Magazine

Letters

While vandalism is wrong and should be punished, they are not evil. True evil is murdering a family or shooting a mother with four children.

Celebration after Schalit's release
Photo by: REUTERS
Heft and fragrance
Sir, – As a writer and editor, I agree with Tami Lehman-Wilzig that it’s important to know new technology (“Writing with passion,” Veterans, October 28).

But as a biographer, my client’s voices come alive in the printed text, and after one client died his family told me that at the shiva, it was comforting to hold his life story in their hands.

I also like the way my kids wander through our library and pick books above their reading level. If they read electronically and plug in their age, they might not receive material that is a bit difficult and will thus lose a chance to improve their skills.

I’m certainly not ancient, but I love the smell of a new book!

LAUREN ADILEV COHEN
Efrat

It’s just vandalism
Sir, – In an otherwise fine article, Daniel Gordis implores our prime minister to rid us of the evil of the “hilltop youth” (“A rediscovered abundance of goodness,” Guest Columnist, October 28) – and frankly I’m shocked.

While these acts of vandalism are wrong and should be punished, they are not evil. True evil is murdering a family of five or shooting a mother with four children in their car. These acts and others have been perpetrated over the past 100-plus years against the Jewish people and they are all evil, as is the Palestinian culture that spawns it.

If the prime minister wants to do a good deed, he should call evil what it is – and make sure that those evil men and women he recently released don’t have the opportunity to act in their evil ways again.

BARRY LYNN
Efrat

Sir, – Mostly, I tend to agree with Daniel Gordis. But in his latest column he angered me.

He wants to eradicate evil, and the only evil he can think of is some hooligans who did not harm a single person. Evil? Vicious? Not a word about terrorists who slaughter innocent men, women and children simply because they are Jewish.

Well, I guess that’s the norm, so it’s not worth mentioning.

Maybe we ought to think of how we can eradicate that evil.

Gordis should put on his thinking cap.

TAMAR H. KAGAN
Jerusalem

Here’s hoping
Sir, – Many thanks for the words of wisdom so well expressed in “The scorpion and the frog” (Eisenbud’s Odyssey, October 28). Let’s hope our leaders see it and learn from it.

LYNETTE ORDMAN
Netanya

Sir, – The column dealing with the frog and the scorpion is absolutely on the mark.

The fact that it is in the Arab psyche to act this way is difficult to accept in the Western mind, but it is true. They have been acting in a way that harms their own interest for so many years that it has become part of their rationale.

The West cannot buy into Arab fantasies any longer. Israel must not do so either. Every time we give in to inappropriate demands we become more vulnerable.

The time has come to say no and mean it. Maybe some Arabs will awaken from their stupor and create a new idea of reality.

TOBY WILLIG
Jerusalem

So hard to grasp
Sir, – In “The interminable train ride,” a review of Aharon Appelfeld’s Until the Dawn’s Light (Books, October 21), Elaine Margolin writes: “The author has never professed to understand the gruesome indignities inflicted upon the Jews – lives destroyed in an instant by barbarism, torture and an insanity that was unforeseen by the prewar Jews of Europe.”

The aforesaid provoked my memory to recall the understanding of Vienna-born Dr.

Walter Johannes Stein, confidential advisor to Sir Winston Churchill regarding Adolf Hitler’s mind and motivation, which, according to Margolin, eludes Appelfeld: the failure of the Nuremberg Trials to identify the evil at work behind the outer facade of National Socialism and the extent to which Allied prosecutors at these trials lacked the moral imagination to perceive the apocalyptic, magical weltanschauung that had arisen in Germany.

It was apparent to Stein “that a decision had been made at the highest political level to explain the most atrocious crimes in the history of mankind as the result of mental aberration and the systematic perversion of instincts. It was thought expedient to speak in dry psycho-analytical terms when considering the motives for incarcerating millions of human beings in gas ovens rather than to reveal that such practices were an integral part of a dedicated service to evil powers.”

KARL HUTTENBAUER
Berlin


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