Narrow knowledge

As the daughter of Holocaust survivors, I approach the Holocaust with silence and awe.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Narrow knowledge
I cannot believe that The Jerusalem Post published Orit Arfa’s “The day the descendant of Nazis apologized to me” (Observations, August 18).
As the daughter of Holocaust survivors, I approach the Holocaust with silence and awe. Even after reading much on the period and visiting Poland, I feel I will never understand what really happened. However, Ms. Arfa’s knowledge or understanding of the event can be compressed into one statement: They went like sheep to slaughter.”
Though I do not blame this generation of Germans for the Holocaust, the Germans bear guilt. Asking forgiveness for an act of this magnitude is trite. Nor are we in a position to forgive – we cannot speak for the victims.
I think Ms. Arfa should stay in Germany. She should live with her forgiveness and leave the victims and the rest of us Jews alone to “forever assign guilt to other nations.”
I have a problem understanding Orit Arfa’s logic. What should the Jews have done apart from fleeing? More Masadas? More ghetto uprisings? And to whom do the Jews owe an apology? Does Ms. Arfa have any idea how helpless these people were when their neighbors turned their back on them? Please, spare me from such nonsense.
Much-needed survey
It is interesting to know that in the US, there was a survey of “The 40 Worst Colleges for Jewish Students, 2016” (“Antisemitism, moral obscurity and the Zionist imperative,” Keep Dreaming, August 18). I hope there will be another for 2017.
It would also be very instructive to know what the response of the American Jewish community is to the worst offenders, however prestigious they might be considered as academic centers and whatever the principals of those institutions claim their policy to be on the matter.
The same type of survey is urgently required in the UK and European countries.
Circle, not line
The political spectrum is often seen as a one-dimensional line.
This view would have us believe that the individuals at the two extremes have nothing in common.
But as David Brinn’s “The alt-right, alt-left and Israel” (Parting Shot, August 18) makes clear, they have a lot in common, often including being anti-Israel.
Therefore, a more accurate view of the political spectrum is not a straight line but a circle, with the moderate-centrists diametrically opposite a noxious and dangerous amalgam of fascist and anarchist individuals who resort to similar tactics and are united in their hate of Israel and Zionists.
Please explain
I need someone to help me out here because it is beyond my capabilities to understand (“Security forces uncover apparatus Hamas used to transfer money to terrorists’ families in J’lem,” August 16).
Okay, so the apparatus was uncovered and the money seized. But the Shin Bet and Israel Police said they would “continue to act with determination in order to prevent terrorist activities by Hamas and other organizations, including activities related to the transfer of terrorism funds to activists and their families.”
How is this going to stop them when there is absolutely no doubt that the money will continue to flow? Are the authorities serious? All of our enemies show their presence in the city and throughout the land while our guys continue to talk and make threats (softly of course). And nothing changes.
I would like to suggest that perhaps enemies have no right to live in our country. We have been having the same discourse with them and about them since we declared independence. (Did I say “independence”?) But they now have the capabilities of an army, with hundreds of thousands of missiles and rockets that can strike any part of the country.
They have only become stronger.
Helping Honenu
Yonah Jeremy Bob wrote two important articles on the Shin Bet’s extra-judicial imprisonment of a teenage youth held in solitary confinement for two months without charges and without evidence (“Under High Court pressure, Shin Bet to release rightwing activist from administrative detention,” August 14; and “Exclusive: Transcripts obtained by ‘Post’ show senior Shin Bet agent’s testimony will free rightwing activist from administrative detention,” August 16).
The only thing missing in these news items is that the accused was defended by Honenu, the only legal-defense organization in Israel that protects Jews.
Honenu hires lawyers who work voluntarily or at significantly reduced fees to defend Jews who cannot afford legal expenses, and assists needy families of those arrested. It also has a 24-hour hotline. Honenu needs our help in order to continue to provide these necessary services.
Reschedule vacation
Allow me to suggest that the Education Ministry think outside the box and make a drastic change to the dates of the major school vacation in July and August.
Parents and grandparents struggle every summer to find interesting and enjoyable activities for preschool and school-age children, as kindergartens and schools take the longest vacation of the year. Summer camps for those who can afford them take up short periods, but in August, most of us are scratching our heads to find ways of keeping the children happy and occupied.
There are wonderful nature attractions, as well as adventure playgrounds, forested picnic areas, trails, streams and waterfalls. But it’s too damned hot! Even our beautiful beaches are blistering hot during the daytime hours.
So what are the alternatives to sitting in air-conditioned houses watching TV or gaping all day at a computer screen? The alternatives are also indoors, but at a price.
Museums and indoor play centers offer healthy and educational activities, but the cost of entry for a family is prohibitive if one has to fill up several weeks of vacation.
This year, the children’s films are of the lowest level: Smurfs Hidden Village or Captain Underpants are just examples of ear-splitting, eye-dazzling computer effects with banal story lines. What happened to the classics that were beautifully filmed not so long ago? My suggestion, therefore, is to keep schools running during the hottest months and extend the holidays in the spring and autumn. No sooner do the kids return to school on the first day of September, they are already preparing for the High Holy Days, celebrating them and (for the benefit of teachers) recovering from them, and we are well into October.
Why not start “summer vacation” on September 1 and return to school on November 1? This would give religiously observant families ample opportunity to enjoy leisure and travel, and families could venture out into nature instead of choosing any attraction that is air conditioned.
To break up the long term between Hanukka and September, the Pessah holiday could also be extended because spring is often the most wondrous time to see Israel in bloom and splash in the replenished streams and waterfalls.
What do parents say? WENDY BLUMFIELD Haifa
“New York mayor vows to remove Nazi collaborator’s plaque from city street” (August 18) states that Philippe Pétain “went on in 1940 to head France’s Vichy government, which collaborated with Nazi Germany and was responsible for deporting more than 10,000 Jews to concentration camps....” The number of Jews who were deported to death camps from France was more than 75,000.