December 2. 2019: Unravel UNRWA

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Unravel UNRWA
MK Nir Barkat is absolutely correct (“Nir Barkat proposes bill to end UNRWA services for Israel’s Arab residents,” November 28). Arab residents of Jerusalem, whether they have accepted Israeli citizenship or not, have full civil rights and should not be classified as refugees. Thus, they should not be receiving services from UNRWA. And, of course, Israel is right to forbid the provision of such “services” when UNRWA is spreading anti-Jewish propaganda throughout its classrooms, allowing munitions to be stored in its schools, and permitting missiles to be fired from its schoolyards.
Perhaps legislation stating that Arab residents of Jerusalem are not refugees could be the first step toward other nations beginning to question the unique status of the Palestine “refugees” (as UNRWA designates them). They are the only group of refugees under UNRWA jurisdiction; all other refugees, worldwide, fall under the mandate of UNHCR. Only UNRWA refugees are allowed to pass refugee status from one generation to the next, indefinitely. Only UNRWA refugees are allowed to demand that the only remedy for their plight is to be given homes they claim their forebears lost (as a result of Arab-initiated violence that prevented the Arabs in Palestine from gaining their first-ever chance at self-rule). Only UNRWA refugees do not lose refugee status whether they are granted citizenship (as was the case in Jordan) or whether they are, in fact, living on land administered by their own leaders (as is the case in Gaza and in Areas A and B of Judea and Samaria). It is time for Arab countries to do the right thing and  rehabilitate the “refugees,” just as Israel absorbed and uplifted the Jews thrust from their homes in the Muslim countries of the Middle East and North Africa.
Atlanta, GA
Pardon me
There have been many calls for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to do the “honorable thing” and step down from office. “Echoes of Ford’s pardon of Nixon resonate in letter to Rivlin” echoes such calls, referring to a letter from four rabbis who suggest that Netanyahu should accept a presidential pardon and leave public life. They include the astonishing statement that accepting a presidential pardon does not imply guilt or innocence!
How naive can they be? Obviously, it would be an admission of guilt. Their choice of precedents supports this. US president Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon, and president Chaim Herzog’s pardon of those involved in the “Bus 300 Affair” were both pardons for guilty criminals.
Accepting a pardon would be giving in to a political/judicial coup. The situation in Israeli politics is dire and many party leaders carry the blame for this by painting themselves into a corner with their hypocritical comments about Netanyahu’s indictment. Sorry, but anyone believing that the Israeli judicial system isn’t influenced by politics hasn’t seen the vicious political infighting involved during the appointment of a Supreme Court judge.
“Where are the protests?” (November 29) wonders why there aren’t crowds in the streets demanding the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The column suggests that while in theory Netanyahu is innocent until proven guilty, actually there is a national consensus that he’s as guilty as sin and everybody (except fanatically loyal Likudniks) thinks we should have gotten rid of him long ago.
In fact, there’s no such consensus. As respected a liberal democrat and legal authority as Alan Dershowitz thinks that Netanyahu has been indicted on flimsy legal grounds, and it’s impossible to forget the teams of police bloodhounds jetting around the world in search of a crime, investigating the value of the gifts he received when there was no indication that he had provided any service in return.
Netanyahu and his family have behaved badly – and so have the police, the prosecutors and the media. It’s not clear that mass demonstrations would improve the situation.
In “Falling leaders” (November 28), Douglas Bloomfield demonstrates extreme bias when he declares leaders Netanyahu and Trump respectively as being morally and criminally corrupt. This goes against any concept of justice, which was first known to mankind in the Noahide laws, handed down after the flood. Since then, the justice systems of most Western civilizations include such items as the rule of law and the presumption of innocence.
Since neither man has been found guilty of any crime, I suppose that this comes down to Bloomfield knows best.
Isi Leibler may well be right (“Netanyahu – in the national interest, please step down now,” November 27). Perhaps the prime minister can now best serve the country by resigning. And this, as Liebler indicates, despite the claim that such charges are unprecedented in a democracy and that media hostility and investigative irregularities are central to the process.
But there is another dimension to the situation which has largely been ignored. It relates to the identity and integrity of Israel. For what does this say about a nation that shows ingratitude to a leader whose accomplishments for the nation are so beyond what others have achieved before? What does this say about a nation in which the leader who has so determinedly worked for its survival and prosperity is by non-electoral means deposed?
It seems to me that in its treatment of Netanyahu, this country has done something we should all be deeply ashamed of.
EU boycott euphemisms
Not only is it a disgrace that the EU is boycotting parts of legal Israel and their products, it is also a shame that The Jerusalem Post gives space in its columns (“The EU and settlement products,” November 26) for the EU ambassador to try to justify the new labeling to us why the newest labeling is necessary.
She claims it’s to assure no consumer is misled about origins of the Israeli products, but we know the true reason is to cause citizens of these communities to suffer. Why don’t they just print “Boycott!” on the products? That will cause no confusion.
She would have us believe that it won’t have an effect on products that are imported from all of Israel. Nonsense. Are we to assume that boycotting one part of Israel isn’t going to affect the rest of Israeli products? Funny that she rejects the BDS movement aim to isolate Israel, but has no problem boycotting Israelis in living in Judea and Samaria.
Furthermore, this does more harm than good. She obviously forgot about SodaStream’s Palestinian employees who lost their good-paying jobs working side by side with Israelis because they worked in an “illegal” portion of Judea and Samaria.
I look forward to the labeling of life-saving breakthroughs that are sure to originate from the new Ariel medical school, which is located in Judea and Samaria.
Terror on London Bridge
When will the British and other European countries wake up and smell the terrorist coffee?
We learn from “Blame abounds after London Bridge attack” (December 1) that a man previously convicted of a terrorist crime and sentenced to 16 years in prison as a highly dangerous serious jihadist was released after only eight years, required to wear an electronic tag.
He was given permission to attend a meeting at Fishmongers Hall near London Bridge where the rehabilitation of ex-prisoners was to be discussed. Hard to believe, but he participated in the first session and then commenced to slash out with knives he had concealed.
Having killed two attendees and injured three he exited onto the bridge to be captured by brave civilians and liquidated by the police.
Aware of his background, a quick search before the event would no doubt have discovered the knives and the hoax suicide belt he was wearing.
For years, after Iraq and Syrian wars, including the demise of ISIS, this type of Islamic terrorism has been imported to the UK and mainland Europe. Until the authorities start to deal with the barbaric elephant in the room, horrendous incidents like this will unfortunately continue.
Tel Aviv
Arab assimilation
“Kick racism out” (October 28) utilizes populist platitudes to obfuscate the root of the social problem that Benzi Gopstein is trying to bring to the attention of the community in Israel and for which he is to be indicted for incitement to racism.
I do not condone racism, but let’s look at the problem that Gopstein is emphasizing, albeit too dramatically: the “assimilation of Arabs in general Israeli society” (to quote the article).
The article is correct that interracial marriage “has been debated throughout the Jewish world for years” and has been anathema to the vast majority of Jews here for ages. What Gopstein is saying is that assimilating the Arab community in the Jewish world will inevitably lead to this. He is expressing with courage what most of us are too politically correct to say.
It wasn’t Gopstein who said that a coalition based on the support of the Arab parties is an existential threat to the country; it was our prime minister. Gopstein, in his clumsy way, is saying the same thing.
Gopstein is aware of the effect of full integration of Arabs into a non-Arab society; look at what has happened to France, England, Sweden, Belgium – the whole of Europe. The Moslem population of Europe now exceeds that of all of Belgium. And they do not integrate into the various societies; they create areas of these countries where even the police fear to tread. There were so many complaints filed in Sweden over the last few years, for rape, that the authorities cannot keep up with them. It is not politically correct to reveal the figures or identities of the perpetrators.
Gopstein sees it happening here and wants to stop it – I don’t agree with his methods, but I do understand the underlying philosophy. Unfortunately, few people have the guts to stand up and be counted.
Wouldn’t be wood
Regarding “Relic from Jesus’s manger returned after 1,400 years” (December 1), it is highly unlikely and quite questionable that the relic or piece of wood supposedly coming from a crib, or manger where Jesus lay is authentic.
Our land of Israel is covered with stones, caves and hills and the site of the Church of the Nativity, built over the place where Jesus was traditionally thought to be born is built atop stone caves. The manger, made from stone, was used to feed animals. Newborn small animals were also kept in this hollowed out area in a large rectangular stone structure, away from larger animals who might trample the newborns underfoot.
One can see excellent examples of these stone mangers in Megiddo from both Solomon’s time and the second Temple period. Visitors to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem can still see caves and openings in this area where shepherds sought shelter with their animals.
Neve Ilan
The Chief Rabbinate has given approval for McDonald’s at the airport to be open on Shabbat yet still be kosher (“McDonald’s in airport to be kosher – and open on Shavbbat” (December 1).
Of course, the Sabbath employees will have to be non-Jewish and all the food will have to be cooked on Friday and then re-heated. In addition, all the electrical switches have been re-figured so as not to desecrate the Sabbath.
The McDonald’s specialty is, of course, the grilled hamburger. Does anybody really want to eat a hamburger grilled on Friday and then re-heated on Saturday, or eat a hamburger twice grilled (on a grill left overnight in order to not desecrate the Sabbath)?
The salads will have to be prepared on Friday and then served on the day after having lost 50% of the nutrients as well as the flavor of freshly cut vegetables. The discriminatory ruling that Jews are not allowed to work here on the Sabbath but Jews are allowed to eat here on the Sabbath as well as the other gimmicks is just another example of the “Alice in Wonderland” delusional edicts of the Chief Rabbinate desperately trying to remain relevant in a modern society.
I, for one, won’t be eating there.
Bye buy, buy
I must respectively criticize “Why Black Friday is a matter of survival” (November 29) because the philosophy behind Black Friday is actually threatening global survival.
Despite climate experts issuing increasingly dire reports about greenhouse gas emissions; record temperatures; major flooding in Venice; widespread wildfires in the Amazon, California, and Australia; and other severe climate events, the world is generally going on with “business as usual.”
As the frenzy related to Black Friday indicates, our economies are committed to constant growth, to persuading people to buy, buy, buy – with little, if any, concern about the negative environmental effects. The world seems like a heroin addict, deriving temporary pleasure from new material things, but on a path toward disaster.
How will we respond when future generations ask us what we did when there was still a chance to avert a climate catastrophe?
Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island