September 11: The (wrong) road

I look forward to your excellent Sunday section, Travel Trends, since it affords me the opportunity of “visiting” places I may never get to see.

Letters 521 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Letters 521
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
The (wrong) road
Sir, – I look forward to your excellent Sunday section, Travel Trends, since it affords me the opportunity of “visiting” places I may never get to see. And when it combines Judaism and history I find it especially rewarding.
In one of this week’s features, on Charleston, South Carolina, the writer quotes Reform Rabbi Stephanie Alexander in saying that the synagogue “is vibrant in its practice of Judaism.” Wouldn’t it be more vibrant if its Shabbat dinners were kosher?
Bnei Brak
Sir, – I am highly disappointed that your travel section featured, for the umpteenth time consecutively, locations in the United States.
My disappointment has been exacerbated due to the fact that our world has been blessed with infinite tourist gems, yet the reader is being deprived of such valuable knowledge. From a practical perspective, this reader is being denied the opportunity to discover her next dream vacation.
Our world is saturated with culture.
It is time we experience its beauty.
Open playbook
Sir, – Your September 9 paper had a well-written piece, as usual, by Liat Collins on political leaks and their dangers (“Hiss and tell,” My Word). I wholeheartedly agree with her – some things must be kept quiet, at least for a while.
So why was there an article the previous Friday reporting on army maneuvers and training toward a possible incursion into Lebanon (“Training with Golani for a potential southern Lebanon offensive,” Frontlines)? Why should Hezbollah have to do no more than open the Post to read about the military’s thought process? Even if this passed the censor, as I am sure it was, why should it be written at all? It makes for interesting reading and people do like to be reassured that the IDF is on the ball, but I don’t think this justifies making the information available like that.


Absurdity everywhere
Sir, – A physics professor wants The Jerusalem Post to refuse to publish absurd advertisements, like the very silly one that recently “predicted,” using mystic terminology, that extreme natural disasters will soon destroy the planet (“Absurd ad,” Letters, September 9).
The refusal to print an ad simply because it’s silly would fuel demands that all manner of sayings, doings and viewpoints be barred from the paper’s pages on the same grounds.
For example, what’s an editor to do next time he receives an article describing some of the theories of modern physics, e.g., that matter can wink in and out of existence, that there is an infinite number of parallel universes and that the properties of particles depend on whether someone is observing them?
Yishai and migrants
Sir, – Regarding “Israel lets in 3 of 21 Eritreans stuck on Egyptian border” (September 7), our own history describes the time when we became migrants. We went down to Egypt, 70 souls, seeking asylum from famine. We grew into a community of millions, but the intention, as shown by our leaders, was always to return.
Migration is currently a ubiquitous and knotty problem in the Western world. It is extremely irresponsible to encourage the growth of the problem here.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai is taking a tough, realistic and ethical position.

Clean-up campaign
Sir, – I think Miriam Wolff’s suggestion that Egged use animals for its advertisements is a wonderful idea (“From 2 to 4 legs,” Letters, September 4). Except that the ad campaign should teach dog lovers to pick up after their pets rather than leaving the streets a minefield of excrement.


Refugee redux
Sir, – If ever the telegenic, kinder, gentler face of Palestinian politics, a.k.a. Hanan Ashrawi (“PLO’s Ashrawi: Jews who came to Israel from Arab countries are not refugees,” September 2), lost her credibility and possibly her marbles! She has certainly gone overboard big time.
No need to extrapolate further as there is irrefutable evidence on the subject of approximately one million Arab Jewish refugees forced to flee from their countries as violent anti-Semitism swept across the Middle East, gathering momentum from the early 1930s. Consequently, in 1957 and 1967, under UNHCR mandate, they were legally granted refugee status.
The impotent PA, lacking media focus due to venal scenarios playing out elsewhere, seeks to spotlight outrageous lies that are enthusiastically relayed to the rapacious press by Ashrawi, and also by Suha Arafat with regard to her late husband’s unwashed underwear as evidence that he was murdered by Israel.
Obviously, both ladies feel the need to revive their flagging visibility!
Sir, – As a former Egyptian Jew I am writing to refute Hanan Ashrawi’s claim there were no Jewish refugees from Arab lands.
Her words are full of “terminological inexactitudes” and historical fantasies that only a PLO executive can claim with a straight face. It is an undeniable, historical fact that about 850,000 Jews living in nine Arab countries were ethnically and brutally cleansed from their countries of birth and made refugees.
Ashrawi says the Jews left of their own volition. If so, why did they leave all their assets behind? In each of the nine countries they were expelled with only a small suitcase and some pocket money.
No trials. No juries. No justice.
Jews were harassed and killed well before Israel was established.
In Iraq there was the infamous massacre in Baghdad’s Jewish Farhud section in June 1941. Several hundred Jews were killed and wounded; mothers were raped in front of their children. This went on for three days.
In Egypt, the Haret el Yahud (Jewish ghetto) was bombed in 1945 through 1949. But, the bulk of the expulsions there began in earnest in 1956, during the Suez war, and continued unabated until 1970. The authorities confiscated Jewish businesses, including my family’s; Jews were stripped of their assets – homes, bank accounts, employment and personal belongings.
Officials began issuing travel documents to nearly all Jews, stamped with the statement, “Without the right of return.”
In some Arab countries the expulsions were especially virulent during the Six Day War. Brutal riots in Libya, for example, led to murders and widespread atrocities. In Iraq, nine Jews were hanged in a public square while thousands cheered in ecstasy. In Egypt, 400 Jewish males between the ages of 16 and 70 were herded into the notorious concentration camps of Abu Zaabal and Tura. They were tortured, and some were forced to perform sexual acts until, with the help of the International Red Cross, they were released in 1970. Several of my relatives were in these camps.
Ashrawi wants to repeat the “right of return” of Palestinian refugees. She argues, feebly, that Arab nations would accept the return of expelled Jews with compensation. Please tell me: Why should I return to a country that hates Jews and kicked us out? We are no longer “the forgotten refugees.” Many of our number live in Israel, working hard to build a strong, democratic and highly successful country, the envy of the world for its medical, technological, pharmaceutical and many other inventions.
Instead of teaching our children to hate, we teach them how to study and succeed.
It is time for Ashrawi to begin teaching the same thing to Palestinian children.
Moraga, California