March 4, 2019: Educate for peace

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Educate for peace
David Bedein is right in “Without peace education you can’t have a peace process” (March 1). As long as the future generation of Palestinians is told in schoolbooks, sermons and media programs that the Jews in Israel are cruel “colonialists” who have no historic and moral rights to this country; as long as their leaders spread terrible blood libels; as long as Palestinian terrorists are honored as martyrs and their families rewarded with a lifelong monthly payments, there is no chance for a peace agreement. A peace process has a chance to be successful only if it is built on various stages of reeducation based on the acceptance of the peace partner and its rights, accompanied by a true wish for peaceful co-existence.
Pongo rules
Do you remember when the entire country was talking about the pistachio ice cream? How “decadent” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was? This went on for weeks! How terrible – and only the richest, most expensive brand!
Then we suffered again as the media got raving mad that Sara Netanyahu brought back the empty bottles to the grocery store and kept the 30 agorot! What nerve! But no one commented when Netanyahu paid the treasurer back NIS 100 with no reason. He was paying back for more that 300 bottles! Now it’s cigars and champagne. Wow, how terrible.
It reminds me of Pongo, our German Shepherd, who was very large and strong, competent and calm. Our neighbor has a tiny dog who was very high-strung and who jumped and barked every time Pongo came up the street. Pongo ignored him until one day when Pongo stopped, flipped the dog over, put his paw on his belly, and stared directly into his eyes. The dog squealed. Pongo let go and the dog ran home crying. This dog never bothered Pongo again.
I can only hope that’s what happens now. We have rarely had a prime minister who has accomplished as much as Netanyahu – and with dignity, strength of character and the pride of speaking for the Jewish people. May he topple his squealing adversaries and get them to stop barking at his every move.
Petah Tikva
Before he has been tried in the courts of justice, the media has already said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is going to lose the election! The anti-Bibi public has had rallies galore: “Anyone but Netanyahu!”
Who is paying for all this hype? My opinion is that our prime minister has done a sterling job in so many facets of Israel policy and its monetary strength, after there was racing inflation!
So far the opposition has done nothing to convince anyone that they are going to do the right thing for the country; on the contrary, they have promised to install another Gaza in Judea and Samaria.
What has happened to us that we seek our own destruction? I do not say at any stage that Netanyahu is perfect, but he has done as much good as prime ministers David Ben Gurion and Golda Meir, both absolute patriots.
Tel Aviv
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit will apparently grant Netanyahu a hearing, ostensibly an opportunity to change his mind on an indictment. There is of course no real possibility of him doing so, since if he did he would seem to be a complete idiot and an echo of the pre-US election Clinton-Comey debacle. Even if he does indict, it will not be for some weeks or months, and a further year or so to start a trial, until which Netanyahu must be presumed innocent. It is hard to escape the conclusion, therefore, that Mandelblit has made a completely unnecessary declaration at this moment. This will impact the election and therefore democracy itself, as so clearly argued by Prof. Alan Dershowitz.
What a wonderful gift the AG has presented to Benny Gantz, who must be overjoyed at the opportunity of making the demand for Netanyahu to resign a priority, rather than having to present meaningful plans of what he, with no experience of life outside the army, will do about any of the major problems facing Israel.”
Beit Shemesh
Your editorial (“Protecting Democracy,” March 3) claiming that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attack on Attorney-General Avicahai Mandelblit and others involved in his prosecution is undermining democracy is incorrect. In fact, the opposite is the case. Mandelblit is attacking democracy by announcing the indictment during an election.
Mandelblit, in order to justify his behavior, assembled a group of similarly minded retired judges who were supporters of judicial intervention, and attorneys-general who had previously interfered in elections. In particular, the investigations into Avigdor Liberman that were dormant until an election was called when it was announced that an indictment was imminent, then went dormant again until the next election was announced and the process repeated.
Mandelblit should have delayed his announcement to the day after the election – a mere five weeks later. Everyone knew the prime minister was under investigation and voters could make up their mind whether to vote for him or not. Netanyahu may well have cynically called the election in order to delay the indictment, but that does not entitle the attorney-general to interfere in the electoral process. The electorate could have decided for itself whether Netanyahu was manipulating the elections for his own means.
I will be voting for Netanyahu, to send a message to Mandelblit that his interference is totally unacceptable.
Who’s Left?
Regarding “This house of cards will fall” (March 1), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserts that it would be harmful for Israel if the Left came into power.
First, the Blue and White Party, his main opponent, can hardly be considered Left when three of their top leaders are former chiefs of staff, one of whom is very opposed to a two-state resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Second, Netanyahu’s view is inconsistent with Jewish history and teachings. The Biblical prophets were the greatest champions of social justice in history, challenging kings and priests, speaking out in favor of the poor and the oppressed. It is not the Left, but Jewish scriptures that assert, “Justice, justice, shall you pursue;” “seek peace and pursue it;” “be kind to the stranger” (36 times in various formulations in the Torah); “love thy neighbor as yourself,” and that Jews should conserve resources and protect the environment.
The Right often supports policies inconsistent with basic Jewish values.
Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island
On the ‘take’
I could not but laugh at the gaffe of Eugene Korn in his insulting article (“Covenants with God, pacts with the Devil,” March 3).
It might have been titled “An American clergyperson comes to Israel but does not learn Hebrew.” Korn confuses the Hebrew word kach (spelled kaf, final chaf), which means thus, with another Hebrew word, qah (spelled qof, het) which means take. These two words do not have a single letter in common! This does not show much scholarship and leaves the reader with the feeling that the other “facts” in that article are equally erroneous.
One is reminded of prime minister David Ben-Gurion’s visit to the United States in the 1950s, when he lectured at Yeshiva University (Orthodox), Jewish Theological Seminary (Conservative) and Hebrew Union College (Reform). Only at the Reform school did he have to speak in English, because of the students’ and faculty’s lack of knowledge of Hebrew. Ben-Gurion expressed the wish that the next time he came to the Hebrew Union College, the students and faulty would have learned Hebrew. Sadly, we see from Dr. Korn’s article that they still have not leaned the holy tongue – even though one of their clergymen lives in Jerusalem.
Nor did The Jerusalem Post correct the nonsense in that article. Or maybe the intent was to show the Reform movement not at its best?
Petah Tikva
There are none so blind
Regarding “Synagogue memorial stone in Strasbourg vandalized” (March 3), it is interesting to note that the iconic 13th-century statue symbolizing early Christian antisemitism still stands outside the cathedral there. Depicting two figures, one Christian, standing upright, wearing a crown and holding a cross, and the other Jewish, downcast, bent over and wearing a blindfold, the statue clearly conveys the image of the Jew as “the other,” blind to the dominant Christianity and therefore separated from society. This image became part of the Nazi ideology, which sought to dehumanize the Jew as the untermensch, thus paving the way for the Holocaust.
Beit Shemesh
Rock of Ages
Regarding “Rock stolen from Masada 35 years ago mailed back – but takes 3 years to arrive” (February 27), I believe it would be a great goodwill and PR exercise to invite the perpetrator of this dastardly deed to return to the original spot to replace the stone, where due to his/her errant ways this incident took place.
We shouldn’t wait 35 or even three years, but act on this now. As no sender’s address appears to have been supplied, all of our agencies should be involved to track down the person in question.
Masada once visited is never forgotten, so I am sure a second trip would be welcomed. No stone should be left unturned in the effort to achieve this.
Tel Aviv
The ball is in their court
With regard to “Does anyone remember the Palestinian issue?” (February 28) by Prof. Elie Podeh, I must say that I am shocked and dismayed, but not surprised, by the line of thinking that, as usual, there is a need to “bring the Palestinian issue back to the national agenda” and that a “new Israeli initiative” is necessary to achieve “significant progress toward a solution.”
Any serious progress toward a solution will come only when the Palestinians are finally willing to truly compromise and to come forward themselves with serious proposals for a solution.
As long as they continue to demand “all or nothing,” they will continue to get nothing, which, by the way, means that the dispute has indeed been settled, as they have indeed achieved one of their two demands.
Elie Podeh’s remarks concerning what we should be doing regarding the Palestinian issue will fall on deaf ears. He makes light of the fact that Abbas has rejected everything that Israel has put forward in the past. He ignores the fact that the Palestinians support the families of terrorists to the point that he holds us responsible for withholding monies that we provide the Palestinians as long as Abbas continues to encourage and support terrorist families. The Palestinians believe in the “give and take” idea of peace (we give and they take and ask for more). This just doesn’t work.
When anyone can name one thing that the Palestinians have done to give Israelis the confidence that they want to live in peace with us, then that is a starter.
When the Palestinians use some of the monies that they receive from all over the world to build the foundation of a state, then that is a starter.
When the Palestinians finally realize that we are here to stay and the reality of the State of Israel, then that is a starter.
Until that happens, the best we can do is continue to provide work for Palestinians so that they can enjoy the fruits of life, something that their leadership has not done for them.
Is Otzma racist?
Lahav Harkov reports (“Central Elections Committee to vote on banning Otzma,” February 27) that “the Meretz Party and Labor MK Stav Shaffir petitioned the Central Elections Committee to disqualify Otzma Yehudit from running in the upcoming election… [because allegedly it calls] for population transfer, racial separation between Jews and non-Jews, violent harm to non-Jews.”
Jeremy Sharon writes that one of its leaders, Itamar Ben-Gvir, said that anyone who is loyal to the State of Israel is welcome to stay, but that enemies of Israel do not need to be here. He defined these as “someone who wants to wipe out the State of Israel, someone who doesn’t want a Jewish state, someone who doesn’t want Jews in Israel, who wants to expel and destroy us. Someone who commits terror attacks here, someone who throws stones and petrol bombs and someone who murders Jews... We do not want to expel all Arabs as a group.”
So it is actions that are being targeted, not ethnicity; labeling Otzma Yehudit as racist is, at the very least, inaccurate.
As the successor of Mapam, which supported Stalin’s Communism, Meretz can be described as an extremist left-wing organization and its call to ban Otzma Yehudit is in the true Stalinist tradition of distorting opponents’ policies and using emotive labels to denigrate them.
Salford, England
American Jewish organizations and the general electronic mob are assailing the Likud for teaming up with Otzma Yehudit in the coming elections. The hysteria surrounding the claim that Otzma Yehudit is just Kach of another color clouds the issue without providing any insight.
Most American Jews know precious little about Israeli politics, and maybe ignorance is bliss, but it’s important to note that Kach was outlawed while Otzma Yehudit is apparently acceptable enough to the Israeli body politic to have stayed in the game. If they really were unreformed Kahanists, the Israeli voting public could have dispatched them to the same fate as Kach.
Freedom of speech allows you to say so if you don’t like someone’s views. You can then vote for the opposition. In wailing about how real Jews don’t behave that way, Israelis berating the Likud seem to mimic the hypocrisy problem that Americans have when they voted for Hilary Clinton and lost. Arab members of Knesset make outrageous antisemitic utterances and nobody seems to care.
Israeli voters are best capable of deciding how to handle this latest meleé. AIPAC and the rest of the double standards brigade should stay out of it. After all, they don’t have to be prepared to run to bomb shelters.
San Mateo, CA
Remembering three million Polish Jews
Regarding Greer Fay Cashman’s “Individual contacts better than Polish-Israeli ties” (February 24), there were several articles condemning Acting Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz and in support of the importance of Polish-Israel political relations.
Growing up in a community of Polish Jewish refugees in London, one of the four main communities in Hendon/ Golders Green, the Hendon Adas, and attending a school staffed and filled with pupils from such families in a generation of deafening silence and whispered secrets, I often heard the phrase used by Katz on the lips of my parent’s generation: “The Poles suckle antisemitism from their mother’s milk.” Immediately preceding the Holocaust, and historically for generations, antisemitism was more widespread in Poland than in Germany, by “individual contact,” not organizations.
In the Shoah, only in Poland was a Jew’s life value so debased (“Turn in a Jew, get a kilo of sugar”). Instead of exposing the shame of Polish actions, Cashman attempts to justify giving voice and positive press coverage to Krawczyk’s comments using a classical antisemitic ploy, blaming the Jews for their misfortunes by causal association and comparing them to their murdering persecutors and inquisitors.
There are matters above barter, financial and political gain, and that includes the memory of the three million murdered Polish Jews.