March 11, 2019: Temple facts

Readers of 'The Jerusalem Post' have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
The subhead of the article “A synagogue on the Temple Mount: activists say let the Jews move in” (March 6), says, “Jews believe the site – venerated as holy in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam alike – is where the First and Second Temples used to sit.”
This formulation, by rendering the assertion a matter of Jewish belief, lends credibility to the denial by many Palestinian authorities that there ever was a Jewish Temple, whether First or Second at that site. The existence of Holocaust deniers would not impel you write, “Jews believe that the Nazis killed millions of Jews.” Neither should Temple deniers impel you to write anything other than “The site – venerated as holy in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam alike – is where the First and Second Temples used to sit.”
Teaneck, NJ
The editorial “Kotel fighting” (March 10) says, “The fighting protests that took place at the Western Wall should serve as an embarrassment for the Jewish State,” but it is the protests that are taking place at the eastern wall – the Golden Gate area – that should be the focus of our attention.
Contrary to popular belief, the Western Wall is not the holiest site for Jews. The Temple Mount, where the temples stood, is the holiest site. We are fighting over the wrong wall. The eastern entrance was the front entrance to the temple. If I remember correctly, the phrase Har Habayit beyadeinu! (The Temple Mount is in our hands) is what Lieutenant-General Mordechai Gur said in June 1967. That is the battle we should be fighting.
Whether the Western Wall outdoor plaza should be treated as an Orthodox, Conservative or Reform synagogue – let’s discuss that situation when we have freedom of religion at our holiest site – the site of the Temple – the Temple Mount.
Then you can write an editorial about “Kotel fighting” – about who will control the former (first century) main shopping district on Wall Street, located in the valley on the western side of the Temple Mount.
Beit Shemesh
Vatican secrets
Regarding “Vatican to open secret WWII archives of wartime Pontiff Pius Xll” (March 4), what a pathetic attempt by Pope Francis to justify or explain the actions – or inaction – of the Vatican and the Catholic Church during the Nazi genocide.
According to Francis, Pius Xll and friends fretted that if the Vatican came down hard on the Nazis, the result might be severe reprisals on Catholics in Europe. Anyone else wonder what God thinks about the decision of this “esteemed spiritual” Vatican flock to tread softly, keep the Catholics safe and let His chosen people, the Jews, be brutally terrorized and annihilated over a prolonged period of time?
Francis also spoke of possible “praiseworthy moments” of Pius XII and friends and the apparently “tormented decisions” made. Francis is delusional if he actually expects anyone to feel sympathy for them. Any torment the powers in the Vatican may have felt pales deeply in comparison to the horror, torture, fear and death inflicted upon six million Jewish men, women and children. Nothing in those archives could justify the shame the Vatican must share with so many others during the Holocaust.
Young US radicals
Seth Frantzman’s article (“How the Ilhan Omar antisemitism resolution backfired,” March 8) provided significant insight into the failure of the older leadership of the US Democratic Party to deal firmly with its extremist young radicals.
However, people should be aware that the rot had already set in at least seven years ago at the 2012 Democratic Party convention, when an attempt to endorse the long-standing bipartisan support for the establishment of the US Embassy in Jerusalem was booed. In the opinion of many observers, the votes were evenly split between supporters and rejectionists, even though the chairman at the time tried to avoid the potentially explosive disaster by claiming the support was greater.
The regrettable Rashida Tlaib, now a congresswoman, was already then one of the loudest anti-Israel voices.
Former president Barack Obama was reelected that year and in his second term of office demonstrated even greater hostility towards Israel than before. I have no doubt that he saw coming up in the ranks of the Democratic Party more of the haters who are now expressing themselves openly and clearly, who would be supportive of his negative feelings toward the Jewish state.
The tragedy in the US, as in Britain, is that there are still so many profoundly ignorant Jews who sometimes actively – but often even just passively – support what some serious thoughtful people are calling the early signs of the breakdown of a formerly great civilization.
Seth Frantzman writes about American Jewish organizations who support the antisemitism of Congresswoman Ihlan Omar and her ilk. Their rationale is “They don’t mean us, we’re loyal Americans. They mean the Zionists.”
Karl Marx said, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”
In 1933, there were Jews in Germany who voted for the Nazis. Their rationale was, “The Nazis don’t mean us, we’re German. They mean the Ost Yuden (Jews who came from Eastern Europe).” These Jews ended up going up in smoke through the same chimney as the Ost Yuden.
Our American co-religionists would do well to ponder the words of Benjamin Franklin, “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”
Petah Tikva
Shame on US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her followers, who could not come to a clear and outright condemnation of certain statements made by several new congresswomen that were patently antisemitic.
Expanding the number of groups that somehow needed to be protected was a cop-out by the Democratic leadership. What was needed was the words of Justice Potter Stewart who, in the US Supreme Court case of Jacobellis v. Ohio, described obscenity with the phrase, “I know it when I see it.”
I know an antisemitic statement when I hear it, and trust me, the utterances of the new congresswomen were antisemitism pure and simple.
Beit Shemesh
The rise of antisemitism and the use of “Jew” as a pejorative in Europe, the inability of the US Democratic Party to unite against antisemitism, the vicious antisemitism of our immediate neighbors, including our “friends” Jordan and Egypt, the antisemitism of the UN, the desire of the local Arab parties, Meretz and Haaretz for Israel to be “a state of all its peoples” shows incontrovertibly the need for the Jewish State of Israel, despite it grating the sensibilities of progressives, who are more fascistic than liberal in their tendencies.
People who make antisemitic remarks have yet to learn from history. For millennia, Jews have been singled out for death through things such as Crusades, pogroms and the Holocaust. If you are in a minority, take heed. Your race could be next. Hitler killed gay people, handicapped people and those of color. A new US congresswoman complains that AIPAC is too powerful; she fails to mention that there are other pacs that provide information to those in government.
She claims Jews have a dual loyalty to a foreign country. She mistakes this for what it is: pride of one’s religion and heritage. After all, the US celebrates Black History Month. She and others should realize that Israel is a fact and is here to stay. Jews throughout the world had to strive harder to get ahead, whether it was to gain admission to a medical school or a government job.
That is why there are so many Israelis who are able to bring to the world many new medicines and cures, as well as important new technologies.
As I watch the growing antisemitism in the world and especially here in North America, I am thankful that there is an Israel. If I am forced to leave my country because of the fear of safety and security for myself and my family, I would not hesitate to move to Israel, where I will be safer from this sickness.
Vaughan, California
An implacable enemy
Regarding “Abbas’s legacy” (March 5), if the pen is mightier than the sword, the words of the Palestinian Scholars’ Association don’t show much daylight between those two approaches.
The Gaza-based PSA just issued a fatwa [Islamic religious ruling] that "normalization with the Zionist enemy and accepting it in the region is one of the most dangerous penetrations of the Muslim community and a threat to its security, as well as a corruption of its doctrine and a loss of its youths."
PSA calls on Arab Palestinians to pressure Arab leaders to stop trying to discuss peace with Israel. Following this lead, the most recent Palestinian Authority (PA) campaign is titled: "Normalization Is a Crime."
PA leader Mahmoud Abbas couldn’t make peace with Israel even if he wanted to for fear of being killed as a traitor. For those who believe that Israeli-Palestinian conflict is just a real estate dispute, Islamic scholars beg to differ.
Middle East peace isn’t exactly on the horizon for now; the enemy has self-identified.
San Mateo, CA
Unwarranted discount
In “Ex-chief rabbi Metzger set for early release from prison” (March 6) we learn that former chief rabbi Yona Metzger will serve only 22 months of a 42-month sentence. His original sentence was to have been 54 months, but the Supreme Court reduced it.
He committed crimes (bribery and fraud offenses) against the State of Israel, the people of Israel and against Judaism itself. He disgraced the position of chief rabbi, Torah Judaism and himself. He should not be referred to as “rabbi;” he has forfeited that title and has shamed and insulted all of the honest, hard-working and committed rabbis, who serve Torah and Judaism throughout Israel and throughout the world.
Your article states that Metzger has been issued fines and forfeitures totaling NIS 5 million, but the article notes that he had taken a good deal more. Why should he be given a discount? Has any of that been paid yet? I feel that neither justice nor Judaism have been well served in this matter.
Ramat Gan
Lunar probing
In “Beresheet launch proves international media is not inherently biased against Israel” (March 7), Arik Puder either misses the point or seeks to curry favor with the international media, which is probably the lifeblood of his PR business.
Of course the international media was overwhemingly favorable in its coverage. What was there to be negative about? A small country sends a privately funded spacecraft to the moon, which has only been accomplished by three other countries – superpowers – with lavish government funding.
The test of reportage is encountered when a story requires nuance and objectivity. With regard to the coverage by the media outlets he mentions, those qualifications are missing in their reporting of the Israel Palestinian conflict. When their reporting is either incorrect or so biased as to call into question the bona fides of the news outlet, the correction is given nowhere near the prominence of the original biased/ incorrect article.
He excuses the media’s bias on the conflict: “Some reporters – like some world leaders and like many Israelis themselves who live in Israel and serve in the Israeli army – believe the current situation with the Palestinians is wrong and it is incumbent upon Israel to help change it. Can the media sometimes fail to convey the full story while fulfilling their journalistic duties? Of course. Does it necessarily mean they are inherently biased? Not at all.”
Wrong. Reporters are not world leaders or Israelis and are supposed to answer to a different calling. When reporters report the conflict in a subjective way continually, they exhibit an inherent bias.
With the Beresheet photo of our flag in space (March 6) heading for a moon landing one, we really should prepare for the reaction.
We’ll be accused of over-reach: “It wasn’t enough for them to take over this world, now they’re heading for other worlds.”
We must start planning our defense. Here’s a start:
“We’re just going there to sell supplies to future moon travelers. You know, like Levi’s in the Old West.”
“You quietly come as peddlers. Then you make department stores. You invent the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the next thing we know, you’re taking our money at Christmas. It’s all about the Benjamins, baby!”
“But free trade helps all planets and moons.”
“Israeli products should not be sold! We call for BDS Part 2, from space.”
“We’re only making a tiny footprint on the Sea of Tranquility”
“When Mohammed ascended from Haram esh-Sharif, his first stop was the moon. We were there first! From the river to the Sea of Tranquility, Palestine will be free!”
It’s never too early to start defending our tiny footprint in space.
Kfar Sava
No Jewish gene
In “Rabbinical courts demand DNA test to prove Judaism” (February 28), you report that rabbinical courts are demanding that some immigrants from the FSU take DNA tests to prove their Jewish heritage. This leaves readers with the impression that there are highly precise DNA markers that can prove Jewishness. There are not. They can prove genetic lineage, and are only precise when proving that one is indeed the biological offspring of a woman considered to be Jewish.
Rabbi Yosef Carmel’s ruling acknowledges that DNA markers (specific DNA sequences) that are shared by about 40% of Ashkenazi Jews do not mark anybody as Jewish. As the responsum explains, these specific sequences have a prevalence of presence a hundred times (or even more) higher in Jews of certain communities than in non-Jews of the same area. On the other hand, there are many more non-Jews in this world than Jews (more than 500:1), so statistically, the chance is still higher for a random person who carries one of these specific sequences to be a non-Jew.
While carrying one of these markers cannot be used as hard proof for Jewishness, Carmel calls upon the rabbinate to consider them “soft proof,” adding this DNA test as a gesture of goodwill toward people who are not able to provide enough letters, witnesses, etc., but carry one of those markers, enabling them to be registered by the state rabbinate as Jewish.
Similarly, DNA testing cannot be used to disprove Jewish lineage.
There is no such thing as a “Jewish gene” and newspapers should not assist in the creation of an imagined one.
Ben-Gurion University
Fatal attraction
In a recent Jerusalem Post advertisement, there was an almost full-page ad for cigarettes, which included at the bottom, “may cause death.”
I am shocked and revolted that, after so many letters complaining about the advertisements, the Post feels the necessity to take the money of companies who target the young more than any other age group and show these ads.
I was a nurse for 30 years in the United States and would love it if you would also show, alongside these ads, pictures of what smoke-damaged lungs look like, as well as pictures of patients whose every breath is torturous due to lung damage.
That may impact the revenue that the tobacco companies make, but may also save a few lives in the end.