January 7, 2019: U.S. expatriates aren’t stupid

Readers of 'The Jerusalem Post' have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
US expatriates aren’t stupid
Regarding “‘Yediot’ columnist calls US expatriates in Israel stupid, sparking uproar” (January 4), Ra’anan Shaked’s insulting tweet was not well received by me and my family. In making aliyah, I left behind a very remunerative position at a hospital where I had served as acting department chair; my husband gave up a law practice and a university teaching position. We traded a two-story house of 1,000 square meters on two dunams of land (with a swimming pool and vegetable garden in the back yard) for an apartment of less than 200 square meters. We now share one car; before, we each had our own. Our family income here is a third of what it was in the USA.
More than 40 years ago, my sister made her own aliyah, forsaking a promising career in the executive office of the US president, and two decades before that, my grandfather left a secure job as the cantor in the largest synagogue in Washington, DC to come to a Jerusalem where food rationing and other austerities were the daily norm.
Exceeding any personal affront on account of Shaked’s denigrating statement is the irony that one of the most often-asserted grievances of Israelis has long been that the American Jewish community is quick to hold coats for the Israelis while the Israelis do the actual fighting and must live (and, all too often, die) with the battles’ outcomes.
My family and I decided to do more than coat-holding and writing letters to politicians; we came here to live! Shaked’s comments say more about him than about Americans such as me, my family, Caroline Glick, and Golda Meir – who placed a life on Israel’s holy soil above the opportunities for economic prosperity in the United States.
Petah Tikva
Shaked’s comments claiming that Anglo olim are rightwing crazies who couldn’t work abroad were not only insulting and gratuitous, but also patently false. For every Caroline Glick on the Right, there is a Gershon Baskin on the Left. If anything, it may be that Americans and other Anglos feel as passionately about Israel – from whatever perspective –as people who are Israelis by birth rather than by choice.
Certainly, Stanley Fisher, the southern African-born American Jew, who came to Israel to serve with distinction as Governor of the Bank of Israel at a critical time, had no difficulty getting a “good job” in America (He recently resigned from the vice chairmanship of the Board of Governors of the US Federal Reserve).
Closer to home, after I had played a crucial role in averting the imminent bankruptcy of New York City in the 1970s, I made aliyah in 1983. My subsequent employment here in Israel was somewhat less than stellar, but my family and I came here not for high-level work or good money, but because we believed that for us it was correct to undergo this trajectory.
As a stupid American oleh born in Brooklyn, NY, having lived in Israel for 38 years and one month, I always mispronounced the name of the newspaper “Idiot Aharonot.” I guess I was right all along!
Ganei Modi’in
Trump-bashing bandwagon
Gil Troy’s excellent critique of a noted American author’s antisemitism (“I called out Alice Walker’s Jew-hatred again,” January 3) was marred by his incongruous attack on US President Donald Trump. While condemning Walker’s “disgusting 2017 poem ‘To Study the Talmud,’” her “use of the offensive Jew-hating term ‘Zionist Nazis,’” and NYU historian Robert Cohen’s “appallingly superficial” defense of Walker’s antisemitism, Troy inexplicably found it necessary to observe that, “America is afflicted with a president who leads by abuse, polluting our politics by... demonizing those who dare disagree with him.”
Troy’s reference to Trump is wrong on two counts: First, by lumping Walker and Trump together, he could be suggesting that the former’s Jew-hatred is somehow based on the latter’s improper tone. Yet Troy himself notes “decades of Walker’s Jew-baiting.” It began long before Trump appeared on the political stage. Further, Trump’s strong ties to Jews within his family and close advisers, as well as policies making him possibly the most pro-Israel president in many decades, belie any causal link. If anything, Walker’s antisemitism, like that of many others on the Left, may be exacerbated by her hatred of Trump and therefore of anything he supports. Second, the jarring terms Troy uses to describe Trump (“afflicted,” “polluting,” “demonizing”) recall the dehumanizing language antisemites have employed for centuries.
In adopting them to denigrate Trump, he relies on the same mechanism utilized by Walker and her ilk. Such words make it unnecessary to confront the subjects as individual human beings of substance. Characterizing them as sub-human obviates any need for rational consideration of and respect for their beliefs and accomplishments.
By jumping on the Trump-bashing bandwagon, Troy diluted and cheapened his timely warning regarding the dangerous reawakening of antisemitism among some in America’s literary and academic circles.
Zichron Yaakov
Perfidious president
Regarding “PA President Abbas: I will not end my life as a traitor” (January 5), PA President Mahmoud Abbas has in every possible way betrayed the people who elected him to a four-year term 14 years ago.
He stole and pocketed much of the international aid money that the PA received for decades and misappropriated much of the rest, using it to incite and reward terrorism instead of developing the infrastructure and economy of the people trapped under his misrule. Palestinian poverty is the result of corruption and hatred – not lack of resources. He stated that he can say “No” to a US peace deal he has never even seen, and he curbs dissent by arresting his critics.
Mahmoud Abbas will definitely end his life as a traitor – both to those he was elected to serve and to the cause of peace.
Davis, CA
Why does Abbas’s recent “I am not a traitor” comment remind me so much of disgraced US president Richard Nixon’s proclamation, “I am not a crook?”
Going to the dark side
Regarding “China lands on the far side of the moon, opens ‘new chapter in human lunar exploration’” (January 4), the achievement was hailed by China’s space agency as a historic first.
Hidden in the article is a clue to what the Chinese (and others) may be looking for. Instruments were on board to measure neutron radiation – ostensibly to study the environment, but they don’t mean climate warming.
What could be the source of the neutron radiation? U-235, which is used in the atomic bomb and as nuclear reactor fuel. The Red Book predicts shortfall of U-235 in eight years, which may mean a nuclear energy phase out.
So we are going to the other side of the moon not because of idle curiosity but to moon-mine. That makes more sense.
Professor Emeritus of Radiation Physics Beersheba
Cashing out
Regarding “What does the new cash law mean?” (January 4), I see, so the solution to tackle this so called “shadow economy” is to criminalize perfectly normal and rational economic transactions.
I might suggest that the best way to ensure people engage with the government is to simplify tax laws and make it less burdensome to deal with legal requirements.
As it stands, what this law actually does is increase the appeal of avoiding government entirely while at the same time putting both buyers and sellers at greater risk (since they won’t want to use receipts that can be used to throw them in jail if someone decides they didn’t like the deal). The government’s only rightful involvement in people’s economic transactions is to ensure fairness and transparency between parties. It has no right or business telling people how they may spend their money, nor the manner in which transactions may be carried out. Seems like a useful way to keep the powerful in control and the poor under their heel though.
Intellectual or visceral?
Regarding “I’ll give all the Jews the wrong meds” (January 2), Stanford student Hamzeh Daoud posted on Facebook that he would “physically fight” Zionists, but later amended his post to read that he would “intellectually,” not “physically” attack them. Lara Kollab MD, tweeted “hahha ewww.. ill purposely give all the yahood [Jews] the wrong meds.” Will she likewise claim that she too only intended an “intellectual” attack?
In another post, Kollab wrote in Arabic, “May Allah take back [end the lives] of the Jews so we stop being forced to go to those unclean ones.” Is this invocation of Allah in keeping with Muslim teachings? Patients must be able to trust doctors without fear that medical decisions will ever be politically influenced. Kollab apparently feels that “First, do no harm...” in the Hippocratic Oath can be ignored. No amount of “mentoring” can assure anyone that she can be trusted; she has demonstrated that she is not morally fit to hold a medical license.
Davis, CA
Muzzled judges
The judiciary generally, and the attorney-general in particular (“Do election results matter in Israel?” December 28) are regularly the subjects of Caroline Glick’s outrage, the one for applying legal principles to the excesses of the Knesset (whose lamentable behavior is well described in your leader) and the other, for doing his job.
Underlying all of this is her misconception that the only arm of government with any democratic authority to do anything is the elected legislature – an error that most first year students of constitutional law would be able to assist her with. Strong democracies depend upon an independent and fearless judiciary. Muzzled judges are the hallmark of autocracies.
The fact that Glick will now be joining forces with Ayelet Shaked, ironically justice minister, in attempting to carry this warped concept of democracy further, is alarming.
The shrewd analysis by Yaakov Katz in the same edition, “The real reason Israel is going to elections,” was, in marked contrast, a genuine piece of journalism.
Kosher in Qatar
A few comments are in order regarding Shmuley Boteach’s article “Hampton kosher hot dogs at Qatar’s bloody World Cup” (January 1) condemning Hampton Rabbi Marc Schneier for setting up kosher food stands for the World Cup in Qatar.
First, it was good that the article acknowledges ZOA’s and ZOA President Morton Klein’s best intentions regarding Mr. Klein’s meetings on behalf of the Jewish people with Qatari officials last year. However, the article has some inaccuracies and missing information regarding this. Here are the facts: (1) ZOA President Morton Klein’s meeting with the Qatari emir resulted in an important achievement: Qatar agreed not to broadcast a planned major antisemitic, anti-Israel documentary series. (2) The Emir’s assurance to ZOA regarding the Doha book fair could have played a role in Qatar’s ultimate removal of the antisemitic books. (3) ZOA did not knowingly receive a contribution from an agent of Qatar. The donation to ZOA (which included the donor’s purchase of tables at ZOA’s annual gala) came from a Jewish businessman who simply stated that he wanted to help ZOA’s wonderful pro-Israel work. He seemed like any other donor to ZOA. Months later, the Jewish businessman filed a form indicating that he was an agent of Qatar. ZOA then immediately returned his full contribution.
Second, regarding the main topic of the article – having kosher hot dogs at the World Cup in Qatar is a step in the right direction, and is better than not having kosher food available there for Jewish soccer players and spectators. Regarding kosher food, it is bans – such as the ban on kosher slaughter that just went into effect in Belgium – that are the real antisemitic problem. Making kosher food available is not a problem. Making kosher food available doesn’t whitewash numerous issues with Qatar, including Al Jazeera’s horrendous anti-Israel coverage, which were enumerated in ZOA’s lengthy report and list of demands to Qatar. ZOA sought changes regarding all these issues during the ZOA president’s meeting with Qatari officials. Let’s work together to confront those serious issues directly, rather than complaining about non-issues or steps in the right direction.
Director of Special Projects, ZOA
Looking ahead
Gil Hoffman’s “Crystal ball: 10 political predictions for 2019” (January 1) failed to predict surely the key development for 2019. Assuming, as Hoffman writes, that a bribery indictment against Netanyahu will be issued in February, what does the writer’s crystal ball predict regarding Netanyahu’s fate: Will he be found guilty? Will he be sent to prison? If so, for how long?
Escalating assimilation
According to “Majority of 2018’s immigrants are not legally Jewish” (January 3), there are approximately 400,000 Israelis, mostly from the former Soviet Union, who immigrated under the Law of Return but are not Jewish and this number is growing every year due to natural growth and continued immigration. This has long been known to the government and Jewish Agency, who knowingly brought over those Russians to make our country one for all people and not the Jewish land for the Jewish People.
Some advocate making conversion easier, but that would bring us into line with Liberal Judaism, which acts according to the wishes of a particular congregation at a particular time. Intermarriage is increasingly accepted – but something we must avoid like the plague.
A Jew is defined by the religion of the mother; changing that is a recipe for disaster. If someone wants to join the Jewish people, they must be prepared to make changes in their lives and live by the rules. Of course there are Jews who opt out, but they are not asking to be converted. The Law of Return currently accepts anyone with even the most tenuous connection to Judaism because Hitler decided it was so – a reason for rejecting it.
Who decided that Jews born to a Jewish father are not legally Jewish?
If that’s true, we’d better rethink whether Ephraim (son of Joseph, born of a non-Jewish mother) and Gershom (son of Moses, born of a non-Jewish mother) are legitimately part of the tribe! King David had two non-Jewish women among his ancestors (Rahab and Ruth). Is he a non-Jew? Throughout the Tanach, heritage is through the father. When did that change?
The scriptures take pains to refer to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; what rabbinic scholar came up with the idea that this was a mistake and should rather be the God of Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel? While the history of the Jewish people included much tragedy, including the rape of many Jewish women, today’s Jewish mothers almost always know who the father of their child is.
Isn’t it time that we returned our biblical heritage to its rightful owners – the fathers? If not, we are guilty of removing the true biblical birthright, which denies those who rightfully are and should be recognized as legal Jews!!!!
Poriya Ilit