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(Photo from Flash90)
(Photo from Flash90)

Israel is not an ‘apartheid state’
The 225th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) erred in accusing Israel of apartheid (“Israel labeled an apartheid state by Presbyterian Church USA,” July 29).

Israel is the nation-state of the Jews in which non-Jews have full civil rights. In signing the Oslo Accords nearly 30 years ago, Israel afforded Palestinians the opportunity to live under the administration of leaders of their own choosing. Unfortunately, their chosen leaders have betrayed the people’s trust. The heads of both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have long overstayed their elected terms, enriched themselves by embezzling monies donated for their people’s benefit and diverted humanitarian aid to efforts to destroy the nation-state of the Jews. Had the leaders instead prioritized the building of a Palestinian state willing to co-exist, peacefully, with the world’s only Jewish state, the Palestinians could have become productive citizens in their own state long ago.

But Palestinian leaders flatly rejected several Israeli proposals that should have led to the establishment of that state. Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza didn’t result in creation of a state; it led only to an increase of the number and types of attacks from Gaza on Israeli population centers. While the world complains that Gaza is under siege, Israel supplies tons of food, medicine and fuel on a regular basis, attempting only to embargo goods the terrorists can use to attack Israelis.

When Palestinian leaders say they accept a “two-state solution,” they envision a Palestinian state from which all Jews have been banished and a Muslim-majority Israel, peopled by the Palestine refugees (as designated by UNRWA). Very few of the “refugees” fled (or were forced from their homes) during Arab-initiated violence aimed at ridding Palestine/Israel of its Jews in the 1940s and 1967. The typical Palestine refugee was born in an UNRWA camp because the UN abets Arab and Palestinian leaders who insist that Israel must give the “refugees” the homes they claim their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents lost in what became the modern state of Israel generations ago. Unfortunately, the “refugees” have grown up seeing people highly honored and richly rewarded for killing Jews. Jews would be second-class citizens in a Muslim-majority Israel if they were tolerated at all.

This is the true “apartheid” in the Middle East. In the first three decades following 1948, Israel absorbed and uplifted 800,000 Mizrahi Jews who’d been thrust from their homes in the Muslim countries of the Middle East and North Africa. Surely, the numerous Arab countries, some oil-rich, should have rehabilitated a similar number of Arab refugees who share language, religion and culture with their own citizens. This is especially true because Arab countries went to war instead of helping the Arabs of Palestine achieve self-rule in 1948. It is deeply troublesome that some in the Presbyterian Church stand with those who have chosen violence over negotiation.

Toby F. Block
Atlanta, Georgia

Article didn’t mention former rabbi
I grew up in Pittsburgh, and my grandfather was Rabbi Kaplan, who served as the rabbi at Beth Hamedrash with Rabbi Ashinski for many years. My dad, the late Bernard Kaplan, helped keep the synagogue going for many years.

There was no mention of either my grandfather or my dad in your article “‘A Hidden Gem’: The history of Beth Hamedrash Hagodol-Beth Jacob Congregation” (July 15). That’s a real shame because they helped keep the synagogue going for many years.
I’m glad the article was written, but I wish their names had been part of the article.

Miriam Kaplan Meltzer
Rockville, Maryland

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