June 5: No mere paranoia

Larry Derfner believes that the Israeli public is obsessed with security fears. The last time I counted, we had fought eight wars.

letters (photo credit: JP)
(photo credit: JP)
And it’s about time
Sir, – While I feel deeply for the people of Syria and their horrid sufferings at the hands of the Damascus regime (“Dead Syrian boy emerges as symbol for protesters,” June 2), I believe that respect should be given where due.
Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate President Bashar Assad and all the long-suffering generals who have led that nation’s armed forces. Since 1948, with the establishment of the State of Israel and on through the Six Day War, the Yom Kippur War, the First Lebanon War and the attempt to intimidate Jordan, they have finally met an enemy they can defeat.
Ma’aleh Adumim
No mere paranoia
Sir, – In his June 2 column (“Ours not to reason why,” Rattling the Cage), Larry Derfner, with hindsight, believes that the Israeli public is too obsessed with security fears.
The last time I counted, we had fought eight wars, two intifadas and aerial attacks from Iraq. Together they resulted in massive loss of life, which Derfner does not mention.
More recently we witnessed the useless murder of the following: five members of the Fogel family, Juliano Mer Khamis, Mary Jean Gardner,Vittorio Arrigoni, Daniel Viflic, Aviv Morag and Ben Yosef Livnat.
Maybe the Israeli public has good reason to fear for its safety after all.
Petah Tikva
On the wrong side
Sir, – Mohammad Darawshe (“A word on your Arab citizens,” Comment & Features, June 2) asks Prime Minister Netanyahu to contrast the newly passed Nakba Law to the apology recently issued by US President Obama to the Native American community for violence perpetrated against them hundreds of years ago.
One key difference between the two political realities lies in the fact that Israeli Arabs are still seen as an existential threat to the Jewish state. Take, for instance, the fact that when a Jewish driver inadvertently makes a wrong turn and finds himself in an Arab neighborhood, he will likely fear for his life until he can navigate his way to safety. Possibly, a large majority of Israeli Arabs would never think to inflict harm on innocent Jews, but too many incidents tell us that they are a threat.
If Israeli Arabs would show loyalty and commitment to the state, similar to the Druse, they would find a warm reception in the Jewish community, even among the Right. There would be a greater willingness to deal with issues of discrimination. But as long as they insist on aligning themselves with an enemy that seeks our destruction, Israeli Jews like me will remain suspicious and unsympathetic.
Israelis are everywhere
Sir, – One agrees with Yonatan Silver and Antoinette Haselton (“Scottish book ban...,” Letters, May 31) that we would hope the Scottish council members will exclude those writings by Israelis in our bible. But will they overlook other writers in the book known as the New Testament? That book is written almost entirely by Israelis, including a tax collector and a fisherman from the Galilee. Let’s not overlook Paul, who wrote a great deal of it and described himself as “circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee” (Philippians 3.5).
Aye, he’s pretty kenspeckle – oot w’ him!
Misguided ‘intactivists’
Sir, – In your May 27 editorial (“Say no to ‘brit mila’ ban”) you wrote: “Opposition to brit mila dates back to ancient times.
Romans, normally tolerant occupiers, were particularly hostile to the practice before and after the destruction of the Second Temple....
Defacing the male sexual organ was seen by the pagan Romans as an attack on the Hellenistic adoration of nature, considered perfect and a reflection the will of the gods.”
The proposed vote on whether to ban the circumcision of males under the age of 18 in San Francisco is just another example of the current revival of neopaganism under the spurious banner of “human rights.” The essential difference between the Jewish and pagan views of the world is that we do not see nature as perfect but as something God has purposely left slightly imperfect in order to give us the opportunity to correct its faults, to which the Aleinu prayer, which we say three times a day, alludes.
This is the concept underlying circumcision because in doing it we perform God’s command to perfect our bodies as a symbolic first stage in the perfection of His world. It is this challenge to the pagan worldview that has inspired the opposition to it throughout the ages, from the times of the ancient Greeks and Romans to today’s misguided “intactivists” of San Francisco.
Salford, UK
Not all are impressed
Sir, – How exciting to read in The Jerusalem Post all the exuberant reports and comments, as well as to witness the enthusiastic response to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to US legislators.
Yet a careful close-up of the members of Congress who were assembled that day in the Capitol reveals a simple truth: In five or 10 years, most of these people will no longer be sitting and applauding in this building.
The men and women who will were sitting that day in classrooms at Columbia, Harvard, Yale and Stanford. What kind of welcome would our prime minister have received there? However much we may like or dislike those institutions, the future we must speak to is in those classrooms.
Moshav Aminadav
Sir, – Since Prime Minister Netanyahu chose to get involved in US politics by making a misleading speech to Congress and giving fodder to rabid Republicans, I see no reason for the US to try to influence other countries regarding their vote on Palestinian statehood.
Does Netanyahu really believe he’s the only tough guy in this game?
Susquehanna, Pennsylvania
Sir, – It’s true that Prime Minister Netanyahu is an excellent speaker, especially in American English. It’s also true that any Israeli prime minister invited to speak before the US Congress will receive cheers even if he reads from the telephone book.
The bottom line, however, is that US President Obama said the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute should be based on the 1967 borders, with land swaps.
He said this in his first speech, but also before AIPAC, and the enthusiastic applause given Bibi in Congress won’t change this: Whether we like it or not, the 1967 borders will now be the internationally accepted basis for negotiations.
It is worth remembering that we’re not being asked to return to the exact border. If we want to retain Ma’aleh Adumim, for example, we will be asked where within the Green Line are we willing to part with a similar area of land.
If we want, we can begin negotiations on this basis tomorrow morning and finish by September.
But if we wait until September, there will be a decision in the UN that takes into account the border exactly as it existed before the Six Day War, without any land swaps – and then our situation will be much worse.
Bibi spoke beautifully. Good for him. But time is working against us. It will be better from every perspective if we offer an initiative and gain what we still can. If not, we may be weeping bitterly in another year over the opportunity we missed.
Bat Yam