Letters to the Editor November 25, 2020: Keep Pollard collared

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Keep Pollard collared
I was outraged to see the front-page article “Olmert: Don’t let Pollard make aliyah” (November 23). It is bad enough to give former prime minister Ehud Olmert op-ed space to state his views on Mideast politics, but now he has the gall to speak out against someone who spent decades in jail under horrible conditions, just so that people like Olmert could live in peace in Israel without being threatened by Saddam Hussein’s rockets.
Olmert should be ashamed to show his face in society in Israel. He is a convicted felon who fell from the heights of the mayoralty of Jerusalem into the muck of those who enrich themselves at the expense of others. Someone who disgraced himself, the city of Jerusalem and the whole country of Israel should have the common decency to lie low and avoid the public spotlight, especially when daring to use a public forum to spew hatred against a fellow Jew whose chief mistake was to trust that the State of Israel would have his back in times of trouble and would not lock its embassy doors when he needed a place of refuge.
We should welcome Jonathan Pollard back with open arms – if not give him a ticker-tape parade past Olmert’s old offices, whose character proves again that he should never inhabited.
I am amazed that The Jerusalem Post would give front-page coverage to the only Israeli prime minister to do jail time and also amazed at the temerity of the former premier to comment so negatively at this time of Israel’s great joy.
By what merit does the ex-con bestow upon himself the right to comment on anyone’s Zionism, let alone that of Pollard? Where was his Zionistic ardor when taking bribes for the construction of Jerusalem’s greatest eyesore?
The subhead adds helpfully, “Welcoming spy will anger Biden.” While the president-elect no doubt has plenty on his mind presently, Israel has surely learned not to cower in anticipation of upsetting “our ally and greatest friend.” Former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both realized Pollard’s value as a pawn, not doing what was right but rather using Pollard as a means to pressure Israel to make further concessions to the recalcitrant Palestinians.
Talk about people who are ungrateful. Ehud Olmert advises not to allow Jonathan Pollard into Israel because he was paid to spy for Israel and therefore doesn’t deserve to be allowed into Israel as he might negatively upset Israel America relations. Coming from someone who was convicted of accepting bribes for his own benefit and not doing any good for his country this is most shameful. Olmert got a light prison sentence for receiving much more in bribes than Pollard was paid. Pollard spent over 30 years in jail plus extra years on probation for being a Jewish patriot. The least he deserves is a welcome home to his country.
One would be hard-pressed to find an example of a more heartless and uncaring individual than Ehud Olmert, who has shamelessly suggested that a fellow Jew, who spent an excessive 30-year sentence in prison, should not be permitted to make aliyah if he so chooses, because it might anger Joe Biden.
By all means, continue to cruelly persecute Jonathan Pollard in his golden years in order to placate a politician who would not think more kindly of Israelis no matter what we do.
How far must we go to pander to a party that is rife with anti-Jewish and anti-Israel sentiment? If this is the type of gesture that must be made to stay on their good side, I think I prefer being on their bad side. There will never be enough compromises that the Jewish state could make in order to satisfy the “Squad” members who have referred to us as “occupiers” in our homeland, so I suggest that we all continue to occupy it and heartily welcome Pollard and his wife to live out their final years in a place that protects Jews and doesn’t make them scapegoats for indiscretions to which non-Jews receive far less punishment.
As for Olmert, who himself spent time behind bars, one might expect a little more compassion and humanity, but given his weekly dark articles that appear in The Jerusalem Post, it sounds as though he is not able to give what he doesn’t have – kindness, generosity and the type of forgiveness that everyone deserves.
Bat Yam
Kristall clear
Regarding “CNN’s Amanpour apologizes for comparing Trump-era to Kristallnacht” (November 17), by comparing the actions of US President Donald Trump with Kristallnacht, the worst Nazi pogrom against Jews prior to the actual Holocaust, Christiane Amanpour sank to the lowest levels of gutter journalism.
She also showed her ignorance by conflating Kristallnacht, which happened in 1938 with the infamous book burning that took place on May 10, 1933, and was the earliest act of trying to change Germany’s intellectual achievements.
Amanpour would have done better to compare the burning of books with the policy of her socialist “Cancel Culture” friends. As an 87-year-old eyewitness of both book burnings and Kristallnacht, I would gladly give her a history lesson of that period.
The Vershbow incident
Regarding “I had no idea Biden has a Jewish family. That’s actually good” (November 19), I respectfully suggest that Sophie Vershbow check her facts before putting pen to paper.
She berates Ivanka Trump for pulling her children out of a Jewish school, calling this a “shanda.” The fact of the matter is that the children were transferred to the Berman Hebrew Academy in Rockville, Md., a Modern Orthodox school that is more religiously observant than JPDS, the school they previously attended.
The climate in the US is tense enough and the hostility among segments of the Jewish population is tragic enough without fuel being added to the fire with incorrect information.
Beit Shemesh
Georgia on my mind
Alan Dershowitz is a jurist of international renown and one of the most persuasive supporters and defenders of Israel. So it is with a sense of respect and esteem that I take strong issue with items in his November 20 column “Will a candidate who has expressed anti-Israel views determine who controls the Senate?
After describing in detail what he labels as a blood libel against Israel by Reverend Raphael Warnock, the Democratic candidate for one of the two open senatorial seats from Georgia, he challenges Warnock to join him on a podcast to explore the issues.
Does Dershowitz really expect Warnock, whose biased views are long-held and on the public record for a significant number of years, to honestly retract his comments? Warnock is aware of the large Jewish voting population in the areas of Savanna and Atlanta so he will use the podcast as a platform provided by Dershowitz to mislead those potential voters.
Dershowitz further states that he would like to see a Warnock victory that would create a 50-50 tie in the Senate capable of being broken by future Vice President Kamal Harris. Harris is on record as promising a largely Arab audience in Michigan that, among other things, she would return the PLO mission office to Washington and restore American aid to the PLO. She repeated this promise in an interview with the Dearborn-based Arab American News.
If the Democrats win the two Georgia seats, the Senate, House of Representatives and Presidency will be will be in the control of a party that has moved far to the Left and is the home of a number of outspoken and influential anti-Israel elements like the so-called Squad.
 I don’t think that Dershowitz, a liberal Democrat and a person committed to the future of Israel and the Jewish people, would really appreciate that situation.
Like their strike
The Tel Aviv University researchers’ letter to Prof. Ariel Porat, President of Tel Aviv University (November 17) is an echo of the problems that the untenured lecturers at universities and colleges are facing as well. For the past five weeks there has been a strike, and so far there has been no progress and no mention of it in this newspaper. The students want an education and we want to give it to them – but not for free.
People with second and third degrees who have been teaching for years have had to work in more than one university or college in order to support their families. Low pay, restriction on the number of hours we are allowed to work, no benefits, no keren hishtalmut and no job security are the conditions that we want to change.
The five-week strike so far has only produced anger on the part of the students, and a huge show of disrespect for us lowly workers on the part of the Malag and others who are on the negotiating committee.
It is time for those in power to wake up and remember that the reputations of their institutions rest on the work of the thousands of untenured lecturers who work long hours – not only teaching, but preparing lessons and grading tests and other work. They should be fairly compensated.
American Jews and their views
Regarding Adam Epstein’s article “Response to Joel C Rosenberg by an American Jew” (November 22), I would mention three matters:
1. 80% of American Jews are marrying out (Recent Pew reports).
2. 75% of American Jews voted for the Democratic Party in the recent 2020 USA Election (press reports).
3. Approximately 4,000 years ago, when Moses led the Jewish People out of Egypt (the Exodus), 80% of the Jewish people remained in Egypt (Rabbinical commentators).
It is tragic that the assimilation that lost 80% of the Jewish People 4,000 years ago, is well on the way to repeating itself in the USA today. How many halachically Jewish grandchildren will there be in two or three generations in the USA?
I will not stoop to comment on Epstein’s article, which made his views quite obvious, but I beg him to learn a little about our people’s history and teachings before it is too late for him and his family. We desperately don’t want to lose them forever.
PS: Regarding Len Bennett’s November 23 letter “Show 2334 the door,” a gentle and respectful nudge, San Remo was 1920 not 2019 (these wretched typos) and the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine (1922), was actually given to His Britannic Majesty.
According to Haley Cohen (“The Orthodox monopoly and the Biden administration,” November 20 ) American Reform leaders are hoping that the Biden administration will advocate for religious pluralism in Israel, in particular with respect to conversion and prayer at the Kotel. As she also quotes the Pew index that only 5% of Israelis identifying with Conservative and Reform Judaism combined, they are asking for the tail to wag the dog.
It is unconscionable for Reform Rabbi Joshua Stanton to speak about their members being “disenfranchised from spiritual practice in the own homeland.” He knows full well that they can practice their form of religion freely in their own temples, they can pray at the Kotel like anyone else and, providing they are halachically Jewish, will be treated by the chief rabbinate equally with any other Jew. What they cannot do is to strip Judaism of its basic tenets and practices and then dictate that Orthodox Jews should bend to their will and pay for their institutions.
It is laughable to claim that both Biden and Harris will be disheartened by their “Jewish family members” being denied equal religious rights. Can their sons and daughters-in-law feel more excluded than they made themselves by marrying out? For example, Biden’s daughter married a Jewish doctor who was baptized in order to marry and had an interfaith wedding officiated by a Catholic priest and a Reform “rabbi,” which was touted as being partly Jewish because it started with baruch haba, included a ketubah and a glass was broken!
These Americans who are presiding over the greatest-ever loss of Jewish identity within their own communities should leave Israel alone.
Beit Shemesh
Zeal to heal
I cannot agree more with “Gov’t approves fast-tracking immigrant medical professionals’ licensing” (November 22) regarding the difficulty of getting Israeli medical licenses.
After several years of a very successful medical practice in the United States, I made a firm decision to come on aliyah. One of the first issues I attended to was a medical license. It took nine years plus the help of an attorney and a physician friend of mine to finally get my Israeli license. A big part of the problem was that the Israeli licensing office does not respond to application questions by phone, mail or visit. By the time it was finally approved, I was approaching retirement. We came on aliyah in any case.
Recently, I responded to a government call for retired doctors to volunteer to help with COVID-19 work in the hospitals. To date I have received no reply from them. The government is still as inefficient as when I came on my first visit in 1961. It took a full day then to renew my visitor’s visa.
Doctors who are new olim face a major problem entering the medical labor force: Hospitals expect the doctor to be fluent in Hebrew from Day 1. In addition, the government does not allow doctors over 65 to join subsidized courses in medical Hebrew. Standard ulpanim are insufficient for this purpose. Clearly, it is dangerous for a doctor who is not fluent in Hebrew to communicate irregularly with fellow healthcare workers. Israel is getting fully trained and experienced physicians ready to contribute but is unwilling to ease the entry of senior doctors in particular into the labor force.
Twice is not nice
Micah Halpern (“Something as simple as wearing a mask,” November 24) discusses the possibility of getting COVID-19 twice and relates a few anecdotes in which patients “recovered” and then got sick again.
But in this matter COVID-19 is behaving in a manner similar to other “flu” infections, where relapses are common. You feel better after a week, get out of bed, return to work and a week later get even a worse attack. In many cases this is not getting sick twice, but never having recovered from the first illness. Many viruses can lurk in your body for weeks and even months after recovery and wait for the opportune moment to strike again. Some of the forms of the herpes virus can lurk in your body for years, even for a lifetime.