Disgrace in Cyprus
I am a stalwart fan of Israelis. But shame on the 12 Israeli men and teenagers who have dragged the name of their country into the public mire by their sexually obscene and abusive behaviour towards an 18-year-old girl in Cyprus. And then further degrading themselves on their return home by chanting, over a bottle of champagne: “The Brit is a whore.” If up-skirting is now a crime, then surely at a minimum of what they did, or were complicit in, during their iniquitous holiday, the “video-rape”— recording a sex scene without permission from one or both participants, should be.
Their parents, too, are reprehensible for not chastising them openly on their return. Are we really still living at the moronic hubristic level of “boys will be boys”? Why did not a single one of them have the guts to act chivalrously to protect the girl? In their bravado, did none experience guilt, remorse, or need for self-control. Were they all just sexually incontinent sheep?
What an uproar there would be in the Jewish press if the situation was reversed and a crowd of sexually abusive British young men had chanted “the Jewess”, or “the Israeli”, is a whore!” If this is a representative sample of a new breed of young Israelis, then we have need not for celebration but for a serious contemplation.
Dr Stanley Jacobs
On the border
By supporting Dr Sarah Fine’s “interrogation” of “national identity”, does David Edmonds (Who decides who is British?, JC, January 3) think Parliament has no moral right to maintain cultural, political, social or numerical criteria for permanent settlement in this country?
How does entry control constitute “oppression” inside the land (Exodus 23.9)? And what has Grandfather Sholem to do with millions of Muslims, among others, who would like to live here today?
Doesn’t the desire for open borders provide gratuitous ammunition for “far right” propaganda that Jewish publicists are foremost in demanding massive ethnic changes to other western democracies that would be unacceptable for Israel?
Wrong side of the lawyer
Ros Wright’s interesting article (JC, January 3) about Jewish women blazing a legal trail brought back memories of my early years in West Hartlepool’s little shul in the late 1950s. It was there that a distinguished gentleman by the name of Louis Bloom sat quietly in the back row reading up on the runners and riders, making up the minyan but not overtly participating in the service. He was the Town Clerk of Hartlepool Council, and some years later became the Town Clerk of Sunderland Council where he was highly regarded.
In Ros Wright’s article, it was noted that Rose Heilbron KC “became the first woman to lead in an English murder case and defended a man accused of murdering his mistress”. That man was local solicitor Louis Bloom, and the crime took place in his office.
After serving his sentence for manslaughter, he was fully rehabilitated into society and readmitted as a solicitor. As my senior partner later informed me, he was the solicitor instructed by Mr Bloom to defend him and decided to put his faith in a young female KC in the early years of her career. I later discovered that KC was Rose Heilbron. Had he been found guilty he would have been hanged.
Newcastle upon Tyne
Michael Lazarus (Letters, January 3) admits that it is some time since he read the Guardian and so I wonder how it is that he feels able to comment on its present content. Were he to be a regular reader, he would find a newspaper not afraid to report fairly on both Israel and Palestine, giving praise or criticism when necessary.
Also as a regular reader, he might be pleased to find himself in agreement with that paper’s constant criticism of the present Labour Party and, in particular, Jeremy Corbyn.
Perhaps Mr Lazarus has been taking the odd sneaky glance at the paper he so despises. Closer attention would have shown that, yes, the Guardian did advise readers to rejoin the Labour Party, simply to vote against a Jeremy Corbyn “lookalike”. Advice which I have taken in the hope that Keir Starmer will become the next leader. If he does not, I will again resign with the certain knowledge that I will never see another Labour government in my lifetime.
As for Jonathan Freedland, he is just about the best thing in the Guardian. It is his presence there that keeps the paper balanced and informed. Our community should be proud of his considerable achievements and the respect he commands within his profession.
Potters Bar, Herts
Together and proud
In a most beautiful act of #Jewnity last Shabbat, the congregation of Belsize Square Synagogue left their place of worship after the Torah reading and walked en masse, some wearing talitot, all wearing kippot, through the streets of Hampstead to South Hampstead Synagogue to pray Musaf with our brothers and sisters whose beautiful new synagogue was attacked last week.
The haters could not stop us. It was a walk of proud, unapologetic Jews and the welcome from our hosts was magnificent.
We may not be part of the same organisation (they are United, we are Independent but far closer to Masorti) but there was no doubting that we are of one religion.
Last Shabbat, our congregation was filled to capacity in honour of our two illustrious members, Gisela Feldman and Sonja Sternberg, who had been awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for International Holocaust Education.
They were, however, not included in your comprehensive report, Among the stars, 12 Holocaust survivors. They were passengers, with their mother, on the infamous SS St Louis and are devotees to Holocaust education, so this was a grave omission on your part.
Perhaps the Jewish Chronicle needs reminding that the “Empire” cited in the BEM, if it does still exist, must surely extend to the environs of Manchester and Cheshire.
Chairman, Menorah Synagogue: Cheshire Reform Congregation
Thinly spread across Israel
When visiting Israel, I always pack English tea and Marmite -- my staple breakfast diet. On arriving this month, a swift trip to the local supermarket yielded bread and milk but of butter there was no sign. Searching in various other supermarkets, I found margarine galore and several types of buttermilk spreads but absolutely no trace of the real thing.
Apparently, this has been the case for many months in Israel, no longer the land of milk products and honey. To quote A A Milne (The King’s Breakfast): “Nobody he whimpered could call me a fussy man, I only want a little bit of butter for my bread.”
More salmon than slalom
I admire Jennifer Lipman’s aspirations for the next decade, such as a more egalitarian Orthodox Judaism and maintaining our impressive contribution to British public life (Here’s my communal To Do list for the 2020s, JC, January 3).
But greater sporting success? The Jewish propensity for argument and our love of food makes us more likely to be sporting pundits than sportsmen; more likely to be at a Deli than a Dele Alli.