March 29: What ‘revival’?

When things deteriorate further for Jews in Europe, as they surely will, he can always count on Israel to be there for him and receive him with open arms.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
What ‘revival’?
In “The revival of British Jewry” (Comment & Features, March 27), Leslie Wagner maintains that the Israeli response to Diaspora anti-Semitism needs rethinking.
He also claims that Jewish lives are more under threat in the Jewish state than in the Diaspora. Is that why the Europeans are lining up to learn from Israel about how to improve their security? I consider it a great privilege to live in Israel, and as a Holocaust survivor from Poland, I can fully appreciate living in a Jewish state.
Having come on aliya from the UK, I have no intention of scuttling back to where anti-Semitism is going mainstream – hardly different from across the Channel. I would go as far as to say that things could become a lot worse because of Britain’s current Labor Party leadership.
It is Mr. Wagner’s prerogative to indulge in the fleshpots of a continent in decline. But when things deteriorate further for Jews in Europe, as they surely will, he can always count on Israel to be there for him and receive him with open arms.
While it is correct that no UK university as such has approved an academic boycott of Israel, a better test of the healthiness of life for young Anglo Jews is how many university graduates among them have left the country, be it to Israel or places like the US, Canada and Australia, motivated by their experiences on hostile campuses.
Their lives may not have been under threat, but descriptions of the protests and even riots aimed at disrupting Israelis speaking at universities are more than enough to put in doubt whether UK university heads are doing enough to protect their Jewish students and uphold freedom of speech on campuses.
The increase in the demand for Jewish education in the UK is principally because of the disproportionate increase in the cost of private education. Middle-class Jewish parents who would have previously sent their children to public schools can no longer afford to do so without prejudicing their way of life.
Jewish teenagers at university are having a torrid time and suffering a hate campaign from anti-Semites posing as anti-Zionists.
The intermarriage rate is mind blowing. Leslie Wagner thinks there is a revival?
Leslie Wagner’s piece is interesting and optimistic. But it contrasts with an article by journalist Rod Liddle in a recent issue of the Sunday Times where he suggests that the UK would be bereft of its Jews with a rise in anti-Semitism that appears to elicit no condemnation from the Labor Party and is seemingly rife at the country’s universities.
The view from inside the UK is in marked contrast to that of Wagner.
Not having lived in the UK for almost 16 years, I cannot offer any comment on Leslie Wagner’s rosy picture. But I must take issue with his proposition that the demand for Jewish day school education is, in part, caused by Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’s establishment of Jewish Continuity.
The initiative for the development and expansion of Jewish day school education in the London area originated with the late chief rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits, a project with which I was personally involved as United Synagogue chairman of education, and as chairman of the Jews’ Free School and Sinai schools.
Jewish education was Rabbi Jakobovits’s top priority, for which he labored tirelessly throughout his ministry. His legacy is the insatiable demand for places at Jewish schools to which Leslie Wagner alludes.
Jews in Poland
I just returned from my second trip to Poland and I am grateful to Daniel Schatz for his honest and thought-provoking “48 years since expulsion of Poland’s Jews” (Comment & Features, March 27).
Poland’s long history of Jewish habitation can best be seen and understood at the remarkable Polin Museum, which was the raison d’etre for our trip. Two days at the museum (and that’s really a minimum) is a profound and steep learning curve about the many changes in the lives of the Jews of Poland.
But aside from the saccharine and plastic Kazimierz area of Krakow, which is a cheap, commercialized memorial to Galician Jews, there is minimal Jewish life extant in Poland.
Yes, there is a tiny Jewish community and a couple of synagogues.
Even some kosher eateries.
But to call this a remnant is more than generous. There are not even the ubiquitous metal placards indicating where Jews lived at the time of their deportation that one finds in Germany and Austria.
What appalled us were the numerous cheap outlets whose goods included prints of Hassidim counting money. Apparently, the ancient canard is alive and well in Poland, and these prints are affixed at many businesses as amulets. It is pervasive, yet I had never heard about it before.
Friends who are Jewish and live in Krakow explained that this is not a sign of anti-Semitism. I am unconvinced.
Not in the ‘Post’
In “UC drops Zionism statement” (March 25), Reuters reporter Cassie Paton gives a Palestinian Arab the opportunity to repeat his “story” and say that his relatives were “forced from their homes with the 1948 founding of Israel.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas himself reportedly countered such basic lies about Israel’s history by saying that Arab armies “entered Palestine to protect the Palestinians...but instead... abandoned them, forced them to emigrate...imposed upon them a political and ideological blockade and threw them into prisons similar to the ghettos in which the Jews lived in Europe.”
Therefore, there is no need or justification for a journalist to insert Palestinian propaganda against Israel into a news report.
Sadly, there is a world full of such biased journalists, but a respected Israeli newspaper like The Jerusalem Post should have nothing to do with reporting that seeks to support those who undermine the State of Israel.
No PC here
I can understand why player Novak Djokovic apologized (“Djokovic apologizes for comments on gender pay,” Sports Shorts, March 24). Like a prime minister after a terrorist attack, being politically correct is perhaps wimpish, but comprehensible.
Me? I don’t have to be politically correct. I’ve played and watched tennis for nigh on 60 years. I recall when Wimbledon was the last of the four Grand Slam tournaments to grant equal prize money to the ladies.
Venus Williams turned to Billy Jean King and thanked her for her great efforts in gaining that target “because we put in the same effort as the men.” I admire the Williams sisters, but Venus got it wrong. If it were effort that paid the bill, then the head Wimbledon groundsman should be paid the same.
It’s entertainment value that pays the bill – and I’ve checked: Men have far more close four- and five-set matches than the ladies have three-setters.
The men’s game is far higher in quality. A male tennis player ranked 150th in the world can upset any other male in the top 10 (today’s Djokovic notwithstanding). Usually, when a top-10 woman plays someone else, it’s 6-1, 6-0.
Of course, some women deserve more, and some women’s matches are terrific. But equal pay across the board? That’s just being politically correct.
Tel Aviv