Letters to the editor: October 3rd, 2018

Our readers have their say.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Heaven help us
In "Haredi chairman of the Knesset Science and Technology Committee does not believe in evolution" (October 2), Susan Rolef informs us that MK Uri Maklev, who does not believe in the theory of evolution, is now chairman of the Knesset Science and Technology Committee. Amazing. What is even more amazing – and disturbing – is that Maklev is one of the recipients of the commendations for upholders of quality government.
In a "quality government," Maklev would not have been offered or have accepted the post of chairman of this committee, for which he is totally unqualified.
In a "quality government" the other members of the committee would have never accepted Maklev as the chair. They would have resigned en masse.
Its bad enough that we have members of the Knesset who do not believe in the theory of evolution, or for that matter object to the teaching of language, literature, science, mathematics, etc. in their schools. Israel is slowly but surely creeping in the direction of a theocratic society. When that happens, God help us all (those that have remained here). Only Hashem, He (She) will stand in the path of disaster and He (She) has let us down before.
Emiritus Professor of Radiation Physics
As a nine-year-old in the UK, it was compulsory to learn what is now called "religious education" but was then called "Scripture" and was basically reading from the Old Testament. There had been a lot on the radio and in illustrated magazines, such as the Picture Post, which is where got our information before TV and social media, about Darwin and evolution.
We were asked by our teacher which we believed in, evolution or creation. I am still proud of my nine-year-old self for answering, "Both." Who are we to say how long a celestial day lasts. And yes Adam and Eve were the first man and woman, the first of the primitive beings to realize their humanity. And so I still believe.
‘Pri etz hadar’ is not a quince
I read with fascination the article “How a Chinese fruit became a Sukkot symbol” (September 25) and how Rabbi David Z. Moster claims that people used any fruit they had available (such as pomegranates, dates and figs) until the Second Temple period, to fulfil the Mitzvah of “taking the product of goodly trees.”
At first I assumed this was a piece of “Purim Torah.” Sadly, it was not, so please let me point out that the etrog we use today is the same fruit originally used for the mitzvah since Biblical times, long before the Second temple period, and was not “an exclusively rabbinic” idea.
There are many references to the “product of the goodly tree” being an etrog. For example the words in Hebrew “pri etz hadar” are taken to mean etrog, as “hadar” also means to dwell , and it is well known by etrog growers that such fruit stay on the tree even more than a year if they are not picked. This is not true for other fruits Moster mentioned.
Targum Onkelos on Leviticus 23:40, which dates in oral form back to Har Sinai, specifically translates “hadar” as “etrog.”
Torat Cohanim (Sifra) also mentions that this fruit was the etrog. The Rambam in his introduction to Mishnayot Zeraim states, “There is no disagreement that this fruit is an etrog…. We see, without doubt, that from Joshua’s time until now they would take an etrog with a lulav.”
The Baal Hatanya, a more recent source, states that even during the 40 years in the desert, Jews sent emissaries to bring back etrogim to celebrate the holiday!
Boycott produce from Gaza
The article "World Bank: The Gazan economy is collapsing" (September 26), is accompanied by a recent photo of an Arab harvesting dates in the Gaza Strip.
Tens of thousands of dunams of Israeli agricultural produce have been destroyed by fires caused by arson balloons from the Gaza Strip.
We should not replace destroyed Israeli produce with comparable produce from Gaza. Any produce from Gaza should be identified and labeled.
Our supermarkets should not buy anything from Gaza. Our consumers should not buy anything from Gaza. It is better to do without than to buy from Gaza.
We need a citizens’ drive to boycott Gazan produce.
Regarding "7 Palestinians killed in Gaza riots" (September 30), we no longer have a deterrence to the constant riots along the security fence, arson balloons, kites with Molotov cocktails or IEDs burning thousands of dunams of agriculture and nature reserves.
Our military is only reacting tit for tat. According to recent reports, our government proposed 500 meters in the now-defunct third party negotiations with Hamas. This must now be enforced, the area to be cleared by using army's D9s, with non-lethal and lethal means used against terrorists launching terror balloons and kites day and night.
Until drastic counter-measures are introduced, there will be no end. In the latest so-called peaceful but actually violent demonstration, more than100 grenades and IEDs were thrown at our soldiers, destroying the security fence by terrorists taught from kindergarten to die as a martyr killing Israelis, blessed by their mothers parents knowing there will be monthly checks for life.
We citizens and soldiers of Israel will continue to suffer indefinitely without strong and effective deterrence.
Kiryat Motzkin
Considerable damage is being caused by the dispatch of arson kites and balloons with incendiary devices into Israel from the Gaza Strip. Although Israel has so far not retaliated in kind for these acts of war, there is a precedent for such retaliation.
Having lived as a child through Nazi Germany’s blitzkrieg against Britain, I still remember my father risking his life as a member of a fire-watching team. They frequently had to clamber about on the roofs of the four-story houses in our street, extinguishing incendiary bombs dropped from German bombers.
In February 1945, the British and American air forces retaliated by dropping 3,900 tons of high-explosive and incendiary bombs on Dresden, Germany, in what came to be known as the Dresden firebombing.
I am sure that the IDF has the means to give the Gazans a taste of this fire-raising, which perhaps might curb their taste for such tactics.
Beit Zayit
Lust for killing Jews
Regarding "Palestinian groups applaud attack" (September 17), how cruelly ironic it is that the 16-year-old killer of Ari Fuld z”l should have come from the Palestinian town of Yatta, whose population, according to the eminent researcher Tsvi Misinai, is largely composed of inhabitants with ancient Jewish roots and who centuries ago were forcibly converted to Islam. It is even said that some of them wish to return to Judaism. How then to explain this lust for killing Jews among their young people? Is it simply to prove that they are even more extreme in their Jew-hatred than the rest?
May I humbly suggest that instead of savagely taking the lives of innocent Israelis, they should, with instruction, explore their Jewish roots? Armed with such fresh insights, they might instead become leaders of the Palestinian people in search of a peaceful and rewarding reconciliation with the Israeli people and an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
We are not Arabs
Once again The Jerusalem Post has published an Abu Ghosh-related article describing the village as “Arab,” as do so many Israeli Jewish folk.
Millions of people in the world speak English, but that does not make them English. The forbearers of many of today’s Abu Ghosh families came here from the Caucasus mountains in 1517. They were constantly murdered here by the prevailing Arab Muslim majority of the time. As a descendant of one of these survivors, a citizen of Israel like all of the residents the town, told me yesterday, "We are unique in our identity and we don’t want our village to become ‘Arab.’”
Some years ago, an Abu Ghosh youngster facing her spoken-English bagrut at a Jewish school, asked me, “ Do I say I’m “Arab” or “Arabic?” I asked her why on earth she would describe herself as an “Arab” when she and her family were well aware of their (non-Arab) identity.
“Well”, she answered, “Jewish Israelis so often dismiss us as “Arabs” that I don't know how to respond.”
Abu Ghosh
Regarding "French crooner Charles Aznavour dies at 94," (October 2), I am saddened by the passing of Charles Aznavour, undoubtedly, one of the greatest performers of the last 50 years.
As founder of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, I had the privilege of getting to know a poorly documented facet of his life.
Back in the dark days of WWII, a young Aznavour, together with his sister Aida and his parents Knar and Mischa, had close links with the Manouchian resistance group. Risking their own lives, the Aznavours sheltered in their own little Paris flat several Jews, Armenians and others who all were persecuted by the Nazi occupiers.
On October, 2017, on behalf of the IRWF, I bestowed the Raoul Wallenberg Medal to Charles Aznavour. His sister, Aida, could not attend and her medal was received by her nephew, Nicolas. President Reuven Rivlin graciously hosted the ceremony at his official residence.
Aznavour struck me as an intelligent and humble human being. His commitment to humanitarian causes was something he learned from early age.
He will always be a source of inspiration to our foundation.
May his memory be for a blessing.
The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation