November 12: Aid to Philippines

The people of the Philippines, through their goodwill ambassadors in Israel, the Filipino caregivers,give so much to our country.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Aid to Philippines Sir, – I’m sure that most Israelis commiserate deeply with the people of the Philippines at this time of their sorrow and helplessness (“‘Massive destruction’ as super typhoon kills at least 1,200 in Philippines,” November 10). The question is, what can we do to help the families of people who contribute so selflessly and with such little publicity to the quality of life of Israel’s senior citizens and handicapped? As Jews, it seems to me that we should leap to offer help and aid as we have done so often in the past to other countries ravaged by storms and earthquakes. So far I have not heard our president or prime minister publicly call for aid and assistance, or even for condolence visits to the Philippines embassy in Tel Aviv.
There should be urgent motions by MKs of all parties to set up aid funds. The GA convention meeting in Jerusalem could set an example of Jewish charity by appealing to its member communities to help out. It would not be out of place for our chief rabbis to exhort Jewish communities here and abroad to open their hearts and pockets in the name of humanity and legendary Jewish charity.
I might even suggest that The Jerusalem Post take the lead in the media by establishing its own Philippine Aid Fund.
The people of the Philippines, through their goodwill ambassadors in Israel, the Filipino caregivers, give so much to our country that the least we can do is respond positively in their time of trial and tribulation and to show them that they are not alone.
Recent addition? Sir, – Regarding “Evidence insufficient to prove Arafat was poisoned, says Russian report” (November 10), the half-life of polonium 210 is so short (138 days) that after very few years there would not be enough remaining to detect. If there is still Polonium 210 in the exhumed items, it must be being “fed” by its long-lived precursors, bismuth 210 from lead 210.
It would be a good idea to tell those involved in the search to check the exhumed items for lead 210. If lead 210 is not present, then it is clear that the polonium was a recent addition to the items.
GERALD SCHROEDER Jerusalem The writer has a PhD from MIT in physics and the earth sciences
Look to the Lord Sir, – With regard to “Pollard’s fate” (Editorial, November 10), I have wondered through the years what I personally could do to help get Jonathan Pollard released.
We, the Jewish people, have learned patience through the years, but this has been proven only with much fortitude, that when the Good Lord is really ready, things do get straightened out in a clever way.
May Pollard’s day of release be announced speedily.
US Jewry’s fate Sir, – In “A GA challenge: Can we make American Jewish life more affordable and soulful?” (Center Field, November 10), Gil Troy is on point regarding issues needing rectification if American Jewry is to have a prayer.
Troy is spot on that the high cost of being Jewish forces the Orthodox especially to eschew career choices that are not purely greed driven. The collateral damage is a sterile society lacking in creativity, scholarship and science – not to mention quality teachers and rabbis. The rabbinate becomes the default ground for mediocrities who can’t cut it in the world of hedge funds and rapacious corporate law.
However, he misses the crux of why American Jewry is doomed.
American Jewish leadership is pretty much defined by one thing – personal wealth. How people live their lives, whether or not they are endogamous, how closely they flirt with criminal activity is irrelevant. Money is king. By making gelt the sole criteria for Jewish leadership, young people come to realize there are no red lines. Anything goes so long as you can write a big check.
J.J. GROSS Jerusalem
Sir, – Let’s see if I got this right regarding “With more US dualfaith families ‘doing both,’ outreach groups reconsider approach” (Jewish World, November 8).
The non-Jewish daughter of a non-Jew (who learned to make matza balls) taught her own children about both Christianity and Judaism. And if these non-Jewish children choose to practice Judaism, they “feel deeply connected to Judaism,” which is a good thing for the Jewish community.
Am I missing something here?
Problematic references
Sir, – Two op-eds appeared side by side in your November 8 issue.
Though very different, both referred to Judea and Samaria in a problematic manner.
In Warren Goldstein’s otherwise excellent and lucid discussion of the relationship between South Africa and Israel (“Ministers of international polarization,” Sinai Today), he states that “before they were under Israel’s jurisdiction, the West Bank and Gaza were Jordanian and Egyptian territory respectively.”
Rabbi Goldstein surely knows that Judea and Samaria were never Jordanian. In fact, Jordan illegally annexed the area in 1950, but its control was never acknowledged internationally except by Great Britain and Pakistan. Jordan’s annexation was regarded as illegal and void even by the Arab League.
I hope that as a rabbi who appears frequently and prominently in the international media, he will present this critical historical fact correctly in the future.
Far more troubling, though, is the approach of Daniel Statman (“Ethics and the essence of Judaism,” iEngage) and the relationship between Israeli and American Jews, in which he states: “The settlement project, with all of its manifestations for the Palestinian population, is difficult to reconcile with a serious concern for justice.”
I won’t even try to locate Statman’s definition of “ethical ideals” or the basis for his assertion that such ideals are outside traditional observant Judaism. He has simply conflated his political agenda with ethics and justice, and concludes that anyone, particularly an Israeli, who disagrees with his politics is unethical and indifferent to the pursuit of justice.
For Statman, this is true simply because several hundred secular American Jews so responded in a survey.
Wish carefully Sir, – With regard to “An American Spring” (Savir’s Corner, November 8), it looks like Uri Savir has been asleep these past five years. The only thing that US President Barack Obama got right was in fooling the American voters into reelecting him.
Due to his failed domestic and foreign policies, Obama’s supporters and allies have lost confidence in his dismal performance and failed, failed agendas. Peace through diplomacy is a worthy cause, but the current US administration is too involved with ideology to make much progress and balanced results.
Mr. Savir, I am so happy that you are concerned with the well-being of the people of Syria, Iran and the so called Palestinians.
How about a good word for Israelis and our concerns and survival? As for the “American Spring,” I hope it turns out better than the Arab Spring, which so far has spawned more and more violent Islamic fundamentalism and terrorists.
Be careful what you wish for.
Kiryat Tivon
Another statistic Sir, – With regard to “Relations between Israel and UK tarnished by Mandate period” (November 5), my parents made aliya in the 1930s. I was born during the British Mandate, in 1936, in Tel Aviv and the district of Jaffa.
I was in Palestine for only one year. My father told me that he took me out for a walk in my pram on Rothschild Boulevard and came home horrified after seeing five Jews shot dead by British soldiers in the street.
That was enough for him.
Immediately, all the family returned to London.
Just another statistic about the Mandate.