Letters to the Editor February 17, 2021: Bone-picking zone

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
 Bone-picking zone
I have a bone to pick with The Jerusalem Post.
Regarding “KKL-JNF wants to buy privately held land for residential use” (February 15), there are many ways to accurately report new to and write headlines for articles. 
The headline above would have been true and accurate, but that is not the actual headline you ran. Instead, the Post wrote and published this headline: “KKL-JNF wants to buy Palestinian land for settlers (my italics).” It is no secret that our enemies have invested heavily in loading those terms to serve an anti-Israel agenda – “Palestinians” (which formerly referred to Jews) was adopted to make the Arabs, not the Jews, sound indigenous and “settlers” is used to portray Jews living in their homeland as foreign invaders).
After reading the article, I searched social media and discovered – no surprise – that the Post article was pounced on by numerous anti-Israel sites and used to vilify Israel.
You are running a business and I get that using loaded terms like “settlers” in the headline (instead of impartial terminology) will boost the story’s SEO value, but is that really what is most important to the Post?
I also have a bone to pick with the Union of Reform Judaism, who, according to the article, issued a pathetic press release saying, “Especially at this moment when Israel is looking to forge a strong relationship with the Biden administration, this unilateral move could be inflammatory and harmful.” 
In response, 
1) We should never refrain from doing what is important and morally right merely to kowtow to a foreign politician, and
2) Buying land, which by definition requires two consenting partners, is not a “unilateral move.” Our Reform brethren herein demonstrate that their argument is without merit by resorting not only to loaded language but to outright falsehood.
Might the Post’s headline writers consider avoiding the use of language that unnecessarily plays into the hands of our detractors?
Beit Shemesh
Regarding “Settlers torch Palestinian vehicle, throw stones at homes in village near Nablus” (February 15), the Jerusalem Post’s one-sided reporting of the incident in Kusra near Nablus on Shabbat is exactly the way papers from abroad would report this incident, that Israelis started with the Palestinians. 
Was the report checked or did the writer rely only on the words of the left-wing activist Yesh Din NGO? Why is there no mention of a response from the Jewish residents there? Were they even contacted and given an opportunity to tell their side of the story?
In my humble opinion, I don’t think those accused would start fires on Shabbat or throw stones for no reason. Yesh Din did not say what provoked this incident. As for the theft of agricultural equipment, I think that the boot is on the other foot.
Petah Tikva
At the top of the front page of The Jerusalem Post’s popular Friday edition (February 12) is a full-page banner headline written in large print: “Argentinian rabbi in Israel wanted by Interpol for suspected sex abuse.”  
Is this really the most important piece of news to be featured in the paper’s most prominent and visible position and continued at great length on pages 1 and 10?
Is this our greatest priority, of greatest importance to us? I was amazed and ashamed.
Kiryat Ono
Kudos to your paper for publishing the articles of Prof. Ari Zivotofsky. His writing and opinions are insightful, articulate and eloquent.
“A contrast in responding to a tragedy” (February 9) is a good example, comparing praiseworthy examples of responses to tragedy by Prof. Roni Gamzu (to a coronavirus death) and Stephanie Pollack (to a motorcyclist’s death) to the deafening silence from the police regarding their unexplained involvement in the death of 16-year-old Ahuvia Sandak.
I’m glad that you raise the level that your paper sometimes reaches by continuing to print the rambling drivel of our former prime minister, ex-con Ehud Olmert. 
Keep up the good work.
Land purchase banned?
Regarding “Reform Movement threatens petition on KKL land purchase” (February 16), I find it incredibly sad that the Reform Movement can go to such extremes to prevent Jews – and only Jews – from buying land that is available for sale in our national homeland. 
Thank God they were not around in the late 1800s and early 1900s when land purchases made creation of the state possible. Moreover, despite the claims of the Reform group, the purchases under consideration today would not stand in the way of an equitable two-state solution – unless one dreams of driving the Jews all the way back to the 1949 armistice lines.
The Reform Movement does not have to donate any money to the KKL if they do not agree with its democratic decisions and moral actions, nor do they have to buy a home and live in the land being bought, but they do not have the right – moral or legal – to force their racist, repugnant and harmful views on all of us.
Givat Ze’ev
Guile and style
Regarding “Trump acquitted in impeachment trial” (February 14), the recent impeachment fiasco in Washington and the weekly noisy demonstrations at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem share a characteristic – the participants are confused between politics and personality. 
Both former US president Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have excellent, although not perfect, records on both domestic and foreign affairs and have served their countries well, but their personal styles and idiosyncrasies are controversial. 
Apparently many people approve or disapprove of them based, not on their records, but on whether one would want to have them as a neighbor or an in-law
The stinkin’ Lincoln Project
Regarding “Sa’ar mum on Lincoln Project despite its scandal” (February 16), the Lincoln Project seems to be turning out to be a despicable group mired in pedophilia, sexual harassment, cover-ups and illegal pocketing of millions of dollars raised from Trump-hating individuals and corporations who wanted to see the former president vilified and smeared to influence voters against him.
It is disappointing to see that New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar hired these wizards of dirty tricks to help craft negative ads against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as they did against Donald Trump. And these payments to Lincoln Project advisers would be financed by our tax dollars?
This is “new hope” for Israel? Is it too much to hope that all candidates will avoid gutter politics and instead win votes by presenting their qualifications and platforms?
Unfortunately, the questionable judgment demonstrated by Sa’ar may boomerang against him and negatively affect his standing in the polls.
Kiryat Ono
Dubious Dubai vacationers
Regarding “Israelis stuck in Dubai fume as others travel freely” (February 14) – its a pandemic, a once-in-a-century event. Some 5,000 Israelis have lost their lives with no real end in sight. 
Some affluent few have escaped to Dubai for a vacation, but now the government has closed down the airport in order to try to save lives from further mutations of the COVID-19 virus brought in by air travel. The British variant, for instance, is more aggressive, more communicable and more dangerous. Other variants are just around the corner waiting in turn to infiltrate. 
But the vacationers are up in arms, they can’t return home. Their money is running out and they feel the government has let them down. The danger they pose to the rest of us who stayed home is of less interest to them. The next stage may be their demand that the government (i.e. you and me) will support their extended vacation. 
Will chutzpah never end? 
Wondering women
Regarding “As most adults get vaccinated against COVID, some wonder when life will return to normal” (February 15), I find it highly irresponsible that The Jerusalem Post would quote two women – one of whom would not even reveal her surname – saying that they will not vaccinate themselves or their families because they do not trust the vaccine.
This is promoting doubt and fake news about infertility during a time of a pandemic.
What scientific or medical qualifications do these two women have? Why are they given a platform to express their personal opinions, which are damaging to the community?
The goal of the poll
As the country approaches Knesset elections (“Election 2021 – here we go again,” February 12), why has the government not taken cognizance of the pandemic and resolved to eliminate congregation at the polling stations? Israel likes to be classified as a “hi-tech start-up nation” yet the Central Election Committee was apparently far too busy assigning the letter symbols to the various new parties standing for election to consider eliminating social interaction in polling stations, thus avoiding spreading the virus and its mutants.
Since the Knesset dissolved on December 22, we have not been advised of any precautions or alternative means of voting. Voting could be through home terminals for the vast majority of the voting population who have their own PCs, mobile phones or iPads – reducing social interaction. The country has sufficient world-renowned cyber security companies; it would not require much effort on their part to do this with a high level of security against potential fraud. So my question is, “Why has nobody apparently bothered to do this? Do we still have to use the paper slip methodology as per the Zionist Congress?”
For those who lack these facilities it would be as normal. Given that it is a small minority, fewer people would congregate at the polling station. 
What has the government been doing about this in the past six weeks?
Regarding “The Bibi package deal” (February 16), I appreciated Paul Gross’s informative well-argued article on the dangers of re-electing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. However, he assumes that any new coalition would contain only those parties that wholly agree with the Prime Minister’s supposed judicial maneuvers to protect himself. But there is no indication that Yamina leader Naftali Bennett would in any way agree to such maneuvers even if he joined a coalition, and Bennett’s number two, Ayelet Shaked, has indicated she would not go along with such a process. 
One other cautionary point. While the article makes a strong case for not re-electing the prime minister, it does not give any hint of a realistic alternative that might provide the country with the kind of new government it urgently needs now.
Purim particulars
Time and time again I have seen in articles about Purim this year – usually about the lockdowns being discussed – that outside Jerusalem Purim is on Friday and in Jerusalem, on Sunday. 
This is not entirely accurate. 
Shushan Purim comes out on Shabbat. Therefore, the mitzvot and customs of the day are divided into three. We have a rule that in order to prevent people from carrying things not related to Shabbat on Shabbos (and where there is no eiruv, nothing at all), we do not read Megillah on Shabbat (nor do we blow shofar on Rosh Hashanah or use a lulav on Sukkot). But Megillah reading must be on the day, so we do Megillah on Friday with the rest of the world. 
We don’t deal with money on Shabbat, and giving alms to the poor is in conjunction with Megillah so that’s Friday as well. Additions to prayers can be done on Shabbat, so Al Hanisim is added to Shmona Esre and to birkat hamazon (the grace after meals) and the extra Torah reading is fine.
Sunday is the seuda (meal/party) and mishloach manot.
So it is true that any big gatherings in Jerusalem would be on Sunday, but the holiday for us here is an entire weekend affair.
Cancel cancer
Kol hakavod to Tamir Gilat for his article, “I am not the story of my life” (February 14), in which he urges donations to the “great cancer researchers of Israel” since “each donation saves lives.” While cancer research is very valuable, it is important that we utilize the current extensive knowledge about how to prevent cancer.
Many peer-reviewed studies in respected medical journals have shown a strong connection between the consumption of meat and other animal products and cancer and other life-threatening diseases. In Save Yourself from Breast Cancer, breast cancer surgeon Robert M. Kradjian analyzes many medical reports and concludes, “Diet is the primary genesis of breast cancer.” 
While humans are far closer to herbivorous animals than omnivorous or carnivorous ones, in terms of our teeth, hands, digestive system, stomach acids and other aspects, most of us have omnivorous diets, including much meat and other animal products.
Since the preservation of human life is such an important mitzvah, it is urgent that the Israeli medical profession urges shifts to well-balanced plant-based diets. Such shifts would have the additional benefits of reducing climate change and other environmental threats, mistreatment of farmed animals, hunger, as well as the wasteful use of land, energy, water and other resources. 
Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island
A captive audience
Regarding “Knesset panel debates linking Gaza shots to captives’ release” (February 16), it’s a difficult call. 
On one hand, Israel has a strong self-interest that the Gaza and West Bank populations be vaccinated against COVID, since who knows how many infiltrations there are daily across our porous borders. Each infiltrator is a potential carrier of the virus and its variants. 
On the other hand, it should be made absolutely clear to all involved, friends and enemies, that Israel bears no responsibility for the health or welfare of Gaza or West Bank residents. Otherwise we can expect the Palestinians to demand their moral and legal right for medical treatment in Israeli hospitals – for example, free access to the new Hadassah antibody cocktail infusion to reduce serious COVID cases.
 Its a slippery slope. Further down the line the Palestinians will demand travel expenses for their delegation to the International Criminal Court to present their case accusing us of war crimes.