November 4: God and the weather

It is today distinctly politically incorrect to attribute natural disasters to the Creator. Thus, Hurricane Sandy evoked no public calls for mercy, no prayers for people to be saved, nor for its path to be diverted.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
God and the weather
Sir, – With regard to “Devastated US Northeast crawls back after Sandy” (November 1), it is today distinctly politically incorrect to attribute natural disasters to the Creator. Thus, Hurricane Sandy evoked no public calls for mercy, no prayers for people to be saved, nor for its path to be diverted.
How different the mindset of even non-Jews once was can be seen in the Storm Proclamation of England’s Queen Anne after the great tempest that hit the British Isles on November 26, 1703: “Whereas it hath pleased Almighty God to afflict our kingdom by terrible Storms of Wind... many ships were sunk... great numbers have perished... houses and buildings demolished... corn and hay scattered abroad... very great damage and impoverishment... it loudly calls for the deepest and most solemn humiliation.... We humbly acknowledge it to be a token of Divine displeasure.... Through God’s infinite mercy we were not wholly destroyed.... We have resolved and do hereby command that a General Public Fast be observed.”
This public fast was observed throughout England the following January 19.
More than 300 years later, people have again been taught a great respect for the forces of nature, but not for the Creator of those forces. God was not mentioned once in the media. “Ruah sa’ara oseh d’varo – The storm wind does His bidding” (Tehillim 148).
Ridiculous non-story
Sir, – Although it was somewhat hidden at the bottom of Page 1 of your November 1 issue, I could not believe I was seeing yet another headline like “Will Kahlon boost Center-Left bloc?” You have been running this ridiculous non-story for almost two weeks. Those who are involved must be taking medications that have delusional or hallucinatory side-effects.
With the demise of Maariv and the imminent demise of Haaretz, is it necessary to run sensational headlines and stories to boost circulation? Get real! Or am I being delusional?
Lapid’s resume...
Sir, – Having read “Slogans and substance” by Jonathan Rosen (Inside Out, November 1), I couldn’t agree more with the statement: “To some degree, all candidates resort to catchy slogans and carefully crafted sound bites as an effective means of conveying positive messages about themselves and, alternately, denigrating their rivals.”
Somehow, though, I fail to understand Rosen’s praise for Yair Lapid. I very well remember reading an editorial in The Jerusalem Post earlier this year on revelations that the television celebrity and political aspirant was accepted to a PhD program at Bar-Ilan University without ever having attained so much as a bachelor’s degree (“Doctor who?,” February 2). Why in the world was this major incident hushed up? How can we have faith in these hypocrites to craft the future of our great nation?
...and his declarations
Sir, – Yair Lapid’s dramatic and extremely important declaration (“Lapid: We won’t sit in a government that won’t return to negotiating peace with the Palestinians,” October 31) is a most welcome introduction announcement to the platform of his Yesh Atid party.
It is about time that Israel’s citizenry heard a crystal clear and bold statement about principles from those who seek their votes.
I, however, believe such statements must be correctly understood.
Thus, I was most pleased to learn that Yesh Atid won’t sit with the Palestinian Authority government of President Mahmoud Abbas until its gives up its consistent and adamant refusal to return to the peace table without demanding suicidal concessions from Israel.
I do strongly believe that all parties that make up the political spectrum of Israel, Right or Left, Ashkenazi or Sephardi, religious or secular, follow the example set unintentionally by Lapid and present a totally unified position to the world.
Go yet greener
Sir, – With regard to “Israel celebrates a decade of recycling” (November 1), yes, we have a country that recycles, but are only plastic bottles able to be recycled? This is what the article implies without actually stating it.
Many people also put plastic packaging materials into the recycling bins. What happens to it? Is it also recycled? Does it invalidate the bottles it’s mixed with? Many of us would be more ardent recyclers if you provided definitive lists of exactly what can and cannot be placed in these recycling bins. Please give us the opportunity to help reduce landfill.
Sir, – It would be interesting for the public to know what is being done with the millions of shekels in unclaimed NIS 0.30 deposits that are not refunded to the public due to a complete lack of infrastructure for glass bottles and aluminum cans.
The deposit has long become part of the cost of the beverage.
Is this slush fund being used to cover recycling costs?
Role model
Sir, – Sometimes, help comes from an unexpected source, even a visiting diplomat. How courageous and perceptive of Latvian Foreign Minister Edgar Rinkevics to confirm that the settlement issue is “complex” and “very difficult for people who are not really experts in the region” to understand, and that to understand it one must take into account “the absolutely complex situation, historically, politically and legally...”
(“Latvian FM to ‘Post’: EU should avoid being perceived as lecturing Israel on settlements,” October 31).
This is precisely the conclusion of the Levy Report on the Status of Building in Judea and Samaria, which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu commissioned but has not yet adopted: “Our basic conclusion is that from the point of view of international law, the classical laws of ‘occupation’ as set out in the relevant international conventions cannot be considered applicable to the unique and sui generis historical and legal circumstances of Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria spanning over decades.”
Let us hope that our prime minister will take courage from Rinkevics’s statements, that he will not fear the response of the international community to the Levy Report and will urge the government to adopt it before the elections, particularly in view of the merger of the Likud with Yisrael Beytenu, which favors adopting the report in full.
Striking articles
Sir, – Two items in the October 31 issue of The Jerusalem Post struck me for their anti-Semitic nature.
One was “Former British diplomat claims proportionality in warfare is ‘not Jewish.’” The idea of proportionality in warfare is absurd. No country could ever win a war with that premise. We should ask Peter Jenkins to comment about proportionality in past wars in which Jews were not involved.
The second was “European NGOs recommend banning West Bank settlement products.” Their view is that Israel is in violation of the Geneva Convention by occupying a land belonging to a sovereign state that was gained by war, and then sending its citizens to settle there. Can they say which state the territories belong to? There is not one peep from any of these smug, self-righteous people about the illegal occupation of northern Cyprus or Tibet, or about the settling of Russian citizens in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia by the Soviets.
It is only against Israel that these preposterous claims are made, and if that is not anti- Semitism, I do not know what is.