February 11,2019: Neither a hero nor a Quixote

Readers of the Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Neither a hero nor a Quixote
Regarding “A Palestinian Don Quixote or a brave hero? (January 18), are you now allowing your headlines to blatantly mislead? 
I understand that your correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh meant to suggest that PA President Mahmoud Abbas, if not a hero, is a crazy old delusional man fighting windmills. But most people, including me, regard Don Quixote as an idealist – honest, dignified and proud, wanting to save the world. Not Abbas by a long shot, a man who encourages terrorism and pays generous salaries to terrorists.
I was truly puzzled at the article’s headline. Soon you’ll change your name back to the Palestine Post?
Tel Aviv

So much light to so many
Regarding “Interfaith bridge-builder Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein dies” (February 7), your sub-headline (“Founder and president of IFCJ raised over 1.4b.”) makes Yechiel Eckstein sound like a successful shnorrer. 
He and the IFCJ did much more for the Jewish people than raise money. Money was a means, not an end. He spent it in the service of refugees from the former Soviet Union, Ethiopia, Europe and Arab lands making aliyah. IFCJ supports soup kitchens, provides food, clothing, basic medical assistance, housing, family care and jobs for olim and Holocaust survivors financially abandoned by the state and NGOs. Despite the big dollars raised and spent, there is not a scintilla of scandal or wrongdoing by IFCJ or its staff of professionals. 
Eckstein was the epitome of transparency. IFCJ is one of the few NGOs in the world of Jewish charities to annually publish online its financial statement and a link to its IRS Form 990. IFCJ has never been shaken by charges of corruption and malfeasance. 
Eckstein wasn’t the first Jew to create fellowship with Christians. That was what the National Conference of Christians and Jews initiated in 1927. But Yechiel’s outsize intelligence and enthusiasm built fellowship into an unremitting public policy. He was like great athletes – efficient, elegant and powerful in rousing Christian support for the State of Israel. Israel and Jews owe Yechiel an enormous debt of gratitude for ties that bind world democracies and emerging nations to the Jewish State. 
He had boundless goodwill, but he himself suffered. I remember when we learned Torah in Chicago, the rabbis asked him to leave the learning group because of his outreach to Christians. Several other attendees left with him. Other Israeli rabbis refused his offers of financial aid because his money was somehow tainted. This hurt him, but he was indomitable and leaves a legacy in which his family, co-workers and friends can take comfort and pride, making the world a better place.

Beit Shemesh
As a grateful beneficiary of the Keren LeYedidut these past few years, I wish to express my shock at the sudden passing of its founder Rabbi Yehiel Eckstein, whose boundless generosity has brought so much light to so many in Israel and elsewhere. I also send here my very sincere condolences to his dear wife and family. May his memory be forever blessed.

Heeding the experts
I heartily endorse Phillip Brieff’s letter of February 8, wherein he refutes the opinion of the so-called experts. Arik Sharon was an expert; we are still suffering from his decision in respect of Gaza!
Now we hear another in the form of former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz wanting to make another West Bank withdrawal. Wow! Every withdrawal by us is taken as a weakness by our foes!
Until we understand what is written in the Islamic books, we dare not take a step back! We have to understand that in those books we and Christians are kefirs (non-believers) who all deserve to die, either naturally or by the sword! I implore everyone to heed this warning; it is not written with a light heart.
Tel Aviv
Shalva and Shabbat
Regarding “The Shalva Band and Shabbat in Israel” (February 8), the disappointing news that the wonderful Shalva Band will understandably not compete in the Eurovision 2019 final encapsulates precisely why a large majority of Brits want to be out of the EU.
It is exactly because of the arrogant inflexibility demonstrated by an organization of the EU that apparently has never heard of the existence of Friday morning, or Friday afternoon, that Brits became fed up.
One could speculate that two other major factors might lie behind the decision to not consider such simple alternatives to the Friday evening rehearsal-show-taping. The EU is of course a frequent harsh critic of Israel, and the likelihood that this wonderful band would capture the hearts of voters and run away with the tournament would mean Israeli victories two years in a row, which might have been too much for the fragile stomachs of the EU to contemplate.
It is sad that such a wonderful group has to pull out of the Eurovision contest 2019.
I have a compromise solution. I believe that Europe should see and hear the band on Eurovision.
This can be achieved by having the band perform at the end of the show when they are assessing the votes (they usually have some star performer at this time in the proceedings). They do not have to break the Shabbat laws at this time, as it will be late in the evening. They could also sing with Madonna if she is appearing.
It would be a great opportunity for Israel to show what this special group of persons can do for Europe and the world.
I cannot understand why the Shalva Band cannot do their final rehearsal on Friday. You would not hold the contest on a Sunday out of respect for the Christians, nor, I imagine, on a Friday – the Muslim Sabbath. So why are you discriminating against the Jewish religion, whose roots and traditions precede all?
Have you seen a performance of this phenomenal group? It is true discrimination not to allow them to participate. Is this the message that Eurovision wants to impart? We know that Europe has deep roots of antisemitism; are you willing to dig these roots even deeper?
Petah Tikva, Israel
A big white lie
Seth Frantzman misses the dynamic at work in the intersectional claim that Jews are white (“Now they call us ‘White Jews’: A New American Antisemitism” December 26).
Intersectionality posits that people succeed or fail based on their membership in well-defined racial, gender, national origin and sexual-orientation groups, and the prospect of failure increases based on how many of certain groups a person belongs to.
For anyone willing to accept the evidence, Jews, especially in America, have succeeded beyond all expectations, so they cannot be members of a group defined by propensity for failure. Since the only category of those listed above, that makes sense for
categorizing Jews is “race,” by intersectional reasoning, Jews must be “white.” If Jews aren’t “white,” then success or failure depends on individual factors and that would demolish the intersectional concept.
The same kind of “reasoning” requires that all men must be rapists, because to admit that only some men do this focuses on the individual component rather than group membership.
That this kind of thinking leads to even more failure for the members of the groups affiliated with the intersectional concept is an irony lost on its leaders.
Framingham, MA
The birds and the wanna-bes
During the present election campaign season, I would like to suggest killing two birds with one stone, or, more to the point, with one slogan. The slogan is “Declare Your Intention!” 
The two “birds” are politicians standing for election and motorists.
A caring politician will and must inform the people what he believes, what he intends to do and how he intends to do it.
Similarly, a caring motorist will and must inform the motorists around him when he intends to change direction, such as turning or changing lanes, by using his indicator.
So far, our politicians appear to have fallen short of telling us how they intend to fulfill their intentions, just as our drivers, sadly, rarely use their indicators.
Both declarations are a matter of courtesy and respect for the citizens of our wonderful, though challenging country, and for the drivers on our superb, but crowded highways.. 
People need to know the true facts and intended actions so they can vote/drive with trust and confidence and, in the latter case, in safety.