Letters to the Editor November 16, 2020: Carry the torch

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Carry the torch
In the past few days we, in Canada have witnessed the passing of two great religious leaders; Father John Walsh, a Montreal priest whose work in all communities won him the Order of Canada, and Jonathan Sacks, the chief Rabbi of England.
Both these men brought warmth, intellect and humanity that extended beyond their personal world.
In spite of their passing, let us hope that their ideals and devotion to the human experience have been passed on to carry the torch.
Jewry disconnect
I subscribe to Maariv and The Jerusalem Post. They belong to the same business group, but what a difference there is between them.
Take this recent example:
The Jerusalem Post reported on the death of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on the front page of the newspaper and since then articles have appeared almost daily in memory of this special person.
In Maariv, three days after his death, a small article appeared on page 12 about Prince Charles’s remarks, that “the world has lost a leader like no other.”
The huge difference between the two reports is another example of the alarming disconnect between Israel and Diaspora Jewry.
I got your back
Tanya White, (“Losing one of God’s greatest defenders,” November 11) has written a magnificent eulogy for Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, a magnificent leader of our generation.
It is so moving on so many levels; spiritually, emotionally and intellectually, emanating inventiveness in her depiction of the “heavenly conversation.”
It’s a colossal piece for one to keep in front of them as a moral compass to guide one in their actions, bringing to life the mishnaic statements of the sages in Pirkei Avot: “Apply your mind to three things and you will not come into the clutches of sin: Know what there is above you: an eye that sees, an ear that hears and all your deeds are written in a book.”
Imagine what a world it would be if we keep Tanya’s ideas in mind – and before acting – mankind actually takes a second to think about what conversations might go on in the heavenly “triage” area – after we act – assigning that very action to a certain side of the “ledger.”
It might actually help all of us to make God’s world a better place, thereby engaging in tikkun olam.
Mankind can walk before God with him knowing then that he hopefully is saying: “No worries, my dear human,” you have my back and I got your back. Thank you Tanya!
Order in the house
There are few statements more bothersome, even infuriating than the call of many rabbis for Jews “letaken olam” (to heal the world, no less).
Of course, it’s perhaps intended, more or less, as an allegorical message, as a call to ideal perfection.
But still it’s so out of step with our reality that it gnaws at your nerves – like fingernails scratching a blackboard.
On the one hand, and with all due respect, we have Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, a great Jewish leader, recently passed away, who taught the UK, the queen and many others that Judaism promoted a “dignity of difference” and that Jews try to “heal a fractured world” (Elliot Friedman’s column “My personal encounter with Rabbi Sacks, a Jewish leader who inspired our generation, Nov. 12).
What would the queen think if she read a parallel article in the same edition of the Post informing that senior religious-Zionist rabbis had denounced the contact of Rabbi Eliezer Melamed with Reform rabbis, who to their mindset have “uprooted everything of holiness in our country.”
I suggest a moratorium on the declarations of “tikkun olam” and “to be a light unto the nations” until we have set our own religious house in order.
Only then should we try to tackle healing a fractured world.
No logical answer
Veteran PLO leader Saeb Erekat died of coronavirus complications despite the “above and beyond” efforts of Israel’s best medical care, (“Saeb Erekat, longtime Palestinian negotiator, dead from coronavirus at 65,” November 11)
How many Jews were denied his hospital bed in this time of medical crisis I do not know.
I do know that many Israelis are alive despite the best efforts of Mr. Saeb Erekat and his Palestine Liberation Organization henchmen.
His death, despite the tender care and preferential treatment allotted him by the Israel he hated, signaled a three-day period of mourning in the “Palestinian terror Authority.”
His face is seen on billboards throughout the PA, next to his mentor, arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat.
Arab grief, indoctrinated to hate Jews by Erekat and co., is understandable. What is more difficult to understand is the outpouring of grief and sense of loss by many Israeli Jews.
They tell us, he was against violence, a man of peace. He never personally killed a Jew (either did Eichmann).
No, he did not kill any Jew with his hands as far as I know. He just spent his life libeling them, spilling their blood in every international arena and encouraging others to kill them. Other than that he was a true friend.
Without listing the many examples during his long career, suffice it to say that he consistently heaped lavish praise on killers of Jews and fought to reward them and their families with generous payments.
I think it is called pay to slay.
But he always spoke of a “two-state solution” and “a just solution to the refugee problem.” Twenty-five years after the Oslo hoax we understand what that means: The end of the Jewish state in an orgy of Jewish blood.
Is there any official PLO map that includes “pre-67 Israel” with whom they want to live peacefully side by side? The only ones being fooled are the Israeli Left, who pour out their hearts at the passing of this great friend of peace.
I don’t seem to ever remember a similar outpouring of leftist grief when plain everyday Jews were murdered by Erekat’s heroes during the “peace process.”
The feeling I get is that the Left is disinterested in that grief at best. Weren’t they the “price of peace”? Weren’t they just settlers who had no right to be where they were murdered?
What makes educated Jews so blind and so callous to their own people’s suffering while idolizing our enemies?
There is no logical answer. I have to think we are nearing a heavenly directed moment of truth – at last.
The best envoy
Danny Danon has been – in my opinion – the most successful ambassador to the UN that Israel has ever had, even surpassing Abba Eban (“Danon makes return with World Likud,” Nov, 9).
He has opened many doors in the UN and the world that were previously closed to Israel.
It is unimaginable that Miki Zohar who, again in my opinion, has been an unethical politician, is trying to oust him from the Likud.
He is following the path of his mentor, Prime MInister Benjamin Netanyahu, in getting rid of anyone who provides any competition. Such a step can only reduce supporters of the party.
This man would be a considerable asset to any other group he could join.
Naftali Bennett, are you paying attention?
Petah Tikva
Respect the past
Uri Regev’s article, “Israeli government ploy to prevent marriages through consulates,” Nov. 10, is based on a fundamental error as well as misunderstanding.
He considers Judaism as a faith/religion whereas by sociological and anthropological definitions, it is our national culture. A nation is formed by a common culture and the willingness of its members to abide by that culture. Regev’s ability to publish this article in a Jewish sovereign state is due to the fact that our ancestors were willing to sacrifice their lives in order to adhere to Judaism, as many of them actually did.
Without that sacrifice there would be no Jewish state today. This article conveys the message that the writer does not respect the fact that past generations of Jews gave their lives so that he could write this article today in a Jewish state.
The Israeli government, leading the largest Jewish organization in the world today, should not allow foreign consulates to execute acts that help encourage assimilation, which is the ultimate result of the writer’s idea.
Gan Yavne
Appreciate him
Regardless of one’s political views and feelings about US President Donald Trump’s personality and behavior, the Jewish obligation of hakarat hatov – appreciation – requires us to recognize the historic magnitude of the actions he has taken with regard to Israel.
Although many American presidents have been supportive of Israel, only two have taken actions that will undoubtedly be mentioned frequently in the history books: Harry Truman and Trump.
In the year 516, Cyrus, the Persian ruler, enabled the Jews to return to the Holy Land after 70 years of exile.
In 1948, Truman recognized the State of Israel only 12 minutes after it had been declared.
In 1953, a few months after leaving the presidency, Truman was brought to the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York to meet a group of Jewish dignitaries.
He was accompanied by his friend Eddie Jacobson, who introduced him by saying “This is the man who helped create the State of Israel.”
Truman said “What do you mean ‘helped create?’ I am Cyrus.”
During his tenure as president, among other actions beneficial to Israel, Trump moved the American Embassy to Jerusalem, the first formal recognition of the city as the capital of renewed Jewish sovereignty after almost 1,900 years of exile.
He also authorized that “Jerusalem Israel” be recorded as place of birth on American passports, a move that the State Department had refused to do since 1948.
Appreciation of these moves must be above politics.
No incentive
Dan Perry in “The Middle East braces for Biden shift,” November 10, saliently observes that “Journalists and diplomats present partition of the Holy Land as justice for the Palestinians, but mainly it’s a device to save Israel” as a Jewish Democratic state, which it won’t be due to demographics if all the land west of the Jordan River becomes one state.
True, a large majority of Israelis do not want to absorb millions of mostly hostile Arabs into their country, but an even larger majority of Israelis do not want to commit national suicide, i.e., 1967 borders.
As for the Palestinians, they seem to be quite satisfied living under the “undemocratic and often cruel” rule of the Palestinian Authority for the past 26 years and relying on charity from the UN, EU, the oil-rich Arab states and even the US until Trump came along.
As long as they continue to get that support, they will not budge from their demand for a full state on 1967 borders with full rights to maintain their own military, which Israel will never accept.
[Note that Perry wrongly attributes the words “undemocratic and often cruel” to the Israeli occupation. He should know better. In accordance with the Oslo Accords, administration of areas A and B are in the hands of the PA. Israel is not undemocratic or cruel.]
Perry goes on to pillory Trump’s Peace to Prosperity Plan even though it is the only pragmatic solution to the conflict.
Trump’s team begged PA leader Abbas to participate in the formulation of the plan but he utterly refused to even speak with anyone from the team.
The Trump team, in formulating the plan, pressured Israel to submit a detailed map indicating their absolute minimum security requirements, which they incorporated into the plan.
Abbas was asked to negotiate based on the plan, but he absolutely refused to even look at it.
The Trump team worked full time for more than years to develop a very detailed proposal to spend $50 billion to bring prosperity to the Palestinians.
How could Perry have the nerve to claim that Trump ”cared not a fig for the outrage of the Palestinians”?
So we will now probably have a Biden administration that will restore funding to the PA and UNWRA and start pressuring the Israelis to restrict building in Judea and Samaria and to negotiate based on 1967 borders.
The Palestinians will have no incentive to compromise, the Israelis will continue to insist on not committing suicide and the conflict on final borders will go on as it has been for the past 53 years.