November 24: A modest soul

Rabbi Goldberg's senseless, cruel death is a loss to the Jewish people.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A modest soul  
Sir, – I wish to express my shock and horror over the death of Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, killed in the Har Nof synagogue attack on Tuesday. Rabbi Goldberg took over my husband’s publishing company for two years after his death. Stepping into the shoes of a beloved boss was not an easy task, yet Rabbi Goldberg, with unerring dignity, kindness and fairness provided the anchor that the staff needed to recover and move on.
In addition to his many activities, about which he kept quiet with extreme modesty, was his involvement in setting up educational programs to provide academic degrees for haredi men and women. His senseless, cruel death is a loss to the Jewish people.
Count to 10
Sir,  I want to commend the staff on the editorial “An open society” (November 21). In these troubling times, when it is only too easy to surrender to gut reactions and to shoot from the hip, the article is just what is required.
The essence of a free, democratic society is the ability, indeed the requirement, to accept the limitations on our rights to freedom of action so as not to infringe on the rights of others. Now, more than ever, it is necessary to count to 10 before starting extreme retaliations, no matter how provoking the circumstances.
Sir, – Regarding the November 21 editorial “An open society,” it’s hard to imagine anything more self-immolating than your formulation, that “our peoples [Jews and Arabs] are destined to live together in this land.” This couldn’t be more rife with hidden errors and contradictions.
Can it be based on the injunctions in the Five Books of Moses to love, respect and deal generously with the strangers among you? But surely this refers to strangers who want to cooperate. It does assuredly not refer to hostile people who think, mean and do the opposite.
Those who would violate, obstruct and destroy the inhabitants in their land.
Recognizing the good
The recent tragedy in Har Nof (“4 rabbis killed in Jerusalem synagogue massacre,” November 19) has left us all grief-stricken and overwhelmed.
A feeling of helplessness prevails. I cannot pretend that I know how to respond to this tragedy. Not theologically, and not in terms of what our macro responses should be on the political or military level.
However, there are certain things I am sure about.
We, the Jewish people, owe an immense debt of gratitude to the Druse police and military personnel who fight to protect our country and theirs.
I was very moved and pleased to see that buses left from Har Nof to attend the funeral of Zidan Saif, murdered while defending innocent worshipers in Har Nof. Hakarat Hatov – being grateful and expressing that gratitude – is a basic Jewish value.
But attending the funeral and comforting the mourners is not enough.
I heard an official from the Druse village Daliat al-Carmel being interviewed on the radio, and he mentioned that the majority of the homes in the village are not hooked up to the sewage system. If I understood correctly, electricity and other infrastructures in many Druse areas are sub-standard as well. Now would be a good (if overdue) time to show our gratitude in concrete ways, and make sure that Druse villages get their due in terms of budgets, education and services.
They deserve it. We should do this primarily because it is the right thing to do. Hopefully it will have the added advantage of showing that loyalty to the state is repaid in kind.
Ramat Beit Shemesh
So much in common
Sir, – I’m a Muslim and I feel deeply concerned about the growing gap between Jews and Muslims. I visit The Jerusalem Post website daily and frequently read the paper’s articles.
I appreciate the paper’s work.
For Muslims, our Islamic faith is incomplete without accepting Moses as a prophet, and our faith is incomplete without having our faith in the Torah as a divine book. The Koran is constantly talking about Jews and Christians. When we have so much in common, why does so much hatred exist? When the respected prophets of the Jewish religion are our own prophets, the prophets of Islam, then why do we fight? Why does Jew-Muslim hatred exist? I do agree that the existence of a Jewish state must be acknowledged, and the Palestinians must be able to live a dignified life. By finding our common points we can build this world into a peaceful place for our children. I feel terrible when I read about how people are spreading hatred about Jews around the world. I believe we, as Muslims, as well as Jews, are responsible to spread the true message of Judaism, the message of Moses, and turn this world into a peaceful place. Regards from a well-wisher.
Embrace reality
Sir, – I cannot agree more fully with Michael Freund (“A Palestinian pogrom in Jerusalem,” Fundamentally Freund, November 19) about ending our relationship with the Palestinian Authority. It seems abundantly obvious to all that it would be impossible to hand over the West Bank to any Palestinian entity – even a moderate one, for fear of its almost certain transformation into an openly adversarial enemy.
It is therefore time for Israel to stop continuing the charade, which only encourages further terror attacks by our enemies due to the illusion that there is a chance for things to change.
The Israeli government needs to outline what it will accept and what it will not, and make it clear what is and what is not negotiable. And the Arab population must be offered the option of what they wish to accept – either peace with Israel, with full citizenship, or be moved to a different residence that fits more to their liking.
Maimonides explains that when the nation of Israel inhabits the Land of Israel, the land becomes theirs. It is then incumbent on the nation to offer peace to the non-Jewish inhabitants. If they do not accept, then they can leave.
That is our reality, and the sooner we embrace it, the sooner we can prevent the never-ending terror.
We all agree
Sir, – I write in reply to Daoud Kuttab’s opinion piece (“‘Battle for Jerusalem’ is personal,” November 21). He states that Israel has created a wall separating Jerusalem from the rest of the Palestinian territories, without explaining why. The wall was built in the first place as a response to terrorism.
As well, he says that Israeli security entered the third-holiest mosque in the world wearing their boots, which is seen by Muslims as a violation of their sacred religion and holy places. But why did they enter in the first place? The Arabs inside had amassed stones and other objects to throw at and with which to attack the police.
Without these objects there would be no need to enter.
Despite these point of controversy, he does finally say something that we can all agree on.
He writes that Jerusalem needs to be left as an open city for all faithful to be able to worship freely. Yes, keep it open and permit Jewish entry for purpose of prayer to the Temple Mount.
Ma’ale Adumim