March 28, 2017: True beliefs

“Our problem with the Arabs is not a quarrel about a piece of land or territory, but they refuse to believe that we have a right to exist at all.”

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
True beliefs
Your front-page article “US to let PM build new homes for Amona evacuees, report says” (March 26) states that “the Trump administration will...give Israel a green light,” referring to where to build and where not to build.
Would the restrictive guidelines that follow really be a solution?
I’m reminded of one of prime minister Golda Meir’s statements in which she said: “Our problem with the Arabs is not a quarrel about a piece of land or territory, but they refuse to believe that we have a right to exist at all.”
We already realize that this is not an argument solely of our Arab neighbors: Witness “UN: Israel ignoring Security Council resolutions” in the same issue; it quotes the infamous Security Council Resolution 2334.
Does Israel really need to ask Washington, Paris, London, Moscow or any other capital in the world where to build? God has already answered that question.
Just a few of many references:
• “Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 43:6).
• “They shall rebuild the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall renew the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations” (Isaiah 61:4).
• “I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it” (Jeremiah 30:3).
• “And they shall dwell in their land that I gave to My servant Jacob... and they shall build houses and plant vineyards” (Ezekiel 28:25-26.
The above and much more is mentioned for the Jewish repatriation, even to the old borders.
If we stick to our ancient and eternal terms of the Bible, God will certainly honor His promises, and many nations will learn to respect our fervent and true beliefs.
Letters about letters
Reader Hila Tamir’s comments regarding the disgraceful state of the harbor-front in Tiberias (“Tiberias waterfront,” Letters, March 26) precipitate my own contribution, which has been building up in the back of my mind for months.
I feel sure that most people brought up in an English-speaking environment would have had pounded into their heads a number idioms, sayings and aphorisms, of which “Waste not, want not” was high on the list. However, it seems that here in Israel, this has been mistranslated into “Waste lots, demand more.”
Here where I live, in another waterfront city, I can count within about a kilometer radius of my home near the beach at least seven major building sites that have been abandoned in various stages of completion.
They range from decrepit army barracks through shopping and residential complexes to what was intended to be a five-star hotel.
There’s no reason to suppose that this is peculiar to where I live. I’m sure this represents just a small proportion of the total in the city, and barely a smidgen in the whole of the country.
The waste in land value must run to several hundred billions of shekels, with a proportional loss of revenue equaling a substantial percentage of the total currently being earned. The loss of revenue to both the city and the government just in taxes is mind-boggling.
Unlike most of the letters that complain about something without offering a remedy, I would like to propose a simple solution to be taken up by our Knesset: Building projects that do not reach completion within a set timetable (agreed to by the owners when started) will forfeit all elements to a central government body, which can sell the project to benefit its own coffers.
Further, since our current Knesset seems to have no inhibition about passing retroactive laws, the same conditions could be applied to existing abandoned projects, with immediate effect.
Hopefully, the opportunity for the government to lay its hands on the billions of shekels lying fallow will precipitate early action.
I would like to add to reader Gabe Goldberg’s comments (“A letter uncalled for,” Letters, March 16).
On March 15, I attended a symposium at Yad Vashem introducing the translation into Hebrew of Such a Beautiful Sunny Day, written by Barbara Engelking, head of the Polish Center for Holocaust Research in Warsaw. The book recounts in painful detail the atrocities committed by “neighbor against neighbor” in the Polish countryside from 1942 to 1945.
The distinguished panel analyzed the brutality perpetrated on Jews by their neighbors throughout Europe as part of an endemic antisemitism and perception of Jews as the “other,” contrasting this “intimate” hate to the mass industrialized and anonymous murder organized and perpetrated by the Nazi regime.
One of the most telling insights was presented by the venerable Holocaust scholar Prof. Yehuda Bauer, who pointed out that in light of this “unprecedented” cruelty, the good deeds of the rescuers (such as those described by Mr. Goldberg) stand out even more in their expression of humanity. The actions of the rescuers were also, according to Prof. Bauer, part of the “unprecedentedness” of the Holocaust.
Beit Shemesh
Better views
With regard to “Welcome to the wall: Artist Banksy opens Bethlehem guest house” (March 5), what a brilliant idea: a hotel with the worst views.
So let us provide them! Let us place projectors that constantly project onto the wall itself the terrorists’ “art work,” one after the awful other, explaining why the wall is there.
Show the 2001 Sbarro massacre in all its bloody glory: the 15 dead, including seven children and a pregnant woman, and 130 terribly maimed people screaming with pain. Add the crying of their loved ones at the funerals.
Onward to the Pessah 2002 slaughter of 30 people in Netanya and the 140 horribly mutilated people who were wounded. And then the carnage of two No. 18 bus bombings in Jerusalem in 1996, with the deaths of 45 mostly school-age children, and many, many hundreds more “heroic deeds.”
For the grand finale, show how the vile assassins are celebrated as “martyrs,” how streets are named after them and their families are rewarded with lifetime pensions. Of course, let us not forget the 72 virgins. It is a depraved, bloodthirsty culture built on lies and abysmal hatred.
Let us seize such opportunities to expose their lies and also tell our own story!
In “‘Justice is finally coming to Rasmea’” (March 27), some of the quotes attributed to Harold Jaffe should have been attributed to his lawyers, who were speaking on his behalf.
They are: “It has taken a long time, but justice is finally coming to Rasmea Odeh”; “It’s shocking to think she was able to lie on her citizenship application, live in the United States for 20 years, and believes she can hide her... terrorist past”; and “Merely deporting her to Jordan is not enough. She deserves to spend the rest of her life in prison. Just as we worked with the US attorney to pursue her, we will continue to chase her in Jordan and anywhere else she will go to hide.”
APOLOGY An op-ed by Adam Levick (“‘Monster’ the white nationalism of the alt-right” (Comment & Features, March 27) appeared in the same issue almost verbatim as a reader’s letter (“Jews and Trump”). We regret the error.