May 5, 2017: Independence Day

Let us be proud to let everyone know that we are free to express our independence, and will do so with joy.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Independence Day
It is with a sense of sadness that I write this letter.
When my wife and I made aliya just before Independence Day seven years ago, we were overwhelmed by the extensive display of the Israeli flag on so many balconies, lamp posts and cars. We were imbued with the spirit that the flags represented and remarked that certainly from whence we came, this would never happen.
As we traveled through Jerusalem on this year’s Independence Day, it was quite disappointing to see most residential buildings devoid of the symbol of our state.
We have but one country and we must never let this fact be taken for granted. Let us be proud to let everyone know that we are free to express our independence, and will do so with joy.
Allon the mensch
I thoroughly enjoyed Susan Hattis Rolef’s “Yigal Allon – War of Independence hero and mensch” (Independence Day supplement, May 1).
In the summer of 1968, I was attending a student ulpan in the newly established Galilean town of Karmiel. Some of the students were English speakers, but many came from elsewhere. (A good percentage came from Poland, where Jews felt unsafe, and from Czechoslovakia after the Russian invasion earlier in the year.) So we had no choice but to speak Hebrew to each other.
In any case, Allon at the time was minister of immigrant absorption, and one day he came to visit.
I vividly remember how a young lady who somehow managed to leave her native Egypt described how she had been studying Arabic literature at the university in Cairo, and because she was unable to obtain transcripts of her academic record, she was finding it difficult to be admitted to an Israeli university to continue her studies. Allon listened attentively and asked one of his assistants to see what could be done to relieve the student’s plight.
I don’t know what happened in the end, but Allon’s sincere concern made a deep impression upon me, and I, too, have always thought of him as a mensch.
Ma’aleh Adumim
Remarkable story
Since the Bible is the heritage and inheritance of all Jews, as expressed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at this year’s International Bible Quiz on Independence Day, it is notable that the competition was won this year by a student from a secular school (“Secular pupil wins Bible Quiz focused on Jerusalem,” May 3).
I believe, however, that insufficient attention was paid to the remarkable story of the third-place winner, a young woman from Belarus who does not attend a Jewish school at all and had to master the material on her own.
With regard to “Turning the tide in UNESCO” (Editorial, May 3), where was UNESCO when Jordan, which illegally held east Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria between 1948 and 1967, was destroying ancient synagogues and desecrating graves? Where was the UN when, in spite of an official truce, Jordanian snipers were shooting at Jews from the walls of the Old City?
Why is Israel not going on a diplomatic offensive and going to the UN to claim compensation from Jordan and the other Arab countries that illegally invaded in 1948 for damages done to historical and cultural sites?
Your May 3 editorial on UNESCO was very good, insightful and to the point. There is only one correction. You write: “The city [Jerusalem] is mentioned over 800 times in the Bible.”
In fact, the city’s name is mentioned 667 times in the Bible – 641 times in Hebrew and 26 times in Aramaic. Furthermore, it is the only city in the world whose name was given by God Himself (Midrash).
With the 50th Jerusalem Day on the way, this information would have been helpful.
The writer is a rabbi.