October 23, 2017: Israel and Europe

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Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel and Europe
With regard to “European countries want Israel to pay for Palestinian structures that it razed” (October 20), these countries should be repaying us for the expenses we incurred because of their illegal construction.
In “Mind-boggling European Union chutzpah” (No Comment, October 20), David M. Weinberg brings to light a very important and dangerous situation: The EU’s support of the Palestinians has graduated from passive diplomatic and financial assistance to subversive participation in illegal Palestinian building in Judea and Samaria.
I understand that the EU wants to develop, and is developing, a Palestinian state on the ground.
What I do not understand is why Israel allows it.
Since the days of Yitzhak Rabin, every prime minister has promised to allow Ma’aleh Adumim to build on E-1, which legally belongs to it and would block the continuity of Arab towns. The danger on the road from Jerusalem to Ma’aleh Adumim is that at anytime, thousands of Palestinians can close it with bullets being shot from the surrounding hilltops. If this happens, residents will not be able to leave and will have to be ready with their weapons to defend their homes. It is the same in other places where the EU has built for Palestinians statehood.
It is time to stop fearing nations. Weakness brings dead Jews; strength brings victory. The world will hate us – it already does. I would rather have a State of Israel that is hated by the world than an Auschwitz that is loved by the world.
Ma’aleh Adumim
Regarding “Europe is waiting for us” (Comment & Features, October 13), with all due respect to MK Isaac Herzog, Europe is not waiting for us – we are waiting for Europe.
Herzog writes from a typical Israeli point of view, not understanding the cultural background of the Europeans. The Europeans are mainly Christians, brought up on a diet of either the Jews killed Christ or they caused Christ to be killed. They do not love us. They are now encouraged by millions of Muslims in their midst.
Herzog then refers, appropriately, to Israel’s flourishing relations with India and China (actually, most of the Far East). These peoples are not predominantly Christian so they don’t come with the Christian “baggage.” They see us as just another race or creed.
These countries are only too happy to enjoy and appreciate the benefits of what a small country like Israel has to offer.
Also, you seldom find neo-Nazis or pro-BDS movements there.
Enough is enough
Dov Lipman’s “Enough is enough” (Observations, October 20) is full of hate and vengeance, which does not befit a public figure who served in the Knesset. I do not like what the Jerusalem haredim are doing, but would Mr. Lipman dare attack the handicapped people who are doing exactly the same thing, blocking the roads? He talks about equality in the eyes of the law. Both groups are doing the same thing: breaking the law. Should we throw them in jail for at least six months and punish their leaders? The state cannot act like a mob even if it is facing one.
Beit Shemesh
As I read Dov Lipman’s “Enough is enough,” I found myself involuntarily nodding my head in agreement.
Never have more reasonable, just words been written. It is to be hoped that they won’t fall on deaf ears.
Kiryat Bialik
Dov Lipman left out one element that should be relevant to all citizens, especially those with a haredi lifestyle.
In Parashat Shoftim, it is a mitzva to appoint shotrim (police). They are part of God’s outline for how we are meant to conduct our civil society, and this certainly applies to us in Israel today.
So when any citizens, including haredim, disobey the police or other authorities who function to protect us and run our society in a civil manner, and when these authorities are even just verbally abused, the demonstrators are breaking a mitzva.
Their leaders who encourage them are equally guilty.
Unpleasant fact
Your October 13 editorial “User-friendly aliya” is a mixture of reality with some fantasy.
Reality: “Israel’s future depends on its single most important resource, its citizens...” and to encourage aliya, the government must “allocate the resources” to assist immigrants’ integration into a new life in Israel. Fantasy: “Today, Jews immigrate to Israel not just out of idealism or because they seek refuge from persecution, but because they know they can improve their standard of living and their professional options.”
Regarding the latter, I don’t know to whom the editorial writer is referring.
What is producing the current wave of French aliya is the increasing rise of antisemitism and victimization at the hands of resident antisemites, Muslim and others. As the age-old sickness becomes more prominent, small numbers of Jews have realized the danger and left homes, businesses, professions, friends and family.
Anyone observing the flow of migration sees that it is Israelis leaving their homeland to raise their living standard and seeking professional opportunities, which are limited in number here. For example, we lose scientists who move on to laboratories in the US, frustrated that insufficient funds are budgeted to offer them the proper facilities in Israel.
It is a very unpleasant fact (not disclosed in the editorial) that substantial numbers of immigrants (and, one might add, native Israelis) leave, having lost the battle to the lack of affordable housing, the unreasonably high cost of living, low salaries, a lack of success in finding a job in their profession, and overcoming the obstacles to getting professionally licensed.
Attracting and retaining the best and the brightest needs to be a cardinal goal for every Israeli leader. It is not practiced by our politicians, who, being more concerned with elections and coalitions, are not courageous enough to take on vested interests, which is the only way to make life more livable for those hoping to make a life here, both immigrant and native-born.
Breathlessly brilliant
Melanie Phillips gives us a breathlessly brilliant course in religion and philosophy (“Modernity starts here, if only the world realized it,” As I See It, October 13). She’s always been a powerful polemicist, but this column soars way beyond polemics to another level altogether.
Her analysis, her quotes, her perceptions are worthy of a college seminar.
I’ve clipped her column to use in the future as conversation and a reminder of who we are. What a treasure we have in this woman.
A lord only later
Coming up on the centennial of the Balfour Declaration, I have noticed these past few weeks that TV and radio reporters, newspaper columnists and letter writers almost invariably refer to Britain’s foreign secretary in November 1917 as “Lord Balfour.”
In the interest of historical accuracy, I feel bound to point out that the man who signed that historic document was plain Arthur James Balfour. Only after being raised to the peerage as the Earl of Balfour on May 5, 1922, was he entitled to be called Lord Balfour.
The writer is chairman of the Jewish Historical Society of England’s Israel branch.