On December 20, 2010 Jewish Israel submitted a letter to the editor of the Jerusalem Post . In that letter we cited Isi Leibler's continued dissemination of an erroneous report that was based on the misleading headlines from the December 6th JPost Online Edition, "Yishai refused fire truck donations from Christian group"
On December 21, 2010 the Jerusalem Post published our letter with a change in the headlines we cited, and with the deletion of Leibler's offending quote.
Below is a screen shot of the headlines as we saw them and as they continue to be seen throughout the Internet. Below that is the original text of the letter we submitted, followed by the edited published version.
More than a week after Jerusalem Post headlines alleged Yishai refused fire truck donations from Christian group, we were disappointed to see respected JPost columnist and Jewish community leader, Isi Leibler, use his regularly featured opinion column to perpetuate that flawed story.
In Leibler's column of December 15th, Rabbis: Raise your voices against extremism he writes, "…If this were not enough, almost concurrently, the nation learned that Shas Interior Minister Eli Yishai had rejected an offer of fire-fighting equipment because it was being donated by Evangelical Christians."
Jewish Israel checked with the sources of the original report and, according to these sources, Interior Minister Eli Yishai definitely did not refuse a donation of firefighting equipment, as was alleged in the JPost exclusive of December 6th. Rather, Yishai's opting out of an IFCJ ceremony - possibly for religious reasons - was an affront to Yechiel Eckstein and jeopardized the Interior Ministry's opportunity to receive additional equipment from IFCJ.
Depending on one's opinion, failure to nurture a relationship with an evangelical group and pay homage to IFCJ's Yechiel Eckstein in a photo-op could be deemed as behavior unbecoming the head of the Interior Ministry, and worthy of an opinion piece or investigation. But it surely doesn't warrant propagating banner headlines that were at best misleading.
The issue over whether or not to accept evangelical funding is complex and Israel's growing dependence on Christian donors presents the Jewish people and the Jewish state with socio-economic , political and halachic challenges. The Jerusalem Post would do the Jewish people and the state of Israel a great service by giving this issue the profound attention it deserves.
Jpost columnists like Isi Leibler can continue to raise their voice against rabbinic extremism, but they should take the time to investigate and protest erroneous headlines in the paper they write for, too.
Content and Research Director, JewishIsrael.com