January 11: Poor optics

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Time to rise up...
At this point in time, peace-loving Israelis, be they left- or rightwing, are living through the hell of unconscionable killers on the loose who are subsequently lauded and praised as martyrs (“PA, Hamas declare TA shooter a martyr,” January 10). Unbelievably, we are threatened with major new violence in retaliation for killing killers.
As I see it, the only possible salvation for Palestinians, and for Arab Israelis, is to rise up and rid themselves of the cancer that metastasizes in their society and takes away any chance they have for a normative existence.
...for self-improvement
With regard to “Deepening the divide” (Editorial, January 4), political correctness will not bring back the dead from the January 1 shooting in Tel Aviv.
Why praise Arab MKs for condemning the attack when they incite and do little or nothing to encourage an atmosphere in which their constituents do more for their country? Your editorial speaks about how most Arab Israelis are law-abiding citizens. Then why are there so many illegal weapons in their villages? Why are so many clans killing each other? Why are honor killings acceptable to them? I suppose you believe it’s the prime minister’s fault that Arabs kill each other more than Jews do, but why Israeli Arabs kill each other should be addressed by the Arab MKs.
You say law enforcement should be improved in the Arab Israeli sector. I suppose that the headlines would then say how the police are using too much force and being racist and unfair.
NGOs will start popping up in protection of the rights of Israeli Arabs, adding to those already in place; they will accuse Israel of a lack of evenhandedness in handling crime in the Arab sector.
You then tell us that Arab Israelis are full-fledged citizens of Israel. If that’s so true, why don’t they perform military service or even just basic national service? Why single out only the haredim for not serving? Israeli Arabs, albeit not all, need to come to grips with the fact that if they want to be treated more as equals, they need to show responsibility and loyalty to the state. We can blame someone else for our misfortunes or we can work toward improving our own lives and becoming more united.
It’ll sink in
With regard to “IDF demolishes family home of terrorist who murdered two in J’lem” (January 10), ho hum – another terrorist’s house is demolished. What else is new? Soon after the house is gone, a new one is built, another martyr for the cause is born, and our Israeli victim list grows.
Sadly, the Israeli public has become inured to the carnage, and life goes on. Cautiously, we put one foot in front of the other while acts of terrorism jump from one end of the country to the other.
Perhaps a suggestion from a non-Jewish tourist friend should be tried. Destroying the home of a terrorist is futile, but stripping citizenship or residency rights along with their benefits while deporting the entire family might work. It might not work for the first two or three vicious acts, but the lesson will sink in.
Are we too politically correct for this?
Jewish guilt trip
Martin Sherman’s elegant denouement of the alleged Jewish terrorism at Duma (“Presumption of guilt,” Into the Fray, January 8) is worthy of Agatha Christie’s legendary Hercule Poirot. However, what is more troubling – and Dr. Sherman does not address this – is why the establishment and media are not denouncing the draconian measures adopted by the country’s security and legal establishments.
In order to understand Duma or the Jonathan Pollard episode, we have to examine why Jews display disproportionate moral outrage, grief, anger or self-recrimination when fellow Jews commit crimes.
For thousands of years, Jews have suffered from and been subjected to the horrors of genocide and persecution, and in order to deal with this, we have selected a damaging survival technique called guilt. The collective Jewish psyche, stripped of sovereign power, erroneously adopts the position that we Jews have to be doing something wrong. Mea culpa becomes the embedded Jewish solvent, for if Jews express exaggerated outrage at Jewish malfeasance, then surely our enemies will be ameliorated and more disposed to accept us, warts and all.
Well, it didn’t work in the past, doesn’t now, and won’t in the future.
We no longer have to behave in this humiliating fashion. We are sovereign in our own country and should stop looking over our shoulder to ask what the goyim will say. Let us not exaggerate, pre-judge or subordinate the alleged culprits of the Duma crime to possibly specious charges and the tyranny of Jewish guilt. They are innocent until proven guilty.
Zichron Ya’acov
Poor optics
As a native Philadelphian who actively maintains personal and professional ties to his hometown, I could not agree more with Danny Ayalon (“Closing the consulate in Philadelphia is a big mistake,” Observations, January 8).
As implicitly noted by Ayalon, a former ambassador to the United States, Israel needs strong advocacy in the academic sector. During my student days in Philadelphia, consuls-general Emanuel Shimoni and Yaakov Paran proactively reached out to the college campuses and positively influenced and informed many students, myself included.
To the uninformed viewer of a map, Philadelphia might appear as an extraneous dot between New York and Washington. The fact is, the mid-Atlantic region serviced by the consulate there entails, in addition to the colleges and universities, significant technological, financial, pharmaceutical and agricultural sectors, each of which operates in many respects independently of those in New York or Washington.
In each of these sectors, Israel can find vital goods and services, as well as clients and customers for its own goods and services. Indeed, Israel has historically derived critical benefit from the Philadelphia region.
The Foreign Ministry’s announcement of the closure of the Philadelphia consulate is poor optics and sends the wrong message to Israel’s friends and foes alike.
Petah Tikva
Bad influence
Your article “Bayit Yehudi central c’tee warns of Reform influence in IDF” (January 5) includes a nasty quote from Rabbi Gilad Kariv, director of the Reform Movement in Israel, who says members of Bayit Yehudi “arouse dispute... instead of developing mutual respect and love of other Jews.”
Why are some of the best soldiers in the IDF from religious backgrounds? One reason is because they have been trained to adhere to orders, as they are with the Torah prior to enlisting.
Reform Judaism advocates values that could very well adversely affect the fighting spirit of the IDF and deny the fulfillment of treasures from Jewish sources.
A high percentage of Reform rabbis in the US are willing to preside at wedding ceremonies involving intermarriage. They have caused a split among the Jewish people in America, and now they want to bring their non-Torah values here to Israel, where they would perform a ceremony and marry Rachel to Mohammed! The authentic heritage of the Jewish people will be trampled upon by allowing Reform rabbis to enter the Jewish Consciousness Department of the IDF Rabbinate.
Let us respect Bayit Yehudi for speaking up and trying to maintain one people here in Israel.