July 4, 2018: Step too far

Our readers weigh in.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Step too far
Regarding “ A religious Zionist’s praise for Isaac Herzog,” June 27, in respect of Martin Oliner’s premature endorsement of Isaac Herzog to his new position, here in Israel, very much like most countries, people with prestigious family history have a head start both socially and professionally.
I perceive this is certainly the case in respect of Herzog’s elevation to the position of head of the Jewish Agency.
I stand to be corrected but this appointment does not install confidence in going forward to draw to together world Jewry in its support for Israel.
Decidedly he has in Natan Sharansky a tough act to follow but nothing in his past especially his recent tepid failed attempt to head once again the Labor Party, gives any major encouragement for success.
To unify the Diaspora , which even his predecessor found at times trying, he will need personality, perseverance, understanding and the overall ability to sell Israel for greater aliyah, which I fear may be a step up too far in the case of this scion of the Herzog dynasty.
Tel Aviv
Proper reward
The new Knesset plan to reward student reservists for their patriotism by granting them two academic credits without their actually having to engage in academic activity is certainly a wonderful way for society to show its appreciation, “Knesset advances bill granting academic credits to reserve soldiers”, June 27.
But what about the many individuals who do annual reserve duty, yet unfortunately aren’t enrolled in any institution of higher education?
We might exempt these commendable citizens from paying fines for traffic and parking violations during the full year in which they do reserve duty.
We could let them move to the front of the check-out line in supermarkets. We could free them from the obligation to tip in restaurants.
We could allow them to avoid the inconvenience of security checks at the entrances to buildings or enclosed parking garages.
The list of irrelevant and unfair rewards for reserve duty is surely quite long, and the beauty of most of them is that the government wouldn’t be required, God forbid, to shell out any money!
Obviously, the proper way for the government to reward reservists would be to pay them more for the devotion and personal sacrifice they exhibit by doing reserve duty.
Truth about Iran
I would like to say that due to the high inflation and mismanagement and embezzlement in the Islamic Republic of Iran by its brutal and savage government it would be good to publish these nasty affairs of robbery, lies and fake Islam in Iran.
The suggested title can be like this “Iran’s worthless rials”, “10,000 Khomeinis=1 Washington,” “Iranian rial in coma,” “US dollar kicked out/knocked down Iranian rials,” “Real or fake Islam in Iranian government.”
We can invite Iranian people to take part in an online poll in Farsi to learn more about their acceptance or rejection of the current government.
All the high ranking staff in Iran’s government have robbed Iran’s capital in many official banks, financial and credit institutes, holding companies directly, and in the gold, stock exchange and oil markets indirectly.
God bless Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump, who prevented Iran from its savage invasion of the Middle East under its fake slogan that must spread and distribute Islam around the world.
We as Iranians are suffering from lack of freedom, lack of free communication, lack of suitable economy, lack of pure and safe air to breath in, spreading many kinds of cancers, and many other sicknesses.
God bless the State of Israel.
The writer is living in Iran.
Bravo, Ringo!
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Ringo Starr on his recent tour to Israel.
In keeping with the timeless message of over 50 years ago, The Beatles helped raise world consciousness to seek and pursue peace and love, which of course is a central theme in the Torah.
In this age when many musical artists are concentrating on boycotts of Israel, it is extremely commendable to see how Ringo came to Israel happily, and with a loving heart opened up to all the people here.
We accept and embrace your mission and message. Your music has always elevated people to goodness and feelings of well-being.
We wish you many more healthy years ahead to keep spreading the cheer to humanity.
Perhaps, as we see real peace emerge in the entire region finally, as we pray for this everyday in our congregations of Israel, that you, Ringo, will come back to enjoy what you have been seeking for as long as we have known you! Bravo!
Holy prayers
The front page of the June 29 paper had three photos of Prince William as he visited Jerusalem’s holy sites.
At the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher he is obviously deep in thought and probably praying.
Lucky for him, he didn’t pray on the Temple Mount. If he would have been seen doing the same, as a non-Muslim he could have been arrested.
Bet Shemesh
Brits go home
The June 17 editorial “The Royal Visit” omits mention of a long litany of hostile actions  by the British government before, during and after the War of Independence.
To mention just a few, British pilots flying Egyptian-marked Spitfires immediately bombed Tel Aviv with devastating results.
British officers served in Jordanian and other Arab League invading armies featuring British weapons.
British Naval vessels fired upon steamers taking survivors and refugees to Israel. Britain maintained a complete arms embargo before, during and for some years after the war. And evacuating British Mandate forces left considerable armaments to Arab forces.
Not to mention the generally hostile relations between Mandate occupation forces and the Yishuv over many years.
 Such was the hostility of British actions towards Israel that American Jews for decades avoiding purchasing British goods and autos. Some of us with good memories continue to do so today.
Norwalk, Connecticut
True intent
Regarding “Stop the Kotel travesty” editorial from July 1, it is about time that we ended the artificial disagreement between Israel and the Diaspora regarding a space for non-Orthodox prayer at the Kotel.
For the sake of a few million taxpayers shekels I suggest that a place for the non-Orthodox to pray should be built. Then we can all go back to being nice to each other.
It is the Jews in America who are up in arms at the seeming non-recognition of the needs of American Jewry.
Most of the prayer at the Kotel is private outpouring of people’s inner thoughts desires and needs. There are times when there are communal prayers, mostly on Mondays and Thursdays for people who wish to celebrate a bar mitzvah.
On Shabbat and holidays, and especially on Shavuot, there are numerous prayer groups, however mostly on week days it is private prayer.
Secular Jews in Israel are not interested although the Knesset opposition likes the controversy to beat up the government, and in Israel it is only the Women of the Wall who gather nine or 10 times a year to make their presence felt by making a noise and interfering with those others who wish to commune with God quietly who would be affected.
Those of the Reform and Conservative movements in Israel who do come to the Kotel to pray, apart from the WoW, do so as most others do for personal and private prayer.
So, the problem is the Diaspora Jews. Most of the Reform community in America have not visited Israel or intend to do so, so they will not be taking advantage of the separate space.
Conservative Jews who come to Israel might take the opportunity to pray in a mixed quorum at the Kotel but perhaps not.
In a short while the matter will die down and we will all be able to get back to normal.
How much will the space be used after a few months is anybody’s guess. The Women of the Wall will then think up a new way of making a noise and it may all start up again.
My suggestion, which I know will be treated with derision, is that if the women who make up the WoW really and truly wish to pray for the nine or 10 times a year that they do, they will be better off in the quiet confines of a Reform house of worship, perhaps in the Hebrew Union College if there is such a place within their walls.
It is impossible under the current conditions for them to pray with kavana (intent) at the Kotel and expect their prayers to be heard by whoever they are praying to.
Bet Shemesh
Millennial challenge
Regarding “Are anti-Israel views in the US a disaster in the making?” Terra Incognita, June 29, pro-Palestinian interest groups bring thousands of young American visitors each year to visit refugee camps, provide them with educational seminars, and arrange for home stays with Palestinian families.
A number of these visitors return to their communities to engage in pro-Palestinian activism.
Many of theses activists have succeeded in influencing their peers especially on college campuses.
The political ascendancy of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is but an early example of the efforts by such pro-Palestinian activists to cultivate a cohort of young Americans who have succeeded in becoming elected officials.
Once in office they have the power to influence, even determine, government policy and funding.
Ocasio-Cortez and others who I am sure will follow are the fruit of the Muslim principle of “sumud,” patience combined with resilience. Invest in them now and wait...wait
Just as American Jews learned the technique of political lobbying whose apotheosis is AIPAC and help elect pro-Israeli candidates, pro-Palestinian interest groups are sure to continue to support a growing number of politicians who upon assuming elected office, whether at the municipal, county, state or federal level, will express their sympathy for the Palestinian cause with the vote they wield.
Some of these will undoubtedly have had participated in Palestinian-sponsored visits prior to entering politics. To combat this growing trend those responsible for our country’s public diplomacy need to offer a comparable Israeli alternative visit on a large-scale designed for up-and-coming public officials from Western ally countries while simultaneously loudly exposing Palestinian lies and half-truths about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that continue to delude so many millennials.