May 27, 2019: UNRWA schooling for hate

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
It was reported in “UNRWA runs on fumes and Band-Aids; can’t be fixed, Greenblatt warns UNSC,” (May 23), that the German representative told the UN Security Council that he wanted to know why the US was not concerned by the possibility of Hamas-led schools replacing UNRWA schools in Gaza.
Does the German government not know that Hamas took over the UNRWA teachers union in Gaza in 2003, and that the UNRWA schools have been openly run by Hamas for the past 16 years, as the Center for Near East Policy Research has documented and filmed?
Does the German government not know that the UNRWA teachers union in Gaza held elections on April 24, 2019, and that the Hamas tightened its control even further over the UNRWA school system in Gaza?
We should not be surprised. Two months ago, we asked the German government about how they view the transparency of German charitable funds to UNRWA. The answer from Germany was that they rely on UNRWA!
Director, Israel Resource News Agency
Center for Near East Policy Research

IfNotNow campfire stories
Regarding “Let Combatants for Peace speak at Ramah Camp, says IfNotNow” (May 22), I completely disagree (and hope my reasons will be read by Ramah Camp counselors).
First, Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) are not occupied territory but disputed territory, our historical heartland recovered in a defensive war in 1967.
Second, more than 90% of the Palestinians live in Area A, where the PA government has full control of their daily lives. Gaza is controlled by the terrorist organization Hamas and Israel has no presence there.
Third, the PA, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and all other terrorist organizations call for the destruction of Israel through armed struggle and other means. The map of Palestine on their documents is all of Israel, Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The claim that they want only a Palestine on the 1967 borders (actually the 1949 armistice lines) is a lie. Their actual goal is the elimination of the Jewish state and their methodology is to do it piecemeal, in slices. This has been consistently articulated by Arafat and many other top officials.
Extremist far-Left organizations should not be granted access to the minds of young Jewish campers to forward their anti-Israel and anti-true-peace agenda.
Kiryat Motzkin

I am a second-generation New York social worker living in Israel after retiring from the New York City Board of Education. I was raised in the Conservative Movement and spent a summer working as a counselor at Ramah Berkshires and two summers working as a counselor at the Day Camp in Nyack. Berkshires also had a program for special need campers. Both camps provide unique opportunities of immersion in both Jewish and Israel-oriented activities. It is an intense alternative educational experience that is not classroom-based. The staff is very dedicated to this mission and carefully screened. In addition, there are Israeli specialists who come specifically to enhance the “Israeli” flavor of the camp.
Children’s educational experiences are extremely important in forming their adult perceptions of the world. In my professional opinion as a social worker and educator, it is totally inappropriate for speakers of IfNotNow to be allowed access to camps that are run by the Jewish Theological Seminary. Ramah camps should not be involved in politics, especially when Israel is referred to as “the occupation.” This is not why parents choose to send their children to Camp Ramah. IfNotNow needs to explore other more appropriate settings to educate children regarding their particular political agenda.
Masters of Science in Social Work
Kfar Saba

Hebrew U anti-Israel bias
Regarding the anti-Israel bias spread by Hebrew University faculty members (“Hebrew U. prof. accused of ‘systematic misinformation,’ political bias.” May 21), I can attest that I know many ex-Hebrew U students who were simply afraid to express a so-called right-wing opinion in classes because it would affect their grades. A friend of mine from the US used to donate a million dollars a year to the Hebrew University. His son went to Hebrew U. When his parents came to visit for Hanukkah, he explained the situation to his father and entreated him not to give any more money to Hebrew U. In his words, “If you give money to Hebrew U., you might as well be giving it to Fatah.”

Judaism on abortion
“What Jewish law really says about abortion” (24 May) correctly notes that “there are important differences between how Judaism and Christianity view the span of time between conception and birth... [in that] if there is a threat to a woman’s life, the safety of the mother takes precedence over continuing the pregnancy at any stage.”
Basically, abortion is forbidden even for non-Jews, as a capital offence under the “seven laws applicable to all humanity.” Where the mother’s life is endangered, her life takes precedence over that of the unborn child, but just what amounts to “maternal physical danger” is not entirely clear and has to be decided on a case-by-case basis. As the article observes, “It is nearly impossible to create a [general] law that limits abortion.”
However, despite the underlying tenor of his article, the halachic presumption must be that an abortion is forbidden unless proven to be necessary – and then it is not merely permissible, but obligatory.
So Judaism is in no way “pro-choice.”
Salford, England

Mom in the running
Regarding “Ultra-Orthodox mom of five wins half marathon in Riga, representing Israel” (May 21), kudos for reporting the inspirational story of Beatie Deutsch.
Coming on the heels of the fanfare of Eurovision, where there were so many feelings of missed opportunity and what could have been, along comes this amazingly talented lady who is fit and beautiful, inside and out. She is dedicated and hard-working for herself, family, friends and the Jewish people. This young woman is so talented, yet so modest. When not running and training or with her family, she works in bringing students closer to their Judaism. She admits that she puts herself in the spotlight to deliver an important message, which is acknowledging her talent as God-given and her mission to work on body and soul – an ambassador to the Jewish nation.
Wow! We readers need to see more of these inspirational people, not toward the end of the paper, but where they belong: up front as the front class act that they truly are. This is a true light to the nations!

Peace no-shows yet again
Regarding “Come to Bahrain” (May 26), the predicted non-attendance of the Palestinians at the American-initiated Bahrain conference planned for June should come as no surprise. This get-together – to delineate via an “economic workshop” future cooperation between the US and a number of Arab states to create a monetary foundation for any future Palestinian independence – is an idea being strangled at birth by the recipient.
You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink – and therein lies the problem. From past experience, however you package and present a proposed path to peace, the Palestinian leadership will stonewall it.
Until the PA and Hamas in Gaza fully recognize and live peacefully side by side with Israel, the nation-state of the Jews, there will be no path to reconciliation.
Time is not on the side of the PA and Hamas. They should put the welfare and future of their people first, not endless provocation to hostility in an already fractured region.
Tel Aviv

Serious injury on Shabbat?
Regarding “Cantor attacked in third antisemitic incident in Buenos Aires in 3 months” (May 24), the cantor who was assaulted and seriously injured while leaving synagogue on Friday night waited until after Shabbat to go to the hospital.
It has been my experience over the course of many years of medical practice that Sabbath observers who develop serious illness or injury will sometimes wait until after Havdalah to call the doctor. This seems to me a faulty concept of the sanctity of the Sabbath. While life always takes precedence over religious observance, the patient may not always know whether his illness is life-threatening.
Any such doubt should lead him to seek medical help immediately. The Lord will forgive him.

Safe haven for criminal MKs?
Regarding, “Gantz at rally to ‘save democracy’: We won’t let Israel be a sultanate” (May 26), let us consider the “Immunity Bill” without bringing Bibi into the equation.
Members of the Knesset cannot be prosecuted or arrested. What if:
• An MK is the driver in a hit-and-run accident
• An MK robs a bank
• An MK is accused of sexual harassment
• An MK is caught taking bribes
Will all of the above be covered by the immunity bill? What is happening to our country? Will the Knesset become a safe haven for criminals ?
Ganei Tikva

There are good reasons for providing legal impunity for a prime minister, particularly in Israel where the legal establishment has assumed the power to overrule the executive and legislative branches.
The tragedy of Gush Katif occurred after the Left-leaning judicial establishment prepared to prosecute prime minister Ariel Sharon.
Once he agreed to abandon the Jewish settlements in Gaza and withdraw all Israeli troops, charges against him were dropped – a clear case of blackmail.
The result was the establishment of Hamas as a terrorist entity that has cost thousands of lives. This would not have happened had the immunity law been in place.
However, there are good reasons for ensuring that a prime minister does not break the law. The compromise is to delay legal action until after he leaves office.
There is also a good case for imposing term limits on a prime minister similar to the American limit of two four-year terms for a president. It might be wise to link the immunity law to one setting term limits for a prime minister.
Ma’aleh Adumim

Pollard homecoming
Regarding “Pollard slams Israel for abandoning him” (May 22), it was troubling to see that Jonathan Pollard feels abandoned by Israel.
Of course, Israeli politicians deny such abandonment and try to convince us that they are trying their best to obtain Jonathan’s release and aliyah to Israel. I do not know what goes on behind the scenes, but the facts speak for themselves.
Jonathan Pollard has been in prison, including his current house arrest terms, for well over 10,000 days.
When one reviews all the people that have been pardoned or had their sentences commuted all these many years, it doesn’t see plausible to me that our government is trying its best to bring Jonathan home. What a tragedy it would be if, heaven forbid, Pollard were to die before he has a chance to fulfill his dream of making aliyah.
My aliyah dream was fulfilled nearly 15 years ago, but I still feel my aliyah will be incomplete until I can wave the flag in Pollard’s honor on his much-deserved journey to Jerusalem, may it happen speedily in our time.
Beit Shemesh

Dysfunctional electoral system
Regarding “Defense of expanding cabinet: Everyone has done it before” (May 21), here we go again. Our prime minister asked for more time to form a new government. Why can’t they see our electoral system just cannot work? Thousands of votes wasted on small parties with no hope of election. Promises made that cannot be met because partners won’t agree (“Do that and we are out!”).
We deserve better. What has the Likud got in common with the ultra-religious parties? Nothing. Now we read that the next cabinet will have 26 ministers, the largest government ever – costing hundreds of millions of shekels.


Lone soldier struggle
Regarding “IDF says fears of lone soldier ‘suicide epidemic’ are overblown” (May 4), I am angry and sad.
I am tired of thinking about the last time that I saw my friends – if we talked enough, if I hugged them enough, if there was something I could have said or done. I am tired of knowing that I will never see them again – that we will never go out together again on the weekend, laugh about the things that we went through on base that week; that we will never again share how much we miss our homes – that they will never go to again. I am tired of hearing that there is no problem when soldiers go home on the weekends and they don’t have food or someone to talk to, that they feel so alone.
It’s true that we volunteered for this and we do get extra things from the army. Some say we’re exploiting the system. Is he exploiting the system because he wants to see his family that he hasn’t seen for an entire year? Is she exploiting the system because she goes home a day early once a month to buy food and pay bills? Am I exploiting the system because I get a higher salary so that I can eat and live?
These are people who gave their lives to Israel, who felt that it is so important to protect this country that they left their lives in their home countries to enlist in the Israeli army. People say that it isn’t new that lone soldiers are committing suicide so often. That is disgraceful. Is it okay that in the last four months alone, at least three lone soldiers committed suicide? We shouldn’t worry, because this is normal?
I can’t just wait silently until the next lone soldier, my next friend, commits suicide. I can’t go on hearing people say that we need change – and nothing changes. Our country cares when a soldier commits suicide and two days later we forget. We can’t forget. We are not allowed to forget.
People say they didn’t know, they can’t believe it. Believe it. It is happening – far too much. We came here to protect the country. Who is protecting us?

Regarding “Protecting Lone Soldiers” (May 22), my whole career focused on aliyah and klita (absorption) and Zionist education for youth and young adults. For decades, I followed the evolution of programs and trends in these areas.
Programs that encourage young Diaspora adults to come and serve in the IDF have had many success stories, but there are two points that have always concerned me in this realm.
First is preparation. Army service, with all its demands in what is still for most a foreign country and one with violent enemies, places great psychological, emotional and practical demands on young people. Thorough preparation, including fluency in the language and culture and a solid personal and social framework, should be a precondition.
Second, service in Tzahal is a privilege and duty for Israelis who have made a choice to live in this country – not an adventure for thrill seekers like a French Foreign Legion. Service should follow a well-developed decision to make one’s life in Israel and not precede it.
When Israel was fighting for its independence and survival, I would have felt differently and justified the participation of Diaspora Jews coming to help. That is no longer the case.
If these standards were more rigorously applied, it would reduce the incidence of lone soldier suicides.