October 10: Our MIAs

Before even contemplating the return of Palestinian prisoners, we should demand at the very least information leading to the return of our POWs.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Our MIAs
Sir, – How is it that in an article about Palestinian prisoners (“Israel ‘blackmailing’ PA on issue of prisoners, says Abbas,” October 7) there is no mention of Israeli MIAs?
Before any return or even contemplation of return of Palestinian prisoners, we should demand at the very least, if not the actual return, then at least information leading to the return of our POWs: Zecharia Baumel, Zvi Feldman and Yehuda Katz, all missing since 1982; Ron Arad, captured in 1986; Guy Hever, missing since 1997; and Majdy Halabi, missing since 2005. It seems they have been forgotten by both the government and the press, as there is hardly any mention of them in articles, op-ed pieces or editorials.
The time to change that is now, and The Jerusalem Post should lead by example.
Cinderella’s ball
Sir, – Regular readers of The Jerusalem Post who depend on it for Major League Baseball news were probably shocked to see the Washington Nationals listed as playing in the National League divisional series (“2012 MLB playoffs at a glance,” Sports, October 7).
Your sports writers, in their obsession with teams in the New York and Los Angeles areas, as well as the Red Sox and Braves, almost totally ignored the Cinderella Nationals, who ended the season with the best won-loss record and arguably the best pitcher. I hope they pay appropriate attention during the playoffs.
DAVID MASLOWJerusalemOn Simhat Torah
Sir, – I enjoyed David Newman’s “Childhood memories of Simhat Torah in North London” (Simhat Torah supplement, October 7).
In the 1960s, when Newman was a youth, I was already in the British rabbinate at two “cathedral” synagogues – first at Bayswater, then Hampstead.
Simhat Torah was so stately the critics used to say that if you entered a cathedral synagogue that evening you wondered who had died, or at least you suspected that they had mixed up Simhat Torah and Tisha Be’Av.
I remember the disapproving frowns in Hampstead when I rather tentatively introduced dancing with the Torah scrolls.
One member, whose grandfather had been the synagogue’s shamash, or sexton, actually marched up to the bima and announced: “My grandfather would turn in his grave!” and stormed out.
The writer is emeritus rabbi of the Great Synagogue in Sydney, Australia
Sir, – It would be one thing if you had compared a number of competing politicians who have or had well-known fathers, like MK Arye Eldad (National Union), son of Prof. Yisrael Eldad, in an election magazine. But you give Yesh Atid party founder Yair Lapid unfair and disproportionate publicity in “Not his father’s keeper” in your Simhat Torah supplement.
What does Lapid have to do with Simhat Torah? I prefer keeping religion out of political parties. You should have kept politics out of your Jewish holiday magazine.BATYA MEDADShiloh
Political pisher
Sir, – With so much talk of upcoming elections in Israel, where a few dozen party lists vie for my vote (“Netanyahu has decided on February election – associates,” October 5), the electors are really given little choice.
No matter who one votes for, when the matter of forming a coalition comes up the “rejects,” those who got marginal votes, become ministers and get to control the government.
Now I ask you: Is that democratic? There is a solution. The two parties that garner the most votes should have a run-off election within two weeks of the initial election. In this way, the electorate will have a say in who runs the nation, and not some pisher who was originally rejected.
SHMUEL SHIMSHONIHaderaIt’s universal
Sir, – Caroline Glick (“The Left’s only enemy,” Column One, October 5) asserts that left-wing politicians, activists and much of the media in Israel are less concerned about Israel’s well-being and security than they are about suppressing and defeating their political opponents on the Right. She points out this same cynical left-wing attitude in American politics.
Actually, it’s an attitude that prevails in political activity everywhere, with people on the Right harboring similar cynical attitudes in scrimmaging with their opponents on the Left.
Essentially, we are dealing with disingenuousness. And while under normal circumstances I believe that most people will seldom tell an outright lie whenever a political issue is raised (unless they feel it might be expedient), even people who are normally decent, honest, level-headed and intelligent can have their ability to think objectively and comprehensively noticeably diminished.
Right-wing, left-wing, liberal, conservative, centrist – it doesn’t matter. Bring up any issue with a political bearing, and intellectual integrity, truthfulness and rational thinking are often seriously compromised.
Israel can no longer afford to conduct its political affairs in this manner. Failure to address all issues as honestly and objectively as possible can only lead to catastrophic results.
The public should demand a much higher level of truthfulness from its leaders, politicians and members of the media, regardless of their political loyalties. At the same time, we all need to work on our integrity at a personal level. It’s actually a matter of national survival.
Labeling in S. Africa
Sir, – The views expressed by MP Kenneth Meshoe in “S.
African MP touts ‘great victory’ in blocking W. Bank product labeling” (October 3) do not reflect the position of the South African parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry. No legislation was submitted for the committee’s consideration.
General Notice 379 of 2012, published on May 10, reflected Minister of Trade and Industry R. Davies’s intention to issue a notice in terms of Section 26 of the Consumer Protection Act (Act No. 68 of 2008) to require traders in South Africa not to incorrectly label products that originate from the occupied Palestinian territory as products of Israel. On September 21 the committee heard evidence from various stakeholders on the matter. It did not adopt a formal position but reiterated that in terms of existing legislation it is important that the origin of products coming into South Africa be correctly labeled.
The committee also encouraged further consultation between the Department of Trade and Industry and stakeholders.
In addition, it requested that stakeholders submit further comments for consideration by the department once the notice in terms of Section 26 of the Consumer Protection Act (Act No, 68 of 2008) is published. The public would then have 30 days to make input on the matter for consideration.
The writer is a member of the South African parliament and chairperson of its Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry
Camp Stockholm
Sir, – Sweden has excellent relations with both Israelis and Palestinians.
That’s why I suggest that it convene a peace conference in Stockholm for parties in the region, as well as the US, Russia, the EU, China and the UN.
Even a small country like Sweden can make difference for the Middle East.
Do not let time pass and open up the agenda to extremists on both sides. “Camp Stockholm” will convene until the parties come up with a just peace formula.