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‘Palestinians’ had no historical claim

Letter from Lionel Thwaits, Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth



Letters/Discussion Forums

Letter from Lionel Thwaits, Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth

The debate on Israel has many facets. Ran Greenstein has a point of view which sympathises with the “Palestinians” and fails to mention that they have committed many crimes against defenseless Israeli citizens over the years.

He could argue that if Israel had not taken land from them, they would not have killed anyone; but who the land belongs to is a matter of debate.

However, in a previous letter he mentions that Jews have murdered Bedouins but he fails to mention that when the Jews started returning to that part of the world in the early part of the 20th century and legally purchased land in order to rebuild what was at that point a virtual wasteland, the Bedouins repeatedly attacked and killed the Jews each time they tried to make a life for themselves.

When the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD, they went on to massacre close to 600 000 Jews. Afterwards, in approximately 135 AD, they renamed Israel “Palestine”, which was a way of kicking sand in the faces of the Jews because the Philistines who were the enemies of the Israelites had become extinct approximately 700 years prior to that and no longer existed as a people.

Yasser Arafat gave the name “Palestinians” to the Arabs who were living in that part of the world but in fact they were the remnant of the Ottoman Empire and had no historical claims to the land.

When the Balfour Declaration was implemented at the San Remo Convention in 1920, the parameters concerning the division of the future Land of Israel were drawn up and endorsed by 55 nations. It is interesting to note that Israel today only occupies 22 per cent of the land which was given to them. However, that seems to be too much for its enemies.

What is important to realise is that the Jews were hated prior to Israel becoming a nation and are still hated today; anti Semitism is far worse today in Europe than it was prior to the Second World War; !967 is not the problem – May 14 1948 is the problem for the enemies of Israel. 

Members of the PLO were allowed to return to the West Bank in 1994 by request of the UN after the Arab Nations of Lebanon,Syria and Egypt kicked them out because of their crimes and Tunisia had to be stuck with them. They murdered and raped Christians in the West Bank and accused those who had Jewish friends of being collaborators.

The impasse in Israel has nothing to do with land for peace, but has everything to do with Jew hatred. The “Palestinians” will not be happy with whatever they are given.


The letter has been shortened. – Editor

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Mark Molker

    Nov 8, 2013 at 6:05 am

    ‘I’ll go one step further regardless of our historical right to own the land of the current Israeli borders : as you stated correctly, when early 20th century Jews re-settled in the Land of Israel, they mostly found a wasteland. They worked the Earth and struggled hard to defend what suddenly had become a ripe fruit to steal in the midst of Arab laziness and jealousy.

    Some will say that prior to the establishment of the State of Israel Jews and Arabs lived together side by side without hating each other. Although this interpretation is opened to questioning, the fact remains that when there is nothing to steal everyone carries on sharing the slums and the dirt.

    Historically, when a family, a tribe or a State has become successful it has suffered the envy, antagonism and ultimately a conflict from its less successful neighbours.

    This is probably our main problem in life : when we go for it, in Arts, Commerce or Sciences, we end up by gathering most of the prizes.’

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Letters/Discussion Forums

Seeking any information about missing father



I’m looking for information about my father, who may have emigrated to South Africa in the early 1960s. His name was Victor Vinegrad, and he had British citizenship. He would have been in his forties when he emigrated from Britain. He would be 101 today, if alive. Any help you can give me about his life or death would be greatly appreciated.

My father disappeared in Australia in 1952, leaving my mother with two small children. She was forced to fend for herself and to return to the United Kingdom. Searches for Victor yielded nothing. Sometime in the late 1980s, she met a man who said he had seen Victor in London in 1960 or thereabouts. He confided to him that he was going to emigrate to South Africa. My mother, at 98 years old, is still an Agunah. It would be a blessing if she could be freed before she dies. It would also help me if I could find out what happened to my father. Email:

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Letters/Discussion Forums

Price of kosher meat comes down to production costs



Rather than being a stiff-necked people who complain a lot, it’s better to be a “light unto the nations” and glow with goodwill. Unfortunately, holding on to faribles (resentments) is more common in the South African Jewish community than it is elsewhere. This includes petty grudges.

Not only does it make us unhappy and result in people avoiding us, it’s contrary to our religion. The Torah says, “Do not bear a grudge.”

Unfortunately, there are extra costs involved in producing kosher food, especially meat. Some might be tempted to be suspicious about them.

Many kosher butcheries have closed down over the years, with Nussbaums being the latest casualty. If they were so lucrative, that wouldn’t be the case.

It’s true that many have left the country, reducing the demand, but many have also become kosher, increasing the demand.

South African Jewry has the highest proportion of ba’alei teshuva (newly religious people) in the world. By far. What was once a secular community has become a strong centre of Torah. Our community is respected internationally for this, whether Chabad, haredi, or modern Orthodox.

In the early 1970s there were only five shomrei Shabbos families in Glenhazel, and that included rabbis. My father reports that 60 years ago, there was no such thing as someone wearing a yarmulka.

Along with this revival, there has been a huge increase in the availability of kosher foods such as cereals, biscuits, canned food, and so on, making it much easier to eat in accordance with the traditional ways. Since they are mass produced, the prices are low. Nevertheless, it’s admirable that so many are prepared to pay the extra costs of buying kosher meat, especially those who are struggling financially.

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Letters/Discussion Forums

Loss can teach us how to live



My name is Lisa. I work as a child and adult psychologist in our community.

It’s been almost eight years since my husband and child passed away. I survived the car accident, but they didn’t. My broken bones healed, but my broken heart has been the biggest challenge to live with. Last year, my beloved father passed away. Like you, I’m no stranger to loss.

I see our community reeling from loss upon loss. I see how frightened many are as the distance between death and life has closed or narrowed for so many.

I have learned as a psychologist and survivor that death is as much a part of life as breath. I have learned that pain is a natural response to death, and that in life, pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. I understand that “suffering is what our mind does to us”. (David Kessler).

David Kessler is an American grief expert. He has repeatedly been called upon to help the nation understand the psychological impact of COVID-19 and the loss on all levels it leaves in its wake. Kessler’s latest book is titled, Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief. It’s our destiny to make meaning, to learn from life. As I sit with parents and children in loss and hold my own, this is some of what I have come to understand:

  • Enjoy your children;
  • Enjoy your life; and
  • Teach yourselves how to take control of your mind.

As a parent, I remember how busy life can be. We take care of our children’s physical needs. We provide, feed, clothe, educate, and stimulate them, but do we make enough time to enjoy them? To join a child in play is remarkable. Here we are able to delight in the joy they bring to our world. How precious they are, and how precious it is to be alive!

The more we are present in our lives, the less we fear death.

Now, I take the time to turn inward, to be still on a regular basis and ask: what gives my life meaning? Then I prioritise it.

When you are deeply engaged in life, there isn’t too much space for fear and suffering. The pain will be there, but the living will be larger. In this way, we, too, reduce our suffering. My prayer is simple: may we have the capacity to allow loss to teach us all how to live a more meaningful life.

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