May 6: Bouquets for Liat

"Liat Collins very eloquently summed up the pluses and minuses of living in Israel and the immigrant experience."

letters 88 (photo credit: )
letters 88
(photo credit: )
Bouquets for Liat Sir, - Thanks to Liat Collins for her inspiring words about our little country. She expressed herself beautifully, poetically. "Everything's coming up roses" (May 5) was a wonderful antidote to the dire predictions about our future here and the negativism rampant in the media. TAMAR H. KAGAN Jerusalem Sir, - Liat Collins very eloquently summed up the pluses and minuses of living in Israel and the immigrant experience. This piece was exceptional. SUSAN SHAUL Nitzan 2 Flagging behind Sir, - I have noticed that every year around Independence Day there are fewer cars with Israeli flags. Are drivers uninterested, or is patriotism flagging? SARA SHAW Kfar Saba Sir, - Over the last few days I've estimated less than 5 percent of Israeli vehicles flying the blue-and-white flag, Israel's pride. Could this be attributed to loss of confidence in our government; or perhaps the younger generation, accustomed to Israel's existence, sees flags as unnecessary? HERMAN BRAAF Moshav Udim Bad timing Sir, - The sudden "severe" investigation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert casts a shadow over the prestige and image of Israel at a time when the country is celebrating its 60th anniversary, having just memorialized the victims of the Holocaust ("Calls mount for PM to step down amid 'severe' new probe," May 4). Surely it could have waited a month or two, especially since Mr. Olmert, by virtue of his position, is hardly a flight risk. Sometimes Jews are their own worst enemies. SHALOM BEN SHALOM Zurich Who can participate... Sir, - After the Great Schism in Jewish history, it became well established over the next 2,000 years that the line in the sand is drawn at Jews' belief in Jesus as messiah or the son of God. Accordingly, the assertion by Calev Myers, founder and chief counsel of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, that religious Zionist rabbis' protest over a Messianic Jewish woman's participation in the annual Bible Quiz is a show of weakness, is naivete, if not hubris. The early followers of Jesus in the First Century CE were banished from the Jewish community. Maimonides faced similar deviations from historical Judaism and so penned his 13 Principles of the Faith. His code of Jewish law explains why followers of both Christianity and Islam are irreconcilable with Judaism. That this young lady can quote proficiently from the Bible carries little weight. So can many fundamentalist Christians, lovers of Israel and the Jewish people. Protestant and Catholic scholars of the Old Testament know how to quote the Jewish Bible in the original. Would they, on the basis of their keen knowledge, qualify to participate in this Bible contest? Every religion has the right to establish what its fundamental assertions of faith are. Normative Judaism determined long ago that Jewish followers of Jesus are - sadly - apostates ("Rabbis call for Bible Quiz boycott due to Messianic Jewish finalist," May 1). CHAIM WASSERMAN Jerusalem the Bible Quiz? Sir - Our Jewish state is, by its very nature, populated by Jews. Religious and non-religious, frum and apikorus are all stuffed into this tiny country and have to get along, or at least tolerate each other - even in a Bible Quiz, even if the leading contestant of that quiz happens to be a Jewish apostate, even if (God forbid!) she was a member of the Jewish Reform movement. The story is told of how when Rav Kook heard there were Jews working on Rosh Hashana, he quickly grabbed a shofar and said, "Come, our brothers have probably not heard the blowing of the shofar. We'll do it for them." Not everyone or every generation hears the blowing of the shofar, our shofar, our way. So what. Perhaps in another 60 years they will. YAACOV PETERSEIL Jerusalem Pretentious pose Sir, - President of PETA Ingrid Newkirk makes the specious argument that "those who struggle for the rights of… animals slaughtered… each year are the sort of people who… worked to hide Jews and help Jews escape from the great horror of the Holocaust" ("Ally of the persecuted," May 4). This has no basis in fact. Has she done a secret nutritional analysis of the Righteous Gentiles commemorated at Yad Vashem? Do the non-meat-eaters outnumber the meat-eaters? I doubt it. What we do know is that Hitler (inspired by Wagner) advocated vegetarianism, often practiced it and opposed animal experimentation as being unethical (hence the Nazis' use of human subjects for experiment). Many animal rights people also advocate human experimentation on ethical grounds (if humans are to benefit, why should animals have to pay the price?). Some of the most peaceful people on earth, such as the Inuit, eat meat. Some of the most barbarous people in history were vegetarians. The vegetarians' pose of moral superiority is annoying - but when they pose as being "the sort of people" who saved the Jews, it is outrageous. Adolf Hitler was the most famous vegetarian in history - he was also the most infamous Jew-killer. TSVI BISK Kfar Saba The writer is author of 'The Optimistic Jew' We cease, they fire Sir, - Larry Derfner asks us in Sderot: "Why the hell not try" a cease-fire? From November 26, 2006 until May 15, 2007 a cease-fire between Hamas-controlled Gaza and Israel ensued, during which, according to the tabulation of the IDF spokesman, Gazans launched 315 missiles targeted at Sderot and the western Negev. Given such an experience, why would Derfner, or anyone else, ask us here in Sderot to endure yet another cease-fire? It is patently obvious that Hamas will use any such respite to further develop rockets that will reach Ashdod. Most importantly, Derfner forgets that Israel's adversaries are not advocating a real cease-fire, but promoting a hudna. The authoritative Islamic Encyclopedia (London, 1922) defines a hudna as a "temporary treaty" which can be approved or abrogated by Islamic religious leaders, depending on whether or not it serves the interests of Islam; and a hudna cannot last for more than 10 years. Derfner did not mention that he was moving to Sderot to cover the consequences of what he is advocating ("For a cease-fire with Hamas," May 1). NOAM BEDEIN Sderot Ken's good advice Sir, - After his suspension for anti-Semitic comments, Ken Livingstone stated: "This decision strikes at the heart of democracy. Elected politicians should only be able to be removed by the voters." Last weekend's mayoral election results show that London's voters heeded Livingstone's advice. The mayor's support for extremist Muslim clerics, his cozy relationship with a Latin American dictator and illegitimate pronouncements on Middle Eastern foreign policy appalled Jewish and non-Jewish voters alike. While the London Jewish vote is statistically small, its concerns mirror those of voters at large ("Boris rides to the rescue - there'll be fresh thinking in London after Ken Livingstone's defeat," May 4). LAWRENCE RYZ London