Letters to the Editor October 25, 2021: NGOs: No-Good Organizations

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Letters
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

NGOs: No-Good Organizations

Regarding “US, Israel clash over Palestinian NGOs declared terror arms” (October 24), Israel has no problem with Arab Palestinians having organizations that respect human rights, fundamental freedoms, etc., but these NGOs do not serve these goals.

Also, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) should be censured for stating that the region is in “a state of occupation” or is this now the position of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s coalition?

SAM ROSENBLUMJerusalem

No hassles for vassals

In your editorial “Prove the terrorism” (October 24), you cite two problems with the government action and I have two problems with your arguments:

Benny Gantz in the Defense Ministry (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)Benny Gantz in the Defense Ministry (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

First, “lack of evidence.” Is there no concern for protecting sources and methods of gathering information? After all, Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz is hardly a hot-headed member of the “extreme” Right. There is no duty to satisfy the curiosity of your readers.

Your second reservation is even more problematic: the alleged failure to update “American counterparts.” I am reminded of Menachem Begin’s famous retort, “We are not vassals.” 

Furthermore, you blithely ignore Israel’s public contention that it did give advance warning. Surely The Jerusalem Post should prefer the Israeli version in a ‘he said, he said’ situation.

LOUIS GARBJerusalem

Civil (marriage) war

The headline “Recognize civil marriage” (October 24) reminded me of the often-used Talmudic expression s’tirah me-nay-hu bay, or a self-contradiction. 

If both the bride and groom act respectfully to their marriage partner, I guess that would make it a “civil” marriage, but that is clearly not what the writer, Emily Crassnick, had in mind.

We are the state of the Jewish people, and follow Jewish law. Should the state bend to the wishes of every single citizen, or should citizens bend to the will of the state? The first choice is a formula for chaos. How long until other citizens contend they wish to enter into marriage with their pet dog?

As I said – a formula for chaos.

MICHAEL D. HIRSCHTzur Yitzchak

Alienation and alien nations

Regarding “Meretz MK asks Europe to punish Israel for ‘occupation’” (October 22), I was, to be honest, expecting to read that MK Mossi Raz of Meretz vehemently denied the atrocious report that he collaborated with a member of the Joint List on a petition to members of the European parliament that forceful action be taken against Israel for “violations of international law.” I fully hoped that the Meretz legislator would angrily denounce the report as fake news that was not even remotely close to the truth. 

Insofar as neither of those two responses to the report were part of the story, surely, then, there would be a sidebar that both Raz and MK Aida Touma-Sliman have been removed as members of the Knesset and have been charged with treason. The absence of the latter and that no action has been taken or rebuke issued is perhaps the most depressing aspect of this sordid tale.

I’ve always found Meretz to be a thorn in Israel’s side. Despite the party’s claim to be the voice of civility and human rights, its first two leaders – Shlomit Aloni and Yossi Sarid (may they both rest in peace) – expended considerable effort to sully the Jewish nature of this country as well as ignore or even undermine the security advantages of having Jewish communities on the other side of the artificially drawn “Green Line.” But they as well as the rest of the party’s membership always remained within the boundaries of politically acceptable behavior and never, as far as I know, enlisted foreign assistance to advance their ideologies. That a member of the Joint List should be part of this endeavor comes as no surprise. But that MK Raz, a former paratrooper and platoon leader, would seek alien interference to intentionally jeopardize the welfare of the country he served exceeds any definition of reprehensible.

Moreover, the sound of the echoing silence is indeed deafening. Party chairman Nitzan Horowitz conveniently made himself invisible rather than immediately denounce the ill-conceived appeal questions the validity of his role as a minister. And surely Prime Minister Naftali Bennett could have paused from his preparation for his pivotal meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin to express shock at the two Knesset members’ undertaking and issue a promise that the matter will be handled appropriately.

And, oh yes, the antisemites throughout the world now have something further to rejoice over.

Not the best way to start the weekend.

BARRY NEWMANGinot Shomron

PM Naftali Bennett has had an explosive grenade thrown into his coalition from within. 

The behavior of MK Raz in lobbying the EU to support his own personal distorted desires against the best interests of the country, is totally unacceptable.

PM Bennett has to insist to the Meretz leadership that Raz must give up his seat, and another person who will not publicly defame the country be put i

This is a real test for PM Bennett.

DR. JOSEPH BERGERNetanya

A tale of two former presidents

Regarding “‘Wide circle’ knew about assault by Peres but stayed silent – report” (October 17), the alleged sexual improprieties attributed to late president of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, bring back memories of an essentially identical situation some years previously. The only real difference is the vastly different consequences.

There is no way in the world that Peres’s alleged shenanigans were not well known to those of political clout, just as those of former president Moshe Katzav were similarly well known. Yet one is being quietly ignored, pushed under the rug, while the other incurred a nationwide search for other “accusers.” One man finished his stately term in a shower of glory and praise, while the other was terminated in shame, vilification and imprisonment.

Could the difference have been that the one was a left-wing, non-religious Ashkenazi, while the other was a right-wing, religious, Sephardi?

LAURENCE BECKERJerusalem

Seal of approval

How important and encouraging it is to read in Rossella Tercatin’s article “Rare, biblical ‘balsam tree’ found on 2,000-year-old seal” (October 22). 

Some 2,000 years after the destruction of the Temple, the tiny artifact was retrieved by volunteers sifting through soil dug during an archaeological excavation in the area.

Having been found at the foundations of the Western Wall, it adds to the proof of the ongoing eternal Jewish presence in Jerusalem.

And for whom is this find in the soil of Jerusalem of particularly encouraging significance? For anyone whose trust in the jewels of truths, to be found in the Tanakh, is enhanced: “Truth will sprout from the earth, and righteousness will peer from heaven” (Psalm 85:12 – emphasis added).

DAVID SHANTALLModi’in, Israel

Spellbound

At first glance, the bill to standardize the English used on our road signs sounds encouraging (“Legislation to standardize signpost English proceeds,” October 21). However, the legislation is doomed because the same article notes that “the bill would entrust the Academy of the Hebrew Language with setting the spelling… of names of cities and streets.”

This is the same ossified pedantic group that insists that a Hebrew “koof” must become an English “q,” that a Hebrew “vav” must become an English “w.” Petah Tiqwah, anyone? It also demands that the town south of Jerusalem be labeled “Efrata,” even though every single person living there calls it “Efrat.” Additional examples are plentiful.

If we truly want the English street signs to reflect real-world English, the government must enlist the Anglos of this country to do the job right. It would be flooded by citizen volunteers eager to correct the embarrassments throughout the country. I’m sure the number of volunteers could be whittled down to a small committee of Americans, Canadians, Australians, South Africans and Brits. 

They speak almost the same language.

DAVID GLEICHERJerusalem

Shrug of war

In his informative survey of the Jewish history of prayer on the Temple Mount and the Islamic resistance to this (“Holy tug of war,” October 22) Jeremy Sharon does not invoke one important principle vital to a functioning democracy and to peace itself. This is the principle of freedom of religious worship, and tolerance and respect for others.

This principle has perhaps been seen as unrealistic and therefore irrelevant by Israeli leaders in dealing with the Islamic world. But the failure to invoke and apply it has perpetuated a situation where “intolerance of the other” is simply taken for granted and non-resisted.

It may seem utopian and impossible, but it is nonetheless clear that unless the Islamic world is somehow educated to accept this value, the conflict not only for worship on the Temple Mount, but for peace between Israel and her neighbors will go unhappily and dangerously on.

SHALOM FREEDMANJerusalem

Belmonte stakes

Regarding “Comparing Crypto Jews to assimilated Cryptic Jews – opinion” (October 20), I have been working as a trained ethnomusicologist with the Crypto-Jews of not only Belmonte, but also other regions (including the northeastern Tras-os-Montes region) for over 25 years (and with Sephardic music for over 40 years). I was there in Belmonte when the synagogue was formally opened in December 1996, and, pre-pandemic, spent some time there almost every year since then, often staying with a family of the community. 

The synagogue was not funded, as the article states, “by an American benefactor.” It was funded by the son of the man whose name is the formal name of the synagogue. It is called Bet Eliahu after the father of Salomon Azoulay, the Moroccan Jew who financed it, and the land it is built on was donated by a Belmonte Jewish family. Years later an “American benefactor” did donate some money, which was used to install pews instead of loose chairs. This in turn created problems, because the women, many of whom already found it difficult to climb the stairs to the women’s gallery, now can’t see over the high backs of the pews in front of them and have to stand and walk to the railing to observe the service. 

Furthermore, “the community” did not build the museum. City Hall of Belmonte did. 

Belmonte has been in the news for many years now. Crypto-Judaism of Belmonte was even declared, in September 2020, one of Portugal’s “Seven Wonders” in the culture category (Sete Maravilhas da Cultura Popular). 

DR JUDITH R COHENCanada

The hunger games

Regarding “Palestinian Islamic Jihad threatens to expand hunger strike in Israeli prisons” (October 22), this is not the first time that Palestinian terrorists have threatened hunger strikes.

My solution, as the late British prime minister Margaret Thatcher told the IRA prisoners in British jails a few decades ago, “No” to their demands, which ended in a dozen or so prisoners dead and in the end the remaining prisoners gave up their hunger strike.

Now our government must decide who runs our prisons – the terrorists or our government? It is a simple choice. Say “No” to these incarcerated Islamic terrorists and whatever these terrorist organizations plan verbally or do in response, including terrorist attacks, then the full weight of the IDF must be used against them – whether in Gaza or in Judea and Samaria, as for over 20 years this on-and-off tit-for-tat solution must come to an end on Israel’s terms.

MURRAY JOSEPHKiryat Motzkin

Puttin’ in time with Putin

Regarding “Putin, Bennett agree to continue deconfliction policy on Syria airstrikes” (October 24), it is impossible to solve the problems of Syria and Iran without the participation of the United States. The continuation of the frontline with Russia is counterproductive for the United States.

Timothy Colton is a prominent American political scientist professor, and dean of the Department of Public Administration at Harvard University. The expert’s main area of scientific interest in politics and public administration is Russia and post-Soviet countries. He is the author of books, monographs, and numerous articles, including the 2008 biography of the first Russian President Boris Yeltsin and a leader of the Working Group on the Future of Russian-American Relations. He said:

“Our authorities found one common ground: they began to agree on a little on climate change issues. Perhaps this is the most important change for Russia. If for the Biden administration the climate was from the very beginning an important, priority issue, now your president also clearly indicates that Russia needs to approach this problem more seriously than two or three years ago.”

The exacerbating crisis in Lebanon is deeply troubling to the regional as well as the international arena. Gas is one project interesting both the United States and Russia. Gas is supposed to come from Egypt through the Arab pipeline intended for export of natural gas from Egypt to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. The pipeline from Sinai through Akaba, Jordan and to Syria is already partly operating.

ZEEV GOMMERSHTADTJerusalem

Suppose they don’t oppose

Regarding “A Shameful End” (October 19), in any democracy, including Israel, there is conflict between realpolitik and justice. In Canada’s pursuit of Nazis and their collaborators living in the country, self-interest was the guiding principle. The recent death of Helmut Oberlander, a Canadian who was a member of the Einsatzgruppen death squad in Ukraine whom Jewish groups failed to deport, is clear proof of Canada’s abysmal record with these war criminals.

Even when many of the hundreds of them were still alive, the government of liberal prime minister Pierre Trudeau didn’t want to upset good relations with its large population of Canadians of Eastern European origin by hunting down Nazi collaborators. Although his solicitor-general from 1980 to 1984 – Robert Kaplan, a Jew – was able to deport Helmut Rauca, a savage Gestapo officer in Lithuania (the only successful Canadian deportation of someone involved in Nazi war crimes), he was stymied with others. Kaplan, as an honorable minister, could have resigned on principle, but didn’t.

One can see this pusillanimity today in Jews and Jewish groups that are not forceful in seeking justice for victims of the horrific attack on the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people in 1994. Iranian terrorists are widely believed to be behind it. Similarly, Chrystia Freeland, a likely successor to current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, had a grandfather who was the chief editor of an antisemitic Ukrainian newspaper during the Second World War. 

Of course, Canadian Jews will not delve into this issue. Why spoil a thriving Jewish community? 

JACOB MENDLOVICToronto, Canada