Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

September 26'th, 2017: Cats and Jews

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Cats and Jews
I have been a volunteer member of the Jerusalem Bird Observatory for many years. In “For the birds” (Science & Health, September 24), Judy Siegel-Itzkovich has done a great job describing our aims and our activities. However, I allow myself to differ from Yuval Dax’s opinion about feral cats.
I think these cats are the Jews of the animal kingdom – whatever goes wrong, it’s the cats. It is certainly true that cats catch birds and should be kept at home, but in my opinion, a modern city-cat searches the garbage rather than making an effort to catch a bird.
I could mention plenty of other threats to birds, like buildings with glass facades and crows and jays, whose appetite for eggs and chicks is considerable.
Nuclear deal
Kol hakavod to Douglas Bloomfield for “What’s really behind killing the Iran deal?” (Washington Watch, September 24), in which he points out that the strong opposition by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump to the nuclear deal with Iran is based more on their desire to destroy former US president Barack Obama’s legacy than on strategic considerations.
In the same way that many people are in denial about climate change despite the overwhelming scientific consensus, Trump and Netanyahu, possibly alone among world leaders, ignore that most military, nuclear and strategic experts who have taken a position on the issue believe that the pact is the best approach to preventing Iran from getting a nuclear bomb.
Because of the agreement, Iran has already gotten rid of 98% of its enriched nuclear material, disabled 12,000 of its centrifuges and disabled a nuclear reactor, greatly reducing its capacity to develop a bomb. There are extensive, possibly unprecedented, inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has certified eight times that Iran has been compliant with the deal. Israel’s diplomatic, security and military professionals agree.
The US would suffer diplomatically by pulling out of the agreement, as none of the other five nations that signed with Iran would support this. It would make it harder for the US to reach agreements with other nations on future pacts that serve our interests if they see us pull out of an agreement that has such widespread support.
Of course, certain steps, including sanctions, should be taken to punish Iran for some of its recent actions, but nothing should be done to end the widely agreed-to nuclear pact – that would be harmful to the US, Israel and, indeed, the entire world.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would suggest “concrete ideas” to US President Donald Trump about changing or canceling the Iranian nuclear deal (“Netanyahu to give Trump ‘concrete ideas’ on Iran,” September 18). A glimpse at Islamic history reveals why this is a good idea.
Why did Iran insist on a 10-year limit rather than a lasting treaty? Islamic jurists once ruled that 10-years is the maximum allowed for peace with infidels, and only to buy time for weakened Muslims to regroup before renewing their offensive.
The perpetual nature of jihad vows death to America and the obliteration of Israel, so the nuclear deal only delays the Iranians’ destructive intentions. Strengthened by the lifting of economic sanctions and informed by Islamic tradition, they will repeat history unless we learn from it.
A diplomatic pre-emptive strike promises to be the best defense.
The bright side
With regard to “The year that wasn’t: Top 10 stories of 5777 that didn’t happen” (Frontlines, September 20), Gil Hoffman gets my nomination for being pessimist of the year. Just because his own priorities weren’t solved doesn’t mean that all is black.
I much prefer the Human Spirit columns of Barbara Sofer in The Jerusalem Post Magazine. They stress the good things that happen in Israel. One of these is the fact that more than 80% of Israelis are satisfied with their lives here.
How about expressing an appreciation of the vast network of volunteering in so many fields? Talk to Ms. Sofer, Mr. Hoffman.
Perhaps some of her optimism will rub off and you’ll discover more things to be happy about (aside from the fact that there was no snow in January)!
Influential Jews
As a steadfast reader of The Jerusalem Post, I commend you for your particularly excellent holiday supplement “50 Most Influential Jews” (September 20). Your choices were diverse, and the texts were inclusive and informative. Bravo!
Kfar Saba
In September 2017, The Jerusalem Post featured two important news stories.
The first was “Berlin mayor equates BDS with Nazis, gives no support to boycott-Israel campaign” (September 7). The mayor was under fire from Rabbi Marvin Hier and Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
On September 24, there was “Bahraini overture to Jews meant to blur abuses,” which noted that the king had denounced the Arab boycott of Israel in a private conversation with rabbis Hier and Cooper, something that only now he permitted them to announce in public.
These two religious leaders based in Los Angeles influence Jewish and world history almost every day. Even the Israeli government recognized this fact when, in May, it honored Rabbi Hier by allowing him to light a torch on Independence Day.
How these two Jewish leaders were omitted from your list this year (and last) is beyond my understanding.
Second opinion
Jack Rosen (“World Jewry needs to answer the tough questions,” Comment & Features, September 18) offers change and creativity as antidotes for much of what challenges the Jewish people, particularly America’s Jews. He advises us of “the need to redefine our traditional views of identity to reconcile them with a rapidly changing Jewish world.”
This view embodies the essential problem with non-Orthodox attempts at Judaism. It is a variation on the quip “I didn’t like my doctor’s diagnosis so I changed doctors.”
‘Smart meters’
In “Smartphone blues” (Think About It, August 28), Susan Hattis Rolef describes her choice to opt out of smartphone use. I agree with her wholeheartedly and have chosen the same. However, I would like to point out another form of “smartness” that is gradually being forced upon all of us, with no opt-out possibility – “smart meters” for measuring the use of water, electricity and gas.
These meters are small appliances installed in or near one’s home, constantly radiating and thus broadcasting to the utility company when and how much one has consumed. This is being done without the consumer’s informed consent; in fact, very few people are even aware of it because the meters look very similar to the old ones.
This is a global problem, and groups have formed all over the world to fight this technological roll-out as they claim it to be a serious health hazard, an invasion of privacy and a cyber risk, since “smart’ appliances can be hacked. Our enemies might be glad to hack and turn off our vital utilities.
Many countries have already come up with an opt-out possibility due to public pressure. I strongly suggest that the Israeli public demand this as it is a simple and obvious democratic right, and that our decision-makers comply urgently.