Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Yemenite children In my work on genetic genealogy, I see American colleagues reporting each week on a handful of successes in matching adopted and abandoned children with their birth families, as well as with unknown birth fathers. There is no reason that this technique cannot be applied here for missing Yemenite and other children from the early days of the state (“Yemenite children,” Editorial, June 24).
Every parent or sibling with a story about a missing child should take an autosomal DNA test; a parent or sibling of the same gender as the missing child should take an additional test, too. These tests will probably not produce much in the way of immediate results, but descendants of the missing children might eventually want to know where they come from, and having the results on file under the supervision of a genealogist will make this very doable, even if the parents and siblings are no longer alive.
This seems so obvious to me that the fact that it is not being done makes me wonder who doesn’t want it to happen.
The writer is a veteran genealogist who explores the intersection of documentary genealogy and the latest developments in autosomal DNA. His book on Jewish DNA, ENDOGAMY: One Family, One People, was published by Colonial Roots.
At a time when we are being slandered by the whole world, the evil ones among us bring up once again the painful matter of missing babies. It is meant to set Jew against Jew and add to the effort to destroy the Jewish state.
I don’t believe that any Jew would purposely kidnap a baby.
The period when this is supposed to have happened was absolutely chaotic, with our pathetic refugees pouring in from all sides. There were hardly enough medical people to save lives, let alone do the necessary but endless paper work.
(Remember, the paper work was done by hand; there were no computers.) So there were mix-ups! But there was no kidnapping of precious little ones.
I imagine that sealing the records is a political gesture to save face. But see how it is being interpreted? Guilty! The hateful Jew is guilty again!
It’s the apartheid bit
While I am in full agreement with the basic message of your June 23 editorial “Coping with BDS,” it nevertheless illustrates how profoundly both commentators and people in government are missing what is probably the most important single aspect of the BDS movement. Our fixation on anti-Semitism is producing a skewed vision of, and a skewed emphasis on, what is driving BDS worldwide and how to fight it.
You fail to mention the fact that BDS techniques have worked in the past, in the instance of South Africa. That is one of the main reasons why BDS movements hold “anti-apartheid” commemorations.
It’s the one thing that tells them over and over that they are on a winning streak.
Telling us, as your editorial does, that Israel is a strong economy that has the full backing of multiple Jewish organizations in the US means nothing. In the 1970s and 1980s, South Africa’s economy was booming. Its relationships with major world governments (primarily with US president Ronald Reagan and British prime minister Margaret Thatcher) were solid, and anti-apartheid actions were nothing more than a nuisance manifesting themselves on performance stages and sport fields.
A decade later, though, white South Africa was gone. It was not because the South Africans had lost a physical war; it was because they had lost the self-respect and moral assurance needed to go on fighting. The rest of the world detested them.
BDS against Israel will go on working while we ignore this historical achievement. The way to fight it most effectively is by disassociating ourselves from the apartheid of South Africa, on the one hand by showing how profoundly we differ, and on the other by telling the world what apartheid really was.
In the 20th century, there were many manifestations of evil regimes, of which white South Africa was just one. Many were far worse. For a range of reasons, including the sense of guilt of a West that both bred white supremacism and profited from it, the world has now fixated on that one aspect above all the others, and we are allowing it to flay us so it can appease its conscience.
Just an adjective
Let us not blur the distinction between ultra-Orthodox and modern Orthodox Jews (“Time to trash ‘ultra’? A response,” Comment & Features, June 23).
The former disgrace Jews and Israel, the latter dignify them.
The reason ultra-Orthodox Jews are called ultra-Orthodox is because they are extreme in their treatment of women, relations to non-Jews and attitudes toward secular culture and education.
They are a fast-growing segment of the Jewish population because of their high birth rate, not their fanaticism.
Many of my non-Jewish colleagues do not regard Israel as a country of dashing Jews in a benighted Middle East, but as a Jewish Pakistan when they see haredim dressed in black kaftans under a broiling Mediterranean sun forcing women to the back of the bus. The ghetto garb is based on an obsession with distancing themselves as much as possible from non-Jews and non-haredi Jews.
Modern Orthodox Jews believe in integrating Judaism with modernity and Zionism. In Israel, the writer S.Y. Agnon and the mathematician Robert Aumann, both modern Orthodox Jews, won Nobel Prizes. In addition, modern Orthodox rabbis are proud of their “Rabbi Dr.” title because a PhD enhances a Jew.
Not for them the absurdity of not studying English, math and science.
Cause and effect
In “What hath Bernie wrought?” (Washington Watch, June 23), Douglas Bloomfield draws parallels between Bernie Sanders and Ehud Barak. He purports that they have parallel messages regarding the Netanyahu government’s “inflaming passions and causing fear” and asserts that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “swinging Israel so far to the right that it is alienating young American Jews.”
Our current government, and several before, reflect the democratic views of the majority of Israelis who came to understand the failures of Barak and his liberal cohorts. Netanyahu is not leading us astray. He and his coalition partners are fulfilling the will of middle Israelis who understand too well that the desire for peace notwithstanding, it takes real partnership to make it happen.
Bloomfield also says that large chunks of American Jewry, having become more American than Jewish and having assimilated in record numbers, are losing their attachment to Israel.
It is not Netanyahu or Israeli lawmakers who are alienating America’s liberal Jews. It is the liberal Jews’ rejection of tradition that has caused them to reject Israel.
Expense accounting
I read with incredulity “Netanyahu spent NIS 2 million on residences – report” (June 20).
However, the report fails to mention that of the 1,300 receipts available under freedom of information laws, 220 were withheld, amounting to roughly half a million shekels.
It was claimed that revealing these documents would encroach upon the privacy of the prime minister’s family. But if they were paid for by the state, the information, as in any democratic country, should be released, or the prime minister should reimburse the state accordingly.
COLIN L. LECI Jerusalem