This crime hasn’t any impact on my feelings for Israel (“Does the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir Make You Doubt Israel? It Should,” July 11). The national response to the crime might. But not the crime itself.
If the sentiment to kill Palestinians because they are Palestinian became widespread and a daily mantra in mainstream Israeli print and broadcast media, as the sentiment to kill Jews has become an integral component of Palestinian culture and media, then I would start to sit shivah for the death of Israel’s soul.
However, this crime does buttress my disgust with the current government for empowering such ugly nationalistic thugs, many of whom are the same ones who set up and populated a number of illegal outposts in the West Bank. By dragging its feet on the court-ordered dismantling of these outposts, the Netanyahu government has bestowed a sense of privilege and empowerment on the worst segments of Israeli society.
But until Israel’s lunatic fringe becomes mainstream, as the lunatics have in Palestinian society, this horrific crime in and of itself does not change my perspective on Israel in the slightest.
Mark Ira Kaufman via jewishjournal.com
If Israel had not arrested those responsible for Abu Khdeir’s murder, then Israel’s values would indeed be compromised. Nevertheless, the murderers are in custody. On the contrary, it is the government’s constant attempts to appease Palestinians by releasing equally murderous prisoners and giving away land, only to receive nothing in return is what ought to be re-examined and questioned.
Chaya Gilburt via jewishjournal.com
Extreme rhetoric can lead weak minds to extreme actions. But society speaks with another voice. These people I expect will, if guilty, be punished as the pariahs they really are. They will find no museums celebrating their act, they will not be heroes one day welcomed home to cheering crowds. Instead if they ever see the light of day they will be seen for their true selves, murderous barbarians who brought shame to their society, families and state.
Epa Minondas via jewishjournal.com
Joyful in the Schoolhouse of Prayer
After 14 years of public schooling, I have firsthand knowledge of the decline and demise of prayer in public schools (“L.A. Mayor and America’s Decline,” June 27). Growing up with an Orthodox Jew and an atheist as parents, I found it much preferable when I went to school to hear a Christian trying to save my soul than a punk telling the teacher what he or she could go do with his or her self. As for my parents, I split the difference and became a Conservative Jew.
Warren Scheinin, Redondo Beach
All Hail Herzl!
In David N. Myers’ interesting and informative “Legacies of the Great War” (July 4), he refers to Zionism as the “last, least typical of European nationalisms.” The underlying miracle is, of course, our beloved Theodor Herzl who, as one wit answered [the question], “In one sentence, what did Herzl accomplish?” — “Herzl got us our address!” And, as to the “significant boost” from the Balfour Declaration, long before Weitzman ever heard of Balfour, Herzl hired and paid with his own money the brilliant young attorney to work for the Jews. Hopefully, Herzl will serve as an inspiration for future generations.
Charles S. Bediansky, Los Angeles
Rekindle Through Renewal
The quoted teachings of Reb Zalman that have guided Rabbi Stan Levy, and are foundational for the Jewish Renewal movement that Zalman founded, have proven to be an indispensable gateway to a return to Judaism for me and countless others (“Remembering Reb Zalman, A Blessing,” July 11). If you struggle to bring kavanah to your recitation of the Shema, prepare next time by reading these teachings beforehand and notice the difference. You might then consider posting them together with the Shema upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.
Roger Schwarz, Los Angeles
A Hope for Tomorrow
Amen, brother (“A Very Different Ramadan,” July 11)! May our two peoples, who share a deep connection to the same corner of the Earth and a narrative of oppression and resilience, find a way to live and grow together.
Cathy Engel-Marder via jewishjournal.com