How We Can Help Israel

Dear Editor,

Since the Oslo Accords, Israel has been heading down a slippery slope, making concessions to our enemies at the exact time that we need to be tough and steadfast. The United States policy has been to follow the “Road Map” and to give away part of our country to our enemies. The current administration, headed by Mr. Obama, has simply taken this policy to the next level.

The current negotiations with the Palestinian Authority were essentially rammed down our throats along with the demand that we release murderers as a “sign of goodwill.” As we begin to hear something about the demands the Obama Administration is trying to force Israel to meet, it becomes abundantly clear where President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry and this administration stand. If Israel does not make an agreement with the so-called Palestinians and return to the 1967 lines (a.k.a. “Auschwitz borders”), the United States administration will impose an agreement on Israel.

Mr. Kerry’s statement that if an agreement is not reached an intifada is a real possibility sounds like a threat to me. As far as this administration is concerned, the Arabs need not make any concessions–or even recognize our right to exist–in order to get what they want. Mr. Kerry plans on trying to force an agreement on Israel in January. The contents of that agreement have been alluded to quite clearly. The United States will demand that Israel give up the Temple Mount and East Jerusalem, and that Israel leave Judea and Samaria. They will insist that tens of thousands of Jews be relocated to make room for a Palestinian state devoid of Jews.

In addition to the attempt to force a suicidal agreement on Israel, President Obama has made a deal with Iran, a deal that he wanted to make since he started office in 2008. The claim is being made that this deal will stop Iran from producing a nuclear bomb in return for a relief of the previously imposed economic sanctions. But realistically, any clear-thinking individual knows that Iran has no intention of halting its nuclear program and this agreement will prove to be a sham.

I hope and pray that the Israeli government will learn how to say no to the United States. Israel is a sovereign country, not a vassal state of the United States, and we need to behave accordingly.

Mishmeret Yesha is a grass-roots organization dedicated to the needs of the residents of Judea and Samaria. At this difficult time, when our enemies and even our supposed friends are trying to destroy us, we need to stand up and do whatever we can to help Israel be strong. Mishmeret Yesha assists in the needs of the residents of Judea and Samaria. Some of these needs include construction of infrastructure and homes in towns in our biblical heartland and vocational job training, in particular for young men who are not cut out for yeshiva studies. In addition, Mishmeret Yesha supplies medical equipment to Efrat Medical Center, an urgent-care center that is extremely busy because the closest hospitals are a distance away. Mishmeret Yesha is also closely connected with the safety of the residents of Yesha, helping train residents in self-defense. Many of these programs need to be cut if funds are not forthcoming. To make matters worse, the harsh winter storm left much destruction in its wake and Yesha communities were especially hard-hit.

We are at a critical crossroads and it is imperative that we show our support for Israel now. The people of Yesha need our assistance as they remain resolute on the front lines. Show them that you understand that they represent all of Klal Yisrael, that their struggle is our struggle, and that we stand with them.

Please make checks payable to Mishmeret Yesha for amounts under $250 and to The Kadam Fund for amounts of $250 and above. Mail the check to Mishmeret Yesha, c/o Gila Rollhaus, 147-24 75th Ave., Flushing, NY 11367.

Gila Rollhaus,

Mishmeret Yesha

A Tale Of True Tzedakah

Dear Editor,

Last December, my son and I were the recipient of a stranger’s generous donation. My son Scott had his bar mitzvah in early December, and we decided to go to Judaica Plus in Cedarhurst to inquire about tefillin for him. While tefillin can be quite expensive, I felt it was my duty to purchase it for Scott. I mentioned to the kind salesman that he is a committed ba’al teshuvah and we must negotiate a price that we could afford. I must have also mentioned to the salesman that even though the final price was still higher than we could afford, I would accept his offer anyway. The tefillin were then ordered for next-day pickup.

Later that night, I received a phone call from the salesman, who told me that there was a gentleman nearby in the store who had overheard our conversation and decided to donate the money for the tefillin, and for us to come and pick them up. When I heard this, I became so overwhelmed by this kindness that I cried for hours. While I have heard that it is not unusual to experience a gesture such as this in a frum community (we are from Queens and live in a mostly secular community), we have never been the recipient of such a wonderful gift from a stranger. I have to say that this expression changed me greatly, and I now know the true meaning of tzedakah. I am so proud to be a part of the greater Jewish family that includes this form of expression as part of its observance.

I know that the highest form of tzedakah is to give anonymously . . . so, to the wonderful anonymous donor: baruch Hashem, and thank you for your generosity and the learning experience you gave our family. My son is a self-motivated ba’al teshuvah who has a love for Torah study, and your kind expression only makes his journey more meaningful. Please know that as per your request, he will always put his tefillin on in memory of your parents and uncle. You should also know that I am a great believer in “carrying it forward” and will make a donation to the local Chabad, which the salesman believes you support. Shalom and todah!

Mark Sandor

The Article

That Tempted Fate

Dear Editor,

I was very disappointed that you put that one-sided opinion piece (“Tempting Fate”) about Ariel Sharon, a’h, on the front page of last week’s newspaper. While the author was and is entitled to his opinion, this article clearly was an opinion piece and not news at all. Ariel Sharon was one of Israel’s greatest generals, a former prime minister, and a player on the international stage for four decades. Sharon’s decision to vacate the Gaza Strip was controversial to say the least, but to summarize a man of Ariel Sharon’s stature by calling him a “monster” in the first paragraph on the front page of your newspaper because of that one controversial decision is an unfair and inaccurate description. Again, the author can feel free to think of Mr. Sharon that way if he wishes, but it cheapens your newspaper to put that type of characterization on the paper’s front page.

Further, this is precisely the type of name that the Palestinians are calling Mr. Sharon, and your paper should not stoop to such a level. It ill behooves the Jewish people to use such inflammatory language about any Jew, particularly a Jew who was one of the most prominent Israeli statesmen and generals over the past few decades.

Paul M. Sod


Dear Editor,

Even before the passing of Ariel Sharon, I planned to write this letter, protesting the vicious article written by Chevron community leader David Wilder (front page, January 10). Rather than lamenting the reported decline in Sharon’s health, a decline that this week resulted in his death, Wilder gloated, calling Sharon a “monster” and equating him with Omri, an evil king during Biblical times.

Wilder is free to disagree with Ariel Sharon’s dogged approach to certain issues, especially the Gush Katif expulsion and his lackluster reaction to the Second Intifada. (Wilder’s attack on Sharon for removing Jews from the Sinai in light of the peace treaty with Egypt is incomprehensible; that treaty was overwhelmingly approved by the Knesset and represented the collective will of the State of Israel.) However, this disagreement, profound and heartfelt as it may be, does not give Wilder license to cheer on the impending death of a great leader of the Jewish people. After all, it was Ariel Sharon to whom the State of Israel turned time and again for critical military guidance. Specifically, had Sharon’s advice to fortify the Bar-Lev line been heeded, Israel would have dodged the Egyptian surprise attack at the outset of the Yom Kippur War. Without Ariel Sharon’s significant contribution, Israel might have lost that war.

One can absolutely disagree with certain things Sharon did. Besides the Gush Katif expulsion, Sharon did err in opening the door for the Sabra and Shatila massacres. However, leaders make difficult decisions; this goes with the territory. In the large picture, Ariel Sharon stands as a great hero of modern Israel.

Wilder does not reserve his invective for Sharon. He heaps it as well upon Menachem Begin, Benjamin Netanyahu, and other leaders of Israel as well. Such talk does not merit space in your fine paper.

Today’s Chevron Jewish community was not established under a national consensus; indeed, the underpinnings of Jewish settlement there took place without governmental approval. I am not saying that Jews do not belong in Chevron; rather, I am saying that Wilder and his fellow residents should be grateful to successive governments that have expended significant resources to protect citizens who, in essence, make their own foreign policy.

Avi Goldstein

Far Rockaway

Dear Editor,

I found it ironic that on page one of your January 10 issue there was an article by the editor condemning the New York Post for its unseemly portrayal of Menachem Stark, especially in the face of his grieving family, coupled with an article entitled “Tempting Fate” by David Wilder, who writes of the late prime minister Ariel Sharon (the article went to press before Sharon’s death but probably at the time that it was being reported that he was dying), that he would “remember him as a monster.” Neither of these gentlemen were saints, but I’m wondering at the juxtaposition of these two articles that seem to contradict the spirit of the way newspapers should handle those who have so recently passed on. Just curious.

Ellen Lebowicz

The Editor Responds

I will remember Sharon as a hero regardless of the pain and difficulty inflicted upon places like Hebron, where Mr. Wilder lives, and the 9,000 people forced to leave their homes in Gush Kartif in 2005. (See the “From the Editor” column on the front page of this issue). The juxtaposing of the so-far unsubstantiated criticism leveled at the newly murdered Mr. Stark’s business background and that of the difficult and sometime mistaken political decisions made by Ariel Sharon come from markedly different places and do not contradict any editorial policy.

Sharon was a political figure whose decisions were often made by considering the will or the perceived will of the electorate. Being a public figure like Mr. Sharon, people’s criticism of him were a vital factor in his decision-making process. Political figures and their legacies are frequently subjected to that same type of opinionated analysis. Sharon was 85 years old and had been in a coma for eight years. Stark was a healthy 39-year-old who evidently found himself in an impossible situation. The positions on both men can indeed vary widely and still be presented in a responsible fashion in the Five Towns Jewish Times, so long as it is accepted for what it is–that is, opinions that some will accept and others will reject. v

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