Police and distress

Sir, – With reference to “Police appoint team to examine mishandling of abductee’s distress call” (June 19), it is grossly inappropriate for the police to carry out such investigation of their own misconduct! It is obvious that no proper procedures were in place. If such procedures were in place, was there an officer in charge whose duty it was to see that all standing orders were passed on to their subordinates? We should be concerned that a team of seven police officers will be able to table all the excuses in the book as to why things went wrong. This should be the brief of an independent, unbiased committee to investigate fully this breakdown of service. Recommendations should be made to ensure this never occurs again.

Unfortunately, this is typical of the handling of such critical issues important to the public and Israel in general.

MIKE CRAMER
Givatayim

Sir, – What has our society come to when we can’t trust the police emergency services? That’s why we have 100, the Israeli equivalent of 911 and synonymous for “emergency.”

Every single call should be taken seriously, and serious penalties should be incurred in the case of pranks or fraud, even for minors. But to ignore an emergency call is sickening and should be considered a crime! My 16-year-old daughter came to her own conclusions and offered this advice to kids who need help: If you have a chance to make that one phone call, don’t call the police. Call your parents or, better yet, in case they might not answer send them a text message. They are the ones who will take you seriously and contact the appropriate authorities.

I completely agree and suggest we spread the word!

CHANA PINTO

Ra’anana

A main culprit

Sir, – Gershon Baskin offers his theories on who might be responsible for kidnapping the three Israeli teenagers (“Who did it?” Encountering Peace, June 19). Not surprisingly, he ignores one of the main culprits – himself.

At the end of each column, Baskin proudly describes himself as “the initiator and negotiator of the secret back channel for the release of Gilad Schalit.” He has even written a self-laudatory book on the subject.

It was obvious from the beginning that a mass prisoner release for Schalit would provide an incentive for more kidnappings.

According to former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin, such releases are the “principal motivators for further kidnappings.” Yet Baskin has never demonstrated any recognition of the damage his actions may have wrought.

Security forces have disrupted no fewer than 44 kidnapping plots since the beginning of 2013 (“Battling against kidnappers,” June 15). It was only a matter of time before someone inspired by the Schalit deal succeeded. Meanwhile, Palestinian social media have been celebrating the capture of what they call the “three Schalits.”

We all pray that the three precious youths will be found quickly and returned to their families unharmed.

No matter what, Baskin must finally confront a fundamental question: Why was Schalit more important than Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Fraenkel and Gil-Ad Shaer?

PAULETTE G. COHEN
Zichron Ya’acov

Missing from action

Sir, – It seems rather strange that no one from the Schalit family, which went through such mental agony, has uttered a sound. Surely, they should be in the forefront of those of us who are protesting the kidnappings.

SYLVIA FRIEDMAN
Jerusalem

Punish Zoabi

Sir, – One can readily applaud your excellent editorial “Zoabi’s sins” (June 19) but at the same time miss the point: Why did it appear only now? Why did it not appear during MK Haneen Zoabi’s earlier acts of violation to the state? Why has she never been tried for treason? It is easy to recognize historian Barbara Tuchman’s observation that “a phenomenon noticeable throughout history regardless of place or period is the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interests.” Surely, with our vast historical experience, our judgment should rise to the occasion.

Continuously harping about democracy while permitting criminal behavior consequent to embracing the enemy’s narrative has obviously not served us well.

Seeking to end assaults through self-blame and accommodation to our enemies is nothing less than conforming to what should be called the “Oslo Syndrome.”

We need to understand and react to the pathology that has prompted us to embrace the false promise of peace.

ALEX ROSE
Ashkelon

Sir, – MK Haneen Zoabi took an oath of loyalty to the State of Israel in order to take her seat in the Knesset. By her words and deeds she has violated that oath and committed treason! She should be stripped of her immunity, removed from the halls of the Knesset and then tried and jailed for a long time.

JOEL BLOCK
Haifa

‘SS St. Louis’

Sir, – On reading Robert N.

Rosen’s “How we Americans saved the passengers on the ‘SS St. Louis’” (Comment & Features, June 17), I failed to understand why he didn’t put the word “saved” in quotation marks, and wondered whether the article was a put-on or intended to be serious.

The points he makes are that the 1924 Immigration Act forbade the US from taking in passengers, that most of the passengers were saved because of American pressure on other countries to take them in, and that in any case the event took place prior to the start of the war and prior to the death camps.

I am 84 years of age and have definite recollections of the situation at the time, including the events surrounding the St.

Louis. I recall my mother, who was fluent in German, listening in 1938 to Hitler’s speeches on shortwave radio and how upset and emotional she became because of the anti-Jewish rhetoric.

There were frequent stories in the press about Jews in Germany being accosted and beaten, and young Jewish girls being raped by the German youth movement. And maybe Rosen never heard of Kristallnacht or doesn’t know that Mein Kampf was written in 1932.

The most incredulous statement, though, is that although the United States did not accept even one of those on the St.

Louis, if other counties took some in it was only because of American efforts – a sort of “don’t do what I do, just do what I tell you.” Who is he kidding? At that time the isolationist US had little interest or interaction with the European countries, and those countries certainly wouldn’t have been moved to action by what it said. Also, the Joint Distribution Committee was acting as a Jewish organization, and not as a representative of the American government.

Finally, Germany had by far the largest quota of any country for immigrants to the US as part of the Immigration Act.

Surely, some of the St. Louis passengers could have been included, even if only to provide an incentive to other countries.

JEROME POLLOCK
Modi’in

Sir, – Robert N. Rosen overstates his case by writing: “Death camps did not exist in 1939. The Holocaust was three years into the future.” This is simply not true. It is easy to find eyewitness accounts from non-Jews that Jewish prisoners of the Nazis in the 1930s had almost no chance of surviving.

As a nine-year-old Austrian girl in 1939, my mother did not understand the semantic differences among the terms “death camps,” “concentration camps” or “work camps.” She clearly understood that her classmates who were taken away were never coming back.

JOHN KENNEDY
Haifa

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