December 14: He's no friend

Evidently, Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman harbors a deep-seated dislike for American Jews.

He’s no friend Sir, – Evidently, Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman harbors a deep-seated dislike for American Jews (“Neeman denies Knesset legislation is discriminatory,” December 12). When asked by American Jewish leaders polite and cogent questions about current issues, he responded by scolding them about why they hadn’t made aliya. He never answered the questions that were asked.
A few years ago, when the Knesset was considering legislation to levy a tax on money earned outside of Israel, the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel turned to Neeman for lobbying help to mitigate the prospect of a double- taxation burden. Neeman adamantly refused and stated that American olim are “tax cheats.”
Surely Neeman’s prejudices are not winning us any friends in the American Jewish community.
Silent complicity Sir, – “Man charged with abusing haredi boys” (News in Brief, December 12) contained a sentence I had to read three times before realizing the gravity of its meaning: “Andrew Goodman is known in our community as a lifelong molester who preys on young boys and ruins their lives,” a member of the Orthodox community in Brooklyn is quoted as having written to the judge hearing the case.
Excuse me? A known molester? Are we once again faced with a situation in which a community knew of a molester but kept silent due to insane demands of the local rabbinate to sweep this under the rug? What if Goodman had been a known thief? Would the community have protected him? Once again, a community’s silence has fostered an environment in which molesters can act without fear of being caught and young boys (and girls) must pay the price for the rest of their lives. One who knows of someone who is molesting children and says nothing is right to feel guilt for the pain inflicted by the perpetrator, since he or she could have prevented it.
Telling members of the community to look the other way because it is mesira (handing a Jew over to an “unjust” government) or because it may ruin the chances for future matchmaking makes the rabbinic community complicit in every case of molestation that goes unreported.
ZE’EV M. SHANDALOV Ma’aleh Adumim The writer is a rabbi

Sir, – I can appreciate why you feel the need to print an article by Saeb Erekat (“The moment of truth,” Comment & Features, December 12). However, his revision of history is incomprehensible.
The Palestinians have never recognized the existence of Israel. One just has to look at their maps. Israel received the three “noes” from the Arabs immediately after the Six Day War – no peace, no recognition, no negotiations – and the Palestinians have enthusiastically observed these three items ever since.
As for roadblocks, walls, etc., these are direct responses to Palestinian actions (e.g., suicide bombings, Kassam rockets, terrorist acts). And Palestinian education concentrates on teaching children to hate Israel; their response to the most forthcoming proposals from Israel has been intifadas.
Erekat has not shown one concrete example of how Palestinians want to live in peace with Israel.
Sir, – The title of Saeb Erekat’s piece, “The moment of truth,” shows his skill at Orwellian double-speak.
Erekat writes of east Jerusalem as “occupied territory.” I have seen newsreels showing the Jordanian Army evicting old and young Jews from their Old City homes during the 1948 war. I also personally know people who were evicted. So who is occupying whose territory? Erekat says that in 1988 the PLO made a “courageous” compromise and “recognized Israel in over 78 percent of historic Palestine.” Could he please show us one Palestinian textbook that shows the State of Israel? Answering these questions would certainly be a moment of truth.
...and why here?
Sir, – If Saeb Erekat wants to address the Israeli people, let him do so through negotiations with our duly elected officials, not through the pages of The Jerusalem Post (for which I, as a subscriber, pay).
I do not understand why you provide the enemy with a platform.
Erekat is not entitled to freedom of speech in our country. His rights are limited to his own country (if he gets one).
Not wily enough
Sir, – The Turkish diplomatic riposte, transmitted to Jerusalem Post readers from Washington, DC (“Turkey misportrayed,” Letters, December 12), was a wily stratagem. It permitted Ambassador Namik Tan to pillory the writings of Dan Schueftan, a renowned academician, as “malicious assertions without factual support,” and Douglas Bloomfield’s column, in which they were conveyed (“Turkey: Friend or Foe?,” Washington Watch, December 8), “as a fact-free account.”
My own letter of November 30 (“Other deep waters”) regarding Turkey’s culpability for the wartime sinking of the Struma and the deaths of 765 Jewish passengers, including 100 children, withstands the accusations Tan levels at Schueftan and Bloomfield. Ipso facto, Turkey acknowledges its culpability and as a consequence becomes subject to international judicial pursuit.
It happens
Sir, – I never thought I would disagree with anything Martin Sherman wrote. But I guess there is a first time for everything.
If I understood the point of his excellent Into the Fray column “Begin – in retrospect” (December 9), it was wrong for then-prime minister Menachem Begin to sign the peace treaty with Egypt and withdraw from all of Sinai because look at the situation today! Sherman sees the cup as half-empty and even empty. I want to give some reasons why it can also be seen as half-full: 1. The agreement survived the assassination of Sadat 2. Egypt sat by when we destroyed the Iraqi reactor in 1981 3. Egypt sat quietly when Israel launched Operation Peace for Galilee in 1982 4. The peace agreement broke up the Egyptian alliance with Syria, which has never been resumed 5. Israel to this day remains in military control of Judea and Samaria 6. When an Egyptian mob recently threatened to lynch the security guards at the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, the guards were rescued by an elite Egyptian military unit in an action coordinated with the US and Israeli governments, and were returned safely to Israel.
On the other hand, Sherman is absolutely on target when he writes that we must not repeat the withdrawals on the Syrian front or in Judea and Samaria.
In those areas, geography leaves not the slightest margin for error.
Tel Aviv

In “Court says Teitel fit for trial” (December 7), it was incorrect to call the Ortiz family of Ariel “American Christian missionaries.”
They have dual American- Israeli citizenship. The mother and her children are halachically Jewish, and not Christian, although they believe in Jesus as the messiah, placing them in the category of “Messianic Jews.” Also, we should have pointed out that while some have alleged that the Ortizes engaged in missionary activity among Jews, there is no proof of this. We apologize to the family.