February 20, 2018: Jews in Poland

Polish-Jewish relations and illegal migrants in Israel, our readers have their say.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Jews in Poland
Your February 19 front-page article “Polish rabbi: Jews weigh leaving country” starts out by noting that young Jews are “questioning their future in Poland.” This is bad enough in a roll-my-eyes, “No, really?” kind of way. But then it gets to the meat of the rabbi’s quote, which left me feeling disoriented and wondering if I’d accidentally wandered into an alternate dimension or perhaps a time portal.
“There are Jews who are beginning to question” – only beginning to question, mind you! – “whether or not they have a place in Poland – people whose families have lived here for hundreds of years are asking ‘is this really our place?’”
I’m sorry, but in what reality is this a question any mentally competent Polish Jew can seriously be asking now? This question was answered 70 years ago, and recent events have only served to punctuate that answer with an additional exclamation point.
Beit Shemesh
My maternal grandparents had the foresight to emigrate from Poland to America and Canada with their nine children and spouses. My father’s family did not survive.
The result is that Poland lost the benefits that my aunts and uncles produced by working hard in their new country. Their children, my siblings and cousins, nieces and nephews, have contributed and continue to contribute to their new countries in medicine, education, finance, research, cybersecurity and charitable and volunteer work.
The leadership in Poland wants to deny their country’s wartime complicity with the Germans (who have admitted their guilt); for this, they should be ostracized from the world community. Now they want to deny the right of Jewish people to slaughter their animals in a humane way according to religious belief. Next it will be criminalizing circumcision, which is proven to aid in the health of the male. I interpret this as their method to rid themselves of their Jewish population.
The Bible says that Israel will be a light unto the world. Jews throughout the world, and especially in Israel, have contributed to the benefit of all mankind. By denying Jews a place in their country, the Poles deny their country the brains to help grow their future.
Thornhill, Ontario
Our dear prime minister
After reading letters to the editor from readers Gitti Kornfeld, Arthur Miller and others (“The Netanyahu probes,” February 19), I gave a sigh of relief. I was sick and tired of articles regarding the bashing of our dear prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
During the biblical period, the Jews were always groaning, complaining and criticizing our greatest prophet, Moses. The very same thing is occurring now.
Look at our beautiful, flourishing country, prosperity practically everywhere. Look at the new highways. Look at IDF, one of best military forces in the world, keeping our God-given country intact. Our coffee mugs are always full to capacity. Practically every family owns two to three cars; every household has large TVs. Look at the supermarkets – no shortage of food. What more do our citizens need?
So why in the world do we seem to complain and criticize all the time?
There once was a famous guru in India who said: I traveled the world over in order to search for a bad man but couldn’t find any. Only when I searched my very own soul I found that I was the worst human being on this planet.
Can you name any other Israeli who can receive a standing ovation from AIPAC or even the US Congress?
This is an amazing country: Israel is hanging by a thread over the abyss of a possible major war with Hezbollah, and with what are Israelis seemingly most concerned? Cigars!
Early in his US presidency, Harry S. Truman was asked by a senior civil servant what the limit on the value of an offered gift should be. President Truman is said to have replied: “If it costs more than two dollars fifty, give it back.”
Treatment of Messianic Jews
Itzhak Rabihiya’s assertion that Israel’s treatment of Messianic Jews seeking citizenship could undermine support for the Jewish state among Evangelicals is an unjustified assault on one of Israel’s greatest allies in the American electorate (“Evangelicals and Israel,” Comment & Features, February 18). He argues that by placing barriers against those who “insist that one can believe in Jesus and still remain Jewish,” the government is “playing with fire” and “could harm its relationship with the Evangelical Christians.”
Evangelical Christian support of Israel is rooted in a recognition of the Bible’s promises to the Jewish people, and an awareness of Israel’s right to be secure in its homeland, not in a missionary effort to achieve the Jews’ conversion.
In a discussion on the Messiah at a forum several years ago in Jerusalem, Pastor John Hagee, founder and president of Christians United for Israel, replied to a Jewish colleague: “At the end of days, when the Messiah arrives, we will approach him and ask: ‘Whom do you represent?’”
The efforts of the Interior Ministry to prevent the immigration of Jews with any connection to Messianic Jewish organizations is an example of an over-zealous and wasted effort to deal with a minuscule problem. It may be true that one or two marginal Jews may be attracted to the “Jews for Jesus” cult, but this hardly justifies the effort to exclude them from Israel.
The huge loss of Jews by simple assimilation or absorption into non-observant status dwarfs the few who join Messianic groups. In fact, it is arguable that these lost souls were lost long before they formally exited the fold. There are undoubtedly far more Jews who are disgusted by the chauvinism and extremism of Israel’s official rabbinate than are attracted by missionary activities of Evangelicals.
Meanwhile, for reasons that need not concern us, Evangelicals are a powerful political force in America and our most reliable allies. In an increasingly antisemitic world, we can ill-afford to reject the one group we can count on for support.
Ma’aleh Adumim
Why the tax protest?
The administration of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is examining, and taking appropriate action to correct, the abuses by the various churches of the arnona (property tax) exemptions they enjoy on the highly lucrative and purely commercial uses of their real estate (“J’lem church leaders protest city plan to collect property tax,” February 16).
The irony should not be lost that two of the signatories of the protest letter to Mayor Barkat are Archbishop Pizzaballa of the Latin Patriarchate, and Father Patton of the Franciscan order, each organization an instrumentality of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Church has a dark and dishonorable history of enacting supplementary tax imposts specifically upon Jews and Jewish communities, in addition to those taxes imposed upon the populace at large. Most notable of these is Pope Paul IV’s 1555 bull Cum nimis absurdum, which imposed many oppressive and humiliating conditions upon the Jews of Rome, including compelling them to live in a designated ghetto and pay a special, exorbitant tax for the privilege.
Petah Tikva
The writer, prior to his aliya, taught tax courses at the City University of New York and Yeshiva University. Prior to that, he served as an attorney for the US Internal Revenue Service.