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Letters to the Editor May 11, 2022: Ignoring realities

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Our myopic leaders

Jonathan Pollard (“Independence Day,” May 6) is to be congratulated for his forthright outstanding comments – he has called a spade a spade and this should open the eyes of our myopic leaders.

He has significantly demonstrated what has happened to our once proud and dignified nation by the failure of those in leadership, from the political echelons, the IDF echelons and the rabbinic echelons. It is a basic complete failure of morals and ethical values.

For how long are the citizens of Israel going to allow this situation to continue? The Jewish nation and people have suffered terrible catastrophes not of its making, but unless we rectify the situation we will bring another irreversible catastrophe upon ourselves.

SID LEVINE

Ra’anana

Fickle friends

How correct David Weinberg is (“Time to get tough,” May 6). As we approach our 75th anniversary, pride and pragmatism should be our policy and we should not be the world’s punching bag, whether to foes or our fickle friends.

Once and for all, we must show we are sovereign people in our sovereign land and there can be no better way to demonstrate this than with a full military parade on the 75th Independence Day in the streets of our capital city Jerusalem.

Previously, after the last one in Jerusalem in 1973, we gave into world opinion that such a parade would upset the sensitivity and sensibilities of our neighbors. This was taken as a demonstration of weakness and the payback has come repeatedly over the years with the interference by Jordan with respect to open access for all to our most holy site – Temple Mount.

After 2000 years, we did not return to our land to be dictated to by the world, the inept ineffective UN, UNESCO, the EU or any other nation or creed.

Let our 75th anniversary parade in Jerusalem show our pride to the world rather than the ignored official celebratory musical event.

DR. COLIN LECI

Jerusalem

Ignoring realities

In his article “American lobotomy: The brain-dead US electorate” (May 3), Rabbi Shmuley Boteach claims that for the past half decade he “steadfastly refused to take a side blindly in America’s growing political and cultural divide.” But in ignoring some current realities in his analysis, this former Republican candidate for Congress shows that he himself is possibly brain-dead regarding some issues. For example:

Based on prodding by former president Trump and his false, discredited claims of election fraud, many of his supporters stormed the nation’s Capitol Building, causing much destruction and several deaths. Yet, the vast majority of Republican congressional members  are downplaying the events of that day or supporting the insurrectionists.

Based also on Trump’s claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him, Republicans have passed many laws making it more difficult for people to vote, are trying to elect state officials who would overturn the results of a fair election, and are supporting other steps to undermine US democracy.

While a significant majority of Americans support Democratic proposals to improve conditions for Americans, Republican legislators are doing all they can to block them.

Despite the increasingly dire warnings from climate experts, most Republicans still support Trump, who is in denial about climate change and did everything possible during his presidency to overturn or weaken legislation designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

RICHARD H. SCHWARTZ, Ph.D.

Shoresh

When to build in America

Herb Keinon is correct in his article “No magic solution to terror… even killing Sinwar” (May 9). In fact, there is no solution at all until we have made a long overdue decision that this very small piece of land is the Jewish land for the Jewish people.

It cannot and was never meant to be shared and because of our failure to stand up for the truth, we continue to bury and mourn our dead. It is ludicrous for Prime Minister Bennett to say “We of course reject any foreign interference in the decisions of the government of Israel. Israel will of course continue to maintain proper respect for all the religions in Jerusalem.”

The only religion with a real connection is the Jewish one that is totally disrespected and humiliated. Indeed, it is foreign interference and our lack of faith and pride that will take this land from us. When President Biden visits next month, he should be told that we will not accept being dictated to by him or anyone else. 

We don’t tell him where and when to build in America and as a sovereign state, we demand reciprocity. God returned us to our historic land and it is His laws and commandments that we must obey. And that means building and settling the land for the Jewish people.

That is our reason for being here – one land, one people.

EDITH OGNALL

Netanya

Indigenous people 

Regarding “‘State of Palestine has sovereignty of Jerusalem, holy sites’” (May 9), there are many common mistakes/lies repeated endlessly by reporters and politicians like Nabil Abu Rudaineh regarding Israel. May I correct some misconceptions?

The only forced expulsions or ethnic cleansing in the Middle East and North Africa were the Jews caught in Transjordanian and Egyptian areas of the Land of Israel in 1948/9, plus the 1,000,000 Jews forced out of Islamic lands.

There was never an Arab called a “Palestinian” until the KGB and Egypt created the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1964. Jews are the indigenous people of Israel.

There is no Palestine. There is no “occupied Palestinian territory.” There is no “occupied West Bank.” There are no “Jewish settlers.” There is no “apartheid.”

Canada labels Hamas and Islamic Jihad “terrorists,” not militants. Finally, under international law, Israel includes Judea, Samaria and Gaza, until such time as Israel wishes to give some away.

LEN BENNETT

Ottawa

Tragedies for the nation-state

I agree wholeheartedly with your editorial “Stop the hurdles” (May 6). It is a tragedy that people like Jared Armstrong and Yosef Kibita have been denied Israeli citizenship despite doing everything asked of them by government officials. It is also tragic that hundreds of thousands of olim who entered Israel legally, under the Law of Return but are not considered Jewish according to Halacha, had barriers placed in their paths to conversion by the Israeli rabbinate.

Equally regrettable are the cases of Israeli children of converts who, while seeking to obtain permission to marry, have found that the conversions of their mothers have been retroactively canceled, meaning that the prospective brides or grooms are now considered ineligible to marry Jews in Israel.

All these personal tragedies are also tragedies for the nation-state of the Jews which needs to maintain its Jewish majority population. And these personal/national tragedies result from the fact that haredi rabbis and MKs who are setting the policies for conversion do not accept the legitimacy of the State of Israel. The problem will persist unless Israel institutes major reforms in electoral procedures and in governance.

Israel’s system of electing all members of the Knesset via proportional representation has resulted in every government being ruled by a coalition. This has given haredi parties power beyond their numbers in the population (the haredi parties will enter any coalition which will give them control over matters of religion). This has the unfortunate result of giving the appearance that Israel’s state religion is ultra-Orthodox Judaism.

If Israel is to maintain its Jewish majority and demonstrate its respect for all streams of the Jewish religion, the state should be defining “Who is a Jew?” and setting criteria for conversion practices. The job of the MK who registers people as Jews would then be simply to confirm that the prospective convert has met the state’s requirements for conversion to Judaism.

TOBY F. BLOCK

Atlanta

Nothing Israel can do

Regarding “US slams Israel’s push to advance settler homes” (May 8), the two-state solution was sabotaged in 1947 by the Arabs of Palestine who refused to accept the UN plan to partition Palestine into two states. They have been sabotaging the two-state solution ever since.

Since its inception, Israel has presented six peace offers to the Palestinian Authority, each one refused, most without counter-offers and one without even being acknowledged. Under these conditions, the statement by Mahmoud Abbas that housing starts will sabotage the two-state solution is nothing but obfuscation.

There is nothing Israel can do, no concession it can make that will convince the Palestinians to come to the bargaining table simply because according to the Palestinians, all of Israel is occupied land and a Jewish state does not deserve to exist. This is the official position of Hamas and because of its overwhelming popularity cannot be disputed by the PA.

LARRY SHAPIRO

Calgary

Costly and cowardly

Regarding “Attacks continue in Jerusalem, West Bank after Elad terrorists are captured” (May 9), it was a relief to learn that the two suspects in the Elad attack had been apprehended and that the authorities worked diligently to that end. But as in so many other areas of security and law and order in Israel, we appear to be reactive rather than proactive.

There is only modest consolation, especially for the victims and their families, that criminals and terrorists are almost invariably caught. Surely we must develop effective deterrence, so that these perpetrators will not even consider such actions. This applies not only to lone wolves, but to our major external and internal enemies, on our borders and within our communities, including in particular on the Temple Mount.

Compromising our safety so as not to displease other nations is costly and cowardly, and this mindset has to be extirpated for once and for all.

HARVEY LITHWICK

Ra’anana

Long-term harm

Contrary to initial reactions by some (“US Jewish groups enraged by possible Supreme Court move to nix Roe v. Wade,” May 4), the leaked draft Supreme Court decision would not make abortions illegal across America.  Rather, the preliminary opinion restores to states the authority to make decisions on abortion rights. Thus, legislatures in liberal states could decide to allow broad abortion access, while conservative states may be more restrictive.  

Over the past 49 years, many legal scholars have asserted that Roe created out of whole cloth a constitutional right to abortion where none existed, with harmful ramifications. As Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal icon, observed, “Roe halted a political process [i.e., open debate and compromise at the state level] that was moving in a reform direction, and thereby prolonged divisiveness and deferred stable settlement of the issue.”  

This leak is the first ever violation of this magnitude of court rules. Professor Jonathan Turley calls it “an unspeakably unethical act.” Chief Justice John Roberts says it is “an egregious breach of trust that is an affront to the court.”

The leak’s timing is suspicious. Oral arguments before the court took place last December. The draft was written in February. The final decision is expected in June. 

It is very possible that the opinion was leaked now for partisan political purposes. With midterm elections just around the corner (primaries have already begun), the goal was to redirect the discussion away from the current crises – historic inflation, uncontrolled illegal immigration, rampant crime, etc. – which are causing Democrats to sink in the polls. This was an effort to intimidate the justices into changing their positions while at the same time energizing the Democratic base.  

Both sides to the abortion rights debate should be alarmed by this sordid affair. It is another in a series of attacks by groups seeking to tear down bedrock American institutions and replace them with something that guarantees the implementation of the groups’ preferred policies – long-term harm to the body politic be damned.

If these people succeed in undermining the Supreme Court’s independence and integrity, the destabilizing impact on American society will dwarf the potential harm from any individual decision.

EFRAIM COHEN

Zichron Ya’acov

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