Letters to the Editor / Netanyahu Should Approach Danes With Empathy and Condolences

AFP

Sorry Bibi, I’m staying in Denmark

In response to “In Copenhagen shooting aftermath, Danish Jews treading fine line,” Anshel Pfeffer, February 16

On February 15 disaster struck our community. And even though many of us are not religious and do not attend synagogue ceremonies, we were reminded that it isn’t always easy to be Jewish. I’m therefore deeply thankful for the support we have received from the Danish establishment – 40,000 attending a memorial ceremony, the prime minister attending the funeral, and the entire sidewalk in front of the synagogue covered with flowers. Truly amazing.

Unfortunately, we didn’t receive the same support from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the man who claims to be our official voice, even though we never elected him. He’s the man who claims that Israel is our true home, even though most of us have lived in Denmark our whole life.

So the following goes out to Mr. Netanyahu: I’m sorry, but with you in charge, Israel isn’t my home, and claiming so is outright disrespectful to Danish Jews vis-a-vis the tragedy that struck us.

It wasn’t you who protected us when we needed it. It wasn’t you who reassured us when we were scared. It wasn’t you made us feel at home when we were in doubt. The Danes did.

You did all the opposite. By insisting on being our official voice, you equated me as a Jew to your hateful politics. Neither did you reassure me. No, you said that my Europe, where I speak three of the languages, wasn’t safe. You told me that Denmark, where I’ve lived my whole life, wasn’t my true home.

Israel will always have a special place in my heart, and this letter isn’t written with the intention of renouncing it. I love my Israeli family, I love the kibbutzim and I take great pride in my dual citizenship — how can I not?

But with every step you take to deny me my right to live as a complete, Jewish member of my home country for 21 years now, I have to take one step away from you. Every time I am told that I can only have one true home, I am forced distance myself from Israel, the country that I otherwise love.

By telling the whole world that Danish Jews don’t belong in Denmark but in Israel, you are only confirming the age-old misconception that Jews can’t be trusted. How can anyone trust us if our loyalty lies not with where our house is built but with a country 4,000 kilometers away?

My advice for you, Mr. Netanyahu, is therefore to approach us as you would at a funeral. Not with a sword in your hand and the attitude of a warrior, but with empathy and condolences.

Tell us that while we’re always welcome in Israel, your biggest concern is that we feel safe in our houses. Tell us that we can have two homes if we want because many of us love Israel, but if forced to, we will choose Denmark at all times.

Jonatan Mizrahi-Werner
Denmark

Keep the home fires burning

In response to "Snow and rockets in Sayed Kashua’s two homes," January 31

Dear Sayed, for years we read your coming-of-age stories, empathized when your babies were on the way, commiserated when you had to navigate the mazes of Hadassah Hospital, felt the pains of watching the kids grow up, and read with mixed feelings the cameos on what it’s like being an (integrated) Arab in our enlightened country.

But lately our relationship became more personal. Every weekend we eagerly and diligently studied your column to find out how you were doing, what you were experiencing in Urbana or Chicago — before we Skyped to our own kid in Chicago.

Because of you, we know the campus better now than we knew it during the five years or so our son spent there. From the standard cryptic “all is fine,” our knowledge has expanded to encompass information on the nerve-racking steps to rent an apartment, and the rents themselves.

We learned about school, faculty, food, banks, neighbors, atmosphere and weather. Every Friday we perused your column in the print edition to get the latest news on our kid. For example, your column on health insurance came just in time; we knew what to expect when he had to be vaccinated.

So we were disheartened when your column ceased to appear; we felt that you made a very inconsiderate decision. For the sake of parents like us — and there are quite a few — we petition you to go on with your weekly newsletter on our kids’ whereabouts.

We wish your father a speedy recovery and good health.

Dr. Ruth Sharon
Rehovot