January 8: Yesh Din’s agenda

In view of Yesh Din’s apparent interest in preserving historical sites, one waits with bated breath for its petition against the Wakf for its numerous reported destructive activities on the Temple Mount.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Yesh Din’s agenda
Sir, – Your article “Settlers begin removing recreational structures near Nabi Salih well, state tells high court” (January 6) reports on the progress of a petition filed with the High Court of Justice by Yesh Din on behalf of certain Palestinian villagers against certain alleged activities by certain Jewish residents of the West Bank community of Halamish. The petition alleges a failure by such residents to “comply with Israel’s obligation under international law to preserve historical sites.”
In view of Yesh Din’s apparent interest in preserving historical sites, one waits with bated breath for its petition against the Wakf for its numerous reported destructive activities on the Temple Mount, surely one of Israel’s most significant historical sites.
Or is it only Israel, in Yesh Din’s opinion, that has this obligation?
Sir, – It seems to me that the radical Left’s Yesh Din has only one purpose in living here, and that is to make Jewish life in Israel as hard as possible and make sure the Arabs get our land. Even when shown legal title by Jewish families it cannot accept an incontrovertible truth. Its silence is deafening at the ongoing destruction by the Wakf on our Temple Mount (as, unfortunately, is our government’s).
One wonders what can possibly be going through the minds of Yesh Din’s members – or have they traded the truth for the lies they have disseminated for so long against the Jewish population and are unable now to tell the difference?
On the same page is another tragic saga where, after waiting 18 years for permission to build in E1, Ma’aleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel was hopeful because finally Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had given approval for such building – not because it was our right to do so but in response to the PA obtaining an upgrade at the UN (“Ma’aleh Adumim mayor urges Netanyahu to sign E1 plans”).
Kashriel should not hold his breath, as Netanyahu already told US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton not to make too much out of the declaration, for it would be years before anything was built. One should remember, too, that Netanyahu backed the right of Jews to live in the Ulpana neighborhood of Beit El and in Migron, but did a turn-around, as is his way, and demolished homes in both communities.
Jewish people have always lived in hope, sometimes unrealistically so. But what’s the alternative?
Accusation and insult
Sir, – Kollel teacher Daniel Adin, in his pious, self-righteous zeal to protect his perceptions of certain Torah values and institutions, is evidently unable to do so without resort to ungracious accusations and personal insults (“Pundits from afar,” Comment & Features, January 6). It is of utmost importance to examine whether the targets of his condemnations are indeed deserving of his opprobrium.
Adin attacks the representatives of the American Jewish Committee for their focus on and criticism of the Chief Rabbinate while the organization itself has failed to curb the 50 percent rate of assimilation existing in American Jewry. Is the AJC alone guilty of this deficiency? Is he not at all disturbed by the persistent reality of this rate despite the existence of a vast network of Jewish day schools, yeshivot and kollelim that are active throughout the United States?
In dealing with the magnitude and the serious ramifications that the conversion issue has for the whole structure and security of our Jewish state, I believe that Adin could be far more appreciative of the sacred work being performed by God-fearing people on behalf of the well-being of clal Yisrael.
Perhaps some hint of a proper direction can be found in Chabad, which insists on maintaining proper halachic standards while at the same time recognizing the infinite worth of that dormant Jewish spark to be found in all and creating the inclusive, warm and nonjudgmental atmosphere necessary for its revival.
Adin also chooses to vigorously condemn the late Rabbi Shlomo Goren and, unfortunately, goes well beyond stating wherein they disagree while maliciously accusing him of manipulating Halacha for purposes of personal political gain. I, however, firmly believe that the people of Israel, and particularly its religious element, owe a great debt of gratitude to Rabbi Goren for boldly using his great knowledge of Torah and Halacha to show how Torah and Jewish values can and must be applied to our new conditions of sovereignty and modernity.
ZEV CHAMUDOTPetah TikvaFurther proof
Sir, – I read with interest Nily Shiryon’s statement, “There already is a Palestinian state and it’s called Jordan,” in the article on the candidates’ debate in Tel Aviv (“Bayit Yehudi’s Gimpel: A two-state solution is national suicide,” January 4).
Testimony and evidence to support this can be found in a 1956 book, A Crackle of Thorns, written by an Arabic-speaking non-Jew, Sir Alec Kirkbride, whose career in Palestine spanned 40 years, from service as a young soldier under Allenby through being governor of the north of Mandate Palestine and later the first British ambassador to Amman.
On Page 19 Kirkbride set out the British plans for a two-state solution: “A mandate over Palestine, a geographical term which included Transjordan also, was granted to Great Britain in July 1920. At the time of the issue of this mandate His Majesty’s Government were too busy setting up a civil administration in Palestine proper, west of the river Jordan, to be bothered about the remote and undeveloped areas which lay to the east of the river and which were intended to serve as a reserve of land for use in the resettlement of Arabs once the National Home for the Jews in Palestine, which they were pledged to support, became an accomplished fact.”
Right-wing extremism
Sir, – In 2008 I wrote in these pages that “not long ago the Likud’s platform claimed an eternal ‘Greater Israel’” and that “Israel seemed increasingly maximalistic and ideological, and the Palestinians increasingly moderate and pragmatic,” but that “now the Palestinian side... seems maximalist and ideological, and Israel... moderate and pragmatic.”
Yet today, Bayit Yehudi’s Naftali Bennett and some Likud politicians are calling on Israel to annex Area C in the West Bank, and Post columnist Martin Sherman is even more extremist, urging Bennett to support “extending Israeli sovereignty over all of Judea- Samaria” (“Annexing Area C: An open letter to Naftali Bennett,” Into the Fray, December 21) and also to ethnically cleanse Areas A and B by “helping individual Arab-Palestinians currently resident there prosper elsewhere.”
This would have to be massive, since Sherman says that “between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, there can...prevail either exclusive Jewish sovereignty, or exclusive Arab sovereignty.” It would cause another intifada, more regional war, economic paralysis and Israeli emigration. No one would prosper.
My 2008 letter ended by saying that “the Left’s critique of Israel... doesn’t make sense to me anymore. I feel betrayed by the Palestinian leadership.” But now, with right-wing legislation, continuous settlement expansion, the rise of Bennett and the even more extremist Sherman, whom should we feel betrayed by?
Israel has a democracy we are so proud of. Hopefully, its voters will embrace a “middle Israel” type of common sense and repudiate this incendiary right-wing extremism.
JAMES ADLERCambridge, Massachusetts