September 16, 2019

Letters to the editor: Israel on campus, violence in Israel, Zev Yaroslavsky and more

When Neighbors Are Attacked

How tragically sad and foolish it is to see the Jewish Journal’s cover proclaim “When Neighbors Attack:” Can Israelis protect themselves …” (Nov. 28) and not realize that the two civilian Palestinian women pictured are more obviously needing protection from the heavily armed Israeli soldiers. Statistically, it is Palestinians who suffer more violence on a continual basis from the Israeli army than Israelis have suffered from Palestinian violence. The one-sided omission of this inconvenient fact obscures a fundamental truth ignored by the entire Israeli and pro-Israeli establishment: that by ignoring Palestinian security, achieving Israeli security is a chimera. Like it or not, Jewish Israelis still share a land with another people whose legitimacy is undeniable to the people of this world. The huge preponderance of Israeli power notwithstanding, this body of human beings have every much a right to security and dignity as their U.S.-backed overlords, and short of massive ethnic cleansing, there will have to be a reckoning that fully acknowledges that.

Rick Chertoff, Los Angeles

Ramblin’ Man

When I was a student at Los Angeles City College in 1954, the teacher of one of my classes brought her young son to class one day (“Zev Yaroslavsky: Rebel Politician and Distracted Golfer,” Nov. 28). He was in a light-blue outfit with short pants and started to climb the empty seats. The teacher called to him, “Zev, get down!” The teacher was Mina Yaroslavsky. As for Zev’s Rambler, I cried when I read of its demise. My father owned a Rambler too, which now reposes with my son. He uses it in local parades.

Samuel Kohn, Canoga Park

Love Thy Neighbor

I found David Suissa’s article “Israel Needs a Bigger Message on Campus” (Nov. 28) very powerful. I was shocked when I read his words “Israel can save the Middle East,” because he is absolutely right. Israel is the solution to the Middle East’s needs. Suissa writes that Israel is “a light unto the Middle East.” Our people are the light unto the nations. This is the message we, as defenders of Israel, need to spread. In colleges all around the world, anti-Israel groups are growing. We must use this message to fight for our country.

Sara Gindi, Los Angeles

The idea of Israel being able to be a positive force in the Middle East is a very good one. The virulence with which critics of Israel are attacked and the misrepresentation of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and groups like Students for Justice in Palestine give the impression of desperation and the losing side of the argument. Israel welcoming negotiations with Palestinians on an equal footing, respecting the right of return and other U.N. resolutions, and removing illegal settlements would send a positive message to all its neighbors and the world.

Russell Ward via

Last week, David Suissa offered a novel idea: Use the tagline “Israel can save the Middle East” with people decidedly negative about Israel. Well, I tried it. My wife and I had a friend, who is living in Berlin, and her German boyfriend over for dinner. The boyfriend was far left in his thinking, eschewing loyalty to all countries, professing loyalty only to Berlin. He was harsh in his criticism of Israel, and said not all criticism (including whether Jews had a right to their own homeland) is anti-Semitism and that Jews are too sensitive. After explaining that much criticism of Israel is disguised anti-Semitism, I went further. I said, “Israel can save the Middle East,” emphasizing its institutionalized democratic values, freedom of speech and press, freedom of religion (including a growing Christian population), protection of minorities (including gay rights), economic achievements, high-tech and medical advances, etc. All he could do was reply that, in his view, the cause of the problems is big oil. He was unable to respond to my (i.e. Suissa’s) proposition.   

Will he change his overall views? Probably not. Will he think a bit more deeply? Yes.

Cary Lerman, Los Angeles

Peace When We Pray

I love the morning minyan at Shomrei Torah Synagogue in West Hills (“Terror Hits Jerusalem: Riding the Tiger of Religious Wars,” Nov. 21). What makes it so special is many of them come to the minyan just to show support to others and make sure there are always 10 people there to make a quorum. When they greet you with “boker tov” and ask about your health, it is genuine.

When I read about the four rabbis killed near Jerusalem, I was appalled. Then to see a Palestinian woman celebrating their deaths … how much hatred toward Jews can one person have?

What if I were davening in the morning minyan in West Hills and a terrorist shot me at point-blank range? Would the world get upset? If four priests were shot and killed in the Vatican, there would be an uproar all over the world. Even the United Nations would get involved.

I will never give up the daily minyan and will pray there as long as I live. I hope I am not giving terrorists any ideas.

Edward Rasky, West Hills