November 4: His first read

Sarah Honig has written something that should be read by everyone, perhaps especially by the US administration.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
His first read
Sir , – Again, Sarah Honig has written something (“They just don’t get it,” Another Tack, November 1) that should be read by everyone, perhaps especially by the US administration.
It reminded me of the statement by Saddam Hussein after he was captured: “You guys just don’t understand. This is a rough neighborhood.”
As always, Honig’s column is the first thing I read when I get the Friday Post.
Tel Aviv
One side now
Sir, – In “Financing Mideast flames on a burned-out budget” (Observations, November 1), Edwin Black gives an enlightening and informative report about the New Israel Fund, a tax-exempt US charity whose grants “steer millions of dollars to scores of confrontation- oriented Israeli NGOs.”
They include B’Tselem, “which circulates video cameras to Arab villages that are hotbeds for confrontation,” and Adalah, which “brags that it has devoted itself to getting Israelis prosecuted for war crimes.”
The cameras are “calculated to capture the scene after soldiers are taunted into finally reacting.”
I witnessed this sort of activity first-hand on the Shabbat of October 26 during a walking tour of the Arab market place adjacent to the cave of the Patriarchs.
I spoke to two cameramen who stated they were from the Philippines and Brazil, and that they were there to take pictures of Israelis who were abusive of Arab civil rights in the “occupied territories.” As we were leaving the casbah there was a group of Arab children playing on a terraced area above us who were spitting on Jewish passers-by and soldiers below. One of the cameramen took pictures of soldiers who were shooing the children to the rear of the playground.
When I asked if he had also taken pictures of the children spitting, he insisted he had. I asked several times to see those pictures. He walked away from me to a smiling Arab.


Release redux
Sir, – Juxtaposed with the release of Palestinian prisoners are the new building plans (“Israeli official: PA and US knew building plans would follow prisoner release,” October 31).
Perhaps our government believes it’s smart to throw the Palestinians a bone to achieve this more important goal. Dead wrong.
The result, as we well know, emboldens and gives strength to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (“Abbas vows there will be no peace agreement unless all prisoners go free,” October 31). Well of course. If you had gotten the same results without action, wouldn’t you do the same? Far worse is the unknown damage of fostering a false fear in ourselves and generations to come that we need permission to build in Jerusalem or anywhere else in Israel. It screams out to the world, “It’s not our God-given land, but please let us live here.”

Sir, – How cruel and horrifying this “gesture.”
The whole world must think the Israeli government (excluding a few Knesset members with their hearts in the right place) is one big gesture of unbelievable madness and weakness. I am sure there is not one Israeli citizen who is not hurting. So extremely sad for the victims’ families.
When will this madness stop? One leader after another, the same story.
Netanyahu will certainly not get my vote again.
Sir, – Seeing that neither the Palestinians nor the international community have any interest in honoring their commitments to Israel, I suggest that we treat our commitment to release terrorists in the same way.
The freed prisoners should be liable to rearrest at will. As soon as the parties are over, they should start running.
Sir, – Congratulations and admiration.
Fifteen-hundred new apartments for the release of only 26 Palestinian prisoners. Brilliant, considering you still have approximately 5,000 more Palestinians in your jails. That’s 57 units per prisoner, 190,000 new apartments.
With an average of six people per apartment , that’s 1,140,000 settlers in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. Not a bad deal.
Very clever. Keep it up.
New York
Just, healthy diet
Sir, – Recent revelations about serious animal abuses at kosher slaughterhouses (“Environment Ministry launches investigation of Soglowek slaughterhouse after ‘Kolbotek’ report,” October 31) should make us Jews seriously consider our diets. After all, we are to be rachmanim b’nei rachmanim (compassionate children of compassionate ancestors) and are to imitate the actions of God, “Whose compassion encompasses all His works.”
As president emeritus of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA), I want to stress that vegetarianism is the diet most consistent with Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people.
In addition to the massive mistreatment of animals on factory farms and sometimes at kosher slaughterhouses, animal-based diets contribute substantially to widespread diseases in Jewish and other communities, and to climate change and other environmental problems that threaten all humanity.
New York
Easy to see
Sir, – The validity of Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s statement (“Lapid: A ‘Jewish and democratic’ state is an unsolvable contradiction,” October 29) is incontrovertible and can be demonstrated in a manner so simple as to be comprehensible to virtually any high school student.
Given the democratic principle of “one adult/one vote,” if the Arab citizens of Israel constituted a majority of the country’s voting population, the majority of the Knesset’s membership would consist of Arabs, and that, in principle, would be sufficient to terminate the so-called Jewish state of Israel.
This contradiction is a direct consequence of Israel’s 1948 Proclamation of the State, which declares (in a dubious way) that “The state of Israel... will be based on precepts of liberty, justice and peace taught by the Hebrew prophets; will uphold the full social and political equality of all its citizens without distinction of race, creed or sex....”
Nothing more need be said to demonstrate the validity of Lapid’s statement.
The writer has authored books on the US Declaration of Independence
The real Reichmann
Sir, – The article “Paul Reichmann, Canadian Jewish philanthropist and builder, dies at 83” (October 28) quotes the Toronto Star as saying that “Paul Reichmann was not particularly comfortable with riches” and that “the Reichmanns seemed anxious to shed personal wealth.” The Star assumes that if he and his family gave so much it must be explained away psychologically rather than philosophically.
Having had the privilege of knowing Mr. Reichmann well, I beg to differ.
We Torah Jews proceed from the axiom that there is free will and that despite the conflicting proclivities of human nature one can decide the right thing to do not merely as a consequence of psychological orientation but as a moral decision.
With his sense of the challenge to achieve and his deeply ingrained recognition that with all his talents and perseverance, success was a gift from on High, he was a custodian of that largesse, quite comfortable with those riches but committed to the realization that the greater the success, the more it is laced and threaded through with a sense of responsibility and mission.
The writer is a rabbi and heads Ohr Somayach
Due to a technical error owing to the end of Daylight Savings Time, we provided the incorrect times of the beginning and end of Shabbat in the November 1 issue. We apologize to our readers and will do our utmost to ensure that this does not happen again.