Netanyahu Must Not Give In
Your February 13 editorial “The Importance of Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress” expressed hope that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “will weather the full court press orchestrated by the White House and deliver his scheduled talk to Congress next month.”
We agree. Iranian nuclear weapons will pose a direct threat to Israel’s (not to mention, America’s) existence, and the prime minister of Israel has an obligation to explain that fact to the United States Congress.
Netanyahu should recall how his predecessor, Levi Eshkol, responded to U.S. pressure on the eve of the 1967 war. Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador, recounted these events in his award-winning book Six Days of War. He described how the Arab regimes expelled the United Nations peacekeepers and were openly vowing to annihilate Israel. As the Arab noose tightened around Israel’s neck, President Lyndon Johnson sent Prime Minister Eshkol the following message: “I want to emphasize strongly that you have to abstain from every step that would increase tension and violence in the area.”
If Eshkol had listened to Johnson, Israel might not have survived; fortunately, he mustered the courage to launch the preemptive strike that saved the Jewish State from destruction.
Moshe Phillips, President
Benyamin Korn, Chairman
Religious Zionists of America
Political Correctness And Intermarriage
It’s ludicrous almost to the point of being comical how political correctness is often more about sounding good than making sense.
Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz says (as reported in Jason Maoz’s Feb. 13 Week In Review): “We have the problem of assimilation… [we also have the problem of] the loss of Jewish identity.” She notes “the importance of connecting younger generations to the institutions and values that make up our community.” She then says she is not opposed to intermarriage.
Polls show, as reported by Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu on JewishPress.com, that “only 25 percent of children of intermarried couples identify themselves as Jewish.” To
acknowledge that we’re having problems of assimilation and then say you’re not opposed to intermarriage is like saying you know your house is falling apart but you’re not opposed to using your roof as a heliport.
How much importance does Wasserman Schultz really place on connecting younger generations to our values? The very act of supporting intermarriage, ironically, shows that one places no importance on our values. It gives the impression that you only need to observe those Jewish laws that are to your liking. I wonder if she believes the Ten Commandments are multiple choice.
These days it would be nice of politicians properly interpreted the
Constitution. The last thing we need is for politicians to be interpreting Jewish law.
Sir Martin Gilbert
In “Remembering the Master Historian Sir Martin Gilbert” (op-ed, Feb. 13), Jerry Amernic notes the impact on him of Gilbert’s work The Holocaust – A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War.
I certainly concur.
I saw Martin Gilbert in Boston before he became Sir Martin Gilbert and I corresponded with him about this particular book.
I had read a great amount on the Holocaust but I fully realized what the “Final Solution” meant only when I read Gilbert’s book, analyzing what happened systematically, country by country.
I certainly concur that he will be missed.
Dr. Elie Feuerwerker
Highland Park, NJ
‘Amazing Figures Among Us’
This morning I left my army base here in Israel, heading home on a bus along with my fellow soldiers. As we traveled, I began to hear what sounded like rumors – legends, if you will – about a road stop called The Dodot ( The Aunts), a special refreshment stand for soldiers. I didn’t know whether to take the stories seriously and began to doze off.
Suddenly we came to a stop. I saw everyone rushing off the bus and toward a nearby hut. Not knowing what the excitement was about, I quickly followed.
As I walked in I saw a wide table covered with sandwiches, salads, cakes, and other enticing food. Turns out these “aunts” are all volunteers who stand their post in that junction up north every Friday starting at 5:30 a.m. They busy themselves handing out food, coffee, and all kinds of treats to the dozens of soldiers who keep pouring out of buses that drive through. They treat each and every one of them with a smile and tell them the story of the place:
Back in October 1990 there was a terror attack in that junction – Tzomet Hashomrim, Kiryat Tivon. The terrorist was apprehended by a passing soldier. The residents of the nearest town were shocked that such a thing could happen so close to them. The next week they took a folding table, a few homemade cakes, and several beverages and stood at that junction offering their goods to soldiers. Their operation grew with the years and got to be what it is today.
I was overwhelmed by the kindness with which they treated each chayal – despite the behavior exhibited by hungry young soldiers when they see free food and despite the sheer number of soldiers who pass by.
I wanted readers of The Jewish Press to know of the amazing figures who live among us.
Editor’s Note: Because the writer is an active soldier, he asked that we not use his full name.
A Challenge To Obama’s Critics
I wonder if readers who write in criticizing President Obama and the Democrats but rarely say a critical word about Republicans would disagree with any of the following statements and, if so, why:
* The Tea Party has shifted the Republican Party so far to the right that Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan would not recognize it or be nominated by it today.
* Republicans are promoting policies similar to or worse than those that had such disastrous results during the George W. Bush administration, including converting a three-year major surplus that was on track to completely eliminate the U.S, debt into a major deficit, creating very few jobs, and pushing the country to the brink of a depression, with an average of 750,000 jobs lost in Bush’s final months in office.
* Republicans have obstructed efforts to get our country out of the ditch they left us in by consistently voting no on and filibustering many Democratic proposals to improve the economy, some of which they previously supported. Despite these concerted efforts there have now been 55 consecutive months of positive job growth, with over 10 million net new jobs created during that period.
* Republicans support continued tax breaks for big corporations and the wealthiest Americans, while cutting basic social services.
* Republicans are in denial about the dangers from climate change, despite the views of almost all climate scientists and the many wake-up calls we have been receiving in terms of melting glaciers and ice caps and unprecedented heat waves, droughts, wildfires, storms, and floods.
* A strong majority of Republicans voted against aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy and against background checks for arms purchases.
* With regard to Israel, please consider the recent words of former Israeli president Shimon Peres: “What has [Obama] not done for Israel that we asked [him] to do? He vetoed UN condemnations of Israel, did things that I do not know that anyone else would have done. All the people in the [Israeli] defense establishment say that, in terms of security, there has never been such a relationship between Israel and the United States. Obama has never said a word to condemn us, so on what basis are people talking? I look at the results; he says things that make sense.”
* If Peres isn’t your cup of tea, here’s what Netanyahu’s ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, recently told The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg:
“[Netanyahu] deeply appreciates the many things that President Obama has done for Israel – from upgraded security cooperation and enhanced intelligence sharing to military assistance and Iron Dome funding to opposing anti-Israel initiatives at the UN.”
Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.
Editor’s Note: The writer is professor emeritus at the College of Staten Island and the author of a number of books including “Judaism and Vegetarianism” and “Judaism and Global Survival.”