January 25: Why should Jews be discriminated against?

To what does Dan Izenberg refer when he speaks of injustice stemming from the "formal sense" of the law?

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Why should Jews be discriminated against?
Sir,- Dan Izenberg asserts in his analysis ("Arabs, Jews don't have equalrights to recover pre-1948 properties," January 20) that while theSheikh Jarrah property of Jews which has been returned to its owners"is legal in the formal sense of the term," nevertheless "Israeli lawdiscriminates between the Jewish and Arab residents of Jerusalem" withregards to the recovery of property owned before the 1948 war.
The "formal sense of the term?" What does that mean?
One side launched a war seeking to destroy a state called intobeing by a UN recommendation, and lost. Why should Jews bediscriminated against for being victorious in their war of defense, andindeed existence, and why should the aggressor be rewarded? I wouldsuggest that the Arabs evicted from Sheikh Jarrah were most assuredly"not in exactly the same positions as the Jewish owners of the land,"as Izenberg would have us believe.
YISRAEL MEDAD
Shiloh
Think twice before putting on tefillin
Sir,- I'm Jewish, but I can understand the fear that a terrorist couldeasily conceal a bomb inside a tefillin's arm or forehead box ("Aftertefilim flap, Orthodox group calls for training," January 24).
If the 17-year-old, whose public practice of his religioncaused a pilot to conduct an emergency landing, was as "brilliant" ashis rabbi said he was, then he should have been bright enough toanticipate the possible fear-engendered reaction that putting hisphylacteries on inside an airborne plane might produce; especiallysince, as his rabbi said, donning the tefillin is meant to serve as "areminder for the person that their actions during the day... should beon a level of holiness and should inspire them to do productive, goodthings."
RICHARD SIEGELMAN
Plainview, New York
The ADL is fighting the wrong fight
Sir, - When it comes to fighting Muslim intimidation of Jewishstudents, the ADL's leadership has not merely been lacking; it'sundermined the Zionist Organization of America's legal effort to fixthe problem ("Where's our leadership?," January 18).
For years, a Muslim group at the University ofCalifornia, Irvine has promoted hatred of Jews and Israel, displayingsigns equating the Star of David with the swastika, and sponsoringevents like "Ethnic Cleansing, Israeli Style" and "Zionism: America'sDisease." Jewish students have been assaulted, at least twotransferred, and others have feared wearing anything identifying themas Jewish or pro-Israel. Students sought the ADL's help, but thesituation didn't improve.
Then, with students' support, the ZOA filed a legal action withthe US Education Department's Office for Civil Rights, under Title VIof the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It sought to enforce students' rightto a campus without anti-Semitic harassment.
Instead of supporting the ZOA, the ADL publicly disparaged us,accusing us of acting with "all guns blazing." Despite the fact thatcivil rights litigation has achieved landmark legal protections forminorities and others, the ADL criticized our effort, commenting that"changes occur not through lawsuits."
The ADL's actions went beyond indifference. They were damaging.
MORTON A. KLEIN
National President
Zionist Organization of America
New York, NY
Blue and white shines bright in Haiti...
Sir, - We can view with pride the work of the Israeli medicalteams in Haiti ("'This is the spirit of the IDF,'" January 22). Mediaaround the world have acknowledged that the mobile field hospital andadvanced medical ancillary services were not only the first to befunctional in Haiti, but were even described by CBS as the Rolls Royceof medicine in Haiti, and to which other medical facilities werereferring their more complicated cases.
Indeed a light unto the nations.
RONNIE STEKEL
Jerusalem
...and leave Gaza out of it
Sir, - Despite the years of my living in this land, I still amshocked to read the petty and jealous criticisms of those who are notable to shout with joy about our heroic role in Haiti these past weeks.Israel needs to point a finger at those who seek to minimize ourwonderful achievements, and embarrass them for their efforts toundermine the individual and group mitzvot which are being performed in the name of this nation.
VICKY MANNIS
Jerusalem
Sir, - Three of the Jerusalem Post's regular commentatorsoffered interesting reactions to Israel's heroic efforts following theHaitian earthquake. Veteran left-winger Gershon Baskin wondered howIsraelis could be so proud of the assistance provided to Haitianvictims while not recognizing the humanitarian disaster in Gaza("Israel - a leader among the community of nations," January 19).Similarly, Larry Derfner, who rarely misses an opportunity to tell uswhat Israel is doing wrong, saw the events of the past week in Haiti asan invitation to ask, "When will this big-hearted nation stop beingheartless to the people in Gaza?" ("The pride and the shame," January21).
It was left to Michael Freund to resist the urge to find fault.In his article, "Israel's finest hour indeed," (January 21), he statedsimply, "One could only marvel at the valor and courage of oursoldiers, as they risked their lives to save those of others... Thougha vast gulf separates Israel and Haiti... the Jewish peopledemonstrated that their extended hand can bridge any gap and traverseany chasm when it comes to saving lives."
That was it. No need to mention Gaza or criticize Israel's actions there.
It is not too much to suggest that Baskin and Derfner step backfrom their regular critical vantage points once in awhile and offerunadulterated congratulations for a job that, as Freund noted, "bringshonor to us all."
EFRAIM A. COHEN
Netanya
Sir, - Leave it to Larry Derfner to ask in his closing question("The pride and the shame," January 21): "When will this big-heartednation stop being heartless to the people in Gaza?"
Allow me to answer: When Hamas and its supporters stop diggingtunnels and smuggling weapons that they intend to use against Israel;and when the Hamas leadership begins to encourage economic development,industrial and agricultural production and political stability ratherthan incite to war against Israel.
I'm astounded at just how blind and deaf Mr.Derfner is when it comes to the poor people of Gaza. True, they aresuffering, but not because Israel is heartless. We should only live tosee the day when we can open up our hearts to our Palestinian cousinswithout committing national suicide.
RON BELZER
Petah Tikva
Water, water everywhere
Sir, - Looking at the great rainfall we are blessed to be having("Potent winter storm dumps record rainfall on the South," January 20),and viewing the swollen with runoff wadis in the South, one wonderswhat our water engineers are thinking. Why can't Israel, with the USand EU, solve the problem of the excess water being wasted by runninginto the sea? If all that flood water was diverted to reservoirs, Iwould think it would save us from water shortages.
MARK FEFFER
Jerusalem