August 15: I find your editorial “Observing Tisha Be’av” disturbing

Letters to the Jerusalem Post from August 15, 2016.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Tisha Be’av editorial
I find your editorial “Observing Tisha Be’av” (August 12) disturbing on three counts.
1. I certainly agree that we have much to be thankful for and that this needs to be acknowledged. That is why we celebrate Independence Day and Jerusalem Day with special services.
2. With all of the astounding events and accomplishments of the past 68 years that you correctly cite, we have clearly not eradicated what our tradition has considered the cause of tragic historical events that have befallen on us on the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av: Baseless hatred. Repentance is still in order. To discontinue fasting today is not “an act of ingratitude.”
Rather, to use your words, it is this that is “a slap in the face to God.”
3. You seem to imply that rituals and services in the Temple were medieval and are not appropriate anymore. It is precisely these services and rituals that endow the Temple Mount with its holiness. Denying their validity goes in the direction of abdicating our claim to sovereignty over the Temple Mount – indeed, over Jerusalem. This is a stance that I expect from other Israeli newspapers, not The Jerusalem Post.
In your editorial, you discuss the “challenges of the observant Jew” in investing “meaning and relevance” to Tisha Be’av.
I agree with a number of the points you make. Certainly, we must be thankful for the establishment of the State of Israel and the liberation of Jerusalem.
Also, as you suggest, there remains plenty of room for tikkun olam (repairing the world) before we can claim to have an ideal society.
However, there are points with which I disagree. Your statement with respect to Jerusalem “Never before have Jewish sovereignty and political autonomy been so complete and vigorous” implies that you are unaware of the situation on the Temple Mount. In the physical and spiritual heart of Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount, the Israeli police daily capitulate to the whims of the Muslim Wakf, discriminating on the basis of religion and violating the most basic human rights of Jewish citizens of Israel.
Why do the Israeli police enforce discriminatory Wakf rules instead of a laws of the State of Israel? Because we as a society are afraid of the threat of Muslim violence. That is not sovereignty! Anyone who has visited the Temple Mount knows exactly why we still mourn on Tisha Be’av.
Nof Ayalon
The prophet Jeremiah, in his opening verse of Lamentations, which we read on Tisha Be’av, states: “O how has the city that was once so populous remained lonely! She has become like a widow! She that was great among the nations, a princess among the provinces, has become tributary.”
In response to this proclamation (and recognizing the beautiful prose of the prophet), I would encourage your readers to discuss and debate whether the time has come to revise how we approach the three weeks of mourning in general, and Tisha Be’av in particular. In this regard consider the following:
1. There are now more Jews living in Jerusalem than ever before in the history of the Jewish people.
2. There are now more schools and educational institutions teaching Jewish studies and Judaism at every level in Jerusalem than ever before.
3. There are now more synagogues and opportunities for prayer in the city of Jerusalem than ever before.
4. Despite the cynical attempts to defeat Israel through wars, lies, insidious false statements and, particularly, international organizations that give currency to all these falsehoods, the Jewish nation in general, and Jerusalem in particular, stand strong and are a beacon of light of democracy and decency that the entire world should emulate.
It is time to celebrate our homecoming to the city of Jerusalem.
Let us turn these solemn days into days of reflection and celebration, and as it says in Psalm 100, “Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing.”
Not quite the end
Thanks to Yaakov Katz’s “Ending wars” (Editor’s Notes, August 12), I finally have begun to understand what went wrong in our last wars.
The article was praise for Tzipi Livni. But just look at what that woman said.
First of all, she takes great credit for “ending the war” in Lebanon in 2006 with UN Security Council Resolution 1701. All our soldiers left Lebanon and we put our trust in the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL to protect us. We haven’t had to fight in Lebanon over the past decade. Wonderful! Unfortunately, Hezbollah has smuggled thousands of rockets and missiles into the country under the noses of UN peacekeeping troops and others. Lebanon is now armed to the teeth, just waiting for the next opportunity to attack.
Somewhere in this half-page of praise for her, Livni says: “What does victory look like?” She also says: “There is no enemy fighter who exits a bunker waving a white flag.” The point is, any war that we don’t absolutely win is counted as a defeat for the State of Israel.
I remember two summers ago. For some 50 days, much of the Land of Israel was under attack. We were all running to the stairwells or “safe rooms.” We looked first at the TV screen to figure out if we had time to run out and get some groceries before the next alert. We slept in our clothes. We wore things that we wouldn’t mind dirtying if caught outside and having to lie on the ground.
All this time, Ms. Livni was wondering: What does victory look like? Since we were glued to the TV, we saw a lot of war footage. And there it was. Besides being appallingly afraid for the lives of our dear soldiers, we saw it.
Toward the end of the war, there was indeed a scene of Arab fighters waving a white flag. Was I the only one who saw it? Ms. Livni has had enough time to prove that she is not suitable to lurk around in the halls of power. We need someone who can identify the difference between winning, losing or (God forbid) having to fight the same war over and over again.
Petah Tikva
“Ending wars is just as important as fighting them,” Yaakov Katz writes, suggesting that, at best, our wars should and even must end in a “diplomatic” stalemate.
He suggests we listen to Tzipi Livni, who, as foreign minister, helped craft UN Security Council Resolution 1701.
One would never know from reading the column that this resolution has been a total failure, as Hezbollah has amassed more than 100,000 missiles under the watchful eye of UN forces. Thus, while the fighting stopped, we are certainly far less safe than before the war, and to base one’s suppositions on an absurdity is plain dishonest.
Covering Bibi
With regard to “Netanyahu’s corruption probe picks up steam” (August 12), you used to be so evenhanded. Now, every article about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is negative – his policies, his wife, his son, his dog. What about his goldfish? The prime minister is not perfect, but he does many good things. I just don’t read about them in The Post.
Not playing around
With regard to “Celtic fans to greet Israeli team with ‘Palestine’ flags” (August 11), I have been appalled by such news in the Scottish press. In addition, a Celtic supporter on social media has been making physical threats of violence.
As you note, UEFA previously fined the Celtic club for such acts.
Priority is given to letters that are brief and topical, and which bear the writer’s name and place of residence, as well as the name and date of the Post item being referred to. They may also be edited and shortened.