November 21, 2017: Ehud Barak, Germany, and how to call the Kotel

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A golden opportunity missed
With regard to “Rivlin rejects Hebron shooter’s request to commute sentence” (November 20), if the office of the president of the State of Israel has any purpose whatsoever, it surely must be to unify and bring together the country. In refusing Elor Azaria’s appeal for clemency, Mr. Rivlin missed a golden opportunity to do just that.
Mevaseret Zion
This is why
While I agree with the main point of Micah Halpern’s “Why try Nazis in their 90s” (Above the Fold, November 20), I take issue with a couple of the details – like how “everyday people” in Germany carried out Hitler’s plan.
“Everyday people” do not do such things. Italy instituted the same Nuremberg Laws in 1938, but in spite of Mussolini’s orders to follow them vigorously, the Italian authorities invented all kinds of excuses to avoid implementing them and about 80% of Italy’s Jews survived. The “everyday people” of Italy, also under a vicious dictatorship and the same laws, did not act like the “everyday people” of Germany.
The point is also made that these trials are not about “revenge,” as if this is something that is wrong.
Revenge, a universal and biblical occurrence, is the act of compensating for the wrong done to one or many. Frankly, it is very healthy for all concerned. Having grown up in an antisemitic environment, I can attest to the value of revenge.
Those who knew that I would find a way to “return the favor” stopped attacking me. The very existence of Israel today is because our enemies know that they will suffer our great revenge if they harm us.
Finally, a word about the late, but still necessary, trials of ex-Nazis.
A lot has been said about the younger generations of Germans having been properly reeducated and how they now bear no guilt for the Holocaust.
Yet it is these generations that have enacted the legal framework enabling the vast majority of the Holocaust’s criminal perpetrators not only to escape punishment, but even avoid or delay trials, like the two men mentioned in the piece.
It’s so, so ‘Jewish’
Its impossible to find the words to describe my feelings of disgust concerning the constant bickering and animosity surrounding the religious and ritualistic practices to be obeyed or not obeyed at the Western Wall (“Western Wall conundrum,” Letters, November 20). But it is so, so “Jewish.”
I suggest we also call the Kotel the Kvetching Wall.
Consummate has-been
With regard to “Poll finds Barak comeback unwarranted” (November 19), as a very young man, Ehud Barak was a dashing and valorous solider. He was a far-less-distinguished IDF chief of staff. Later still, he served briefly as a misbegotten and best forgotten prime minister. Since then, he has been leveraging his tarnished brass to garner millions by palling around with the likes of Harvey Weinstein.
Now in his dotage, from the deodorized premises of an eight-figure (in dollars) penthouse – as vertically removed from the hoi polloi as one can be – this consummate has-been has the temerity to claim popularity among us ants in the streets, not to mention a superior ethical record to that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Personally, I would never again vote for Netanyahu.
But if the choice came down to Bibi or Barak, the latter wouldn’t have a prayer. Which proves, yet again, that hubris is the number one cause of total blindness.
Powerful essay
I applaud Moshe Dann for articulating for us a powerful essay (“Tough love is getting tougher,” Comment & Features, November 19). As I read the words he chose to describe the power struggle now going on between the progressive American Jewish community and Israeli Jewish traditionalists, my mind and memory turned back in time.
It was November 29, 1947, and my family was huddled around the radio in New York City. The UN partition vote for a renewed State of Israel was successful.
Joy and tears and dancing erupted in the living room. It was only five years previously that we had escaped from Nazi-occupied Belgium and France, and my mother’s statement, which I have never forgotten, was: “It was Zionism that saved us.” It was the belief that what Herzl and Jabotinsky warned about would happen unless we fought for our national existence.
I thought of all this as I digested the clarity of Dann’s essay, that there are some who wish to redefine Zionism, Judaism and Israeli nationalism.
I shared his outrage against those who espouse “[d]iminishing the centrality of Israel in Jewish life” and those who would jeopardize Israel’s survival.
As I try to put into perspective his passionate argumentation for Jewish unity along with my own historical experience, I am left saddened and angry. I am nonetheless optimistic.
I still remember the exaltation and ecstasy of that Saturday evening around the radio so long ago. I am convinced that the Holy One, blessed be He, will guide us to better days, and that we will work together to, as Dann says, “strengthen Judaism, the Jewish people and Zionism.”
I had come home
As a fellow British-born Israeli, I share the anger of Liat Collins over Prince Charles’s ridiculous definition of we Israelis being “foreigners” here in our own country (“Responding to the royal snub,” My Word, November 17).
Although I and both my parents were born in England, it was there that I felt like what Charles defines as a “foreign Jew,” so at the age of 21, I came to Israel and (although I did not yet know Hebrew) recognized immediately that I had come home.
I once told Ms. Collins I was waiting to see if she might one day write a column I could disagree with, but her latest has convinced me that this won’t happen.
Har Adar
No surprise here...
Reuters recently reported that a German court ruled that “Kuwait Airways had the right to refuse to carry an Israeli passenger due to his nationality, a verdict that Jewish groups said condoned antisemitism.”
It was an expected ruling. It was a German court, and nothing trumps economic realities.
Beware: This is just the first step to the return of the Nuremberg Laws by our “friends,” the Germans.
Beit Shemesh
...and no logic there
Why does the world not get it? The Jews are the bad boys! Our people invented monotheism. Christianity and Islam followed the same route and even told the same story. Yet we are vilified forever! Only the countries in the Far East and sub-continent that follow completely different beliefs, such as China, Japan and India, admire us and sometimes even like us. Those who follow our history hate us!
Tel Aviv