May 10: Addressing the threat to Zionism

The increase of non-Jewish immigration into Israel would reduce the “us vs. them” tensions between Jews and Arabs.

The Polish hand of friendship
Sir, – Thank you for the article “Polish villagers clean up Jewish cemetery” (May 9) about the village of Sokolow Malopolski. It is indeed heartwarming. The Polish organizations involved in these acts of charity deserve our warmest thanks.
It reminds me of the kindness of non-Jewish citizens in 1980s Warsaw – at that time still under the communist regime – who helped with cleaning, painting and refurbishing the only Orthodox Nozykow Synagogue intact (all others had been totally destroyed by the Nazis). I heard from Polish people across the country that they bemoaned the loss of 10 percent of their culture in the Holocaust. Today, young people in Poland are eager to learn about Judaism as much as possible.
Nevertheless, reading about Sokolow Malopolski’s reportedly noncooperative municipality authorities, one could get the opinion that they were hostile to Jews. One may, however, remember that only a couple of years ago, the city of Warsaw provided a beautiful, prime area for the construction of the Jewish Holocaust Museum. It is also notable that the government of Poland is very friendly toward Israel and has proven this in its stance during the proceedings of the EU parliament.
A local example is the ambassador of the RP to Israel, Agnieszka Magdziak-Miszewska. For many years, she has conducted a monthly gathering for Israelis of Polish background, in her residence or public places. Jewish festivals are always marked with an appropriate greeting or celebration. Last year, she sponsored an excellent bar mitzva party for about a dozen boys from an orphanage in her fully kashered home with a number of rabbis present.
When other nations turn their backs on Israel, we can only welcome the hands of friendship stretched out to the Jewish people.
An irrelevant connection
Sir, – Whatever our opinions regarding Judge Richard Goldstone acting as chairman of the UN report on Operation Cast Lead and its “findings,” his decisions to send “28 black South Africans to death during the apartheid regime” have little relevance to the subject (“Ayalon slams Goldstone over apartheid,” May 7). It is logically, historically and factually wrong to connect these two episodes of Goldstone’s life, and Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon insults the intelligence of us all by doing so.
Moreover, he insults the innocence of the Nazis’ victims by drawing a comparison between Goldstone’s “response... that he was a part of the system and had to respect the laws of the state, occasionally having to enforce laws he was opposed to,” and the Nazis’ unacceptable response that they were just following orders.
The rationale of this fundamental difference is that Goldstone was acting within the law, sentencing legally convicted murderers to their punishment; whereas the Nazi “explanations” to which Ayalon refers were an attempted justification of having slaughtered innocent people – of having committed crimes themselves.
Addressing the threat to Zionism
Sir, – Your recent article “Blacking out Zionism?” (May 7) calls attention to the grave threat to the Zionist project posed by the rapid growth of the haredi and Arab populations relative to the secular Jewish one. Yet this article, like all others I have seen on the subject, fails to mention an obvious and humane solution: greatly increased non-Jewish immigration to Israel.
One million or more immigrants could come from any number of countries that have no “dog” in the Arab-Israeli or intra-Jewish fights. Those immigrants would want to live and work and participate in a prosperous liberal society. For this reason, they would naturally align themselves with the progressive forces in Israel, while at the same time assimilating into and strengthening a modern Hebrew (but also multicultural) society. Israel would benefit, as would the immigrants themselves.
In addition to the demographic benefits, the presence of such a group would tend to reduce the “us vs. them” tensions between Jews and Arabs.
DAVID J. BALANWashington
A question to those Haredi Israelis who don't serve in the Army
Sir, – Last Wednesday evening, the Paratroopers held an inspiring induction ceremony of new recruits at the Western Wall, including two of our grandsons – one coming from a “knit kippa” family and the other from a secular but traditional family. Both are highly motivated youngsters ready to serve their country.
I cannot therefore comprehend (and I strongly condemn) the attitude and actions of the haredi rabbis and politicians who encourage and allow the tens of thousands of able-bodied yeshiva boys to avoid army service. Don’t they realize the obvious consequences and dangers to the security and future of the State of Israel “where they also happen to live” – as outlined in the well-written articles by Caroline Glick and Sara Honig in this weekend’s Jerusalem Post?
The San Remo Resolution
Sir, – Susie Dym asks, “When will Jewish rights become known and recognized?” (“Remember San Remo,” Letters, May 2) She then refers to the “contributions” made by Mr. Eli Hertz and MK Danny Danon in recognizing “the exclusive national Jewish rights to the Land of Israel under international law.”
I have dealt extensively with this very subject in the first chapter of my book The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel under International Law. In fact, it was I who created the term “San Remo Resolution” to denote the inter-allied agreement that laid the legal foundation for the State of Israel. The late Prof. Yuval Ne’eman – to whom I served at the time as legal adviser on Eretz-Israel at the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, which he headed – acknowledged in a 1992 article that it was “at San Remo that the State of Israel draws its legal existence,” citing me as the legal source for his statement.
Eli Hertz himself wrote me on January 17, 2009, saying that “it was Howard Grief that insisted – correctly – that the San Remo Resolution is a piece of international law and the foundation that led to the final legal document – the ‘Mandate for Palestine.’”
Tribute to ‘Lady J’
Sir, – The sudden passing of Lady Jakobovits has created an enormousvoid, not only in the world Jewish community, but also among thousandsof individuals and families whose lives she touched and greatlyinfluenced for years (“Lady Jakobovits dies at 81,” May 9).
And while Lady J will be remembered for her decades of public service,it was her ability to impact the individual that made her so veryunique. Weekly visits to terminally sick friends, personal phone callswhen she heard someone was in the hospital, and using her unmistakablevoice to bring out a smile are but a few examples of her exceptionalpersonality.
Lady J, we will miss you sorely, but never stop loving you.