September 15: Welcoming migrants

Migrants from Africa put the onus for granting asylum on the first nation they escape to, not some other country farther away.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Just the start
Sir, – With regard to “Gilad Sher: 100,000 settlers need to be evacuated” (September 12), do we really need Sher, Yossi Beilin and Dov Weisglass to advise the Palestinians not to accept anything less than the offer made years ago by then prime minister Ehud Olmert (which they rejected)? All those “settlers” would be a nice starting point for further demands.
The Palestinian Authority has learned quickly enough that it can extract any concession from Israel without giving anything in return due to our apparent negotiating weakness.IVOR LEWIS Netanya
Is it an obligation?
Sir, – It is impossible to understand how Deputy Knesset Speaker Hilik Bar (“An obligation to try again for peace,” Comment & Features, September 12) can ignore every single one of the many times Arabs obstructed both peace and trust with an intifada or a war.
Bar’s criticism focuses on the realists who know that Arab Muslim incitement to hatred and violence is ongoing. They will never agree to peace – not until Islam undergoes reform, as most religions have, in what I wish could be our own “Age of Enlightenment.”
He mentions both flags raised in the Knesset chamber as a sign of hope. We realists know that seeing an Israeli flag in PLO chambers will not happen unless it’s during a hudna, a lull in hostilities taken to regroup one’s strength.
He also forgets Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s early – and correct – statement that the only Palestine is Jordan, and Shimon Peres’s early – and correct – analysis that the Arabs will never make peace with us. Now he criticizes Netanyahu for not moving farther to the Left.
Bar’s piece does not pass the bar of credibility.
Sir, – Hilik Bar’s high-minded, clarion call to keep trying for peace brings to mind the definition of insanity widely attributed to Einstein: trying the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.
Bar’s blithe dismissal of every other political player in the room, as well as their motivations and agendas, is a good reminder of why the Israeli public has fired and indeed marginalized his Labor Party. His arrogance and contemptuousness makes him untrustworthy.
Indeed, he argues out of both sides of his mouth, for even he recognizes that there are legitimate and even overweening security issues that Israel ignores at its peril.
While it suits Bar’s worldview to dismiss his opponents as right-wing nut jobs, the reality is that they, along with the vast majority of the Israeli public, are simply unwilling to continue to sign meaningless agreements. If he believes the fault is ours for not trying hard enough, we should understand that delusions on which we double-down are just self-defeating and the province of those who have drunk the kool aid of their own ethereal, fantastic constructs.DOUGLAS ALTABEF Rosh Pina
Sir, – It is not often that halftruths can be clearly shown for what they are, so Hilik Bar is to be thanked.
He writes: “...just this month I hosted a group of Palestinian officials at the Knesset for the first time. For the first time, the Palestinian and Israeli flags were raised in the Knesset chamber, beside each other. The spirit of peace was in the air.” What he omitted is that the reciprocal visit to Ramallah was cancelled by the Palestinian leadership, which so relished seeing their flag in the Knesset.
Somehow, the “spirit of peace” has failed to reach our “partners” in the quest for peace.
Noted with gratitude
Sir, – In her Grapevine column of September 11 (“A time to remember”), Greer Fay Cashman solved a riddle that has been bothering me since my aliya in 1995: Why are so many journalists from print, radio and television so far to the Left? Cashman writes that Uri Avnery “trained a new breed of investigative journalists and photojournalists. In fact, a good many of Israel’s leading journalists and press photographers either got their start with him or began working for him early in their careers – a factor that helped springboard them into key positions in other media outlets.”
Now I know. Thank you, Greer.IDA SELAVAN SCHWARCZ Omer
Sir, – Congratulations to David Newman for his eloquent tribute to the late Edith Gold (“Remembering unsung heroes,” Borderline Views, September 10).
He expressed the thanks of many British members of Bnei Akiva who spent their year of hachshara (training) at Kibbutz Lavie, where Edith made them feel at home and gave them the help and love that she herself was deprived of in her youth.
They are all grateful to Edith, and to Newman for articulating their gratitude.
STEPHEN ROSENBERG Jerusalem Welcoming migrants
Sir, – In his impassioned article “Israel welcomes all seeking refuge, but only if they’re Jewish” (Comment & Features, September 10), Joshua Bloom writes about the duty of Israel to accept and give succor to African migrants fleeing to Israel. But 0refugees from Sudan and Eritrea pass through Egypt on their way to Israel. Isn’t it Egypt’s obligation to protect them, according to the international law Bloom cites? As a rabbi, Bloom knows how crucial it is for Israel to retain its status as a Jewish-majority state.
Migrants from Africa put the onus for granting asylum on the first nation they escape to, not some other country farther away. Thus, once they get to Israel these infiltrators are economic migrants.
Israel is struggling to absorb scores of thousands of Ethiopian Jews. Our Muslim minority is already 20 percent of the population, and the number of benighted Muslims from Africa is in the millions.
Sorry to say, Israel cannot right all the wrongs of the world.
STEVE KRAMER Alfei Menashe
Sir, – I beg to differ with Joshua Bloom.
First of all, Israel has welcomed nearly a million immigrants from the former Soviet Union together with their entire families even though most had only one Jewish parent or grandparent. Then, when the Muslim North Sudan massacred, enslaved and/or forcibly converted to Islam around a million Christians from the south, no Christian country came to their aid – unlike Israel, which opened its gates to thousands of grateful, decent, real refugees who, because they have behaved in an exemplary manner, have never suffered here from rejection or prejudice.
Next, Israel allowed in a large number of Darfurian Muslims who were being systematically massacred by fellow Muslims from northern Sudan. Only when things calmed down did the Darfurians willingly return home (with a large purse full of dollars).
The north Sudanese and Eritrean Muslims who managed to illegally infiltrate Israel over the years and now number some 60,000 are a different group entirely. Not only do they not appreciate their savior, they actually believe it is “not a white man’s country,” as one stated on TV during a demonstration.
It seems they (not all, but many) therefore feel it is their right to rape, murder, harass, rob and otherwise turn the lives of the infidel Jewish population in south Tel Aviv into a virtual hell, where not only females but males (especially the elderly) are reluctant to leave their homes after dusk.
I am sure the biblical demand that the Israelites treat the strangers among them with decency was not meant for those who do not treat their Israeli hosts with decency.