Letters to the Editor: January 13, 2016

Dead terrorists have lost any entitlement to a normal burial.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Still vulnerable
With regard to “Erdan delays releasing body of Tel Aviv shooter Milhem” (January 11), if we don’t want funerals turned into terrorist-supporting events, we do not release bodies.
Dead terrorists have lost any entitlement to a normal burial.
When Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza praised the terrorist Nashat Milhem and said he had “shamed the Zionists and caused hysteria,” was he wrong? I think not.
We sought help from the Palestinian Authority in searching for Milhem. You know you have reached rock bottom when you call out to your enemy for help.
From the first moment we gave up Jewish land to our enemies, we lost our independence and ability to enter parts of our land, enabling terrorism to thrive.
Nevertheless, we apparently can rest easy. According to your January 1 article “Ya’alon: Our enemies know we’ll strike back hard – from the air, sea or land,” our country, according to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, “has advanced air capabilities to send its aircraft anywhere, and hit ‘those who constantly seek our harm, and to disrupt the lives of Israeli residents....”
So why are we still being harmed and having our lives disrupted? We have never been more vulnerable and unprotected!
Matter of fear
In “Israeli Arabs and our moral compass” (Comment & Features, January 11), Dov Lipman draws patently wrong conclusions.
Rabbi Lipman notes two recent incidents. In one, Israeli passengers on an Aegean Airlines flight to Israel demanded that Israeli Arabs be removed from the aircraft. In another, passengers on a Tel Aviv-bound bus demanded that an elderly Arab man who was mumbling in Arabic be removed from the vehicle.
What both these incidents manifest is not a loss of moral compass. Rather, they reflect our paralytic fear in the face of unceasing terror.
We know right from wrong.
We have taught the world to appreciate the difference. Yet my immediate concerns center on my mother-in-law, a survivor of Majdanek, who panics at the mere thought of venturing out of our home for fear of repeated victimization, and on my daughter, who had to “take the chance” and go to grad school in Herzliya the other day, dreading the news of a terrorist suspect reported on the loose.
It is the culture of hate and the scourge of anti-Semitism and all its offshoots, from PA incitement and its western complicity and enablement, to B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence and BDS, which make a mockery of meaning and morals.
Our moral compass is set right. Very much so. It is a matter of fear, plain and simple.
Beit Shemesh
Rough, gruff, tough
I am glad that the Washington director of Agudath Israel has received official recognition for his efforts to ease the path of Orthodox Jews passing through American security checks (“Rabbi gets US Homeland Security award for airport screening aid,” January 11).
It is not only in the US where there is an issue. The same problem is endemic at Asian airports, where security staff members have not been briefed about the cultural mores of Jewish passengers.
One instance is an officious person at Beijing Airport insisting on her right to open up my tefillin, and my insistence that these were religious objects not to be broken apart. Another is the number of times my wife and I have had security people wanting to remove my kippa and her hat, not to speak of their suspicion of other religious appurtenances in our hand luggage, including packaged kosher food.
Unfortunately, many airport security personnel in Asia cannot speak or understand English, and even if they do, they only know enough to be rough, gruff and tough.
The writer is emeritus rabbi of the Great Synagogue in Sydney.
Bashing Deri
I totally disagree with your January 11 editorial “Deri’s return.” It is the highlight of your constant Deri bashing.
You ask rhetorically how many of us would trust a convicted felon. Well, why should we trust anyone in politics? Is a politician more trustworthy because he or she has never been found guilty in a court of law? Deri has done his time. Leave him alone. If he stays clean and serves the country, he’ll have done better than many others who never tripped up. Good for him and good for us. If not, he’ll go to jail again. What’s the problem? To divide mankind into two kinds – the good ones and the bad ones – is un-Jewish.
We all have good and not-sogood sides. Our primary fight is not against the bad ones, but first of all against our own evil inclinations. This does not get any easier by pointing fingers and pretending that we ourselves are of a higher quality.
He wants to help
I am writing to support Barry’s Shaw’s contention that a privately funded coordinating organization is necessary to promote Israel’s PR around the world, particularly against the organized BDS network (“Advocacy toward a better future,” Original Thinking, January 10).
Back in the 1980s, when I was chairman of the Israel and Middle East Committee of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington, I saw the need for pro-Israel pamphlets on campuses.
I proposed that the JCC support such outreach. It refused; it did not want to be doing Israel’s job. So I approached the Israeli Embassy.
But it, too, demurred, saying it did not want to be seen to be influencing opinion on American campuses.
Eventually, I was helped to find suitable sponsors. In fact, some 50,000 copies of two pamphlets – “Israel: The Facts” and “The USA and Israel: A Comparison of Two Allies” – were distributed.
At that time, I suggested to the embassy that it establish an Israeli PR center in Washington. It once again demurred. But officials told me that such a center had been established by the embassy in London, and provided me with access when I next visited the UK.
There I discovered that the center was on the top floor, actually in the attic of the embassy in Kensington Palace Green. This was a “public relations center” with no public access. When I pointed out the futility, embassy staffers were not amused. I asked where their material came from and was told Jerusalem.
In Jerusalem, I visited the company producing the materials.
When I asked how to go about producing such pamphlets, they laughed and explained that nothing could be done without the prior approval of not only the Foreign Ministry, but also the Prime Minister’s Office, since everything published had to conform to current government policies.
In other words, it was an impossible task. There was no ability to respond quickly to media lies about Israel. My conclusion was that it would never work, and I gave up.
Maybe now is a better time, given the success of the mounting campaign of delegitimization against Israel – which the government is clearly incapable of responding to.
She objects
We are all settlers. We settled this land, and I object to the way The Jerusalem Post uses the word. The latest instance is in “Gush Etzion’s boundaries expanded to include new Jewish tourist center” (January 7).