Letters to the Editor, October 19, 2020: Views of Jews?

The readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Letters
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Views of Jews?
“Israelis from Venus, US Jews from Mars (October 16) quotes Pew polls citing opinions of “American Jews,” but few ask the question: So who does Pew consider a Jew? Well, here are Pew’s own words about who they consider a “Jew”:
“All adults who answer an initial set of questions by saying (a) that their religion is Jewish, or (b) that aside from religion they consider themselves to be Jewish or partially Jewish, or (c) that they were raised Jewish or had at least one Jewish parent, even if they do not consider themselves Jewish today. Anyone who said ‘yes’ to any of these questions was eligible for the main interview.”
That means that (b) and (c) are people, mostly liberals, who are not necessarily related to Jewish religion, traditions or thought. What Pew and others do not provide are stats with respondents of only type (a). This yields a significant difference in results, as the a priori sampling criteria are not comparable.
I’d venture to say that for the US cohort that is actually influenced by or committed to classic Judaism, their support for the political Right is a much greater percentage than we’re constantly led to believe and significantly closer to the Israeli perspective.
GERSHON DALIN
Modi’in-Maccabim-Reut

Opposites repel
Regarding “Opposites attract” (October 18), the expression “opposites attract” is a cliche. A cliche is defined as “a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.” The phrase in question is taken from the properties of magnets where opposite poles are attracted to each other and similar poles are repelled.
These characteristics are actually reversed when it comes to human behavior where we seek to befriend like-minded people rather than philosophical adversaries. A more accurate goal for interpersonal relationships is that we should be tolerant and respectful of opposites – rather than be attracted to or repelled by them.
DR. SAMUEL DERSHOWITZ
Jerusalem

Getting unsztok
Over the years, just to be fair and open-minded, I have forced myself to read innumerable articles with whose content I vehemently disagreed, but I must say that Elana Maryles Sztokman’s “Anyone who thinks Trump is good for the Jews is a ‘freier’” (October 16) is by far the worst piece of writing I have ever seen The Jerusalem Post agree to publish.
From the title through the ending, there is not one sentence in entire piece that contains truth. I wouldn’t even know where to start, trying to refute the endless falsehoods. I can only say I feel sorry for the writer who has been so filled up with hateful and false hyperboles, that she seems unable to think or write clearly about this subject. Suffice it to say that the insulting and foolish piece only reflects on her and not on the many very intelligent, non-freier Jews (and others) who, with full awareness of the facts, are on the other side of the political fence.
DEBORAH BUCKMAN
Tzur Hadassah

Sztokman’s article about Trump is filled with lies. I’m puzzled why the Post would publish the wild rantings of a political hack. I thought I was reading the WAPO or NYT.  Should the Jews vote instead for somebody who isn’t even there: a hologram, grifter and crook?
LEONARD WILLENS
Jerusalem

I wish to applaud your printing of this piece by the “vice chair for media and policy for Democrats Abroad-Israel.” You have done the public a service by presenting an individual who is suffering from the most complete manifestation of the Trump Derangement Syndrome I have seen in print. She has repeated almost every one of the abject falsehoods that have been propagated about the president over a four-year period.
A couple of examples. The article starts out with the rather childhood assertion that “Trump has told more than 20,000 lies in office.” Let’s do the math. If we take his nearly four years in office that amounts to about 5,000 a year, 400 per month, or approximately 15 per day based in a six-day workweek. Does this “award-winning author, educator, activist and thinker...” mean to tell us that he is so busy lying that he has no time left for anything else?
Perhaps she might have mentioned a few of the more than 20,000. Then she states, “This is a man who nearly killed his staff by walking around with a contagious deadly virus.” To date we have no evidence that any of the 15 or so in the White House who tested positive have been ill with COVID or near death. Nor is there any evidence that such is the case for any events he has been involved in.
There isn’t any proof that what she is blathering about is factual. She is supportive of and promoting a party that is a home for antisemites and is running a candidate who does actually lie. He opposes fracking and now he doesn’t, wants to defund police and now he doesn’t, would have us believe that he knows nothing about his family’s corrupt dealings in Ukraine, China, Russia and more. Tells Afro-Americans that if they don’t vote for him they “ain’t black.” He is obviously compromised mentally. The vice presidential candidate (one nasty demagogue) couldn’t compete against 20 others (getting less than 3% support) in their primaries and then dropped out before the first caucus. Anybody who thinks that this team is good for America or Israel is really a “freier.”
DR. MICHAEL FEINERMAN
Jerusalem

Regarding President Trump, the award-winning Dr. Elana Maryles Sztokman writes, “Jews are human beings, so if human beings are threatened with an autocratic dictatorial aspirant who wants to steal from the American coffers while denying everyone healthcare and destroying basic services like education and the post office, American Jews are also at risk.”
These extreme, terrible exaggerations are part of the rants that rational people must suffer these days.
She complains of Trump’s character. Would she say the same about Bill Clinton’s 27 affairs/rapes; Hillary Clinton’s 30,000 illegal private server and destroyed emails; Bill and Hillary Clinton’s corrupt pay-for-play Clinton Foundation and the millions of dollars earned “on the side;” the Biden family’s millions earned by influence peddling; Barack Obama’s connections to Reverend Wright, Hamas, Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood... the list goes on.
Many people are not enamored with Donald Trump’s personality, but his domestic and foreign policies have been very successful and he has repaired the decades-long freier status of the USA regarding NATO, China and more. In addition, he has accomplished many good things for Israel.
DAVID ROTENBERG
Jerusalem

What a hateful vitriolic article – which is typical of the Democratic supporters. Considering the alternative of Biden as a puppet for Bernie Sanders, the “squad” and Antifa I think that would definitely prefer to be a “freier.”
FREYA BINENFELD
Petah Tikva

Elana Maryles Sztokman calls me a “freier” and Joe Biden thinks any African-American who doesn’t vote for him “ain’t black.” Enough with the identity politics.
The Democrats never accepted Hillary Clinton’s defeat. They lied to the FISA court and wasted three years trying to impeach Donald Trump on false charges of collusion with the Russians. Will they ever admit that Hunter Biden’s only qualification for a job with a Ukrainian energy firm was that his father was the vice president of the United States?
Where is Joe Biden’s compassion for families whose children have been killed by rioters, whose stores have been vandalized and looted? For police officers (often themselves members of minority groups) who have been wounded or killed while doing their jobs?
Yes, the Trump Administration’s breakthroughs on the Arab-Israel front have been achieved by building on past actions. The failure of the JCPOA to stop Iran’s hegemonic threat may have been a factor in two Gulf states’ signing treaties with Israel. But the $1.7 billion that the Obama-Biden administration gave to Iran funded terrorists who threaten Arab states as well as Israel. The Gulf states also need Israel’s aid in broadening their economies because of the Trump administration’s efforts in making American energy-independent (which may be reversed as radical Democrats force their “Green New Deal” on a Biden-Harris administration).
JOEL BLOCK
Haifa

Political hacks can publish long articles crammed with questionable assertions, but the short headline “Palestinian PM: God help us if Trump wins” (October 14) tells us all we need to know about which candidate Jews would be freiers for voting for.
ILYSE ABRAMSON
Haifa

Lau and clear
In “The end of the Chief Rabbinate” (October 13), Rabbi Eli Kavon attacks the chief rabbinate and urges that it be shut down. While no institution is perfect, I can certify from personal knowledge that both chief rabbis are doing their best and deeply care about every Jew. Their shortcoming in the writer’s eyes is their upholding of Halacha and traditional Judaism.
Isn’t it time, Rabbi Kavon, to have an open discussion about the over 70% intermarriage in America and about all those non-Orthodox Rabbis who participate in those ceremonies, as the Clintons and Bidens can tell us? Maybe they should be closed down – and leave alone the only form of Judaism that is both working and vibrant.
YITZCHOK ELEFANT
Chief Rabbi of Dimona

I object to Rabbi Kavon’s article. As a congregant of Rav Lau’s in Modi’in, I have turned to him personally with questions and for guidance. He is remarkable in his knowledge, connection, caring, sensitivity, communication and dedication.
Writing from West Palm Beach about what is good for the Israeli Rabbinate, Kavon appears sorely misinformed. He questions, for example, what Rav Lau has done for agunot. Lau has been lauded for taking on the issue of agunot as chief rabbi – including the well-known example he set by forcing a long-recalcitrant man to free his ex-wife. Rav Lau has worked to effect new procedures and guidance to effectively address this long-existing problem. The facts are readily available.
Lau makes himself available over the Internet to answer questions, speaks out on important issues (lately, respecting COVID protections in synagogues and homes), oversees the Bet Din rabbinic courts, and teaches regularly. He has the good guidance and support of many rabbis across a diverse range of Jewish orthodoxy that is likely broader and very different than what Kavon might see in West Palm Beach.
Israel is fortunate to have our chief rabbis to help guide and aid our Jewish nation.
DAVID TEMAN
Modi’in

Who cares?
Regarding “Caring for others” (October 18), I find it sad and frustrating that too many people who spend their lives studying Torah fail to learn its lessons. Achdut – unity – is the only way we can fulfill the principle of kol Yisrael areivim zeh lazeh (All Israel is responsible for one another”.
We just finished waving the four species on Sukkot. Every day for a week we held together the lulav, etrog, myrtle and willow, each representing different kinds of Jews. All together. No one was left out for not being the “right kind” of Jew. In God’s eyes, we are all His children.
No one has the right to ignore health regulations because he thinks he is holier than the rest of us! Corona does not count how many commandments you fulfill, check what kind of hat you wear, or how long your skirt is.
We pray daily for the Messiah to come. But he will only arrive when we are united!
RUTH ZIMBERG
Safed
Devoid of Jews
Regarding “New exhibit in Germany highlights the Rhine’s centuries of Jewish history” (October 14), I am a little puzzled by the fanfare given to the admittedly small exhibit of Jewish Life in three Rhine cities – Speyer, Worms and Mainz – in the Middle Ages.
The exhibit is located in Worms, where the original synagogue was destroyed and subsequently ail Jews deported after Kristallnacht in 1938.
Speyer, known more for its Romanesque Cathedral today than for its Jewish past was emptied of Jews in the 14th century. Mainz, which was the center of the Jewish Council for all three cities until its Jews were expelled in the 15th century, is the only one to have even a modicum of Jews living there today, numbering around one thousand.
While it is nice to hear of Jewish objects being displayed where there were once vibrant Jewish communities, I think it is important not to forget that these areas are devoid today of their Jews, who along with millions more, were murdered throughout the Middle Ages and finally in the Holocaust.
MARION REISS
Beit Shemesh

Forgot to mention...
Regarding “Is Mohammed Dahlan the next Palestinian president in waiting?” (October 13), this piece fails to remind readers that Dahlan is wanted for murder in the case of an attack on an Israeli school bus in Kfar Darom in November 2000. Dahlan’s school bus bombing left two people killed – a schoolteacher, Miriam Amitai and a custodian, Gavriel Biton, along with half a dozen children maimed, while seriously injuring an American citizen, Rachel Asaroff.
In response to Dahlan’s brutal attack on Jewish schoolchildren, then-prime minister Ehud Barak dispatched Israeli planes to strafe Mr. Dahlan’s Gaza headquarters.
DAVID BEDEIN
Director, Israel Resource News Agency

Lesson from WWII
In “A new Palestinian strategy” (October 15), Gershon Baskin has finally identified the real problem, although he might not have intended to. The Palestinian strategy has always been and still remains the slaughter and murder of innocent children, women and men. They thought that they could deliver the “final solution” and claim their place in history.
And yes, it is Israel’s fault. After numerous wars, Israel’s strategy was to lift up the vanquished Palestinian, put them on a pedestal and then negotiate as equals. A wrong and disastrous strategy. Israel gave unreasonable hope to them. We let them “live another day” to continue believing they could still achieve their demonic goals.
After WWII , the Allies never asked the Axis countries what they wanted. Germany and Japan were told what they were getting. No negotiations, no holding out false hope. Israel has been mentally cruel to the Palestinians, allowing them to spin false dreams of keys to houses, imagined farms and orchards with unicorns and rainbows.
Baskin continues to promote this false hope. Better he should spend his time lecturing his many Palestinian friends with harsh words of reality and condemnation of their despicable actions.
Finally, led by some of the Arab world, the Palestinians are being told that they had better shape up or they will miss out.

M. LEVENTHAL
Toronto/Jerusalem