September 9, 2019: Warm response

Readers of the Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
In response to the reader’s letter “End of the Negev,” on September 4, may I make a few points:
The area of the Negev is approximately 13,000 sq. km., so locating alternative energy generating sites there is, at present, not a worry.
While the thermo-solar power unit referred to in “End of the Negev” is somewhat “land-hungry,” there is no reason to think the Israel Electric Authority will prioritize this type of facility. There are many non-carbon sources for generating electricity: tidal (wave) energy, biomass energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, biofuels, and hydroelectric and nuclear power.
While some of these are unavailable in Israel or have environmental drawbacks, their existence means that there is no need to use only “land-hungry” generating sources in Israel.
In 2008, the National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Ministry and Geological Survey of Israel, commissioned a report on the geothermal resources of Israel. It noted that “The permeability and porosity of [the] Arad Group [at southern end of the Golan Heights] are high and therefore this location might be a potential geothermal site. We recommend further activity to confirm the new geothermal maps presented in the report including new field measurements in new and abandoned boreholes.”
To the best of my knowledge, this recommendation for further activity has so far not been followed up. However, the construction of the above-mentioned alternative energy projects indicates that there is now an innovative spirit in the Energy Ministry/IEC. Perhaps, therefore, we shall now see this recommendation for further activity taken up.
In this connection, it is interesting to note that Ormat Technologies, a company that has built more than 150 power plants (including geothermal plants), with an installed capacity of over 2,000 megawatts, was originally established in Yavne.
Beit Zayit
Effective content
Regarding time for a strategic dialogue between Israel and US Jewry, (September 4), yes, dialogue between Israel and US Jewry is important.
But the article omits the most important subject: Non-Orthodox conversions and prayer spaces at the Kotel are issues – but in reality, how many American Jews are planning to make aliyah who would be affected by the conversion laws? How many visit, and are not comfortable conversing with G-d at the Kotel in the current available places?
My guess is that the number of American Jews whose support of Israel is dependent on these issues is comparatively small.
The big issue is the lack of support of Israel in Conservative and Reform congregations, and on college campuses due to leftists who promote support of the “poor Palestinians” instead of their own brethren, and their own homeland.
Jews in America don’t need Hebrew lessons. They need history lessons – the history of their own people. Knowledge of what their own heritage is and how it can be a positive influence in their own lives.
Jewish pride cannot develop without Jewish knowledge. Jewish connection to Israel cannot develop in a vacuum – or worse – in a place of demonization of Jews, and of the Jewish homeland.
Dialogue, connect, teach – yes! But be sure the content will be effective in developing a positive relationship.
No excuse
Why does Jerusalem Post columnist Gershon Baskin have little to no credibility among readers?
Take his op-ed “Back to School Textbook Reform,” from September 5 as an example.
On page five of the same edition is an article (“Palestinian textbooks full of incitement, study finds) reporting on the findings of IMPACT-se, a research institute based at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, regarding the content of Palestinian Authority and UNWRA textbooks used in the 2019-2020 curriculum.
According to the article “The findings convey a horrific reality, where violent acts, hatred and even ‘martyrdom’ are not only justified but encouraged.” It further states: “The study found that all textbooks in social studies, history, Arabic and national education for grades two to 12 contained problematic content, defined by IMPACT-se as “violence or incitement to violence; hatred of the other; and radical, inappropriate or disturbing content.”
Applying characteristic pollyannish naiveté, Baskin whitewashes the harsh reality of Palestinian textbooks. He makes no mention of their hate and violence-filled content.
The worst he says about them is: “Today, there is nothing in Palestinian textbooks that teaches the students something objective or positive about the Israeli people with whom they are in conflict, and hope to someday live in peace.”
His recommendations for what should be taught in both Palestinian and Israeli curricula are valid, but this is no excuse for eliding the painful truth about Palestinian education.
The writer is the director of iTalkIsrael.
Promises and Reneging
Regarding the September 4 comment,. “Trump and Putin – Stop interfering in our election,” Yaakov Katz is correct when he writes that no country should tolerate election interference.
But we have a prime minister who practically depends on it.
“Israel does not belong to him [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu],” another truism, except that the people have led him to believe the opposite is true!
Any gestures cooked up between Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump must be summarily dismissed and what so far has been leaked is disgusting, such as releasing Jonathan Pollard from his continued sadistic conditions in America, proving Trump to be an opportunist rather than a friend, and a possible defense pact where America would come to our aid after we were attacked.
What happened to defending ourselves? In the Chelm-like article (“Under pressure from Right, PM to make history in Hebron today,”) on the same day, this is the Netanyahu who gave away 80% of Hebron to the Arabs. But the sad part is that the people don’t care.
As long as he tells them, even when it is only before an election and so obviously an election gimmick, that he will build there, it works every time and the residents there happily continue to accept their horrific situation.
It is perhaps worth recalling that Netanyahu made a deal with president Bill Clinton that he would surrender Hebron to the Arabs in exchange for the release of Pollard.
Clinton reneged on the deal but Netanyahu refused to do the same. Reneging was being kept for all the promises made to his own people in his own land.
Not at all
Regarding the review of John Cleese’s show, in Tel Aviv, “John Cleese tickles Tel Aviv,” (September 5), the reviewers state that his greeting, “Hello, Jewish People” could possibly have sounded antisemitic.
Not at all! If he had said, “Hello, Jews,” maybe that would have been the case. A different story!
Givat Ze’ev
Lessons not learned
Regarding Macron dangling a $15 billion bailout for Iran, “France pushes $15b. credit line plan for Iran,” (September 4), to placate a militant state that is a supporter and initiator of terrorism is only a temporary fix .
Paying “protection” will always result in bigger and heavier payment in the future.
Lessons from history have not been learned.
Will the US have to step in and rescue France and Europe again? The French have not yet forgiven the US for rescuing them in the First and Second World Wars.
Macron will be remembered with Chamberlain and Marshal Pétain who both made a deal with Hitler and Nazi Germany.
Ganei Tikva
What a shame
I usually have a lot of respect for Rabbi Raymond Apple, but his article “Women as Spiritual Leaders” (September 8) is disappointing in its imbalance.
He totally ignores the religious non-Orthodox communities where women are equal in any way and occupy positions of leadership at every level, as rabbis, teachers, board members and presidents.
In the academic fields, rabbinic colleges, universities and as exegetes women have been producing outstanding scholarship. To ignore that contribution is shortsighted at best, intellectually dishonest and a deprivation of a major contribution to the rich tapestry of Jewish life.
What a shame.
Kiryat Tivon
Putting aside any critique of the simplistic and anachronistic approach of Apple’s opinion piece, I wonder at the Post’s lack of editorial oversight in allowing the columnist to spout untruths.
“A few Israeli congregations allow women on their va’adot.” Seriously?! In my world of Israeli synagogues I don’t know of one that does not. (Please note: I have no idea how many non-haredi synagogues in Israel bar women from leadership; I am arguing that stating that only “a few” do “allow” it is entirely misleading.)
“One Jerusalem synagogue has had a woman president.” Again, this is simply untrue; I personally know of multiple synagogues in my small slice of Jerusalem that have or have had women at the helm.
Apple is of course entitled to his opinions, but not to alternative facts.
This piece was an embarrassment to me and not reflective of the Israel I am a part of, in which women increasingly fill leadership roles in Jewish religious communities.
Naomi Bloom Wurtman
Mouths of babes
Regarding “Snub the anti-religious scallywags,” (September 6), “out of the mouths of babes” David M. Weinberg gives the opposition’s argument a clear fillip by stating some of the very reasons for their defense.
Namely he hears the following: “Rabbis are out to indoctrinate your children and subjugate your women. Religious Jews will imprison you (in kashrut impositions), and restrict your sexual freedom (especially LGBTQ rights”).
In this day and age there has to be a clear separation of religion and state, which for some is an anathema and is likely to defined on behalf of the majority at future general elections.
Tel Aviv
Always the same
It is always interesting to read Mark Feldman’s travel column and see all the new routes that are opening up to various destinations.
However the route to South Africa (and subsequently Zimbabwe) does not change, and El Al is the only carrier that flies directly to Johannesburg – still with Boeing 767 aircraft.
From Johannesburg to Harare or Bulawayo, the only way is by AirLink, one of the most relatively expensive flights ever, although just over an hour and a half!
Air Zimbabwe is almost defunct, but the successor to the late Robert Mugabe, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, ironically flies around in his own private Dreamliner, a Boeing 787!
Kfar Saba
Ugly, militaristic bent
The US Embassy in Jerusalem claims its embassies worldwide are built with security infrastructure similar to the wall now being built around the Jerusalem Embassy.
I visited the US Embassy in Canberra, seeing how “similar” its security infrastructure is to the 5.8-metre wall proposed for Jerusalem’s embassy. The “wall” here is a white-painted fence, with security cameras and guards at many locations.
I stood next to the embassy wall (I’m about 1.60 m. tall); I held a measuring stick above my head (1 m. for the stick plus at most 0.5 m. for my up-stretched arms); and I estimated the difference between the top of the measuring stick and the top of the wall at no more than 15cm).
That’s no more than 3.5-metres of fence-height - close to the originally approved 3.2-metre high wall in Jerusalem, far lower than the planned 5.8-metre wall.
The near-six-metre wall is needed for “security,” per the embassy. No such wall exists around the former Embassy in Tel Aviv.
Whose brilliant idea decided to place the embassy in a location where a military-style barrier is needed for “security”? Lest we forget, the embassy sprawls into “no mans land,” “disputed land,” “occupied territory,” depending on one’s view.
And we all know Trump’s penchant for building walls.
Congratulations to America for again showing its ugliness, militaristic bent, and hubris; a shame on all Americans!
O’Connor, ACT, Australia