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Israel’s new government a model of diversity

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Letters/Discussion Forums

In contrast to the Palestinian Authority (PA) which last held elections in January 2006, and yet again cancelled elections scheduled for 22 May 2021, Israel’s vibrant democracy has produced the broadest coalition of eight political parties in its history.

What is particularly noticeable about Israel’s new government is that it excludes all Jewish religious parties, and includes a Palestinian Arab party, Ra’am, led by Mansour Abbas. While Ra’am recognises Israel and aims for a two-state solution to the intractable Palestinian/Israeli conflict, it adheres to the Islamic movement, which advocates for Islam in Israel and Sharia law.

Having an Islamist party inside government deals a decisive blow to those denigrators of Israel who accuse it of “ethnic cleansing” and “Judaisation”. While Israel is inclusive of Islam and religious freedom and even accepts a party which propagates Islam, the PA denies the right of even one Jew to live in any future Palestinian state.

Ra’am will serve the interests of Arab society, in particular helping to address the housing shortage of the rapidly growing Palestinian and Bedouin populations, where three new towns and cities will be recognised in the Negev region in southern Israel. Budgets for development aid and improvements to infrastructure to Arabs exceed R265 billion, which is about 20% of South Africa’s total budget. In addition, more than 12 billion has been pledged to fight organised crime and violence in Arab society.

Israeli Arabs play an active role in Israeli society, and are well represented as high court judges, medical doctors, scientists, diplomats, and even as officers in the border police and military. Arabs comprise at least 20% of the student complement at the best Israeli universities, and their education levels are higher than any other Arab country.

Israel is truly a model for intercommunal relations between diverse religious and ethnic groups. I wish the new government “long live” and great success!

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Letters/Discussion Forums

“Clearly you’re a Zionist, going around demanding shit”

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I’m so sad that I came across this terrible article (“Professor of propaganda” by Howard Sackstein, SA Jewish Report, 3 June 2021).

First, I’m a Wits-trained doctor, and I admire doctors like Professor Shabir Moosa who are able to step outside their comfort zones and challenge the minds and beliefs of their younger doctors. South Africa needs more doctors that stand up for what’s right. Israel is an apartheid state. Please stop denying it! You’re basically killing Arabs and jailing innocent kids. You have no humanity as a Zionist.

Second, he posted his article on this group, and that made interns feel uncomfortable! Oh please, grow up! It’s a bunch of white men trying to bully us into acting in a way suitable for them. Imagine, a bunch of privileged white men felt uncomfortable for the first time in their life!

Third, screw the author! That he thinks he has any authority to report and demand “action”. Who do you think you are? Clearly, you’re a Zionist. Going around demanding shit. When you deserve nothing.

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Letters/Discussion Forums

Why seek citizenship of murderous Lithuania?

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“Most of our ancestors were forced to flee Lithuania in terrible circumstances, and restoring our citizenship will go a long way to address the wrongs of the past.” I find these words by the national vice-president of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies to be shameful and incomprehensible. To claim, as Zev Krengel does, that ex-Lithuanian Jews have an ancestral right to citizenship is an insult to the G-d of Israel. The only country to which any Jew has an ancestral right is the land of Israel.

When the Nazis marched into Lithuania in 1941, the government and people (with a handful of exceptions) didn’t lift a finger as Jews in more than 200 shtetls were humiliated, tortured, and ultimately murdered by Lithuanian collaborators. Which Jew with pure emotions would now wish to seek citizenship of that country, or any European country which willingly aided and abetted Nazi murderers?

The yizkor (remembrance) prayer that Jews recite in synagogues four times a year includes one for martyrs: “May G-d remember the souls of the holy and pure ones who were murdered, gassed, burned, strangled for the sanctification of the name through the hands of the German oppressors and their collaborators. (Yemach s’hmom v’zichron – may their name and memory be obliterated.) No, Mr Krengel, no amount of time will “restore the wrongs of the past”.

The most tragic event in Jewish history – the Holocaust – has taught the Jewish people that it’s forbidden for us to derive any benefit from countries that persecuted our people. (Hilchot Sanhedrin 15:9). How can any Jew with pure emotions associate with these places, much less seek citizenship?

With all due respect to Krengel and all those who seek citizenship of these murderous countries, may I humbly suggest that you rather seek citizenship in your one and only true ancestral homeland – the land of Israel. Seeking citizenship anywhere but Israel, after 2 000 years of bitter exile, is scorning G-d’s most precious gift to His people.

Further, I believe that to fulfil the commandment of “may their name and memory be obliterated”, no Jew should ever set foot in or associate with these countries in any way. It’s with dismay that one sees influential Orthodox groups spending money on resurrecting Judaism in these murderous countries instead of obliterating their names.

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Letters/Discussion Forums

None of us are angels, but condemnation of Israel is truly sick

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I’m appalled by prominent members of our government, even one of our own – Ronnie Kasrils – who has the gall to speak out against Israel, Zionism, and the Jews for what happened recently in Gaza, even to the extent of mentioning a Jewish policeman or soldier with his knee on a dead Palestinian child. This isn’t the way Jews behave. We are very conscious of our Judaism and families, and kindness is in our genetic make-up.

The photo I’m referring to was taken years ago, in a completely foreign country, and it incites hate where it doesn’t belong.

Sick people have caused anxiety and fear during the pandemic by publishing pictures of COVID-19-related crimes and other lies on Facebook and WhatsApp, and by publishing old photos and leading us to believe that they are fresh situations.

None of us are angels who never sin. But can anyone truly believe that no action should be taken against 4 000 rockets fired at a country indiscriminately? Does any other army in the world advise the perpetrators that they should evacuate because they don’t want to hurt or kill innocent people when they retaliate?

Well, Israel does.

In conclusion, Israel isn’t fighting Gazans, it’s fighting Hamas. The people who run Gaza are Hamas, not the Palestinians. They made the fatal mistake of allowing Hamas to run their country. It uses them as shields and doesn’t give a damn about their safety or well-being.

So, wake up South Africa, and all who condemn Israel for defending its citizens – you would do the same!

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