November 8: Not much change

It is abundantly clear that the so-called moderate Palestinian Authority is not a reformed PLO.

Not much change
Sir, – It is abundantly clear that the so-called moderate Palestinian Authority is not a reformed PLO (“Abbas to build houses for prisoners released in Schalit deal,” November 6).
The entire Oslo process was based on the assumption that the terrorist PLO, which was exactly like Hamas, is now reformed and willing to live in peace with Israel. But after all these years and the repeated praise and hero worship of those who shoot at children, blow up crowded restaurants and beat to death reservist soldiers; the uncompromising demand for millions of Arabs to be allowed into what is left of Israel after a PLO state comes into being; the racist statement that no Jews will be allowed in a Palestinian state – and now the plan to build homes for terrorists – clearly show the PLO never changed.
Instead much of the West condemn Israel for having the audacity to build homes for Jews within existing Jewish neighborhoods.
Ideal opportunity
Sir, – It seems the Palestinian Authority will once again shoot itself in the foot (“PA to sue Israel for ‘destroying’ Arab and Muslim antiquities,” November 6).
The destruction caused by the PA, culminating in an unlicensed mosque at Solomon’s Stables on the Temple Mount, as well as the desecration of Rachel’s Tomb, Joseph’s Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs, not to mention the demolishing of various ancient synagogues in Gaza and Jericho, would be an ideal opportunity for us to expose their evil mendacity forcefully and extensively.

Earlier editions
Sir, – In “Pashkevilim offer glimpse into haredi struggle shielding community from modernity” (November 6), your reporter states that the first printing press was brought to Israel in 1841.
This is inaccurate. The first printing press was brought here in the 1600s, to Safed.
Hatzor Haglilit

Columnist’s bona fides
Sir, – Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is from a Soviet-occupied land where the Russian language and far worse were brutally forced on the natives. But Douglas Bloomfield, in “Needed: A real foreign minister” (Washington Watch, November 3), derides our valued Eastern European immigrants.
Bloomfield’s own forebears, I’m sure, didn’t reach the New World on the Mayflower. We subscribers deserve to know which bona fides, if any, underpin his nervy, distant talk.
The Op-ed Editor responds: Douglas Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He writes regularly for Anglo-Jewish newspapers and is the former legislative director of AIPAC and Washington representative of the World Jewish Congress.
Unjustified critique
Sir, – Ury Eppstein didn’t like the last concert of the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra (“Classical Review, November 3). Not least of his reasons was our presumed deviance from Bach performance practice – a serious accusation for a period-instruments orchestra whose very essence is the historically informed performance of baroque music! Eppstein claims that Bach “deserves credit for being aware of the difference between a full chorus and six soloists.” However, according to many recent studies, such as Andrew Parrott’s definitive “The Essential Bach Choir,” our use of soloists as choir is fully compatible with Bach’s own practice.
Another claim by Eppstein: “In Suite No. 3... tempi were much faster than elegant courtly dances would suggest....” Suggest by whom? Many 17th- and 18th-century sources, including the major authority J. J. Quantz, show that courtly dances (certainly those included in Bach’s third suite) were mostly quite brisk. As it happens, our tempi were rather on the slow side of the customary scale.
Accusing performers of not adhering to contemporary performance practices without checking first what they might actually have been is not acceptable.

The writer is music director of the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra
Aliya from Ethiopia
Sir, – Ruth Eglash’s fine article (“Central funder of Ethiopian aliya angry as last wave delayed to 2015,” November 2) discusses the decision to cut the current monthly immigration rate of 200 – already inadequate – to the disgraceful rate of 110.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein appropriately asks where the right to cut the rate comes from. The socalled right materialized out of thin air as a result of the unauthorized acts of government bureaucrats who were less-than thrilled with Ethiopian aliya.
Under the government decision calling for a November 2014 end date for this aliya, an interministerial committee under then-Finance Ministry director-general Haim Shani was established. The committee was authorized to issue recommendations about cutting the rate of aliya – but only after consulting with the Jewish Agency and determining that a vital reason existed. Neither condition was met. The Jewish Agency was never consulted despite repeated requests that it be be allowed to participate in deliberations.
The primary reason given for cutting the aliya rate (a shortage of beds in absorption centers) cuts against written assurances by the Jewish Agency that in 2012 it will be capable of bringing olim at the rate of 200 per month, thus maintaining the original 2014 completion date. Even if there is a shortage of beds, it could easily be remedied by reopening two of four recently closed absorption centers in Lod and Tiberias.
The interministerial committee, without further government approval, implemented Shani’s unfounded recommendations. His letter of explanation did not even indicate if the committee actually voted on the reduction.
Rabbi Eckstein asks a fine question: Who has the right to delay the aliya of 5,000 Jews holding visas issued by the Interior Ministry and living under appalling conditions? There is no such right. It is simply another example of lawless acts by faceless and heartless bureaucrats who think all Jews should share the same skin color.

Lawrence, New York
The writer is a former president of the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry (NACOEJ)
Sir, – Greer Fay Cashman’s Grapevine column is always interesting.
On November 2 (“The US envoy and the B’nai B’rith awards), she reported about the full house at Jerusalem’s Beit Avichai, where the B’nai B’rith World Center Awards for Excellence in Israel- Diaspora Reportage were bestowed on Bambi Sheleg, Meni Elias and Noah Klieger, whom I congratulate.
When B’nai B’rith started the project, I hoped and assumed that Israel-Diaspora reporting would work both ways. We in Israel need badly to receive upto- date reporting about the state of the Diaspora.
At the recent President’s Conference held in Jerusalem, we were challenged by Jewish leaders from abroad regarding our knowledge of what goes on in their communities. Is there, they asked, a children’s book in Hebrew about American Jewish children? I have to admit that Diaspora Jewry is not on the agenda of the Israeli media, school curriculum or public debate (the Post being a welcome exception).
I submit that if we do not face this issue, we will not be one people.
I respectfully suggest to my friends among the B’nai B’rith leadership to award next year’s prize for reporting in the “opposite direction.” A good feature about the new Jewish communities in Germany – practically unknown in Israel – would be a good start.

Tel Aviv
The writer is a retired diplomat