October 21: Holiest site

The Western Wall is not the “most holy site in Judaism.”

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Holiest site
I was extremely disappointed by the error that appeared in the first paragraph of “UNESCO draft text: Kotel part of al-Aksa Mosque” (October 20). The Western Wall is not the “most holy site in Judaism.”
The Temple Mount is! Saying that the Kotel is the holiest site in Judaism has resulted in the ability of the Muslim world to claim rights to the Temple Mount.
It is about time the Jews stood up proudly and stated the truth: The Temple Mount is the most holy site in Judaism and has much stronger historical and religious ties to Judaism than it does to Islam.
Nof Ayalon
Preaching hatred
From inside the Aksa Mosque, the most violent, anti-Israel and anti-Jewish diatribes are being spoken (“Jewish devil worshipers will be exterminated by Muslims, says al-Aksa preacher in sermon,” October 20).
What can be done about people who speak in the name of their religion and only know hatred? What kind of concessions can be made to such a people? Are we back to the days of child sacrifice? Is this what the world wants – that we should disappear through their killing our children and families? I am proud to say that no people reveres life as much as the Jewish people. No wonder we stand apart from those in the United Nations who lust for our demise.
We do not need UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon or US Secretary of State John Kerry telling us to give in to the people who want to exterminate us.
Implicit converse
Michael Freund (“Responding constructively to terrorism,” Fundamentally Freund, October 20) argues that “the message we need to start sending to the Palestinians is this: the more you try to kill us, the more we will build.
For every act of Palestinian destruction, Israel should undertake an act of construction, and move forward with an expansion of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.”
I doubt Mr. Freund intends to convey the implicit converse – that the less Palestinians engage in terrorism, the less we will build in Judea and Samaria.
What’s worse, though, is that his message presents settlement expansion as a punishment. This reinforces one of the main anti-settlement propaganda points – that Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria is inherently contrary to the interests of Palestinians and is inherently an obstacle to a just peace.
It also undermines a reasonable argument in support of at least natural growth of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria – that justice entitles these communities to the same rights that Arab communities enjoy throughout Israel. The growth of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria can indeed be justified as an exercise of equal rights. It shouldn’t be brandished as a threat.
‘Slay him first’
One is amazed at the opinion of rabbis Yaakov Ariel and David Stav, both reputed to be experts in Torah law, who, in opposition to the views of equally renowned Israeli rabbis, have publicly stated that restrained terrorists who pose no further danger should not be killed (“Should wounded terrorists be killed or saved?” October 16). It is precisely this type of convoluted logic that has resulted in many murderous terrorists who were wounded and left alive, and later freed in insane “prisoner exchanges,” to repeat their nefarious acts.
It would behoove the “learned” rabbis to remember: “When one comes to slay you, you must slay him first.” This wise Talmudic admonition truly ensures that a terrorist wounded in carrying out a horrendous attack will no longer present a danger to innocent men, women and children.
The writer is founder of Victims of Arab Terror International.
I don’t understand why the world is upset with our policy of shoot-to-kill. We need to rebrand it as “assisted suicide.” Maybe then the world will accept it.
Ma’aleh Adumim
Go to Hebron
With regard to “A change in protocol” (Grapevine, October 16), I would not fault any VIP visiting Yad Vashem who asks himself, “What do the poor Palestinians in Hebron have to do with the Holocaust?” Rather than an obligatory visit to Yad Vashem, I would suggest that these visitors be taken to the small museum in Hebron that exhibits graphic and disturbing photographs of the Arab pogrom of 1929.
Back then, there was no Israeli “occupation,” no “illegal” Jewish settlements or any “radical” settlers.
There was simply a small, defenseless Jewish community.
False claims by the Palestinian Arab leadership that the Jews had taken over the Aksa Mosque (sound familiar?) led to the massacre and the end of a Jewish presence in Hebron until after the Six Day War.
Perhaps a brief visit to the museum will serve as a stark reminder that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has never been about territory or settlements, but about the right of Jews to live in this land.
Letters about letters
Reader Raphael Rosenbaum (“US involvement,” Letters, October 20) condemns US Secretary of State John Kerry for linking the current wave of murderous attacks to settlement activity. But to deny that this and the serious (if necessary) restrictions on movement and the negative statements by our ministers regarding the two-state solution have exacerbated Palestinian frustration and despair is to bury one’s head in the sand.
Regarding “The Anusim” (Letters, October 20), although there are potentially countless Bnei Anusim in South and Central America, Iberia and numerous other places around the world, many have lost their interest in or connection to anything Jewish.
Even those who retain some Jewish rites and customs and are interested in returning to the Jewish people will not necessarily be interested in making aliya.
So to call them the “11th Tribe” might be somewhat over-optimistic.
On the other hand, we can be optimistic that they will seek, each in his own way, their forefathers’ stolen and forgotten heritage.
Certainly, the State of Israel should take this potential return of the Bnei Anusim seriously. A Knesset caucus was recently established for this purpose. Still, the question of “return” or conversion is complex, and both the political and religious authorities will have to be involved, as they were in the great aliya from the former Soviet Union (where some 30 percent of the olim were not halachically Jewish), the Bnei Israel from India and the Ethiopian Jews.
We must act sympathetically toward those who genuinely want to reconnect with the Jewish people after 500 years of forced separation.
The writer is a retired professor and a board member of the Institute for Sefardi and Anousim Studies at Netanya Academic College.
Gets it wrong
In “South African Jewry: A personal account seen through the prism of Limmud FSU” (Comment & Features, October 18), Chaim Chesler writes that “Israel took a highly ambivalent attitude to apartheid and tried unhappily to sit on the fence when the whole world was actively opposing it....”
This is a gross and damaging distortion.
Writer Maurice Ostroff researched the position many years ago and showed that the support of Israel for South Africa, compared to that of the US and other western powers, was minuscule. However, it suits the Israel-baiters to forget the facts and continue their hateful, unjustified diatribes.
Ramat Hasharon