September 9: More on leaving

Aliya is for people who are motivated by Zionism, by the desire to live a life in a Jewish country and to help build the Jewish homeland.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
On Syria...
Sir, – What a mess President Barack Obama has put the United States into. Because he did not do the right thing about Syria at the appropriate time – when he could have done so at very little cost – matters have become so much worse.
Obama should have initiated a no-fly zone a year ago. He lacked the courage to do that, so Iran took the initiative and helped Syrian President Bashar Assad enormously with arms and manpower.
At this juncture in time, whatever action Washington takes or does not take will cause chaos.
It cannot completely wipe out the chemical weapons that Syria possesses, and Syria and its allies will look for any excuse to retaliate, and can do so in any place in the world. Jordan will be besieged by more refugees, perhaps threatening to overthrow King Abdullah. Above all, Israel will have to be on constant alert.
It should be a lesson to all of us and to every country that the world cannot exist this way.
Time is not on the side of the great nations.
Sir, – The US should destroy the Iranian bomb machinery now. This would stop Iran’s support for Syria and the gas attacks. In this manner, the US would destroy two threats with one blow.
...and on Jordan
Sir, – A platform has been constructed at the Western Wall to facilitate egalitarianism in prayer.
Muhammad Momani, the Jordanian state minister for media affairs, describes this as “a blatant attack on the Muslim monuments and Wakf [Islamic trust] land, which is an integral part of the Aksa Mosque” (“Jordan slams Israel for Western Wall prayer platform,” September 4).
To appreciate the enormity of Momani’s chutzpah, one has only to recall what happened in Jordanian-controlled east Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967.
The attitude to Jewish religious structures was made clear by the desecration of some 38,000 Jewish graves on the Mount of Olives by the Jordanian Arab Legion, the gravestones being used for building purposes, including the construction of a latrine. On May 27, 1948, the legion blew up the Hurva Synagogue. This can be contrasted with the freedom of religion that is judicially protected in Israel.
Perhaps before making such accusations, Momani should think about apologizing for Jordan’s many outrages against Jewish religious structures when Jordan had control. Once Amman has recompensed Israel for the cost of making good such wanton damage, Israel no doubt will be willing to listen to his accusations, unfounded as they may be.
Sir, – In reference to “Peace on paper is not peace on the ground” (Comment & Features, September 3), the peace Van Barakat mentions briefly existed while Jordan’s King Hussein remained alive.
I recall the huge number of Israelis, from all sectors of our population, visiting Jordan while that window was open. The welcome we received at hotels and restaurants, including the preparation for kosher service, was amazing.
Unfortunately, I believe that with the king’s death a fatwa was declared against any Arab ruler establishing peace with Israel.
More on leaving
Sir, – Adina Siperman’s manifesto (“Why I’m leaving Israel,” Comment & Features, September 2) did not move me to tears.
My instinctive response was, What on earth were you expecting? Anyone who moves to Israel for “adventure” or “zest” or to find a husband is coming for the wrong reasons. Aliya is not about “a lifestyle of beaches, bars, restaurants and tzimmerim (holiday cottages).” It is for people who are motivated by Zionism, by the desire to live a life in a Jewish country and to help build the Jewish homeland. “Zionistinclined” is not enough.
If Siperman had any contact with aliya professionals before she came, they failed her by not explaining this clearly.
Knowing English is not a profession in Israel. It is a skill that opens some doors and might offer some entry level employment.
But a career in Israel requires actual career skills more than having slightly better English than most Israelis. And it is not “inevitable” that an Anglo will hit a glass ceiling. It is inevitable only for people who do not do the hard work of learning Hebrew, making friends outside the Anglo milieu and acquiring truly useful skills.
I and many of my Anglo friends managed to pull it all together through hard work and luck. Oleh friends of mine today are lawyers, doctors, accountants, bankers, business development executives, marketing officers, chief financial officers, CEOs, venture capitalists and judges. (And those are just the ones that come to mind quickly.) Nobody handed anything to us on a silver platter. None of us has held the title Chief Knowing English Officer. All of us own homes. Many of us served in the army (including me – I went to boot camp at the age of 37, with little kids at home).
Siperman is not the only Anglo immigrant to go back. I once saw a statistic saying that half returned to their country of origin within two years.
I say to her: Just go. Don’t write articles for a newspaper, don’t expect sympathy, don’t discourage others who want to come. Your aliya failed. Get over it. I already have.
EZRA KATZEN Hod Hasharon
Sir, – One comes on aliya because of a deep belief that Jews belong in their ancestral homeland, that their future is measured in the strength of their commitment to Judaism and the Jewish nation, not in the size of their paycheck. They get their adventures and zests when they are stuck in traffic at the foot of David’s Citadel and feel blessed that thousands of years ago their ancestors passed that way, too.
The strength of an oleh’s commitment withstands the country’s unbelievable bureaucracy, red tape, rudeness and thievery by unscrupulous repairmen, on which I can write an epic saga.
Last but not least, olim accept that their child will serve the country and could lose his or her life doing so. This is their commitment to the future of their nation, not a lofty career or fat paycheck.
Adina Siperman might indeed achieve wealth and a successful career in Canada, but it will never be her homeland.
SARA SMITH Jerusalem
Eager to please
Sir, – An article from the magazine of Laniado Medical Center of Netanya has come to my attention. If read by the Obama administration and by Catherine Ashton, foreign policy head of the European Union, it might help them put things into perspective and stop slamming the good guys (us).
Israel has quietly been treating wounded Syrians in army hospitals, as well as in the three northern hospitals. In 2012 it granted immediate approval to 91.5 percent of those Gaza residents (who glorify each Israeli death) who applied for medical care in Israel.
Over 200,000 Arabs have received medical treatment, and more than 30% of the children at Jerusalem’s Hadassah University medical Center are Palestinians.
Hadassah is also training 60 Palestinian medical interns and specialists who will be returning to the Palestinian Authority to carry out their work. In addition, there are teaching programs for Palestinian doctors to develop specialized skills – in particular, pediatric oncology.
All of this goes on while the PA and the world at large condemn Israel for every act of self defense.
Perhaps this is what happens when you are good to your enemies and too eager to please!