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Letters to the Editor August 2, 2021: Sports reports

Sports reports

Watching Artem Dolgopyat’s gravity-defying performance in Tokyo left me speechless, but his gold medal-award ceremony with the Israeli flag and the playing of “Hatikva” had my eyes brimming over with tears of emotion. 

Congrats to all our athletes – and to The Jerusalem Post. Israelis at their best are awesome. 

LEON LEHRER

Tel Aviv

I’m somewhat on the fence regarding the baseball team that Israel sent over to participate in the 2020/2021 Summer Tokyo Olympics, and cannot quite share Danny Grossman’s giddiness (“Swing and a miss,” July 30) over the fact that a mere four members of the 24-player roster are native Israelis. Granted, all relevant rules pertaining to eligibility have been complied with and although gold most certainly goes well with blue and white – as do silver and bronze, for that matter – I can’t help but feel that the spirit of the Games is being a bit compromised. Something like a “green card marriage” when you think about it.

Little has been said about the dynamics once a medal has, hopefully, been won and the 20 talented players return home. Will their citizenship be renounced, or will they from this point on enjoy both the benefits as well as obligations of being Israeli? Or have they been given some sort of temporary citizenship that automatically expires the day after the last game is played? I would like to think that one or two might be considering aliya after being feted as Jewish heroes, and that they are ready to serve in the army, contribute to the National Insurance (Bituach Leumi) fund, and help make baseball a more viable pastime here than it currently is. But I’m nothing if not realistic, so I accept that nothing of the sort will likely happen.

The Magazine sometimes features reports from Shavei Israel chairman Michael Freund on the struggles that small, isolated communities throughout the world – Russia, India, Mongolia – have convincing Israeli authorities of their Jewishness and their longing to reside as citizens of the Holy Land. They have apparently been going about it all wrong. All they have to do, really, is cover third base with the tenacity of a Dyson vacuum cleaner or consistently hit 350-foot dingers and, believe me, the “Disapproved” rubber stamp will be quickly replaced with one that reads “Welcome.” 

While I would like nothing more than to hear “Hatikva” played as gold medals are wrapped around our guys’ necks, my main concern is that they remain healthy and that they return to their homes with fond memories of being an Israeli – even if only for a short period. Not quite as good as turning a triple play, but it’ll do.

BARRY NEWMAN

Ginot Shomron

In “Tal Brody on the Olympic spirit and Ben & Jerry’s boycott” (Zoomcast, July 29) the Post’s chief political correspondent Gil Hoffman has a lively discussion with the famous basketball superstar and an official Israeli PR ambassador in the US, asking if Israel is still on the map, having won “only” 10 Olympic medals since its start in 1952. In his well-known homespun and honest manner, Brody expresses tremendous pride in Israel’s achievements, including her current showings and the medal of young sportswoman Avishag Semberg.

Segueing over to ice cream, Brody wisely says, “If you want to get into politics, don’t make ice cream,” adding that it’s not only Jews that like ice-cream, but also Christians and Muslims. They also get hurt in boycotts and airplane hijackings (he mentions SodaStream and Entebbe). All Jews should support Israel, he continues, regardless of the stream of Judaism they follow, Right or Left, Democrat or Republican.

What a wonderful breath of fresh air he brings to us in the heavy doldrums of the Israeli summer, giving thanks that it is only ice cream that we are under attack from. Hopefully as the summer temperatures moderate, Brody’s common sense will slowly seep into the business world, and Israel can no longer be treated differently from all other nations, in its right to exist and defend itself.

DAVID SMITH

Ra’anana

One smart Cookie

Although she correctly states that “no one can know what is in the hearts and minds of unaffiliated Jews,” Pruzansky’s generalization is still a very reasonable assumption since these people openly admit they have little regard for anything substantial about Judaism – the Bible, the Land of Israel or observance of laws and customs. At least, the secular Jews that established the state of Israel were generally knowledgeable of the Bible, had a love for the Land and had a respect for those who did observe the laws and customs. The unaffiliated Jews the writer is referring to have none of these qualities.

Pruzansky is correct for calling assimilation “a plague and a second holocaust” and he is not the one creating it, as he was accused by the writer. Rather, it was created by the parents of these unaffiliated Jews who failed to transmit their Judaism to the next generation by properly educating their children.

That notwithstanding, these unaffiliated Jews would be accepted as Jewish immigrants if they simply prove they are Jewish in accordance with the 1970 Amendment to the Law of Return that extended entry to people with one Jewish grandparent and to a person who is married to a Jew whether or not he or she is considered Jewish under Orthodox interpretations. However, it seems that’s not good enough for her. She laments the fact that one must prove they are Jewish in accordance with Israeli Law and gives us Wikipedia’s definition for “Who is a Jew” – which quotes “opinion polls!”

Does the writer really regard Israel as a third-world country that needs to rely on Wikipedia to pass its laws?

RAYMOND ARKING

Modi’in

Rabbi Steven Pruzansky is to be commended for stating the obvious about the scourge of intermarriage in America (“The consequences of intermarriage,” July 25). With intermarriage rates in America over 70% how can anyone with any degree of self-respect not see the erosion of true Jewish family values. Furthermore, how can one be surprised by the Pew Research that shows how drastically support for Israel continues to dwindle amongst the Jewish sample survey. 

I was raised by a mother totally devoted to Israel and its support. From my early years, I was taught in the home the importance and the love we should have for Israel. How can someone not raised in such an environment possibly be expected to have the same feeling as I, and those like me, have for Israel? With, as Pruzansky correctly calls it, the “direct result of the spiraling intermarriage rates in the last half century” increasing the pool interviewed by the Pew Research group, it is obvious that acceptance and devotion to our homeland and country will decline.

Recognizing the need to lower the intermarriage rates will help the Jewish people return to their sanity.

ARTHUR MILLER

Bet Shemesh

Cookie Schwaeber-Issan pleads for more inclusion of Jews whose faith is not Judaism. Perhaps this may be compared with the difference between a donkey and a mule. The former breeds offspring, while the latter are 99.9% sterile. 

Similarly “ethnic” Jews, by and large do not rear Jews by faith, meaning propagating the tribe is of little interest to them. It is indeed they who turn their backs on Jewish destiny and not vice versa as the article contends.

GERSHON DALIN 

Modi’in-Maccabim-Reut

B&J: Boycott & Jaundiced views

The comments by Michael Cohen (January 27) attempting to explain and even justify the causes of the controversy surrounding the international directorate of Ben and Jerry’s upcoming boycott actually expose the magnitude of the prevailing abject ignorance about the history of the Middle East and, in particular, the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

The article employs the word “occupation” six times to describe Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria. In fact, Israel’s presence is the result of the recognized defensive war in 1967 against a number of Arab nations, including Jordan, which was indeed occupying the area illegally since 1948 in violation of United Nations decisions. In addition, illegal occupation can be done only in the region of a sovereign entity, a situation that did not exist since the Palestinians had taken no action to establish sovereignty after the November 1947 UN decision to divide the area that had been under a British mandate and which the British had abandoned. All this is in addition to the original violation by Great Britain of the 1922 League of Nations mandate to prepare Palestine for Jewish sovereignty.

To date, the government of Israel has failed in its responsibility to make the international community aware of the realities in this entangled corner of the world.

JAY SHAPIRO

Jerusalem

The Palestinian homeland: Jordan

Zahir Muhsein, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, declared that the PLO’s goal is to unite Jordan and “Palestine.” In a 1977 interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw, Muhsein also acknowledged that “the Palestinian people” were a propaganda invention:

“The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism.

“For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beersheba and Jerusalem. However, the moment we claim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.”

Apparently the PLO has its sights set on Jordan whether King Abdullah acknowledges it or not.

RICHARD SHERMAN

Margate, Florida

Checkered flag march

He states it “constitutes a deliberate provocation, especially given racist anti-Arab slogans voiced by event participants, often accompanied by violent harassment of local residents.” 

Having walked the entire route with the main group of marchers again this year, I disagree and have photographic evidence to disprove his contentions. 

Walking around the Old City walls and not on the Via Delarosa route was a compromise, giving into the Arab incitement and threats this year. The vast majority of participants walking were quieter than usual and respectful, not violent.

SHARON ALTSHUL

Jerusalem

Solar-powered crystal ball

What a load of you-know-what. It’s a great headline and that’s about it. Over the past few years, the government has made a good start in complying with its commitments to reduce Israel’s carbon footprint. In view of the deteriorating ecological situation in the world, it is time for the government to adopt some additional ideas in this regard. How about this for a start: 

The greatest drawback for solar power is that when it is dark, no solar power is produced. This drawback is actually almost immaterial when it comes to electric vehicles. Electric vehicles have batteries that can be charged in the daytime and then used at night. Problem solved.

Almost every car in Israel is driven only in Israel. Israel is thus ideally suited to apply its ample brainpower and sunshine to come up with a plan to massively increase solar energy to power electric vehicles. The government should expedite this by legislation and the removal of a lot of unnecessary red tape. The idea is to increase solar power and to force new car owners to buy electric cars. Israel is not going to run out of sunshine. What a blessing. 

Instead of announcing goals for 2050, how about adopting something that might actually reduce the carbon footprint of Israel in the next few years. Israel should literally be a light unto the world in this regard. 

NEVILLE BERMAN

Ra’anana

Temple Mount or molehill?

Jeremy Sharon’s “Temple Mount doesn’t loom large in the Jewish national psyche – here’s why” (July 28) is only partly accurate. In fact the Temple Mount loomed very large in the consciousness of Rabbi Shlomo Goren and many in the national-religious world when the site was taken in 1967. Goren immediately established a prayer service on areas permitted for religious Jews to be present on. 

This was summarily closed down by then-defense minister Moshe Dayan who made the disastrous decision to give control of religious worship to the Wakf. Had the Israeli government insisted then on the principle of freedom of worship for all faiths we might be living in a different reality today.

But then again we might not. For if there is division within the people of Israel over the need for and desirability of prayer on the Temple Mount, the overwhelming share of the Islamic world is absolutely intolerant in regard to Jewish prayer not only on the Mount itself but also at the Western Wall.

As it is now what Israel does is ensure that on every Muslim holiday tens of thousands ascend the Mount to pray, while on Jewish holidays potential worshipers are forbidden to open a siddur. And this while it is precisely the Islamic side that endlessly attacks Israel for limiting freedom of worship.

We have created a lose-lose situation for ourselves. Hopefully the present or some future Israeli government will somehow come to a fairer and more sensible arrangement for prayer on the Temple Mount. 

SHALOM FREEDMAN

Jerusalem

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