led people to create business for themselves seducing them with a promise of a better society.
Nothing more undemocratic
Nadav Tamir’s “Democracy is central to Zionism” (August 27) is so one-sided that it is unconvincing. But then, what do you expect from a CEO in Israel of J Street, an organization that calls itself a pro-Israel lobby. That is just one of the many oxymorons filling the article.
Tamir repeatedly mentions the “occupied territories “instead of the more accurate designation of disputed territories. The good thing is that people like Tamir will not have a chance to be involved in running the country. The citizens of the country have spoken and rejected their ideas.
There is nothing more undemocratic than blocking highways and using loud speakers in front of the residences of cabinet ministers. There is nothing more undemocratic than rejecting the election results with demonstrations sponsored by anti-Zionists.
The suggestion that the way to secure the goal of a true democracy is by resuming the pursuit of a peace treaty with the Palestinians is most gulling and tragic. It seems the writer has not learned anything from history.
These so-called Palestinians are not interested in peace with Israel; they want to eradicate Israel and have their land from the river to the sea. Come on Tamir, wake up.
I find it hard to believe that “‘Trump was arrested because he’s running for president,’ supporters argue” (August 28). Evidently these supporters will back Trump no matter what he does. Perhaps he was right in saying that he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue in Manhattan and not lose support.
As the US congressional committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol documented, even after Trump was told by associates and cabinet members that he lost the 2020 presidential election, he still did everything possible to reverse that outcome. Among many other actions, Trump urged the Georgia secretary of state to “find” enough votes to overturn the will of the majority of Georgians and declare Trump the winner in that state.
The picture accompanying the article showed supporters holding up a sign that reads “Trump won,” despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Facts which need to be taken into account include that (1) 61 courts, many with conservative judges, several appointed by president Trump, rejected appeals to overturn election results; (2) Trump did far better in the election than preelection poll results, including polls conducted by Fox News, had predicted; and (3) the same polling places where Trump and other Republicans say results were rigged included locations where various Republican candidates did very well.
It is these false, often discredited assertions by Trump and his supporters that led to the horrendous violence in Washington on January 6, 2021.
RICHARD H. SCHWARTZ
One super unit
What a breath of fresh air, finally, to read “On the value of reserve duty” (August 24). What a sanguine personality Itamar David Mayshar has, especially in the present atmosphere of protests, stated refusals to carry out IDF duty, and terrible infighting among government and citizenry.
First talking about the Holocaust and bringing us back to the past, the story of his ancestors, immediately had me. The murder of at least four relatives, at different times during the horrifying years of Jewish persecution and death, had been seared into his memory.
He then seamlessly segues into the raison d’etre for the Jewish state: The ability to live freely without fear, the ability to feel safe, with a strong army to protect us. This is our IDF, and this is this man’s goal in life, to continue to serve as long as possible; to serve in the reserves during quiet times in order to be prepared so that we are never “at the mercy of those who would harm and kill us, simply for being Jews and Israelis.” His reserve duty is paramount and I salute this man.
I also believe the IDF should make use of his positive attitude and love for the country. He has his finger on the pulse of the IDF and recognizes the cohesiveness, camaraderie, and competency of the men and women who serve with him. No matter to him or the rest – religious, not religious, Mizrahi, Ashkenazi, rich, poor, etc., all are melded into one super unit while serving this country.
That he can be so upbeat about the future of this country, while acknowledging the trauma we are experiencing, has definitely elevated his maturity level and has thrust him into the possibility of a strong leadership role.
Both Prime Minister Netanyahu, on the one hand, and all the protesters, on the other hand, must take note of people like Itamar. He talks the talk, but also walks the walk. Start listening to reserve solders and active duty soldiers who have no intention of leaving us vulnerable.
They are the ones who should be published in newspapers and interviewed on television. The world has to see Israel in that light only.
Much has been said about what concessions Israel must make to satisfy an agreement between the US and Saudi Arabia in order for the latter to agree to normalized relations with Israel (“‘Saudi deal won’t include conceding land to Palestinians,’” August 29). However, very little has been said about what concessions Saudi Arabia must make in order to have normalized relations with Israel.
It is clear that the Palestinians are not only split between Fatah in the PA and Hamas in Gaza, but also, the PA has lost control of many of its cities. To make a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia dependent on some form of peace with the Palestinians and the recognition by Israel of a Palestinian state would make a mockery of any such agreement.
If the Saudis are sincere in their desire for normalization, they must first get the Palestinians to put their house in order, to stop terrorism against Israel, and accept the existence of Israel as the Jewish state. Otherwise any such agreement is doomed to failure.
Limited and particular group
Rabbi Jonathan Lieberman discusses the furious online controversy which erupted on Facebook following the publication of a photo showing a group of Jewish religious men donning tefillin and prayer shawls and praying the morning service in the waiting area of a gate in Brussels airport (“Prayers in a public space,” August 25).
Rabbi Lieberman does not arrive at a clearcut answer, rather the opposite, ending his article by writing that there is a complex tapestry of human identity and faith; which, of course, everybody knows. It has nothing to do with the primary question of public areas versus private areas.
The answer is actually simple and one does not have to go further than the accepted definition of the word “public” which is “relating to or involving people in general, rather than being limited to a particular group of people.” It couldn’t be clearer.
The Orthodox Jews practicing their religion at the waiting gate was a very limited and particular group of people. Even in the Jewish community they are a limited and particular group. They should not be transforming the area of the waiting gate into a synagogue.
In addition, most airports have synagogues, churches, and mosques available for prayer of the faithful. Most other people at the gate will not necessarily enjoy and may even be annoyed and repulsed by being transported forcefully into a synagogue. Similarly, the men in the Orthodox minyan would not like it if a group of young women decided to hold a minimally-attired bathing suit contest while waiting at the gate.