November 1, 2017: Poor UNRWA

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
So UNRWA asked Hamas to remove tunnels from underneath its schools (“UNRWA demands an end to building of tunnels under its schools,” October 30).
Isn’t it pathetic that UNRWA has to beg for favors from Hamas to undo something it never should have tolerated in the first place? This is a terrible position for UNRWA to be in. The EU should now be made to understand that the pathetic UNRWA has become a captive held hostage by Hamas! Thank God Israel can still act independently and destroy tunnels.
Graffiti exploits gays
According to “Protest mural depicts Trump, PM on Bethlehem wall” (October 30), Australian graffiti artist Lushsux painted the image to draw attention to the “people stuck in here.” But he is also contributing to the region’s deadly homophobia by symbolically linking this issue to gayness.
The dialogue on the mural, which shows the locking lips, goes as follows: “Thanks for the wall Trumpy pumpkin,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says. US President Donald Trump responds: “Bibi, your country and you will always come first, my love.”
The mural has undeniable power. But its power derives in part from public homophobia. In the artist’s view, Trump and Netanyahu are joint oppressors of the Palestinians. They are such a noxious pair of men that they would even kiss each other.
A mural can be thought of as a painting with a built-in context that largely defines its meaning.
In this case, the context is nothing short of rigid and violent homophobia.
Homosexuality is punishable by death in six Middle Eastern countries. Thousands of gay Palestinians are reported to have fled to Israel because of the hostility they face in the Palestinian territories, and there are reputable reports that Palestinian Authority police keep files on homosexuals for blackmailing.
If Lushsux hasn’t got anything good to say about Trump or Netanyahu, there are plenty of artistic ways to say it that don’t exploit gays and lesbians.
Port Jefferson, New York
Chilling possibility
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has proposed a policy of home demolitions even for terrorists whose acts don’t kill anyone (“Defense Minister calls for expansion of home demolitions for all terrorists,” October 30).
According to one thorough study reported in The New Republic in December 2014, terror attacks declined somewhat during the months immediately following a “punitive demolition,” but that effect proved “small, localized and diminish[ ing] over time.” Punitive home demolitions are done mostly “to placate the Israeli public.”
Many assert that home demolitions are collective punishment and violate Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention: “Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons... is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.”
Home demolitions are illegal and immoral. They are a tool used by a government claiming to act in my name in a sickeningly racist manner – no home of any Jewish terrorist has been demolished, whether those murdered were Jews or non-Jews.
If Liberman does expand this policy (and I pray wiser heads prevail!), the government must apply it to all who violate it. Or will it continue to confirm in the eyes of the world that Israel is, in fact and practice, a racist state? That possibility chills me to my core!
O’Connor, Australia
Unusual cartoon
I was shocked to open your October 30 newspaper to discover that the political cartoon did not skewer US President Donald Trump. It did not even insult him. And I’m quite flummoxed that the cartoon didn’t even have a hint in it to the president.
It seems your cartoonist is falling down on the job. I wholly expect the newspaper to rectify this egregious error and resume its daily attacks on President Trump in the cartoons.
Ma’aleh Adumim
A moving read
I was very moved reading Shmuley Boteach’s beautiful tribute to his mother (“Honoring a mother on her 75th birthday,” No Holds Barred, October 30).
I, too, was blessed with a mother like this who raised three children when my father died at age 42. She had no money, worked two jobs and never complained.
There was always food on the table, even if she went without. Not being of a religious background, she made sure nonetheless that we all went to heder in London so we would know where we came from.
Instead of The Jerusalem Post printing many articles that make us so annoyed, I think your readers would appreciate space for articles or letters that give people an insight into the good people of this world, present and past.
Aznavour concert
Because I grew up in Europe and understand French, Charles Aznavour (“Concert review,” Arts & Entertainment, October 30) is very familiar to me. I could not attend the concert, but Sarah Demmi Levin’s description made it come alive, almost as if I had been there! Thank you, Sarah! RUTH SCHUELER Jerusalem It truly was a magical evening – how wonderful it was for this outstanding, long-life performer to be able to share this journey down memory lane.
How lucky we are to have had this performance live in Israel. It certainly was a moment of enchantment in my life.
L’haim, Charles Aznavour!
Not purely religious
The recent court decision allowing the Tel Aviv Municipality to permit grocery stores and supermarkets to open on the Sabbath (“High Court rules TA shops can remain open on Shabbat,” October 27) was contested by the owners of small groceries. They may or may not be religious, but they do want a day off once a week, and they are now being deprived of this right by the capitulation of the government to the interests of corporations.
The Ten Commandments, as listed in Deuteronomy 5, include a commandment not to work on the Sabbath. The reason given is that you should not forget that you were once a slave in Egypt.
The implication is clear: You must remember what it is like to work constantly, without a day off.
So does the inclusion of the right to a day off in the Ten Commandments automatically make it a religious issue?
Real haredi leaders
Again and again I read in The Jerusalem Post that the haredi leadership is not doing anything to stop the fanatic offshoot “Peleg Yerushalmi” from blocking streets and disrupting the country by violent demonstrations.
Unfortunately, your journalists obviously have not read the reactions of the real haredi leadership because we could have read the sharp-worded letter by Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, who called them a “herd of sheep without a shepherd,” an extreme insult to the leadership of the faction. Nor have you apparently bothered to read the speech of Rabbi Yigal Rozen, another haredi caliber, who wrote that Goebbels could have learned a thing or two from the Peleg propaganda.
That sounds like a fine and clear reaction to me.