January 22, 2018: Wonderful Dream

Who is an Arab and a plea for road courtesy.

Letters 150 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 150
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Settling the crisis with Jordan
Israel should have neither apologized nor agreed to compensate the families of both victims of last July’s incident in Amman (“Israel apologizes for deadly shooting by embassy guard,” January 19).
Israeli security guard Ziv Moyal was justified in killing Mohammed Jawawdeh, who stabbed him three times with a screwdriver.
In Canada – perhaps the most multicultural and liberal country in the world – a screwdriver is considered a deadly weapon. In June, police in Montreal shot and killed Pierre Coriolan, a black man, who was merely threatening them with a screwdriver in each hand without having hurt them. In 2015, police in Toronto shot and killed Andrew Loku, a black man, who was merely threatening them with a hammer. Sure, the Black Lives Matter group protested both times, but no charges were brought against the police in either case.
Israel does owe an apology and compensation only for the accidental killing of the bystander, a tragedy that occurred while Moyal tried to protect himself.
Need for meaningful change
I would like to respond to the Israel Democracy Institute’s ad that appeared on the front page of your January 19 edition.
My family and I have been here since 1971.
During all this time, we have seen demonstrations, participated in some of them, read various committee reports, signed numerous petitions and listened to politicians who promise to do something about our pseudo-democratic electoral system. Nothing has brought about significant change.
What do we, the beleaguered public, have to do? Go out and riot, damage property and hold back whenever possible when putting money into the government’s coffers? There must be meaningful change!
Same old shtetl mentality
After reading “IDF reveals new details about attack tunnel built by Islamic Jihad” (January 19), I feel compelled to respond to the defeatist outlook.
I learned that the Hamas tunnel was at a depth of 26 meters. It was detected and destroyed inside Israel, but the part under the Gaza Strip is open and guarded by Hamas gunmen.
To obstruct Hamas tunnels, a very expensive underground wall is being built. Now I’ve learned that the IDF expects Hamas to turn to other methods of attack if the tunnel effort is defeated. Following this, it is explained how terrible the humanitarian situation is in Gaza. (I nearly cried and was looking for a Gaza charity to support.) Nowhere is there any mention of an aggressive Israeli action to thwart our adversaries in Gaza. I would hope that our leaders (I use the word loosely) have a plan to prevent Hamas from attacking Israel instead of merely being sure that when it starts using a new tactic, we will find a way to counter it. How about Israel being proactive and not just defensive? Elsewhere, we read of the same negative approach that permeates our discussions about Palestinian Authority stipends for terrorists or their families. Any other government faced with such enemies would put them out of business.
Shame on us. The founding fathers thought that by abandoning Yiddish, they would change the shtetl mentality. They were wrong.
Going into overdrive
In “Abbas’s speeches and narratives” (My Word, January 19), Liat Collins goes into overdrive criticizing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s historical knowledge. I would say that on both sides, when people get angry, they lose their sense of logic and overstate their case.
In particular, objecting to Abbas’s claim that the Palestinians are Canaanites and stating that Islam didn’t exist back then make no sense. Nobody is arguing that Islam was around in 2000 BCE, just that a certain percentage of the “Palestinians” have been here for a long time. And Abbas is arguing that a lot of the Jews in Israel aren’t really Jews. The Chief Rabbinate surely agrees with that.
Of course, on the Palestinian side, denying any Jewish connection with Jerusalem is crazy, as is Holocaust denial. But there’s a big difference between the kingdom of David and Solomon (almost zero archeological evidence) and of later kings or the Second Temple period, where there’s much more evidence, from both archeology and non-Jewish sources.
Then you get to the issue of “what is an Arab.”
I would define an “Arab” as someone whose mother tongue is Arabic. Certainly, Arabs and Muslims aren’t the same; there are Arabs who aren’t Muslim, and Muslims who aren’t Arab.
Many “Palestinians” – including “Shirley Temper” (Ahed Tamimi), the blond teenage girl-provocateur who regularly tries to punch, bite and scratch soldiers and police and is much reviled in your pages – look more “Jewish” than some Jews in Israel.
In his recent speech at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas claimed once again that the Palestinians are the original Canaanites and therefore were in Jerusalem long before the Jews. If he is right, does that mean we are obliged to fulfill the Torah commandment Lo techayeh kol neshama (You shall not allow any soul to live, Deuteronomy 20:16) and wipe them out? Luckily for Abbas, Halacha has a principle (Ein adam meisim atsmo rasha; Yev.25b, Ket. 18b, San.9b) in that we do not punish a person solely on the basis of his or her own confession. So the Palestinians’ claim that Israel is committing genocide against them is just one more example of their unfounded paranoia.
Salford, UK
Wonderful dream
I read reader Martin Griessner’s letter “A plan for J’lem” (January 19) with great interest.
It is a wonderful dream. Unfortunately, the facts are very different, and there is a minority that tries everything in its power to prevent peace.
A plea for road courtesy
Last week, a bus struck and killed a six-year-old boy and injured his father in Beit Shemesh. A senior MDA medic said the boy was “trapped under the bus and unconscious, suffering from severe systemic injuries. During the complex rescue efforts of firefighters, we tried to give him medical assistance, but his injuries were very severe, and his death was confirmed at the scene within a short time.”
This tragedy should be more than a wake-up call. An urgent request for volunteers to man intersections is a good idea, but it will not solve the attitudinal problem of extremely aggressive drivers, especially those in buses and taxicabs who intimidate and bully other drivers and pedestrians.
In the 12 years since we made aliya, the situation has gotten much worse.
At our own intersection in Ramat Beit Shemesh, drivers too often speed up in making the turn from Rav Herzog Street into Asher Street. This intersection is used by hundreds of young children going to or coming from school. The speed bump is in the wrong place and is not high enough to deter the speeders.
Will the situation improve? It appears that common driver courtesy is not only absent but is the sign of a freier (sucker), a dreaded cultural phenomenon in these parts.
Courtesy, civility and respect for others have been drowned out by those who refuse to give way to others, and the virtual absence of police enforcement fuels this mindset.
Beit Shemesh