To the Toronto community: I am eager to share with the community the news of how I’m doing since my allogeneic stem cell transplant last July at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md. Three years ago, I was not sure what my future looked like. After I learned that I needed a transplant, everything in my life became even more uncertain. My family and I are forever grateful for the overwhelming support and love that the community provided us, which enabled me to have this transplant. I have now passed my six-month mark post-transplant. The doctors are thrilled with my progress and feel very good about everything thus far. The transplant team wants to see me for regular appointments up until two years after my transplant. Johns Hopkins is an extraordinary institution with a team of wonderful doctors and nurses who have saved my life and given me more hope that I have ever had. I am so proud of the community that I am part of. Your love, caring and tremendous support will never be forgotten by my family and me. I am looking forward to returning to school in September and to finally feel like a normal student again. On behalf of my family and me, we truly thank you for helping me get to this point in my recovery. May God bless you all.
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Non-Jewish Africans in Israel (1)
While the extremist comments and violence directed against non-Jewish Africans who have found temporary asylum in Israel have no justification, the background to the protests must be told (“Stand up for asylum seekers in Israel,” Jan. 31). In December 2012, an Eritrean man was accused of raping an 83-year-old woman in south Tel Aviv. That was in the minds of protesting Israelis living in this neighbourhood, after a history of other acts of violence attributed to the refugees. Residents of south Tel Aviv are gripped by fear in their own neighbourhoods. The guest voice accuses “radical government officials” of incitement against the refugees. The “incitement” does not come from government officials. It is grassroots, and it is not racist.
Errors of fact abound in this article. The guest voice states, “Most asylum seekers… are not permitted to work, to access health services, or even to apply for refugee status.” Israel, under its Border Crossings Authority, has granted “temporary protection group” status, assistance and work permits to asylum seekers, and health care is never refused in Israel. On Jan. 13, 2011, Israel’s Supreme Court decided that fines would not be imposed on employers of asylum seekers. In effect, officially, illegal workers can work.
But, the country’s ability to sustain non-Jewish refugees is limited. Uncapped absorption of non-Jewish asylum seekers, approximately half of whom are Muslim, is an impossibility for the demographically challenged Jewish state. The State of Israel was not created to save the world’s refugees. What it has done so far for the refugees from Sudan and Eritrea is more than commendable. Their return to their African homelands must be facilitated soon.
Alex P. Korn
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Non-Jewish Africans in Israel (2)
The view expressed in the guest voice “Stand up for asylum seekers in Israel” (Jan. 31), is misguided compassion that is not true to Judaism. Similarly, the Israeli liberal newspaper Ha’aretz has continuously, in its editorials and opinion pieces, condemned Israel’s policy towards Eritrean and Sudanese migrants, while being silent about the racism and hardships encountered by our Ethiopian Jewish brethren. Israel, a tiny country, cannot accommodate all migrants fleeing there. Why are “tolerant” bigger countries, such as Greece, Hungary and Saudi Arabia, not welcoming their Christian and Muslim co-religionists? We should remember that no good deed goes unpunished for Jews. African countries after the Yom Kippur War broke off ties with Israel despite its huge aid to them.
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Don’t blame Israel
In reply to the letter “Israel agreed to return captured lands,” (Jan. 31), blaming Israel for the lack of security, I have only two words: “Fogel family.” (Five members of the family were slaughtered in their beds by terrorists in the West Bank.)
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‘Yes’ means ‘no’
Two letters published on Feb. 14 mention that the precondition for peace talks with Palestinians is to recognize Israel as a Jewish state (“Absurd position on Israeli election”; “No preconditions”). Countries are “sovereign states,” and they are recognized as such by neighbours and other countries. Does the United Kingdom depend on others for its identity as a monarchy? No, that is from within.
Israel is a Jewish state. Its culture, history and other facets reflect its Jewishness. Israel is a sovereign state, recognized by other countries. There is no reason why Israel should value its own Jewish identity, which already exists, as being so tenuous that it can only come from outsiders, especially those with which it needs to negotiate peace. Israel is a Jewish state because it wills it as Jewish and it is Jewish. It seems illogical to expect once and current enemies to be allowed to discuss peace only by declaring what already exists from within Israel, that it is a Jewish state. That seems more like a declaration by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he will never allow peace discussions.
Why must Netanyahu maintain his stance of that precondition before talking? Just to talk! It seems that Netanyahu’s conditional “yes” means forever “no.”
Allan J. Fox