Text size

Remove the suitcases from your hearts

In response to “Defining who is an Israeli” (A.B. Yehoshua, Sept. 12)

As a British Jew who came to Israel in 1949 at the age of 18, I concur with every word of A.B. Yehoshua’s article. Jewish and Arab citizens in Israel (including Druze, Muslims and Christians) need to to formalize their identity. True equality and recognition of the sensitivities of the minorities, who are tied to this land much as we are, are essential for this to happen.

I have visited the United States twice and I only envy one thing about American society. Everyone I encountered, including the luggage handler at the airport, the chambermaid in the hotel and the taxi drivers, emphasized that they were American. Invariably, I could hardly understand their English, but their pride was palpable.

Yehoshua has exposed the precarious fragmentation of our society, at the same time questioning our dependence on the Diaspora.

Jews need to remove the suitcases from their hearts. We are home. No more running!

This is the exact time for us to face reality. A united Israeli population in the State of Israel will be able to change the course of events. There is no way that we and the Palestinians can all live in one state. Only a two-state solution will enable us all to stay here.

Let’s start a movement to declare ourselves Israelis, first and foremost, and let’s propose A.B. Yehoshua for president of Israel.

Zelda Harris
Founder, Committee of Concerned Citizens

Jews in the prayer book

A.B. Yehoshua wrote that the word “Jew” does not appear in the prayer book –- not even once. However, in the havdalah service signifying the end of the Sabbath, the verse “The Jews had light and gladness, and joy and honor” (Esther 8:16) is recited.

Mark Yosef
Jerusalem

The use of gas, then and now

In World War II, the Nazis murdered millions of Jews (including my grandfather and my grandmother) with gas. The United States (and its allies) did not accede to the request of Jewish organizations and took no action against the death camps; the Germans were thus able to expend all their rage on our people. Now Syrian loyalists of President Bashar Assad have murdered more than 1,000 of their own people. And the Americans are again not coming, despite the request of Assad’s opponents, and are not punishing the perpetrators of this crime; instead, like Chamberlain in his confrontation with Hitler, they are only asking for negotiations –- under pressure exerted by Putin! –- as some sort of security against the use of one kind of weapon, which is truly horrendous.

If this is our greatest ally, how will it act against Iran?

Prof. Naftali Kadmon
Jerusalem