March 18: Contrasting houses of worship

The Jordanians razed the famous Hurva Synagogue to the ground. I do not recall protests from the UN or Western powers at that despicable action.

Contrasting houses of worship
Sir, – At the end of the War of Independence, the Jordanians, who then ruled over occupied east Jerusalem (never referred to as such) razed the famous Hurva Synagogue to the ground. I do not recall protests from the United Nations or Western powers at this despicable action. Now, with the opening of the recently rebuilt house of worship, there is an outcry from the Palestinians, who claim that this is the start of a move to rebuild the Temple and destroy mosques on Mount Moriah (“PA, Hamas claim Israelis planning to destroy Temple Mount mosques,” March 17).
This contrasts strikingly with the news of a synagogue rebuilt in Germany after its destruction by the Nazis 70 years ago, with the German government shouldering a third of the reconstruction costs (“German community dedicates new shul,” March 17).
It would be nice to hear some words from our detractors in the USA and Europe commenting on this, particularly considering that since Israel took over the occupation of east Jerusalem, all places of worship, be they Christian or Muslim, have been protected by law. Moreover, actions by those Jews who wish to reestablish the Temple have been rigidly quashed.
    MONTY M. ZION     Tel Mond
Preventing ‘days of rage’...
Sir, – All this “rage” (“‘Day of Rage’ rioting rocks east Jerusalem,” March 17) could have been prevented by doing two important things: inviting all the major Muslim clerics and some embassy personnel to the opening of the Hurva Synagogue; and prior to the rededication, having the prime minister go on national television and tell the entire country – but especially the Arab population – that we are not interested in destruction or desecration of Muslim holy sites, that the Hurva Synagogue had been destroyed in a war and was rebuilt for no other purpose than worship.
These two things might have defused a very dangerous atmosphere before it ever began. A bit of statecraft can go a long way.
    A. WEINBERG     Rehovot
...or encouraging them?
Sir, – Isi Leibler’s analysis of the American administration’s actions hit exactly the proper tone (“Obama has crossed the line,” March 16). Leibler states that “the US-Israeli relationship has been on a downward spiral since the election” of Barak Obama.
Some infer, he points out, that Obama’s intention is to embolden the Palestinians to be more extreme in their demands, causing the peace talks to break down so Israel can be blamed and America, with the backing of the Quartet, can “impose a solution upon us.”
As a result of these “hostile outbursts” from the US, the Palestinians have indeed been emboldened, intensifying their demands and openly threatening us with a third intifada. It is obvious to all who witnessed the “Day of Rage” incited by Hamas that, rather than bringing the two sides together, the US approach has had the opposite effect.
Hillary Clinton says she is waiting for Israel’s response, but it should be Netanyahu who is waiting for the White House to adopt a more even-handed manner in its handling of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Getting past the faux-pas...
Sir, – Sometimes, from the tone of an editorial, it’s possible to make an educated guess about who wrote it.
One thing I’m sure of: Wednesday’s editorial “Fateful choice” (March 17) was not written by Caroline Glick. Ms. Glick would not have suggested that our government kowtow to America’s forced crisis and unreasonable demands.
It’s time to stand tall, respect our own independence and act in our own self-interest. It appears that the majority of Americans understand that the Biden issue was a faux-pas, despite the fact that the Obama administration is using it to bash us. In the past, when our leaders have had the integrity to stand up for our rights, the US eventually backed down. Now is the time to do this again.
Sir, – What can we, the moderate majority, do to stop this nutcase government alienating the United States further? Netanyahu and his even-more-dangerous partners are leading us into international disaster, and there seems little we can do to stop them.
    DAVID KRAVITZ     Netanya
Sir, – I firmly believe that the US secretary of state does accept the fact that our prime minister was genuinely unaware that this embarrassing announcement was about to be made (“Softer tone coming from Washington, as Clinton reaffirms ‘close, unshakable bond,’” March 17). The intimation by hostile parties that this announcement was intended as a snub to an honored guest, Vice President Joe Biden, or to the United States, is simply inconceivable. What more could the prime minister have done than apologize publicly and privately, because ultimately the buck does stop with him?
At the same time, if the panic button is pressed every time a bureaucrat makes a snafu, we’ll all go bonkers. By the time of the AIPAC meeting later in March, the situation will have been defused.
The US and Israel fully understand that the respect and admiration that each state has for the other transcend goofs that might arise from time to time. Both countries understand the paramount importance of their special relationship in a world of diminishing democracies.
    SMOKY SIMON    Herzliya Pituah grown-ups
Sir, – The debacle over Israel “insulting” Washington over the announcement of new housing in Jerusalem pales by comparison to Joe Biden‘s tardy appearance – an hour and a half late! – at dinner.
All the parties involved in this ongoing saga should pick up their toys and return to the playground.
    SALLY SHAW    Kfar Saba
Armed and dangerous
Sir, – Daniel Pipes is right on target in “America’s shiny new Palestinian militia” (March 17). The British armed and trained the Jordanian Legion; they turned out to be our most formidable enemy during the War of Independence. The Americans armed the Taliban while they fought the Soviets; now the Taliban is using those same arms against US troops.  When are we going to finally learn these lessons?
A history of gefilte
Sir, – Mr. Rosenberg’s article on fish (“In praise of gefilte fish,” March 16) was most interesting. However, I've been a food writer and lecturer for 40 years, and my research on gefilte fish shows Mr. Rosenberg has the story backward.
He says it originated with the Polish Jews and “was unknown” to the German Jews. According to John Cooper in Eat and Be Satisfied: A Social History of Jewish Food, and my primary resource, gefilte fish was “undisputably of medieval origin and probably older still.” He states the earliest recipe appears in a manuscript written in southern Germany about 1350. (The original “gefilte” fish, meaning stuffed, was fish innards, salt, pepper, caraway seeds and sometimes eggs, baked. In the 17th century, it was stuffed back into the fish skin and baked.)
Later, it migrated to Lithuania and Poland (the latter in the 17thcentury).  The recipe even appears in a 16th-century German treatise.
Stephen Rosenberg writes: This may, indeed, be correct. On a practicallevel, though, I can say, as a Yekke myself, that we never had gefiltefish at home until the Polish introduced it to London.
Eric Freudenstein, whom I knew, was also in the dark about the dish till he came across it in New York at Rokeach.
Personally, I still prefer fried fish and chips wrapped in newspaper, as per minhag Anglia.