Letters to the Editor: Gaza, Israel's Rabbinate and Khashoggi

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman delivers a speech during the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 24, 2018.
Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS

Simple math

In response to “Is Israel talking itself into a corner in Gaza?” (Zvi Bar’el, October 18).

To those who believe the best strategy is to destroy Hamas in Gaza. The solution is simple: Eliminate Hamas and install a nonterrorist leadership in the Strip that is, in principle, willing to negotiate a permanent status with Israel. It’s a well-known mathematical strategy, to reduce the given problem to a previously solved problem — in this case, the West Bank. We reduced the problem to one we know how to solve. Or not.Dr.

Ruth Sharon

Rehovot

Not-so-new lists

In response to “Rabbinate keeps secret list of approved rabbis from abroad” (Judy Maltz, October 23)

My husband and I were married in October 1978 in New Jersey. Prior to that, not sure he would get his U.S. visa in time for the wedding (in a Conservative synagogue), we applied for a marriage license at the Tel Aviv Rabbinate.

To our surprise, they looked up my Jewish pedigree! My synagogue and rabbi were listed in one of their tomes as “kosher,” recognized by the Israeli Rabbinate!

But when my son applied for his license in Tel Aviv, my synagogue seemed to have been removed from the books and I needed to prove my Jewishness. I guess the JCC, now Congregation Beth Ahm, had lost its kashrut by changing names.

We saw the list in print, bound in a volume about the size of a prayer book.

Barbara Vendriger

Tel Aviv

What Shapiro didn’t say 

In response to “Why the Khashoggi murder is a disaster for Israel” (Daniel B. Shapiro, October 18)

In his eagerness to promulgate the thesis that Jamal Kashoggi’s murder by Saudi government operatives is a disaster to Israel’s anti-Iran coalition building efforts, Shapiro overlooks several points:

1. The anti-Iran coalition — the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia, with additional Sunni Arab support — is predicated on one of history’s flimsiest pretexts: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Saudis, particularly the ruling family, abhor Israel and everything it stands for; hoping that their fear of Iran will lead them to reconsider their posture vis-à-vis Israel is laughable. Saudi Arabia is not a partner of Israel for anything, and the foundation for a genuine relationship between the two countries should not be built on mutual fear and hatred of Iran.

2. As Israel’s opinion-making engineers scurry about, building public support for a highly questionable bargain with the despotic Saudi regime, Israeli voters are being fed branding messages describing Saudi Arabia and other Gulf and Arab regimes as “moderate.” Nothing could be further from the truth, particularly in respect to Saudi Arabia. It was, is and will quite possibly remain a vicious, ultraconservative regime. Decades ago, the House of Saud signed a cynical pact with the country’s religious elite that resulted in billions of petrodollars funding a network of hate-filled religious schools, mosques and “cultural centers” to indoctrinate gullible Muslims across the world in Saudi Arabia’s merciless brand of Wahhabi Islam. 

Cooperating with such a regime is dangerous, immoral and futile.

3.  Saudi Arabia has always been a shaky regime and is only likely to become more unstable and unreliable in the coming years. All the PR efforts the Saudi regime makes around the world, at a huge cost, will remain just that: PR noise. Nothing much will replace the oil, and when that is gone, upheaval — internal and regional — will follow in short order.

The Kashoggi murder is indeed an important road sign for governments around the world, including Israel’s; instead of looking for ways to deny the realities of the Saudi regime and instead of avoiding a serious examination and response to its many weaknesses and faults, this can be an opportunity to try to re-establish the world’s relations with Saudi Arabia on a rational, moral basis. If the Saudis will discover that their money and opposition to Iran gives them immunity against the world’s moral judgement, they will continue down the same path, leading to no good for their own citizens and the entire world, including Israel.

Doron Pely

Safe Communities 

Institute, University of Southern California

No leniency

In response to “We must go easy on Saudi prince” (Tzvia Greenfield, October 22)

We should never go easy with oppressors, dictators, authoritarian rulers. If this world is to become a better place, we should be guided by ensuring dignity of men and universal human rights. 

When even cruel murder is involved there should be no excuse and leniency. And Israel’s connection with Saudi-Arabia is nothing but a fallacy. Honestly striving for peace and equality, accepting the Arab League’s 2002 peace plan, this would offer Israel a much wider acceptance in the Arab world. Are there any Saudi values at offer which are really attractive to enlightened people?

Marlem, via Haaretz.com

Vote the ‘gang’ out

If standing up to the insane and hurtful policies of our president and  “the gang” currently occupying the White House, I am proud to be among “the mob.”

I and millions of Americans want our country back and to do that, voting on Election Day will send a clear message to “the gang” that we want to bring our nation back to civility and a sense of compassionate leadership of the free world shown by previous presidents.

Herb Stark

Mooresville, North Carolina

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