April 28: Joseph's Tomb

There is no need to live in a new developing town to be a settler. We are each and all of us settlers here in this Land of Israel.

letters (photo credit: JP)
(photo credit: JP)
Joseph’s Tomb
Sir, – Ever since I heard about the fatal shooting of Ben-Yosef Livnat and the wounding of several others near Joseph’s Tomb (“PM demands Abbas take ‘tough steps’ against police who killed Israeli in Nablus,” April 26), and then heard the insulting remarks from the Palestinian police chief, I have been filled with the need to express my outrage.
My feelings are not connected to any denominational or family connection. I am a fairly recent olah and, as such, feel connected to this special land and its people for my own reasons.
The policeman said that “all Jews and all settlers are crazy people.” OK, fine. I am also a settler! I have settled in the middle of Jerusalem. There is no need to live in a new developing town to be a settler. We are each and all of us settlers here in this Land of Israel.
Sir, – The Israeli government would be well advised to seriously consider negotiating the transfer of Joseph’s remains to a location that would enable Breslav hassidim and others to pray safely at his tomb.
A replica of the tomb in Nablus could be constructed at the new site. We have transferred the remains of Herzl, Jabotinsky and others to Israel; we should also consider negotiating the transfer of the remains of other famous persons and sages. We have moved whole cemeteries to Israel.
We are fortunate that the structure of the tomb and its specific location are not the object of our prayers. All that is important is that the remains we hold dear be reburied in Israel.
Sir, – My heart grieves for the family of Ben-Yosef Livnat. However, if the law states that people must coordinate their visits to Joseph’s Tomb with the IDF and the PA, the law must be followed.
Breslav hassidim are no exception.
Even their rabbis tell them not to endanger their lives.
These hassidim must wait, like all of us, until Israel regains control of Joseph’s Tomb before they can visit whenever they want.
There is no playing around with the Palestinian Authority.
Rules are rules and must be followed by everyone.
Sir, – The Israelis attacked near Joseph’s Tomb were shot at by Palestinian police who were legally guarding a well-known roadblock. The day being Easter, what would have happened had three vehicles carrying Palestinians attempted to run an Israeli roadblock while trying to enter Bethlehem to pray at the Church of the Nativity or Jerusalem to pray at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre? Religious fanaticism and political exclusivity have no place where multiple cultures share origins and revere common sites. Israelis visiting their West Bank holy sites unfettered, and Palestinians visiting theirs in Israel – I cannot imagine the true God of Abraham/Ibrahim wanting anything else.
JUDY BAMBERGER O’Connor, Australia
Sir, – Shortly after murdering Jews who wanted to pray at a holy site, Palestinians celebrated the murders and set fire to Joseph’s Tomb. Why isn’t Israel putting out huge announcements in the world media about this evil behavior? Pay for ads if necessary. Begin every interview by describing the evil.
Every time an Arab puts up a structure in a disputed area, Israel should put out a notice, even if it has to pay, documenting illegal building by Arabs.
Every time the Arabs break written agreements, Israel should advertise their disregard of promises. Israel should also pay for ads that translate what the Palestinians say in their own language.
If the world won’t tell the truth for nothing, then we must put our money to work.
Why ignore Syria?
Sir, – The headlines proclaim the violence that is taking place in Syria (“US weighs sanctions as Assad deploys army to restive city,” April 26).
In a similar situation, the United Nations took action against Libya. The United States pushed vehemently for such action, but now in regard to Syria, President Obama is playing the role of Hamlet.
Syria is a far greater problem to the world than Libya ever was. Syria has nurtured Hezbollah and was behind the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Harari. For years it has dominated the drug traffic in Lebanon and has obtained dangerous weaponry from Iran.
It has attempted to build nuclear reactors.
The US has not only willfully disregarded these actions, it has restored relations with Syria.
Obama is either woefully misled in foreign policy or woefully incompetent to lead any cause for freedom.
It is time Congress investigated the State Department and what seems to be presidential maze-running. The US cannot afford to be a blind mouse.
Impeachment now
Sir, – The harm and damage that President Barack Obama has imposed on the US calls for impeachment proceedings.
Our deficit is now reaching levels from which it will be difficult if not impossible to recover because of failed policies and incompetent administration members. Obama has made our country a lot less safe with the START treaty. His failed Mideast policy has now put Israel on the line. His muddled policies in Afghanistan and Iraq will eventually cause us to fail there as well.
Instead of fixing the economy and solving other problems, Obama is already in re-election mode. Republicans in the House have sufficient reason to start impeachment proceedings now.
AL EISNER Silver Spring, Maryland
In defense of Bonds
Sir, – Jeff Barak asks, “Why does Israel Bonds still exist?” (Reality Check, April 11). As a former president and CEO of Israel Bonds, and a continued ardent supporter, I can answer this very succinctly.
For 60 years, Israel Bonds has been, and remains, one of Israel’s greatest assets, supplying not only economic resources, but also securing support from diverse sources and generating positive hasbara. Israel has no other means of acquiring overseas capital that includes these value-added extras.
It is important to note that the Bonds organization provides consistent funding – more than $32 billion to date – that is totally unconditional. This is not always the case with other sources, for example, the USbacked loan guarantees or institutions that become hesitant lenders during times of conflict and financial difficulty. During my tenure, when Israel’s inflation rate was nearly 400 percent and others were reluctant to invest, Israel Bonds provided an infusion of much-needed capital.
The organization’s emphasis on hasbara includes bringing multi-faceted delegations to Israel and sponsoring numerous events. The enormous number of participants comprises a vast spectrum of support, and all feel a strong sense of partnership.
This has resulted in benefits beyond mere purchasing. For example, when states invest in Israel bonds, they demonstrate confidence in Israel’s economy, adding to the nation’s political strength.
Finally, the Bonds business model has been closely examined, including studies by the Bank of Israel and the prestigious Boston Consulting Group.
In every instance, the organization was highly praised.
Barak’s spurious allegation that Israel Bonds “can no longer justify its existence on economic grounds” is not only wrong, it ignores the many advantages the company provides to an Israel that has become increasingly isolated.
YEHUDA HALEVY Netanya The writer was president and CEO of Israel Bonds from 1982 to 1988.