Letters to the Editor: October 11, 2020: Peace Now means peace never?

The readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Peace Now means peace never?
In “Peace Now – finis: (October 11), Zalman Shoval finally and eloquently puts to rest the rantings, ravings and rage (the three Rs) of “peace” activists whose articles appear far too often in The Jerusalem Post. They demand their version of “justice” for the Palestinians, no matter what the consequences are for Israeli Jews – a utopian peace where countless numbers of Arabs claiming to be descendants of “refugees” can flood our shores and Jews could quickly become a minority in Israel “protected” by our benevolent Arab cousins.
The real reason for the Israeli-Palestinian struggle and lack of compromise, Shoval says, is not Jews exercising their inalienable right to live in their ancient heartland of Judea and Samaria. Rather, “In the eyes of the Palestinians, Israel is illegitimate; Judaism is a religion and Jews are not a national movement and are not entitled to self-determination.”
Shoval calls for the Peace Now movement to move on and revise their irrelevant and counter-productive doctrines. Let’s hope that leftist columnists read the piece and relieve us of further virtue-signaling three-R articles.
Gershon Baskin states (“A joint struggle for a joint future,” October 8) that we need the “20% of the citizens who have not yet taken to the street to join in.”
This implies that nearly seven million citizens have demonstrated, yet the real figure is only tens of thousands. The protesters would be better served by using their energy to help the needy, deliver food parcels and keep the community together instead of useless tantrums and blame games.
Mr. Baskin, the reason the Arabs are not demonstrating is not because they fear they will be shot, it’s because they realize that they have the highest standard of living of Arabs in the Middle East, with the best health care, freedom of speech and education. They are showing the common sense that is lacking in many of the protesters who, in breaking the rules, spread the virus – and then complain that the government is a “failure.”
In “What does the US election have to do with Middle East peace making?” (October 7), the author conveniently forgets Joe Biden’s attempt at quid pro quo with Menachem Begin when Biden was a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He threatened Begin with a cutoff of US funds if there was a continuation of settlement activity.
Begin’s response was that while Israel was appreciative of the aid, Israel would continue to defend itself without the aid. The country had been established with the cost of Israeli blood, and no American blood need be expended on Israel’s behalf. Begin then asked Biden where the American assistance was while more than six million Jews were being murdered during the years 1938 to 1945. Biden had no answer.
Natick, MA
Lauder list
Now that the Palestinian Authority has confirmed the Jerusalem Post news story (“World Jewish Congress president meets with Palestinian President” (JPost.com, October 11) about the meeting in Ramallah on Simhat Torah, questions remain, such as:
• Did Ronald Lauder ask Abbas to cancel the PA law that grants a generous financial award for life to anyone who murders a Jew?
• Did Lauder ask Abbas to withdraw new PA schoolbooks that portray murderers of Jews as role models?
Director, Israel Resource News Agency
Perhaps Mr. Lauder could have shown a little bit awareness that he represents the World Jewish Congress.
Was the last day of Succot which was also Shabbat the best day to meet with Mr. Abbas? Would Mr. Abbas meet Mr. Lauder on Friday or another Moslem holy day?
Beit Shemesh
Good for the goose, not the gander
Regarding “Bnei Brak hospital director resigns after blasting haredim” (October 8), Prof. Mordechai Raviv’s “resignation” as director of Ma’aynei Hayeshua Medical Center was, in all likelihood, pressured by Ma’aynei Hayeshua’s board of directors on account of some fact-based public comments of his regarding a most serious health issue.
It seems that a respected and knowledgeable medical professional has been forced out from his position for decrying noncompliance with social behaviors mandated by the government to control the coronavirus, while government officials, including senior police officers, MKs, ministers, prime ministers, and chiefs of staff, can violate those same governmental regulations with impunity.
There is something wrong with this picture.
Petah Tikva
In “Responsible leadership looks after everyone” (October 9) Yaakov Katz criticizes the behavior of some of our political leaders who have ignored the coronavirus restrictions. He asks, “If these people cannot abide by the directives why should anybody else?”
I can understand that it is irritating. On the other hand, I don’t understand the implied effect of their behavior of the public. If Gila Gamliel drives 150 km. to be with her relatives on Yom Kippur, does this mean that thousands of Israelis will also break the rules and endanger themselves? If Sara Netanyahu has her hair done at home, does this mean that thousands of Israelis will flock to the hair salons and endanger themselves?
Since March 13, my wife and I have been in self-imposed home lockdown (213 days) because we are concerned for our health. We don’t want to come down with COVID-19.We want to live. We don’t care if Gamliel, Sara Netanyahu or all the others break the rules. It won’t affect our behavior.
There is something amiss with a public that will not abide by the rules of endangerment because somebody else (even if they are so-called “leaders”) might decide to act selfishly/stupidly.
One does not have to be a fan of Sara Netanyahu, but let’s be fair – the nonsense that is going on with regard to having a hairdresser come to her home is out of control (Sara Netanyahu violated coronavirus restrictions,” October 8). On this morning’s news show on Channel 12, Maayan Adam and Adi Meiri battled out this issue. Meiri, no fan of the Netanyahus, admitted that she goes to the hairdresser each day but stated that in her own case it is justified, as she is in public view every day. Adam countered, stating that as the prime minister’s wife, Netanyahu needs to have her hair done just as all newscasters do.
When I see Yonit Levi, Daniella Weiss and yes, Adi Meiri, in front of the camera with their roots showing and nail polished chipped, they can then criticize Mrs. Netanyahu.
Tribal customs
Regarding “The task ahead for Bennett” (October 9), Amotz Asa-El wants Naftali Bennett to espouse religious pluralism “as a Jewish value.”
I once asked a non-observant cousin if he wanted Reform and Conservative Judaism to have official status in Israel. His answer surprised me.
“You’re dati (observant),” he said to me, “and I’m not dati, but I don’t want a lot of different Judaisms running around in Israel.”
While something obviously needs to be done to make converting non-halachic emigrants of Jewish ancestry in Israel, especially minors, friendlier and more appealing, officially recognizing Reform and Conservative conversions and weddings in Israel is a recipe for fractionating the country.
Unless there is one standard for membership in the tribe, there is no tribe. My cousin recognized this.
No one is stopping anyone from living the way they choose, davening the way they choose, eating what they choose. However, halachic Judaism is what kept Judaism alive for centuries. And, as can be seen in the United States, without it as the standard, Judaism will disintegrate.
Humanizing statistics
Kol hakavod to Maayan Hoffman for “In desperate need of oxygen” (October 9).
The time is long overdue for the media to show the individual and suffering behind the coronavirus statistics. Her article answered my own Jerusalem Post article “In coronavirus, death is not a number” (September 30), for which I am most appreciative.
Simply publicizing the number of daily deaths and the dying is not resonating with either our leaders or the public. Perhaps now that Hoffman has enabled Post readers to “meet” the human being behind the statistic, we might see a change in the behavior of our government and those they govern. It is imperative to constantly be reminded that every number is a real person; one with a real family who are denied the opportunity of saying a final goodbye to their departing loved ones.
Hoffman also reminds us of the amazing medical staff – overworked and underpaid – who continue to operate in the most challenging of situations. They deserve our utmost applause plus a promise that, in the aftermath of this pandemic, the government will do what it should have done 10 years ago: invest meaningfully in our health service. Hoffman has set an example to the media that we hope others will follow.
“COVID-19 could cause male infertility – new Israeli study” (October 7) reports that the coronavirus may reduce fertility. Researchers mentioned that the coronavirus attaches to a receptor present on all the cells of the body (called the ACE 2 receptor) which allows the virus to enter the cells and kill them.
This receptor is activated by an enzyme called TMPRSS2. If this enzyme is reduced, the ACE 2 receptor does not function and the virus cannot get into the cell and the person survives. So how do you lower the TMPRSS2 enzyme to stop the virus from entering the cell?
A simple way is to lower the level of the male hormone testosterone in the body, since this enzyme needs the testosterone hormone to function. Happily there are many drugs available that can reduce the testosterone level. Many of these are used to control advanced prostate cancer and are very safe and successful with few side effects.
Researchers around the world have done preliminary studies that show excellent response of these agents in corona, but no randomized double-blind controlled studies have as yet been completed. We use other more dangerous drugs now without large controlled studies. Wouldn’t it be worthwhile to try these testosterone-lowering agents for the treatment of corona?
Retired internal medicine specialist
I want to acknowledge Rabbi Heshie Billet’s response (“We should be careful not to generalize,” October 5) to of my critique of the lack of leadership by dati leumi rabbis in the public health struggle with the coronavirus.
I appreciate his respectful tone and to-the-point argument. I accept his complaint that I should have pointed out that – unlike the haredim, by and large – many dati leumi rabbis (and centrist Orthodox rabbis in the United States) did follow the guidelines faithfully.
Nevertheless, my critique went beyond the pandemic. The dati leumi leadership has followed the haredim in focusing on observance out of habit or social conformity. Many have lost sight of the uber-values and priorities of the tradition – nor do they ask what God is asking from us now. The result is a policy in which no positive change in Halacha is possible. They deny the possibility of change even where it is clearly needed – such as in greater dignity for women and their greater participation in religious life and leadership (or, for that matter, in developing a more humane and reasonable approach to homosexuality).
One expression of this failure is that the rabbis failed to apply pikuah nefesh and the supremacy of life to go beyond the government guidelines and take leadership to assure that religious practices shift to maximize life and health – as Rabbi Israel Salanter did. I regret to say that the centrist/dati leumi did not do better than haredim on the broader issues.