Letters to the Editor, November 2, 2020: Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel

The readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel
Regarding “18-year-old born in J’lem gets first US passport with birthplace listed as Israel” (November 1), two huge kol hakavods:
1) To Dr. Rabbi Ari and Naomi Zivotofsky, who fought injustice, battling all the way up to the Supreme Court for the simple right to have the word “Israel” appear on their son’s passport. They fought for thousands of us who couldn’t believe the harmful anti-Israel bias and injustice of prior American administrations.
2) To US President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, US Ambassador David Friedman, special adviser Jared Kushner and their hard-working associates, for the many beneficial things they have done for Israel and the region – symbolic and actual – over the past four years to rectify the faulty policies and positions of US leaders who came before them.
In a related item, “Dominican Republic to weigh relocating embassy” (November 1) notes that a half dozen countries have now announced that they are interested in or in the process of joining the US and Guatemala by moving their embassies to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital.
No matter who wins the US election tomorrow, the ripple effect of the bold and correct actions taken by the Trump administration will continue to radiate outward for years to come – and with it, bring welcome change and earn our enduring gratitude.
Tuvia Bonner
Petah Tikva
Regarding “Did the US just recognize Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank?” (JPost.com, October 28), the answer to the headline question is, “No.”
But in allowing Jerusalem, Israel to be listed on American passports as the birthplace of Americans born in Jerusalem and allowing co-operation between American universities and Israeli schools located over the Green Line, America has again acknowledged that Israel has valid claims on Jerusalem and on areas liberated in the Six Day War.
This says nothing about how the regions are governed and where borders between Israel and any future Palestinian state will be drawn.
Let’s hope the inflexible Palestinian leaders get the message that they can no longer unilaterally reject every offer. They need to prove that they truly want a state for their own people and that they are ready to prepare their people for the compromises necessary for life in a state co-existing peacefully with the nation-state of the Jews.
Toby F. Block
Atlanta, GA
A parent’s role, apparently
The point is missed about who supports rape culture in Israel (“MK blames racy video by 19-year-old pop singer for sustaining rape culture,” October 29). The video has plenty of objectifying, tantalizing, provocative parts. It states the obvious that guys like to look at women. Nothing new under the sun on any count. Don’t like it? Don’t watch it.
What the article misses is that there is only one category of people who support rape culture: parents who do not raise their children to understand their own sexuality, the rights of others, how drugs and alcohol affect their judgment and what is criminal. This is not a casual subject for a 10-minute “sit down” at age 15. This is a conscious effort by parents to make children aware of their feelings and urges and how to control their behavior, presented and reinforced multiple times at age-appropriate times in their childhood.
Jill S. Crollick, MD
High time to pay for crime
I add my support to the US Department of Justice and the Lawfare project to extradite terrorist Ahlam Tamimi for her role in the 2001 suicide bombing at the Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem (“Lawfare project looks to extradite convicted Palestinian terrorist to US,” Jpost.com October 31).
The attack was deliberately planned by her to have maximum impact on innocent adults and children enjoying their lives: 15 people were murdered and 130 injured. Tamimi was given 16 life sentences but was released by Israel in the 2011 Gilad Schalit deal. When she heard in jail that she had murdered eight children, the cowardly monster smiled and said she regretted the number was not higher.
But more than the DoJ, all Israelis should implore King Abdullah the Second and his government to release Tamimi to full justice on earth for her crimes: both as our “peace partners” and due to the new attitudes coming to the region.
David Smith
The man who got Mir in the clear
With great interest I read Zvi Hauser’s “Persona non grata no more: Chiune Sugihara” (October 29). It is pleasant to be able to confirm that the historical facts are correct – except for one detail.
Setsuzo Kotsuji was not the “only” Japanese Hebrew scholar. Another Japanese Hebrew scholar was Prince Mikasa, a younger brother of the former emperor Hirohito. His interest in Hebrew was not in his capacity as prince, but as a professor of Middle Eastern studies, which he taught at one of Tokyo’s universities. I had the pleasure and honor to be his Hebrew teacher from 1958 to 1963 when I stayed in Japan as the first Israeli student who was granted a scholarship by the Japanese Ministry of Education for studies in Japan. I still have Rosh Hashanah greeting cards in perfect Hebrew that the prince used to send me every year after my return to Israel.
In the Hebrew class was a young girl called Kikue Iguchi, who later came to Israel as a student of Jewish studies at the Hebrew University. She later became known as Kikue Eppstein and died in Jerusalem in 2019 at the age of 81.
Dr. Ury Eppstein
Within the rescue efforts of this outstanding diplomat, one should remember that he saved also the whole Yeshiva Mir, one of the biggest yeshivot in Lithuania, by granting all the rabbis and scholars transit visas to Japan. The entire yeshiva population was allowed by the Soviets by special permit, to travel on the Trans-Siberian Express until reaching the most eastern port of Vladivostok, from where they embarked to Japan.
From there, they continued their journey to Shanghai, where the yeshiva established itself in one of the biggest synagogues in town. Torah learning continued there continuously until the end of World War II.
Thereafter, most of them returned to Palestine, and a smaller group went to the USA. Here in Israel, they re-established the famous Mir Yeshiva, which is today one of the biggest yeshivot in the world.
Shlomo Feldman
Bye Bye Matti
Ruthie Blum’s report of “Matti Caspi’s exit stage left” (October 30) reminded me of an episode of Po-Politika on Israel TV many years ago. Five academics were staunchly criticizing the political situation of the day (much like today’s dysfunctional government) and threatening ever more loudly to leave Israel and set up their version of governance in Africa.
Another participant around the table, who had been waiting to speak on a different subject entirely, impatiently interrupted the proceedings by overriding the loud voices with a dismissive wave of her hand and an eloquent YA’LA BYE.
My thoughts exactly.
Eva Katz
Pride in Biden
In “Passions rise to the surface for Jews as election Day Nears (November 1), a quote attributed to a certain “Zachary” states in part that Biden has “for many years been against a two-state solution.”
It is one thing to offer differing viewpoints but quite another for the paper to publish a statement without correction, or indeed at all, which anyone with even a casual understanding of the issues would know to be blatantly false.
There has never been any doubt that Biden supports a two-state solution. In fact, the extent of such support has been a bone of contention between the administrations Biden has worked with and the current Israeli government. Ironically, one of the few things Hamas, Representative Tlaib and her ilk and certain settlers who cannot even support Trump’s most generous peace plan have in common is a desire for a one-state solution.
Jacob Steiner
Woodmere, New York
In “Two years after the Tree of Life shooting, the world feels dark. We must be the light” (October 29), former US vice president Joe Biden speaks of President Donald Trump saying that neo-Nazis in Charlottesville were “very fine people,” when in fact the media doesn’t report that those words were taken out of context of the president’s speech.
Will Biden be good for Israel? We can only look back on his most recent “job” as the vice-president to see that he did very little in the way of promoting the relationship between the US and the Jewish state. The final nail in the coffin of those eight years of Obama/Biden was UN Resolution 2334, stating that Israeli settlement activity constitutes a “flagrant violation” of international law.
Debra Forman
Joe Biden’s article in commemoration of the heinous murder of 11 Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue is touching but rings hollow.
The rhetoric is precisely what would be expected of a candidate for the highest office in America seeking the “Jewish vote,” but actions – or lack thereof – speak louder than words. As the Democratic Party’s nominee, Biden is its leader. In the first debate with Donald Trump, he famously said that he is the Democratic Party. If so, why has he kept his counsel regarding members of his own party, such as Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib who have made blatantly antisemitic comments?
Biden urges us not to “stand silent in the face of evil and prejudice.” He pronounces “the necessity of refusing to stand idly by”; of “the urgency of speaking the truth.” Lofty and inspiring words. Emphasizing the imperative of denouncing the evil of antisemitism “no matter the source,” why has he not called out Linda Sarsour or Louis Farrakhan for their blatant antisemitism? Why has he tolerated the refusal of his own party to condemn antisemitism as discriminatory racism in proposed federal legislation?
Given the urgency of speaking the truth, why perpetuate the debunked lie that Trump praised neo-Nazis as “very fine people” at Charlottesville? Joe Biden disingenuously, perhaps even cynically, usurped the occasion of the sad anniversary of the Pittsburgh tragedy to garner sympathy and votes from the Jewish community.
Joel Kutner
Half of a staff
Hadassah in talks for Dubai hospital reports that Hadassah-University Medical Center is contemplating relocating some of its doctors and nurses to Dubai." At a time when Israel is strapped for medical personnel to deal with its own overload of sick patients, how can this hospital plan on what sounds like a permanent arrangement to devoid itself of needed medical staffing?
Gary Steinman, MD, PHD
Taking Baskin to task
Regarding “Changing the reality in which we live” (October 29), Gershon Baskin’s editorials have a basic flaw: He sees the Arab-Israeli conflict in black and white – Arabs being the good guys and Israelis, the bad.
1) “Many Palestinians live in cages.” What does that even mean?
2) “Their towns and cities are invaded by Israeli soldiers at any given time.” False. Soldiers have no desire to risk their lives for no good reason. They enter towns in pursuit of criminals, just as police do everywhere.
3) Checkpoints and blockades are set up to hinder terrorism, not harass people.
4) The Arab economy is controlled by PA/Hamas corrupt politicians, not Israelis.
5) Arab “demands for freedom and independence” are finally being seen for what they are: a desire to ethnically cleanse the Middle East of “infidels.”
From 1948 to 1967, Israel’s neighbors sent fedayeen to harass and kill Jews. All of Israel was considered illegitimate. After the Six Day War, there were no barriers. Everyone traveled back and forth across the 1949 armistice lines to work, shop and play. The 1987 intifada hindered this easy movement and the Second Intifada in 2000, with its massive murderous attacks ended almost all interaction.
The Israeli “delusion that they can make peace with the entire region” without a PA veto has now proven itself to be a fact. It was not the PA’s lack of “basic human and political rights” but their intransigence that led Arab states to warm up to Israel.
Israel has made dramatic moves for peace over the decades. It is now time for the Palestinian Arabs to step forward, to show a willingness to address the ‘Peace to Prosperity’ plan and to begin teaching their children to live cordially alongside the Jewish state.
Len Bennett, Author of Unfinished Work
Ottawa, On.
Eat wheat, not meat
All four articles in the November 1 “Health and Science” page point to the importance of shifts to vegetarianism – and preferably veganism:
1) “Are Israel’s cities ready for the climate crisis?” Animal-based agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, more than the entire transportation sector, according to the 2006 UN Food and Agriculture report “Livestock’s Long Shadow.”
2) “Colon cancer screening should start at age 45, not 50.” According to many peer-reviewed articles, shifting to a plant-based diet sharply reduces the risks for colon cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
3) “COVID’s cognition costs? Some patients’ brains may age 10 years.” COVID-19 and several other pandemics, including MERS, SARS, Ebola, swine flu and bird flu were reportedly caused by the massive mistreatment of animals, so shifting away from animal-based diets would reduce risks of future pandemics.
4) “On the moon, water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink (yet)” On an increasingly water-scarce Earth, it takes up to 13 times as much water per person on an animal-based diet than for a person on a vegan diet.
Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island