Letters to the Editor: Don't Just Write, Act

The checkpoint between Jerusalem and Bethlehem in the West Bank, as shown by the Israel Television News Company.
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Don’t just write – act

In response to “Israeli capriciousness at the Bethlehem checkpoint” (Anonymous, November 26).

That this article is true I have little doubt.

I am surprised and angered, however, that Haaretz does not use its clout to have these particular soldiers, and especially their commanding officer at the time, arrested and court-martialed for egregious harassment.

I hope that many more people will write to express their disgust at this disgrace.

Helen Eleasari

Tel Aviv

So Rabbi Bronstein wants to listen and be heard

In response to “Given Israel-Trump axis, U.S. Jews turn to Palestinians” (Avraham Bronstein, Opinion, November 26).

I found it curious that Rabbi Bronstein compared himself to Palestinians living in the West Bank. According to Human Rights Watch, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have authorities that “have established machineries of repression to crush dissent, including the use of torture.” Abuses in Fatah’s West Bank and the Hamas controlled Gaza include arbitrary arrests and long detentions for peaceful criticism of the authorities. There’s no accountability for the authorities’ actions and there’s no freedom of speech.

The rabbi focused on the U.S. and Israeli governments as the hindrance to Palestinian freedom. Yet according to the Human Rights Watch report the detention and torture of critics and rivals by the Palestinians’ own government undermine the promise of greater freedom for its own people. Perhaps the rabbi needs to take a step back and get real. There’s no comparison between the life he leads and the Palestinians who are victimized by their government on a daily basis. It’s time to put the responsibility for peace where it belongs – with the Palestinian leadership. Perhaps when they care more about the welfare of their citizens instead of destroying Israel, peace may be a reality.

Elinor Weiss

East Amherst, NY

Despite their protests, Rabbi Bronstein, his Encounter fellow travelers and the Palestinians all have been “heard,” loudly and incessantly. What really rankles is that they haven’t been heeded. Not surprising, since they even deplore the growing rapprochement with Israel on the part of once seemingly impossible Arab states.

Israelis regularly hear Palestinian media incitement against them. Gaza-border communities endlessly endure constant violent threats and acts. Even as Israel daily supplies humanitarian goods to Gaza, its subjects remain trapped in a bitter Fatah-Hamas political power struggle.

What Israelis never hear, though, are any calls for peace. If the status quo is really so terrible, why won’t the Palestinians seriously negotiate a change? Because they continue to refuse to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state in its historic homeland. That’s been their century-long trumpeted message, one far too deafeningly loud to miss.

Richard D. Wilkins

New York

Rabbi Bronstein says he knows what it feels like to go unheard. Perhaps he has been heard but has been found lacking, and perhaps he does not listen to others.

Although his remarks are not polished, President Trump is a supporter of immigration that abides by long-established legal process, and to state otherwise is false and unfair. Immigration has always involved culturally becoming an American, which is why it takes time and why candidates need to be carefully considered.

The Palestinians are “silenced”? Encounter needs to visit the Israeli-Gaza border. No silence there.

And Encounter might wish to familiarize its participants with Mr. Abbas’ restrictions on freedom of expression. Haaretz reported “Decree approved by Palestinian president provides for prison terms of up to life for using digital means to harm ‘national unity’ or ‘social fabric.’” The Palestinian Authority does not hear – does not even want to hear – Palestinians, if they are critical of its “river-to-the-sea” incitement.

Julia Lutch

Davis, CA

Creeping gender segregation

This completely unacceptable phenomenon of creeping gender segregation is getting way out of hand.

It further reinforces the specter of the secular community in this country being forced to bend over backwards to accommodate the ultra-Orthodox. In Western countries, any form of gender discrimination is patently illegal, and must be made so in this country as well.

The current governing coalition is completely in the pocket of the Haredim, and are perpetually subject to the extreme level of extortion that they must endure to keep this coalition intact. Is is really worth it? Who is the beneficiary of this conduct? Are we?

Of course, the only answer is an immediate change of government. And soon.

There is a ray of hope. And that is retired General Benny Gantz. The day he assumes residency on Balfour Street in Jerusalem is the day that things begin to change for the better in Israel. No more corruption, no more ordering expensive gourmet dinners from exclusive Jerusalem restaurants to the tune of 360,000 shekels ($100,000) and then hiding the fact that there was actually a cook on the premises, no more cases of expensive pink champagne, no more expensive Cuban cigars, no more helping cronies with financially beneficial legislation, and the list goes on. Elections now.

Ashdot Yacov

Yes, Muslims can befriend Christians and Jews

Critics of Muslims never cease to amaze me. Quite often they say the most bizarre things. Here are some examples:

“Allah is not God,” “Muslims hate dogs,” “Muslims are not allowed to have friends who are Christians and Jews.”

They cite this verse from the Koran (5:52): “O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for guardians. They are protectors of one another. And whoever among you takes them for guardians is indeed one of them. Verily, Allah guides not the unjust people.”

The Arabic word wali means guardian or protector, not friend. The two terms are not interchangeable.

According to the Koran, Christians and Jews are different in their beliefs from Muslims, so one’s allegiance should be to Muslims. There is no restriction on having friends who are Christian or Jews, and that is not what the verse in the Koran meant or implied. The Koran forbids Muslims (5:23) from taking their fathers, sons, wives or any member of their tribe as “guardians” if they are not Muslims.

Whenever you are in doubt about anything regarding Islam, pick up a book about Islam, or contact AskAMuslim.com. No question is a dumb question but to argue that Muslims are not allowed to be friends with Christians and Jews is utterly insane.

Mahmoud El-Yousseph

Westerville, Ohio