January 8, 2020: Advocating vigilance

Readers of the Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Advocating vigilance
A recent letter writer to The Jerusalem Post advocated physical training in self-defense to combat acts of antisemitism. He bemoaned the fact that his message did not seem to be taking hold.
I remember similar sentiments in the 1970s and 1980s when the Jewish Defense League and the Jewish Defense Organization tried to fight antisemitism by taking defense to some degree into their own hands to protect Jews in the streets. Although they originally met with some hoopla, these organizations soon fell out of favor as they themselves fell afoul of the law in pursuing their own agendas.
How much more relevant today is the Israeli start-up “Gabriel” system as reported by Eytan Halon, to install panic buttons and video apps to alert law enforcement in any emergency (“New York town eyes Israeli security solution after Monsey rampage,” January 6). As the reporter pointed out, this has already been picked up by the Town of Ramapo in Rockland County, where the Hanukkah attack on Rabbi Rottenberg’s shul took place.
Vigilance and continued education, as provided by the Holocaust Museum in Rockland County, along with an increasing number of Jewish institutions throughout the world, can be a main bulwark against antisemitism and anti-Jewish violence.
Beit Shemesh
Focus on the prime minister
In “Why does ‘the Second Israel’ adore Netanyahu,” (January 6), Susan Hattis Rolef ponders the reasons behind the love that the “Mizrahim” have for Netanyahu even though he is a Ashkenazi millionaire. One possible reason, she says, is the hatred the Mizrahim still harbor for the historical Mapai and the old establishment.
I suggest a possible different reason. The Mizrahim are still influenced in their mind-set and values by elements of Arab culture, which is based on all-powerful dictators and leadership by dominating father figures. Ashkenazim, on the other hand, tend to have values based on more liberal, secular ideas, such as personal freedom, criticism of the past and present.
The same reasons go a long way in explaining the base of President Donald Trump’s supporters in the US.
Susan Hattis Rolef accuses Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of being “sloppy” in “Israel and the ICC” (December 30). Why? Because, when Netanyahu explains our right under international law to settle our homeland, he decries Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague Fatou Bensouda’s turning “the fact that Jews live in their country into a war crime.”
Netanyahu isn’t being “sloppy.” See the UN Charter’s Article 80 (the “Palestine Clause,” whose existence is due to Netanyahu’s father, inter alia, and the San Remo documents. All are instruments of international law that record the Jewish people’s irrevocable right, recognized under international law, to “settle” the land from the Jordan to the sea – including all of Judea and Samaria.
In general, Susan, whose side are you on? About your own country, you have only accusations, unsubstantiated ones at that: Your unfounded “sloppy” accusation is one. “Not all [of Israel’s] investigations end up uncovering the whole truth” is another. Dismissing Israel’s concerns about anti-semitism in the ICC as “flimsy” is a third. Whereas when writing about hostile Bensouda, you immediately grant that some of her accusations “might well be legally founded.” Should you not be even-handed or, better, write in a way that protects your country’s good name? Your piece embarrasses the educated readership of this Israeli newspaper!
Spokesperson for Mattot Arim (Israeli NGO)
Promised land
Regarding “Individual initiatives ease Gaza’s harsh realities” January 7), there is a way out of this whole mess and it starts by recognizing that all of Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the Jewish people; and, although it may come as a shock to some, the Temple Mount is the holiest site of the Jewish people with real connection to Arabs; al Aqsa Mosque was actually built on top of the Mount, long afterwards.
There is no “Palestinian” people. You are Arabs. Islam didn’t even exist until more than two millennia after Judaism and the notion of a Palestinian people didn’t exist until 1967, when the Arab League, realizing that it couldn’t defeat Israel militarily, had the brilliant idea of positing a Palestinian people with rights to a country they called Palestine. I don’t know where this country is, but it sure isn’t Israel! Jordan in 19 years of illegally occupying the West Bank never mentioned such a people even once. How could it? It didn’t exist!
Many local Arabs have already left; there are 22 Arab states where you can be among your own people and culture, or perhaps you would prefer a Western country where there are also many Arabs. Please realize there is no independent Arab nation here for you, no matter how many promises your leaders make you or even the nonsense coming from some of Israel’s leaders. This land was promised to the Jewish People by God and the evidence is everywhere here for all who are prepared to see it.
Mesopotamia no longer exists. It is now Iraq.
Southern Rhodesia no longer exists. It is now Zimbabwe.
Palestine no longer exists. It is now Israel.
This so-called ‘Palestine’ was invented in the 1960s by the Arab League for diplomatic reasons only. The all-important UN Resolution 242 of 1967 makes no mention of a ‘Palestine’ because it had ceased to exist.
Reich minister of propaganda Joseph Goebbles said, “If you can tell a big lie loudly enough for and long enough, you can create a fact.” Do not be fooled. What was Palestine is now Israel. All the rest is created fake facts.
In “PA vs Hamas,” (December 31), the writer states, “The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is negotiating with a terrorist organization and doing all it can to avoid a dialogue with the representative of the Palestinian people that is against terrorism – Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority.’
We now surmise that paying to slay Jews is no longer backing terrorism, that making a deal with Hamas to stop shelling our people, and refusing to talk to the representative of the Palestinian Authority, who has rejected every offer to create a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria and who has persistently gone on record stating there will be no deal until all of occupied Palestine is surrendered to Arabs, is deliberately creating a schism between the Gazan authorities and those in the so-called West Bank. This to ensure that Israel will never give the Palestinians a state of their own.
Does the writer think his readers are brainless? These leftist ideas and obsequiousness toward the Arabs who occupy our land belong in Haaretz, not in The Jerusalem Post.
Rishon Lezion
Abusing the rules
Regarding “Gaza nurses train in Israel: ‘We speak health, not politics” (January 3), it is very sad that intensive border checks are needed to prevent abuse of medical services. One example: During the Second Intifada, the (in)famous Dutch anti-Israel activist Gretta Duisenberg presented herself live on Vara TV as being extremely proud that she had cheated the Israeli security by wearing a nurse uniform and (ab)using an ambulance of the Red Half Moon, in order to enter into Area A for the sake of anti-Israel propaganda. A despicable act, hurting Palestinian medics and patients, for one reason only: bashing Israel and abusing its safety rules.
Secret of support
Writer Bob Diener was surprised at the level of support for Israel in Guatemala (“Guatemala loves Israel – the inside story,” January 5). One secret reason for this support is that many of the original inhabitants of most Central American countries were in fact Bnei Anousim (also known as Marranos, Crypto-Jews, or New Christians), descendants of those Jews who were forcibly converted to Christianity in Spain and Portugal, who then emigrated to the periphery of the Spanish and Portuguese empires to escape the Inquisition.
Communities of the descendants of these people, often aware of their Jewish heritage, are found throughout the Americas, from New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Brazil, Chile and so on. The cases of Honduras and Costa Rica have been documented (see, for example, The Crypto-Jews of Honduras and “The History of the Anousim in Costa Rica,” in The Reawakening: the re-emergence of Jews after 500 years of Spanish-Portuguese Catholic Persecution.).
Such an important city as Sao Paulo in Brazil was founded by a band of New Christians led by Antonio Raposo Tavares (see Iberian New Christians and their Descendants).
As this secret history is exposed and the Crypto-Jews come out into the open, a new kind of Jew is emerging, particularly throughout Central and South America.
Emergency aid for the elderly
Regarding “Our responsibility to save the elderly of Israel” (January 4), missing from your article concerning elderly people living alone was the single most important help for people falling in their house and unable to move to the phone; namely a pendant or armband that the person activates to call for outside help.
I have experienced in my own family instances of elderly persons lying on the floor for days before a concerned relative makes the discovery.
The not insignificant cost of an armband, the associated devices and their constant maintenance should be borne by the health system whenever the person cannot afford the financial cost.
Kurds and ways
Regarding “Entire Mideast should brace itself” (January 5), a remarkable proposal was made by Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio. He called upon the US to recognize the northeastern section of Iraq as an independent entity, Kurdistan.
The Kurds have lead much of the fighting against ISIS and have helped the US military efforts in Iraq for years. The US government is building its largest new Embassy in Idlib, the capital of the Kurdish Provence. They have become the largest ethnic group in the world without a state of their own (totaling 40 million people in five countries in the area).
Rubio holds that their time has come.
By giving them independence, Iraq would be broken and weakened just as Iran, which now controls this old enemy and seeks to engulf it for its crescent approach to hegemony from Iran to the Mediterranean Sea. Independence for the Kurds is a startling concept that would be a win/win. Now is the time for such a dramatic and important initiative. It would reward the Kurds, and stop Iran.
Hopefully US President Donald Trump will take up this unique opportunity soon.
The Malka Leifer case
I was dismayed by Rabbi Yuval Cherlow’s article “A Failed Judicial Process” (December 31). As a Rosh Yeshiva and an ethicist, Cherlow should know the importance of separating fact from populism before castigating anyone, including the judicial system.
Malka Leifer may be a monster. That question is not before the Israeli court. The only question before the court is whether she meets the criteria for extradition under Israeli law. The Israeli court must decide – not if she is guilty – but whether there is a prima facie case against her (there obviously is) and whether she is fit to stand trial. The latter question requires analysis of the subjective views of various experts and that is what the court is doing.
There is no evidence that the court is “introducing political and communal factors into assessing guilt.” Indeed, the Israeli court is not charged with assessing guilt in this case. Cherlow should know well that allegations published in the press are not the basis for a factual analysis.
“In the name of Jewish ethical practice,” as Cherlow says, let us hope that public pressure on the courts – such as that expressed by Cherlow, the press and Australian politicians, will not affect the court’s execution of its public duties.
Kosher and open on Shabbat
Regarding “Will kosher restaurants soon be able to open on Shabbat?” (January 7), there apparently is a way without violating Halacha to enable kosher establishments that want to operate on Shabbat to do so – even though very few would probably choose to do so. This could benefit religious Jews as well as secular Jews and be a boon to tourism. Jewish law is important to me and to the Jewish state, but if enabling a restaurant here and there to operate on Shabbat can indeed be done in accordance with the law, let’s not be afraid to do so.
We should also do everything we can within the letter of the law to make conversion, marriage, aliyah and kashrut certification as user-friendly and accessible as possible.
Tel Aviv