September 20: Not unduly worried

Why is it that Arabs can build towns and villages, and Jews are always described as building settlements?

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Not unduly worried
In “Costly deal” (Editorial, September 18), you present an argument as to why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might have come up short when he signed the $38 billion defense aid package with the US. But the agreement goes into effect only in 2018, and a lot of things can happen between now and then.
Just as Donald Trump has promised to change Obama Care if he wins, he can change the US deal with Israel. It might mean Israel will have to become more proactive in the fight against ISIS because America is reluctant to commit troops, but Trump is a businessman and open to all types of deals.
A victory by Hillary Clinton will mean the continuation of President Barack Obama’s dead-end polices in the Middle East. Netanyahu’s public confrontation with Obama over Iran was caused by the realization that working behind the scenes with a man who had lost his way on policy for the Middle East would be a waste of time.
Netanyahu has a good track record with keeping Israel safe. I, for one, am not unduly worried.
Correct terminology
With regard to “His two bits” (September 18), at long last, a letter has appeared in The Jerusalem Post correctly referring to Israel’s “towns and villages in Judea and Samaria,” unlike other letters, opinion pierces and articles that refer to them as “settlements.”
Why is it that Arabs can build towns and villages, and Jews are always described as building settlements? The word “settlement” has negative connotations, and it is high time the correct terminology used.
Exposing the truth
The UN secretary-general criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his recent comment about ethnic cleansing (“Ban Ki-moon calls PM’s comments on ethnic cleansing ‘outrageous,’” September 16). Ban combined his statement with criticism of Israeli settlements, saying they were against international law.
I have read articles by legal experts such as Alan Dershowitz and Alan Baker saying the settlements are legal. So where are the lawyer’s responses and rebuttals? Hopefully, much-needed light will be focused on this all-important matter, and the world will finally have the truth exposed.
State is real issue
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was certainly correct in describing as “ethnic cleansing” the Palestinians’ demand that any new state be devoid of Jews, as Caroline B. Glick points out in her fine “Benjamin Netanyahu and the ‘otherwise enlightened’” (Our World, September 13). Nevertheless, I think that the insistence of the Palestinians upon a Jew-free Palestine, although outrageous, should be of academic interest to Israel.
Even if the Palestinians were to stop insisting upon a Jew-free state and permit settlers to remain in their homes – which might be regarded by them as a clever tactic – it goes without saying that there is hardly a single Israeli who would agree to switch from being under Israeli sovereignty to being under Palestinian sovereignty. No Israeli would be willing to put his life at such risk.
It also goes without saying that if expulsion were no longer a demand, Israel would have little reason to object to the establishment of a Palestinian state even though the existence of such a state would surely endanger its safety.
Instead of making a point of denouncing the ethnic cleansing of Jews from a future Palestinian state, Israel should be denouncing, as strongly as possible, the prospect of a state coming into existence at all. The Palestinian narrative should be thoroughly discredited.
Missing the point
I read “Jewish unity” (Editorial, September 16) with surprise. To state that “American Jews developed more flexible forms of expression that enabled them to integrate into a dominant non-Jewish culture without losing their identity” is simply inaccurate.
More flexible forms of expression have not prevented assimilation.
The intermarriage rates among non-Orthodox American Jews are staggering. The reaction among Reform and many Conservative rabbis is to sanction and officiate at intermarriages, which is like throwing a life preserver made of iron to a swimmer struggling to stay afloat.
American Jewry has experienced an ongoing process of assimilation that began when the first waves of Jews arrived on US shores. This is an immigrant phenomenon, otherwise known as the melting pot, and is not unique to any immigrant group. However, the far-reaching changes instituted by the Conservative and Reform movements have not significantly stemmed the tide.
The only Jewish community growing and thriving in America is the Orthodox community, whose greatest communal priority is to educate its young to follow in the path of the living Torah. The statistics on the very low level of intermarriage and very high level of Jewish observance among the Orthodox speak for themselves.
In the name of Jewish unity, it is time for a more realistic discussion of what comprises Jewish life and continuity.
Not ‘debris’
The caption to the photo accompanying “15 years later: Israel remembers the horror of 9/11” (Comment & Features, September 12) says “Smoke and debris fill the air after one of the World Trade Center towers in New York City collapsed on September 11, 2001.” Unfortunately, some of it is actually the bodies or parts of bodies of persons who had been inside.
These were human beings, not “debris.”
It is said that some of those who jumped did so after calling their loved ones. The messages were similar: “I love you.” Then silence.
I worked at the World Trade Center for a number of years in the late 1980s. I was blessed because I never had to make such a decision.
Ridiculous banking
I think it is time the Israeli government, together with the country’s regulatory authorities, recognized that they have reduced the country’s banking system to sub-Third World standards.
Instead of being a world center for Jewish finance, Israeli banks have and are in the process of closing branches throughout the world, and are actively rejecting foreign-resident clients. They justify this by speaking of pressure from the United States and the fines they have received for illegal practices.
The irony of this situation? Where are the clients who are no longer welcome in Israeli banks or Israeli banks abroad transferring funds they do not declare in their country of residence? Answer: To banks in the United States, which neither ask questions nor give out information.
What could be more ridiculous?
Feeding the hungry
We never know who is in genuine need. However, last week, while holding business meetings on Jerusalem’s Ben-Yehuda Street, I noticed at least six people searching garbage cans near restaurants for scraps of food. Now that is genuine need.
The next day, I did something simple and bought whole-wheat rolls at a bakery in Mahaneh Yehuda for a shekel each, and gave them to people who were going through garbage cans or begging on the street. It was a simple mitzva.
It did not cost much.
You might save a life and preserve someone’s dignity. Think about it.
CORRECTION The headline “Lapid calls for two-year term limit for prime ministers” (September 19) should have been “Lapid calls for twoterm limit for prime ministers.”