Letters to the Editor
Poverty line and Green Line
In response to “Report: More than a third of Israel’s children are poor” (by Talila Nesher, December 19).
I would like to ask: did the report on poverty levels among Israel’s children separately check poverty levels among the children of settlers (not including ultra-Orthodox)?
After all, the government admitted that it is quietly sending a lot of money to the settlers. Perhaps part of this money could solve the problem of poverty in Israel? Perhaps it would be desirable to have the funds distributed more equitably? And why isn’t Shelly Yacimovich asking this question and raising it for discussion?
Genes do not grant property rights
In response to “Stirring the genetic soup” (by Ofer Aderet, December 28)
Whether or not the [Ashkenazi] Jews originated in Europe or in the Khazar kingdom, that should not be linked with the right of the nation that calls itself Jewish to the land that is today called Israel. The historical connection of the Jewish people to the land, and their longing to return to it, are not dependent on whether our genetic ancestors were here. The connection to the land belongs to anyone who sees himself as a part of the Jewish people, its culture, history and myths.
Even if our genetic ancestors were in the land 2,000 years ago, that does not grant their descendants a right to it according to international law (just as the world did not accept the Serbians’ demand for Kosovo, the cradle of their civilization and nationality) and especially after the original Jews left it of their own free will, and were not forced into exile as Prof. Harry Ostrer claims. Before the destruction of the Second Temple, most of the Jewish people lived in all the areas bordering the Mediterranean Sea from Egypt to Tunisia, from Syria and present-day Turkey, Greece, and Italy up to Spain, as well as in Babylonia, Afghanistan and Persia.
We can also assume that a significant percentage of the “Arabs of the Land of Israel” are descendants of the Jews who remained in the country and converted to Islam. Prof. Ostrer confirms in the article that “in terms of genetics, the Jews are more similar to the Palestinians than to the Khazars,” and of necessity, the Palestinians are genetically similar to the Jews. This confirms that some of the Palestinians, if not the majority, are descendants of the original Jews, and solves the disturbing problem of where all the original Jews who lived in the country 2,000 years ago disappeared to. It is said that one original family remains in Peki’in; where are the others? After all, not all of them emigrated, and the Jews who lived in the country at the start of the last century came here from abroad. If the argument that we were here 2,000 years ago grants us a right to return and to settle here instead of the present inhabitants, then the right of the Palestinians is greater than ours, since they didn’t leave it.
The Balfour Declaration does not mention our right to the country. In June 1922 Churchill first mentions the historical connection of the Jews to the country, to balance the rights of the Palestinians. The UN resolution to partition the country is based on the necessity to solve the demographic problems that were created.
Historical rights are not mentioned and were not taken into account: The Jews were given the coastal strip, over which we had no historical rights. Our right to the country within the 1967 borders is anchored in the situation that has been created, in international recognition and in the consent of all the Arab nations. Our demands beyond that are not justified, they are stealing the poor man’s lamb and causing us to clash with the entire world.
Dr. Pesach Hager
Shouldn’t be so hard to convict politicians
In response to “Where has the shame gone?” (by Yoel Marcus, Opinion, December 21). Yoel Marcus gave a good description of the process of change in the behavior of politicos beginning in the 1950s. Then, when the politician was told, They say you took what wasn’t yours, the statement itself caused him sleepless nights, even when he was innocent. Today, when they tell him, or suspect him, he replies: Prove it.
The old-time pol was ashamed, and was also worried about his future, both at his place of work and among his colleagues in the movement. When he was under suspicion even his friends told him, Now we can’t help you, only when it turns out that there is nothing to the accusation will you be able to return to your position.
Although I don’t know “where the shame has gone” I will try to propose a way of improving the situation. As a lawyer, I suggest lowering the threshold required at present to prove criminal culpability. The need to prove both the “intention of the accused” and that he committed the deed must be examined. It is essential to reconstruct the concept of “criminal intent.” It is illogical that everyone agrees that there were envelopes and unlisted money, in cash, but the element of “criminal intent” is missing.
When the level of proof required in criminal cases is reasonable, the politician may be more cautious, and perhaps then the sense of shame will come back to him too.
Dvir Katzman, attorney