November 6, 2019: Feigning righteousness

Readers of the Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Feigning righteousness
In “J Street foul formula” (November 1), D. Weinberg quotes J Street and Bernie Sanders kvetching “that Israel receives $3.8 billion in aid and what is it used for” – and they go on to proclaim “that is used to further the ‘occupation.’”
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The relationship between the US and Israeli military is symbiotic. The so-called “aid” is used for new facilities, research and development and production of tactical equipment that is extremely important to the very security of America. As a senior building engineer, I can attest that numerous projects built at Israeli bases have critical joint use for both armies, including such command facilities at the Nevatim AFB that can handle the American F-35 bomber and facilities at the Haifa Naval Base that can service the American Sixth Fleet.
Moreover, the UAV vehicles that fly over Iran and Iraq and the anti-ballistic missile defense systems that currently protect the American West Coast, Japan and South Korea were developed in Israel, at these joint facilities, built under the US aid program. America gets much more return on its investment than J Street and Sanders could ever imagine.
These Jewish self-haters mask their evil, directed both at Israel and the US, as they declare in feigned righteousness that they are only taking a moral stand.
J Street and several Democratic presidential hopefuls are demanding Israel that forgo its security concerns or face punitive financial repercussions from a new Democratic administration in 2020. They would do well to remember what prime minister Menachem Begin told Senator Joe Biden, on June 22, 1982:
“Don’t threaten us with cutting off our aid. It will not work. I am not a Jew with trembling knees. I am a proud Jew with 3,700 years of civilized history. Nobody came to our aid when we were dying in the gas chambers and ovens. Nobody came to our aid when we were striving to create our country. We paid for it. We fought for it. We died for it. We will stand by our principles. We will defend them. And, if necessary, we will die for them again, with or without your aid.”
Ottawa, Ontario
Prison math: The 2% solution
Arab-Israeli leaders are on a hunger strike protesting against police and government inaction on the rise in Arab violence. (“Arab-Israeli leaders protest violence, police ‘inaction,’” November 4).
Arabs are killing Arabs. Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi points a finger at the “racist” government of Israel as the cause of this violence. He wants the new government to deter criminals and collect weapons.
Mohammed Barake says, “Only 2% of Arabs are involved in crime.” There are approximately 1.9 million Arabs living in Israel today, about a million of whom are of adult age capable of criminal activity. Two percent means that 20,000 are criminals. The current population of Israeli prisons is approximately 19,000 in 30 institutions with 80% average occupancy. If these 20,000 Arab criminals are rounded up and successfully prosecuted, 30 new prisons will have to be built over the next few years.
The good news is that these prisons will create 10,000 permanent new jobs in prison staff. The bad news is that many police and Arabs will probably be killed in the riots due to the attempted roundup of these criminals. The chutzpah is that the Arab MKs make no mention of the responsibility of Arab community leaders to educate their own public.
If we punished as the PA does
In “Israeli impunity” (November 1), Gershon Baskin opines that in many cases of mistakes or actual wrongdoing, Israeli soldiers receive relatively light punishments.
Perhaps Israel should employ the PA approach to “punishment.” Instead of investigating and prosecuting, we should give convicted offenders a prize: Reward them (and their families) with huge long-term monthly salaries and name streets and schools after them. Why investigate every complaint or shooting, as opposed to the carte blanche and financial incentives given to Palestinians to kill Jews?
There are mitigating circumstances when light sentences are given to soldiers, but as we are all aware, there will always be hostile accusations/narratives, such as, “Jews are killing children and taking their organs” or “Jews are getting away with murder.”
Baskin is not an objective writer and his views must be understood as such: “Israelis bad, Palestinians good!”
Petah Tikva
Saying that IDF soldiers killed 290 Palestinians in 2018, Baskin neglects to mention that this was almost always the reaction to stabbings, attempted stabbings, car rammings, stone throwing, rioting and illegal entry of Israel. What a one-sided approach!
What punishments did the PA authorize for their criminal acts? Please provide statistics on how many Palestinians have been convicted and jailed by the PA for attacking Israelis. Doesn’t Baskin know about the rewards provided to the killers of Jews? Why isn’t this mentioned in his article?
In what school of journalism are one-sided articles acceptable without evidence and context for statistics? Discredited reports are quoted as facts in the article, rendering them worthless.
If one truly wants to “encounter peace,” honesty and an even-handed approach are preconditions for discourse.
Criticizing biblical criticism
“A lost temple – new findings might shatter biblical archaeology paradigm” (October 31”) transported me back in time to an era when some scholars believed in the Documentary Hypothesis. I say “believed” because blind faith is an absolute requirement to take it seriously.
The hypothesis of Torah written by an abundance of authors at different times and in a variety of places – ultimately stitched together by an unknown editor who didn’t bother to remove contradictions and left in place many traces of his forgery and succeeded in getting a whole people, highly intelligent, to believe that this is the word of God – staggers the imagination.
The Hertz Chumash quotes the Earl of Halsbury, who in 1915 found himself compelled to declare, “For my own part I consider the assignment of different fragments of Genesis to a number of wholly imaginary authors great rubbish. I do not understand the attitude of those men who base a whole theory of this kind on hypotheses for which there is no evidence whatsoever.”
Yet Tsvi Koenigsberg suggests that Mount Ebal, not Mount Moriah (the other name for the Temple Mount) is the location mentioned in the Torah. Even Wellhausen, the high priest of biblical criticism, and his followers claim that the Book of Deuteronomy with the expression, “The place the Lord your God will choose,” appearing more than 20 times, has Jerusalem in mind. Therefore, Koenigsberg’s theory is a radical rupture with the “tradition” of the early biblical critics.
There is one serious problem that Koenigsberg must face. The vague description of Jerusalem as “The place that He will choose” is obviously meant to conceal the name of the place (much is written about that – see Maimonides in Moreh Nevuchim). Yet in the same Book of Deuteronomy, Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim are mentioned by name and their precise location is given: “...on the other side of the Jordan, far, in the direction of the sunset, in the land of the Canaanite, that dwells in the plain, far from Gilgal, near the plain of Moreh”
Yet in this same parsha, the phrase “The place that He will choose” appears no fewer than 15 times. Did the fictional editor not realize that at the beginning of the parsha he reveals the name of the place that he goes on to conceal 15 times?
This is strange. The resolution is, of course, that Koenigsberg is fiction and Torah is truth.
The bottom line is that “We believe with perfect faith that the entire Torah now in our hands is the same one that was given to Moses our teacher” (Rambam).
Noah, the ark and the climate
“Noah warns us that humans cause climate change” (November 1) is especially important at a time when there have been record-breaking temperatures, an increase in the number and severity of storms, floods, droughts, wildfires, rapid melting of glaciers and polar icecaps, and other examples of a worsening climate.
We do not have a Noah building an ark today in an effort to alert others to an upcoming flood, but we do have thousands of climate experts warning that we have very little time to make major changes to have a chance of averting a climate catastrophe.
Also, unlike in Noah’s time, we are getting wake-up calls almost daily, in terms of the several climate events mentioned above, most recently the massive wildfires that are devastating California.
In order to avert a future similar to that of Noah’s generation, we must make averting a climate catastrophe a central focus of civilization today. What can each of us actually do right now? 1) Plant trees and any sort of plants you can – they purify the air; 2) Minimize consumption of polluting products and those with plastic containers and wrappings; 3) Fly less, since airplanes pollute the air significantly; 4) Prefer public transportation, bicycling and walking to private cars; and 5) Transition toward a healthful plant-based diet, which will also improve your physical and spiritual well-being!
Merkel’s murky mindset
WJC President Ronald Lauder’s attempt (“Angela Merkel deserved the WJC award and here’s why,” November 3) to justify his giving the Theodor Herzl award to German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her efforts to combat antisemitism was pitiful.
Lauder did not mention a single concrete achievement of Merkel in this regard. He twice referred to her public statements against antisemitism, but this is precisely the point of the critics. Merkel is great at making statements, but that is where it ends.
Her policies, on the other hand, embolden antisemites. Germany is at the forefront of trade deals with Iran worth billions of euros annually. German commerce officials sponsor numerous Iranian trade fairs in Germany. Merkel continues to uphold the Iran nuclear deal. She advocates efforts to circumvent US sanctions on Iranian trade designed to restrict Iran’s nuclear ambitions – all this despite almost weekly genocidal threats of annihilation of Israel by Iranian government officials.
Germany has steadfastly refused to declare Iran’s militant proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah, a terrorist organization, clearly fearing Iranian trade reprisals if it dared to make a moral decision, rather than a commercially beneficial one. Hezbollah has not only struck at Israel, but at Jewish targets in Europe (Burgas, Bulgaria, for example) and, according to German intelligence reports, currently monitors Jewish and Israeli targets in Europe. It has 150,000 rockets, including GPS-guided ones, at our northern border waiting for the signal from Tehran.
Iran sponsors terror. It sponsors Holocaust denial. Its terrorist proxies Hezbollah and Hamas disseminate vile antisemitic propaganda reminiscent of Nazi Germany. Yet German government officials even congratulated Iran on the 40th anniversary of the Islamist revolution under Ayatollah Khomeini in a bald-faced attempt to ingratiate themselves with the radical mullah-run regime. Never mind areas of concern such as human rights, specifically women’s rights and minority rights, which were curtailed as a result of the revolution.
Moreover, Germany has no problem condemning Israel 16 out of 21 times at the UN in 2018 alone. Or rallying European opposition to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital or the Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli territory.
Lauder has forgotten a key Jewish value voiced by our sage Shammai 2,000 years ago: “Say little, do much.” We’ve heard words from Merkel, but her actions enable antisemitism of the most extreme type – genocidal – globally. Lauder’s own shocking statistical evidence reveals how little effect Merkel’s “efforts” have had even on German society.
This honor for Merkel was a great disservice to the battle against antisemitism.
Issachar and Pollard: Come home
“Russia to Issachar: No Hebrew” (October 29) reports on the outrageously disproportionate 7½-year prison sentence of Naama Issachar for 9.5 grams of cannabis in her checked luggage in an attempt to have Russian hacker Aleksey Burkov, who was arrested in Israel in 2015 suspected of cybercrimes, returned to Russia rather than extradited to the US.
While the cases of Issachar and Jonathan Pollard are vastly different, I am disappointed that before, during, and after the High Holy Days and Sukkot, not one word about Pollard – other than an unpublicized second plea to our prime minister from Education Minister Rafi Peres to beseech US President Donald Trump to let the Pollards come home for the holidays – appeared in the Israeli media. Aren’t the Pollards deserving to be reported upon with renewed, intense efforts to free them from their onerous, parole shackles?
Sadly, Jews in Israel and the US, their organizations and leaders let holiday season pass without so much as a “Shana Tova” and/or “Chag Sameach” to Jonathan Pollard and his critically ill wife Esther, with an added prayer for her health. There was no public plea to Trump, especially with thousands of American tourists in Israel for the holidays – and US senior adviser Jared Kushner in the neighborhood – to terminate Pollard’s parole.
Given our present political state of affairs, it is hard to imagine that our Knesset members and, yet-to-be-decided PM have a plea for Pollard’s release high on their list of priorities. So, it is up to each of us to cry out loud and clear to Trump, “Mr. President, the joyous holiday of Hanukkah is approaching. Please allow the nation of Israel and Jews worldwide to celebrate the holiday of light with the Pollards in Israel. Commute Jonathan Pollard’s parole so he can light his menorah with Esther at his side in the Holy Land.
What is all the news concerning Naama Issachar about? She took a banned substance across international borders and must pay for it.
Granted, the punishment is out of proportion and there should be sympathy for her mother and family, but Issachar is guilty. The damage that she has done and is doing to Israel internationally is incalculable.
If Israel on her behalf gives in to Russian blackmail and trades Aleksey Burkov for her release, it will risk damaging the relationship with Israel’s best friend and ally, the USA.
Justice is blind. Issachar is considered an adult. When you break the law, you pay for it. She is no Israeli heroine!
Ganei Tikva