Letters to the Editor December 21, 2020: Jab-berwocky

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
It was interesting to read David Brinn’s “How not to get a jab” (December 20).
Like Brinn, I am over 60, a member of Maccabi and I received an email from the health fund on Thursday informing me that it is possible to make an appointment for the coronavirus vaccination. I tried calling, but either kept getting a busy signal or getting put on hold listening to that beautiful tune. I decided to give it a break and to call on Friday morning. It was a bit after this that I heard on the news that the Maccabi call center had collapsed under the load.
Again, like Brinn, I tried again later and started getting busy signals. I decided to persevere (i.e. be stubborn) and kept calling. I finally got the recorded greeting and followed the instructions to get in the waiting line to make an appointment. I was on the phone for quite some time listening to the Maccabi tune. Unlike David, however, I did not hang up. Sure enough, in the end I was connected to a human being who was able to give both my wife and me appointments for the vaccination for two days hence.
My perseverance paid off in more ways than one. I got the appointments and was able to sleep that night without being haunted by the Maccabi tune.
License to kvell
I was very interested to see the contrast: “Floridians can now ‘stand with Israel’ on license plates” and alongside it “Chinese Jews celebrate Hanukkah in secret amid gov’t crackdowns” (December 16).
The first article reminded me of vacations to Florida from the UK, particularly when on a cruise I was introduced to somebody at dinner who announced, “I’m Herb and I’m a Jewish husband.’
Before making aliyah more than nine years ago, we would never have spoken like that to strangers, and one would always keep his or her head down, literally, until you knew to whom you were speaking!
Hence the main reason for making aliyah. Even though there are still many differences in culture, one feels safe and comfortable here.
Tel Mond
Callous Canadian canard
Regarding “Canada defends pro-Palestinian vote at UN General Assembly” (December 18), no, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, you cannot put lipstick on this pig. You and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government hold anti-Israel views.
Why else would you line up with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the other dictators against one of the most dynamic and democratic states in the world? Are you jealous of Israel’s importance in high tech, agriculture, medical and water innovations?
What has Canada, secure behind three oceans and the US, contributed to the world? Would anyone notice if we disappeared? So, explain why you voted with those who want Israel gone?
Israel is considered the eighth most important country; Canada is famous internationally for Trudeau’s socks.
Our pandering to despots hasn’t helped us yet.
Shame on us.
Ottawa, On.
It is strange that Canada now wholeheartedly supports “the right of self-determination for both Palestinians and Israelis” in the UNGA, yet has vociferously opposed the same right for the struggling Quebecois since before 1980! In the interest of fair play, I propose the comments made by “a Canadian representative” be amended as follows:
“Canada’s vote today is a reflection of our long-standing commitment to the right of self-determination for Quebecois. The resolution before us today focuses on two issues, the right of self-determination of the Quebec people and the need for all countries to do what they can to support the successful creation of a Quebec state, living in peace and security with its neighbor, Canada.”
Hypocrisy, thy name is Trudeau.
A vote for no election
Regarding “Slim hopes remain to avoid election” (December 17), when our people are bankrupt, hungry, ill and dying and extra funding would help alleviate much suffering, how in good conscience can our addle-brained government officials debate about spending millions of shekels on yet another worthless election that nobody wants, except possibly those politicians who seek to boost their own egos and power?
There are laws on the books for dealing with emergencies and this pandemic surely qualifies. We need leaders whose brains and hearts are on the same page.
We’ve got to stop meating like this
Regarding “It’s not the plate, it’s what’s on it” (December 17), it is indeed disconcerting that some people are worrying about disposable plates or single-use straws, while continuing to subsidize horrendous animal torture and slaughter, the devastation of our planet (and our own health) by eating meat.
For many reasons I am proud to be a Jew and our history of being kind to animals is high on the list. If every parent of every religion instilled in their children at an early age that we do not harm any of God’s creatures (or pay someone else to harm then on our behalf), our world would be a better place. For all of us.
I have been vegan for some 40 years (and Jewish for 75!) and have trouble aligning what I know about Judaism with the seeming disdain that I see some fellow Jews have for animals.
Compassionate Israelis are heralded by many of us around the globe for all of the advances they have made for promoting a compassionate lifestyle and we are so grateful for the estimated 10% (higher than anywhere else) who are vegans. But that nonetheless translates to 90% of Israelis who are not.
I am grateful that many of our rabbis have been encouraging fellow Jews to consider “L’chayim” to include the non-human animals with whom we share our planet. And kol ha kavod to Avi Blau for seeing the whole picture.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Regarding “European Court of Justice approves Belgian kosher slaughter ban” (December 18), Belgium lawmakers want the soon-to-be-eaten animals stunned before being slaughtered with a sharp knife and a quick throat slit as required by kashrut. In some other European countries this edict is already in force.
Orthodox European Jewry feels the ban denies their basic human and civil rights. The ban raises the price of kosher meat since it must be imported and may cause shortages.
I for one am not sympathetic to this Jewish cause. If the price of meat rises, let the well-to-do Jews support the less fortunate. A mitzvah. If there are shortages, let the Orthodox Jewish community, for which kosher meat is a “life or death” issue, invest in warehouse refrigeration and stock up on supplies.
 Aside from these trivial solutions, there are also silver linings to this situation. Let Orthodox Jews eat less meat and move closer to a plant-based diet. They will thus be healthier and live longer – yet another mitzvah.
 If this is impossible for the confirmed meat lovers, let them emigrate to Israel, a great mitzvah. In Israel they can eat animals to their hearts content, slaughtered by a quick and sharp knife-thrust to the throat.
Would paneling
Regarding the lengthy article about the recent panel on antisemitism sponsored by the anti-Zionist group Jewish Voice for Peace (“Speakers at antisemitism panel: We don’t hate Jews,” December 18), it is extremely troubling that The Jerusalem Post would report extensively on an event in which four speakers known for their outspoken criticism of Israel took part, yet failed to adequately cover the first-ever US government-sponsored conference on Internet antisemitism.
That ground-breaking event, titled “Ancient Hatred, Modern Medium,” was hosted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and brought together over 30 international leaders of government, religious and civil society, social media platforms, and academia. Israeli participants included PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Strategic Affairs Orit Farkash-Hacohen, MK Michal Cotler-Wunsh, Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer and MFA representative Ambassador Akiva Tor.
The goal of the conference was to devise effective counter-strategies to combat antisemitism online while upholding America’s longstanding commitment to free speech. The conference received rave reviews, with several viewers declaring that it was among the best discussions of how to fight antisemitism they had ever seen.
The Post’s minimal reporting on the US conference in no way negates the importance of this topic to the Jewish community worldwide. All those interested in joining the fight against this increasingly dangerous phenomenon are urged to view the conference on the Department of State’s website at: www.state.gov/anti-semitism-conference-2020
Zichron Yaakov
(The writer is former assistant US special envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism)
An anguished Anglo angle
Regarding “Anglo Israelis should play a formal role in Israel-Diaspora relations” (December 16), while Anglo Israelis can undoubtedly be a valuable bridge to Diaspora Jews in their former countries of residence, the argument that Diaspora leaders should be given a direct say in Israeli affairs is downright dangerous to Israel’s interests.
There is an old Jewish saying that one can’t dance at two weddings. Too often Diaspora Jewish leaders play local politics at Israel’s expense. They make public pronouncements on Israel’s policies as if they are spokespersons for Israel rather than their local Israeli ambassador.
Their viewpoints on Israel are clouded by the politics of the particular country they live in and by perceived self-interest of the Jewish communities that they represent. These mostly do not coincide with Israeli interests. This dangerous idea should be discarded immediately
Muffling misanthropic mufti mutterings
Regarding “PA mufti: No non-Muslims on Temple Mount” (December 16), it is not acceptable for a racist official to call to ban all humans of any religion other than his own from a site revered by the three Abrahamic faiths. This is a “reckless provocation and violation of international law and the legal and historical status quo” – to use his own words against him.
Language and actions imbued with such hatred and intolerance must always be highlighted and loudly condemned – not ignored and muffled.
As a result of the so-called Abraham Accords, Jordan now faces competition from Morocco and Saudi Arabia over Muslim seniority on the Temple Mount.
Where is there any concern with Jewish rights on the Temple Mount?
Israel has always respected the religious sites of non-Jews.
The Temple Mount was in our hands, Israeli and Jewish hands, but not for long.
Davis, CA
From a report in the news we learn that while they have ample funds to incentivize and reward terrorists and dig sophisticated tunnels to attack Israel, the leaders of the Palestinian Authority and Gaza have done almost nothing to purchase the coronavirus vaccine for their people.
This should be widely publicized and the organizations and countries around the world who fund them should take steps to exercise control over what their money is used for.
Rabbinic reflections and reveries
Regarding “A rabbinic role model for all” (December 20), as a former member of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, I well remember Rabbi Kenneth Brander shlit”a in the shul that day when the Yom Kippur War broke out. We all surrounded the non-Jewish security guard to listen to the news.
Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld ztz”l was not only my rabbi; as I was gabbai of his shul for eight years, he was also like a father to me. My family was close with his family and I still am one of the people who cannot tell from which side of the family the children are descended. The unity of the Schonfeld/Schindelheim family is a shining example to this very day.
At the unveiling of the matzeva of my wife Laura z”l only two short months ago, I was proud to open my remarks by saying that Rabbi Schonfeld played the greatest role in our decision to make aliya and give my wife, myself and our children the zechut of fulfilling the mitzva of yishuv Eretz Yisrael.
May his memory be a blessing for his family, for all his congregants, for all who knew him and for all of Klal Yisrael.
Ganei Modi’in
Once iPod a time
In “Justice at Last” (December 18), Greer Fay Cashman reported that Elihu Ben-Onn’s radio program on Kan 11- will no longer be heard after January 1.
Since privatizing, Kan 11 has successfully added excellent programs including Tehran, Maniac and most recently Valley of Tears. It is sad, though, that tried-and-true programs like Yaakov Ahi Meir’s Roim Olam and now Elihu Ben-Onn’s radio program have been discontinued.
As a news junkie, Yaakov Ahi Meir’s program was the closest we have to 60 minutes, and often included segments from the show. Elihu’s program was my ulpan. I looked forward to listening every Wednesday evening and learned so much about Jews living around the world.
Although we can listen to podcasts and watch TV programs whenever we want via the Internet, there was something special about having a constant radio program. I hope that Kan radio keeps Music Magic, which is on daily at 3 p.m.
Too big for its breaches
Leon Harris’s December 18 “Your Taxes” column outlines the Israel National Cyber Directorate’s (INCD) data security instructions published in the wake of the Shirbit data hack. He reports, among other things, that “the INCD recommends making [passwords] a long non-standard combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols.”
When I recently did the latest password reset for my own Israeli bank account Internet access, my password options were limited by the bank’s website to 12 characters which could only be majuscule Roman alphabet letters or numerals.
Clearly, the entities in the financial industry need to be current and on-program with the ever-evolving sound cybersecurity standards. But the INCD is yet another bureaucracy to which the heavily-regulated banking industry supposedly must answer and the Israeli bureaucracies are notorious for implementing mutually conflictive rules and programs.
The failure of the government bureaucracy to promptly and decisively bring the recent binary options fiasco under control gives the public little if any assurances that the INCD’s standards will percolate down to the banking industry’s individual customers before then next major data breach.
Petah Tikva