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Letters 370.(Photo by: REUTERS/Handout )
July 1, 2013: One-sidedness
I live 25 meters away from Beit Safafa and am shocked by the one-sidedness of your article “Court: Gov’t must resolve Beit Safafa highway dispute.”
Proper preparation

Sir, –

Let me start by saying how I always look forward to the Thursday Weekend magazine, chock full of great ideas! My favorite section provides new food recipes which I like try out.

However, this past issue (“In a pretty pickle,” June 27) concerned me when there were recipes with raw meat and uncooked eggs. I think that such articles would be enhanced if it would include information on the importance of proper preparation when handling and eating such food items, otherwise there could be serious side effects, especially on these hot summer days.


Ginot Shomron


Sir, – I live 25 meters away from Beit Safafa and am shocked by the one-sidedness of your article “Court: Gov’t must resolve Beit Safafa highway dispute” (June 27).

All you write about is from the neighborhood’s residents, their lawyer, spokespeople and political backers, and not a word from the authority’s side. It also misses any historical background and knowledge of the present situation, when it laments how this motorway would split the “Arab- Israeli” neighborhood.

I don’t blame the residents for exaggerating in order to get an even better deal, but fair reporting needs to show us context and both sides of the argument.



Day of rest

Sir, – The rabbis tell us that we must not look for reasons in the laws of Torah, but accept them (“Supreme Court: Tel Aviv must enforce Shabbat supermarket closings,” June 26).

Nevertheless, thinking people through the ages have found good sound reasons for a great many of the laws, for example health reasons for the dietary restrictions and rules for hygiene.

However, perhaps the most advanced law dealing with both physical and mental health is the law of Shabbat.

My father kept a grocery store in the UK. We weren’t religious and Saturday was a normal and busy day. However, he lobbied vigorously for the Sunday trading law, on the grounds that everyone deserves one fixed and full day a week to rest and be with family.

Even the most secular Jews do not deny that the Ten Commandments are a wonderful code for life. So why should only nine of them be considered relevant, whilst the eighth commandment discarded? Whether one goes to synagogue to pray on Shabbat, or spends time with the family, not only for God’s sake but for ours, let us keep Shabbat from becoming just another day of work and drudgery for far too many people.


Blurring lines

Sir, – I take issue with the Gil Troy’s description of price-tag offenders as “terrorists” (“Netanyahu as liberal reformer?” Center Field, Comment and Features, June 26).

The price-tag offenses, reprehensible as they are, consist in the main of daubing and graffiti, and to equate such offenses with the savage and murderous acts of terror carried out by Arab terrorists is nonsensical. Indeed, the security cabinet rejected the idea of calling price-tag offenses terror, saying that this would blur the distinction between price-tag attacks committed by Jewish hotheads and acts of terror by serious organized terror groups such as Hamas or Hezbollah.

I also object to Troy’s remarks about the offenders being “nationalists” who wear “big kippot,” meaning, of course, settlers.

In most cases, it has not been established that the settlers were the perpetrators of the price-tag offenses, and it is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility, and has sometimes been found out, that the Arabs themselves, or Jewish leftists, carried out the attacks – in order to blacken the name of the settlers.

Though a tiny minority of settlers may have occasionally been involved, this should not serve as an excuse to denigrate the entire settler population.



Fitting memorial

Sir, – Two articles, which Sam Sokol wrote about the Kiev board meeting of the Jewish Agency held last week, have deep personal meaning for me and my wife (“Uri Ariel at Babi Yar: Israel will always defend Jews worldwide” and “Sharansky: World Jewry to upgrade gov’t ties,” both June 25).

In August 1988 my wife, Rita, and I – after nine months of secret training – went to the former Soviet Union to visit refuseniks under the guise of Americans studying in London. In Kiev, which was one of our stops aside from Kishniev, Bendery and St. Petersburg, our contact – Alex Gogerman – took us around noon one day to Babi Yar. The monument was there but the whole area was filled with trash and feces. I took out my little siddur and made an el maleh rahamim.

Rita said kaddish with me.

Rita and I left our trademark of the trip – a unique shana tova card made for us by Dry Bones.

We duplicated the original one many times, leaving it at many of the stops we made in homes, synagogues and in parks.

Now, as the Jewish Agency board visited the Babi Yar site early this week, the announcement was made that a fitting memorial will be built there.

Natan Sharansky spoke and indicated that the Jewish Agency would work hard to bring “young professional Jews” on aliya.

Alex Gogerman was a specialist at that. After Babi Yar in the middle of the day – Rita and I joined Alex at his parents’ home where 25 or more Jewish couples had gathered – they were the “young professionals” of that era.

We sang Hebrew songs with gusto as we all sat on the floor; everytime the phone rang Alex raised his hand – we were silent.

Maybe it was the KGB checking.

Rita spoke about Israel in Hebrew; Alex spoke in Russian; I added a few English words. These “young professionals” were serious about their intentions; practically all of them are living in Israel today with their children.


Sir, – In his June 25 report on the Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors recent meeting in Kiev, Sam Sokol neglected to mention that this was the first such meeting to take place in Ukraine and that Jewish Agency head – and former Soviet political prisoner – Natan Sharansky underscored the importance of this fact.

“This is a symbol of the importance of the Jews of Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries for the worldwide Jewry and the importance of the development of relations with Ukraine,” Sharansky said.

No mention was made also of another, no less important, event in Kiev – the presentation of the Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky Medal to James Temerty, a wellknown Canadian businessman, founder and chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Ukrainian- Jewish Encounter.

Sharansky, who confessed that he had never heard in the Soviet era that the Ukrainian Catholic metropolitan saved and called for saving Jews, commented: “Whoever saved one soul will save the entire world. Sheptytsky saved the idea of friendship and mutual understanding between the Ukrainian and Jewish peoples.”


Arlington, Virginia

Join the country

Sir, – Mordechai Nisan writes that the haredim consider us all here in Israel in galut, exile (“The haredi ‘state within a state,’” Comment and Features, June 24).

One thing is for sure: It is the vast majority of the haredim who are in a bitter galut. They are estranged from every life-giving thing in the country. Zionists bring live Jews to Israel, not only in coffins, to be buried here.

They provide every conceivable service enabling Jews to live and prosper here.

Many haredim indeed formally lack hakarat hatov, thankfulness, for the good they get. The secular Zionist concept of The New Jew maddens many of them.

May I inquire what is new about Jews providing for their families and defending their country and very lives actively? My wish is for haredim to join the country and for the secular Jews to learn and revere Torah and Jewish tradition.

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