July 30, 2018: Pause to re-arm

Our readers respond.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Pause to re-arm
The Jerusalem Post mistakenly reported that a “cease-fire” was achieved with Hamas (“Shaky cease-fire after Gaza sniper kills IDF soldier,”​ July 22).
​The paper’s ​use of the term “cease-fire” is a misinterpretation of the terms in Arabic that the Palestinian Arab leaders use when they when they refer to a temporary halt in fighting: hudna, tahadia and hudaybiyyah, all of which mean ​​continued war after a respite for rearmament.
• Hudna connotes only a tactical pause intended for rearmament in the war between Islamic forces and non-Islamic forces. The authoritative Islamic Encyclopedia (London, 1922) defines hudna as a “temporary treaty” that can be approved or abrogated by Islamic religious leaders, depending on whether or not it serves the interests of Islam. A hudna cannot last for more than 10 years.
Tahadia is a temporary halt in hostile activity that can be violated at any time
Hudaybiyyah is an understanding that there will be no fighting for 10 years named for the “treaty of Hudaybiyyah” in 628 AD.
The Islamic Encyclopedia mentions the hudaybia treaty as the “ultimate hudna.”
Hudna, tahadia and hudaybiyyah – the only options on the table with Hamas – do not compare to the mu’ahada treaty of peace that Egypt signed with Israel in 1979, or the mu’ahada treaty of peace that Jordan signed with Israel in 1994.
Bottom line: hudna, tahadia and hudaybiyyah do not ​connote a “cease-fire.”
A real ​“cease-fire” recall​s​ the cease-fire armistice agreement that marked the last moment of World War I on November 11, 1918, paving the way to the Versailles peace treaty and the genesis of the League of Nations.
Director, Israel Resource News Agency
Irish eyes aren’t smiling
Regarding Alex Ryvchin’s article, (“Irish bill criminalizing West Bank settlements further step toward boycott,” July 24), I would like to point out that Ireland has never been overly friendly to Jews or to the Jewish state.
On May 2, 1945, Éamon de Valera, the head of the Irish government (which had remained neutral during World War II) paid a visit to the Third Reich’s Minister to Ireland, Dr. Eduard Hempel, to express his condolences on the suicide of the German head of state, Adolf Hitler. After the War, according to a two-part television documentary (“Hidden History: Ireland’s Nazis”) aired on RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) in January 2007, Ireland became a haven for between 100 to 200 Nazi war criminals. One of these, Otto Skorzeny, was known as Hitler’s favorite commando and served as an adviser to Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser during the 1950s, where he trained the latter’s army in guerrilla tactics. One of his trainees was Yasser Arafat.
Ryvchin writes, “Should the bill become law, its economic impact on Israel’s economy would be negligible....” While indeed this is true, the economic impact on Ireland itself would probably be catastrophic. Such a law would be in violation of existing statutes and regulations of the United States, the European Union and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
Prof. Orde F. Kittrie has penned a detailed account of how this is so. He writes in part: “The bill, if enacted, would gravely undermine Ireland’s economic links to the United States, which are vital to Irish prosperity. US investment in 2016 accounted for 67% of all foreign direct investment in Ireland. Yet this bill would make US companies with subsidiaries in Ireland, Irish companies with subsidiaries in the US and their employees who are Irish or resident in Ireland, choose between violating the Irish law or violating the US Export Administration Regulations. Violations of these US anti-boycott laws are punishable by fines and by imprisonment for up to 10 years.
“According to the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland, some 700 US companies employ over 150,000 people in Ireland. The companies include Apple, Dell, Facebook, Google, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, and Twitter. In addition, some 227 Irish companies employ an estimated 120,000 people in the United States. These companies would also be forced by Irish law to run afoul of some or all of the two dozen US state laws that impose sanctions on companies that boycott Israel.”
In the end then, perhaps it wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all for Ireland to pass this law.
Ma’aleh Adumim
Criminal weddings
The news (“Protesters pray at Haifa rabbinical court after Conservative rabbi arrest,” July 22) that Masorti Rabbi Dov Hayun faces criminal charges for performing an unregistered wedding strikes at the heart of American support for Israel.
Many Americans, Jewish or not, identify strongly with Israel because of the value it places on freedom. Starting with the Pilgrims, America has been settled by millions of people from all over the world escaping from political or clerical tyranny. Just read the inscription on the Statue of Liberty about the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” or New Hampshire’s license plate: “Live free or die.” People empathize with Israel because they recognize it as an island of freedom in a sea of violent repression and they admire her pluck in resisting the extortionate demands of her neighbors to give in and conform to their way of life.
These sentiments would be significantly harmed if the legal restrictions demanded by the official rabbinate continue to impinge on civil liberties, diminishing Israel’s special status as an outpost of liberty.
Charleston, South Carolina
We are witnessing a new phenomenon – that not everyone has to keep the law. Settlers and haredim must always obey the law, but storekeepers can violate the law and open on Tisha Be’av. Otherwise, we are compared to Iran.
Members of the rabbinate must follow the law, but Rabbi Dov Hayun of Haifa is above the law, as are various rabbis who perform unapproved religious ceremonies. I agree that the police shouldn’t have woken up Hayun at 5:30 a.m., but why is there no outcry when attorney David Shimron and others are woken up at a similar hour?
We have one state, one army, one government, both local and national, and of course one judicial system, yet when it comes to kashrut and the rabbinate in general, we are told that monopolies are no good.
I assume that if the rabbinate did as its critics wished, there would be no such calls. We have to stop all this hypocrisy.
Chief Rabbi of Dimona
Smearing Smuts
Gil Troy’s commentary (“Daniel P. Moynihan Street would honor America’s bipartisan love for Jerusalem,” July 17) cannot go unchallenged. Whatever the merits of senator Daniel Moynihan regarding Israel, to refer to field marshal Jan Smuts as “South Africa’s racist Jan Smuts” shows a lack of historical knowledge and understanding. Frankly, one would have expected better from one as learned as Troy. It might be worth Troy’s while to do some reading on the matter prior to going to press with such offensive and incorrect comments. On the other hand, could it be a case of virulent liberal politics smothering good sense and historical fact?
Pretoria, South Africa
Inalienable right
In a rare twist, Michael Oren’s conclusion is correct (“Israel’s ultimate battle: Right to exist,” July 24), but his premise is false.
Indeed, Israel must do more to educate people, from opinion leaders to ordinary folks, about the facts of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. But Israel’s “right to exist” is not up for debate, unless we make it so – as Oren does in his article. Israel does not have to fight for that right any more than the United States, Britain or Mexico need to defend their right to exist.
Stating the problem in his terms, Oren makes it sound as if we must react with panic and stem the tide of haters who, unchecked, will certainly eliminate the state of Israel.
Nonsense. It’s Oren and the policy he represents that are the problem, keeping us all fearfully looking over our shoulders for the next threat.
So US Congress representatives don’t know the facts about the conflict? Oren himself was Israel’s ambassador to the US for four years, as recently as 2013. So isn’t this at least partly his own failure? Why imply that some amorphous, inevitable threat is to blame?
We need to stop running scared and start dealing with our enemies from a position of strength and confidence. If we concentrate on that, we can accomplish our goals – but even if we don’t, we will exist quite nicely, thank you, and we don’t need government officials to express doubts about that.
Rebuild the Temple?
Nostalgia is part of Jewish tradition and the trauma of ancient Jewish defeats still rankles. But today we must reexamine ourselves and ask: do we really need a Third Temple in Jerusalem?
Rolling back Judaism 2,000 years to make Temple sacrifices once again the core of our religion, logically means the destruction and abandonment of everything produced by Jews since then: a vast corpus of literature and philosophy, Maimonides, Spinoza, not to speak of the Conservative and Reform movements and the variety of contemporary Jewish teaching in Israel and abroad. All of these will be declared irrelevant... and unJewish. One can already hear this sort of talk in ultra-Orthodox circles in Jerusalem.
How many Jews today have actually witnessed animal sacrifice in a temple? I have – in Nepal – where the gory scenes of blood, terrified animals and clouds of flies on the altars at Pashupatinath in Kathmandu made my stomach turn. Are Jews supposed to revert to what is essentially Hinduism? I shudder at the thought.
The synagogue wisely replaced slaughter with prayer and abolished the public abattoir.
But in fact we may not get as far as rebuilding the Temple if it means a War of Armageddon against all the Moslem world, which is already up in arms because of what is perceived as a threat to the al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock.
Israel may not survive such a terrible war.
Let me then propose a new approach: the Dome stands over the Rock where Abraham was called to sacrifice his son. Abraham is revered as the founding father of all monotheisms and the Dome was built by the Moslems in his honor. Let us join our fellow monotheists – Muslems and Christians – in showing respect for Abraham in a spirit of mutual tolerance and forgiveness, and make Jerusalem into a real Holy City of Peace. Or are we doomed to let fanaticism decide our fate?
Children’s rights
Your editorial (“Surrogacy and equality: the acute emotional pain of childless families,” July 23) expresses great sensitivity and concern for the rights and feelings of homosexual men who want to have children, and the change in the law that occurred this past week expresses great sensitivity and concern for the rights and feelings of single women who want to have children.
There is one small detail, however, that all of this great sensitivity and concern seems to have forgotten about: the rights and feelings of the children themselves. Regardless of how one feels about single women and homosexuals having children, isn’t there value in every child having both a mother and a father? Of course, between people’s individual choices outside of marriage and the increased prevalence of divorce, more and more children are denied the ability to be raised by a mother and a father. But still, as a society, shouldn’t we try to preserve this ideal as much as possible?
The change in the law that now promotes and supports single women having children is insensitive and unconcerned for the rights of the children. To advocate for this to be extended to single men, whether homosexual or not, would simply extend this insensitivity and lack of concern to a larger number of children.
Beit Shemesh
I wholly disagree with Judy Lev’s letter (July 25). She seems not to object to children having two mummies but objects to two daddies. What’s the difference? These children grow up without silly ideas regarding gays. Maybe she didn’t realize that lesbians can have their own babies and live in a homosexual environment.
The law is a disgrace and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has once again broken a promise for the sake of his coalition.
Kiryat Ono
The Jerusalem Post
has published a number of articles recently dealing with topics involving the LGBT community. I would like to know where Dr. Yitzchak Kadman of the Nation Council for the Child weighs in on same-sex families adopting children. When two men have a child together, who exactly is going to be the mother of that child? When two women adopt, who will be the father image for that child? It is bad enough when a spouse passes away and the remaining spouse has to bring up the child alone. But to intentionally do it to a child!! This is just mindboggling. Who is defending the rights of children to have a set of parents?
Society these days is too busy defending the rights of people who have perverted human nature.
Bnei Brak
Beyond Mandela
Gil Troy’s article (“Palestinians need a Nelson Mandela,” July 25) is not altogether to the point.
Mandela was an extraordinary man. Virtually his entire life was spent in seeking freedom for his people. When he was freed after 27 years in jail on a charge of high treason, his party, the African National Congress, swept to power, and he became the first black President of South Africa. Despite his obvious suffering during his time of imprisonment, Mandela did not deviate from being a man of honor, dignity and commitment to the cause of freedom.
The atmosphere during the first democratic election in South Africa, in 1994, was euphoric. It is almost certain that the majority of black South Africans, and a significant percentage of the whites, were happy with the result.
The problem is that a vote for democracy does not necessarily produce democracy. Democracy is not something that can be given to people: it must be worked for, fought for, built up from the grassroots level.
With the demise of Mandela, unfortunately the situation in South Africa has deteriorated. A number of people have been voted into the presidency since his death, but the caliber has not been the same and socio-political problems have proliferated.
South Africans will not see another Mandela. What they need is to take responsibility for their own situation, and the best way to achieve this is through a fine and relevant education. This is also required for the Palestinians.
Tarnished icons
Front-page articles in today’s (July 29) issue highlight and encapsulate the willful violence and rhetoric that continues to pervade daily life in our region.
The Palestinians are threatening “fateful and dangerous decisions” via their aging empty vessel president. Meanwhile two 17-year-olds are being held up as icons of a violent society: 1) Mohammed Yousef, the terrorist who murdered a young father, Yotam Ovadia and 2) the “activist” Ahed Tamimi, now being released from prison having served her term for assaulting Israeli soldiers, whose image on a painted mural is being touted as a symbol of “resistance.”
With such leaders and revered personalities, the Palestinians are unfortunately on the road to nowhere. We who yearn for peace must hope that wiser heads will one day emerge in their society to show them the true path to a peaceful collaborative future.
Tel Aviv
Abused nation
People who have been abused and beaten, whether physically or mentally, often become sure that it is they who are the problem and that they probably deserve all the abuse. Thereafter they do the bidding of the abuser – even over and above what they have been told to do. This in turn causes the abuser to feel only contempt for their weakness and continues the abuse.
Israel, sadly, is like the abused. Your editorial (“White Helmets,” 25 July) sets out a scenario that made me cringe with shame at how my country has received a slap in the face yet again, something it seems to ask for over and over, as 1) when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Turkey for our soldiers defending themselves on the Mavi Marmara and paying compensation to the families of the terrorists killed in self defense and 2) when Netanyahu apologized to Jordan and paid compensation for our envoy defending himself against an attack. Jordan and Turkey still hate us – only with more contempt.
Israel carried out a daring operation to rescue Syrians called White Helmets, together with their families, whose lives were in danger. This is over and above what Israel does for thousands of Syrians, helping them with food, medicine, heating, hospitalization – you name it and we have done it, not for friends but enemies. Go figure.
In this instance, even though there must have been danger to the Israelis taking part in the operation to rescue White Helmets, those rescued refused to acknowledge Israel’s part, issuing a statement about the rescue mentioning that they were led to safety to Jordan through “the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.” In fact, some refused to be rescued because it was the Israelis saving them. Those paragons of virtue, France, the UK and Germany, also refused to acknowledge our part in the operation.
If Israel thought it was going to change hearts and minds with yet another gesture toward its enemies, it could not be more wrong. The abuser remains strong and the abused weak and apologetic and desperate to please.
Proud of mistakes?
I read with alarm (“IAF downs Syrian jet over Israeli airspace,” July 25) the misplaced accomplishment expressed by the IDF in destroying the Syrian jet and killing its pilot.
We now know that the jet made a navigational error, yet in spite of this fact, the IDF must have believed this was a good PR moment and published a picture of the smiling officer responsible for bringing down the jet. Why? What was their point? That it was a woman? Are they trying to dispel some “myths” with regard to the extreme male chauvinism that reigns supreme within the ranks?
Did she approve of having her picture released to the world?
I am confused as to why this is a moment of pride for Israel, not only did they destroy a jet that by all accounts made a genuine mistake, but took the life of another human.
We should not be taking pride in our mistakes or in killing – let alone publish the photograph of the young officer simply following orders to carry it out. The IDF withholds plenty of information from the press on a regular basis to try to avoid world bias.
Their choice to shout about this mistake from the rooftops is simply baffling to me.
We are subjected to anti-Israel journalism on a daily basis, the IDF should not be the ones giving hostile journalists fodder for their hate-filled reporting.
Wisdom to know the difference
In “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others” (July 26), Gershon Baskin describes his efforts for 40 years to promote peace and equality between Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabs. 40 years ago the Palestinians he met, refused to recognize the right of Israel to exist; the same is true today, only worse. Mistrust between Israeli and Palestinians has grown. A Muslim Brotherhood faction (Hamas) rules Mafia-style over two million Palestinians dedicated to the destruction of Israel.
One has to sympathize with Baskin for a life both futile and wasted. He should ask himself, “Where have I failed? Why have my soft, humanist, progressive, liberal views failed to convince my Israeli friends?” The answer is simple. We are at war with a devious, cunning, bloodthirsty enemy. It may last for another hundred years or maybe a thousand years. Gershon’s abject failure can best be summarized in two homilies: “Know thine enemies” and “Give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference”
Think about the future
For many years, international diplomacy has tried to bring “peace” between Israelis and Palestinians. I think it is time to take a different approach to the problem.
Peace cannot be achieved without considering the Middle East in all its entirety and complexity. From Egypt to Pakistan, from Turkey to Yemen, all countries are interested in peace. Without peace, all the peoples of the Middle East have no future but truces between one war and another.
Thinking of peace means thinking about the future, but how can people think about the future if a war that just ended or another that is about to start occupy all thoughts? To give strength to this hope, all the countries belonging in this region must participate equally in the creation of the conditions to achieve peace between them.
These countries do not need a mediator to achieve peace; they must reflect on the current situation in the region and above all to ask what contribution each country has to offer that can lead to the desired result: peace.
Genoa, Italy
Quick disappearance
I fail to understand why the editors at Kan/11 remove the names of speakers so quickly from the screen. TV programs from abroad keep the names of the speakers in place until they move on to something new. Here, I barely have time to read the name, let alone remember it, until the end of the program. Recently I watched an excellent program with Dan Meridor. It was a long program, and not every watcher who turned it on a minute after it began could have known or remembered who the speaker was. Of course, this applies as well to speakers from abroad.
Kindness to animals
Soon after Adolf Hitler seized power and made clear his plans to eliminate Europe’s Jews Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer fled Poland. The cruelty he witnessed informed his writing, and the heroes in his bestsellers championed gay rights, women’s issues and especially animal rights.
In “The Slaughterer,” Singer writes about a man trying to reconcile his compassion for animals with his job killing them. “As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony,” Singer, a vegetarian the last 35 years of his life, wrote. “Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together.”
If kindness and compassion are among our options for how we treat animals, including humans, we can all take inspiration from Singer and Natalie Portman and be kind to animals. Why would we choose otherwise?
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
A major epiphany
So of all people, Education Minister Naftali Bennett now realizes – and admits – that the Nation-State Law is harmful to the Druze population (“Jewish Nation-State Law harms Druze,” July 26.) But while this may be a major epiphany for Bennett, had he and the rest of his party bothered to heed the many criticisms and objections raised across the political spectrum while the law was still in formation, its derogation of the Druze would have been obvious. And what about the thousands of Bedouin and other very loyal Israeli Arabs who serve in the army or work in the highest positions in many government agencies, ministries and public services like medicine, including some of the most senior security positions imaginable?
In its overzealous desire to pass this law no matter what, with very minor exceptions, all criticism was dismissed and even condemned as being illegitimate, disingenuous, leftist and even worse. Instead of thinking before acting, the government did the exact opposite, totally ignoring the possible – and now proven – negative consequences of this controversial bill, whether to Israel’s diplomatic status and image abroad or to our own minority populations, no matter how integrated and loyal they may be.
Despite Bennett’s sudden realization of the government “making a mistake in the Jewish Nation-State Law,” I doubt whether this “mistake” can truly repair the shock and alienation it has caused to so many Israeli citizens –  not to mention making a total mockery of the law itself and its supporters.
Hatzor Haglilit
Tarnished icons
Front-page articles in today’s (July 29) issue highlight and encapsulate the willful violence and rhetoric that continues to pervade daily life in our region.
The Palestinians are threatening “fateful and dangerous decisions” via their aging empty vessel president. Meanwhile two 17-year-olds are being held up as icons of a violent society: 1) Mohammed Yousef, the terrorist who murdered a young father, Yotam Ovadia and 2) the “activist” Ahed Tamimi, now being released from prison having served her term for assaulting Israeli soldiers, whose image on a painted mural is being touted as a symbol of “resistance.”
With such leaders and revered personalities, the Palestinians are unfortunately on the road to nowhere. We who yearn for peace must hope that wiser heads will one day emerge in their society to show them the true path to a peaceful collaborative future.
Tel Aviv