About the star...
Kudos to Daniel Doron (“An open letter to Richard Gere,” Comment & Features, March 14).
It’s high time someone got up and gave a perspective of who Gere really is and what he espouses. He has been spewing his hatred for Israel for as long as I can remember.
Doron’s piece says it all.MANNY AUERBACHER
Modi’in ...and the film
I have had a respect for Hannah Brown’s criticism of films for many years. I therefore read her piece on the film Norman (“Being Norman Oppenheimer,” Billboard, March 10), starring Richard Gere, with a serious view to being guided as to the quality of the film.
I found her exposition helpful as to both the content of the film and the quality of the acting, so my wife and I made it the source of an evening’s entertainment. On returning home, having enjoyed the film in all its parts, I reread Ms.
Brown’s critique with the additional dimension that was now available.
I am more impressed than ever by Hannah Brown. She brought out in her essay the essential characteristics of the tale, the acting and what she calls “the key relationship in the movie” to such a depth and in such clear and accurate terms that her place in my critics constellation is assured forever. I urge you to never let her go! MICHAEL BRUNERT
Modi’in A letter uncalled for I
have no need to defend Germany.
I do, however, object to the nature of reader Yohanan Av-Yair’s letter (“In their DNA,” March 14) and your decision to publish it.
Shortly after the German invasion of Poland in 1939, it was three German acquaintances, if not “friends” of the family, who donned SS uniforms and attempted to prove their Nazi bona fides by taking my grandfather from the house late one night and shooting him seven times just a few hundred meters away. Other family members met their end due to Nazi brutality in the Lodz Ghetto.
I have plenty reasons to hate.
On the other hand, my father recounted a story from his childhood town. A German family acquaintance, also in SS uniform, was approached by a small Polish boy, who pointed at my father, telling the soldier he was a Jew. The soldier could have taken his pistol and shot my father. No one would have batted an eye. Instead, he grabbed the boy by the collar and tossed him away like a sack of potatoes. That SS soldier saved my father’s life by his decision to not act on knowledge he already had. Perhaps he also taught the Polish boy a lesson.
My father’s late brother also recounted an experience. He attempted to flee from the German- occupied zone of Poland to the Russian-occupied zone.
Near to escaping, a German soldier suddenly stood before him, rifle raised. The soldier looked him over and asked Jude (Jew)? My uncle stood still. The soldier asked again. My uncle answered ja (yes). The soldier then motioned and said lauf (run)! Figuring he would be shot in the back, my uncle stood still and recited the Shema. The soldier said again, more emphatically: Lauf, mensch, lauf (run, man, run)! It then dawned on my uncle that he was telling him to escape, and to do so quickly.
Sadly, most other families had very different experiences.
I have no problem with mentioning Germany in our Yizkor prayers. Its national history is a fact. But if we speak of antisemitism as part of German DNA, Polish DNA, Ukrainian DNA or that of anyone else, do we not stoop to the level of the antisemites who, according to their racial ideology, attribute certain negative “Jewish” characteristics to biologically determinant factors? I am very aware that antisemitism is alive and well in Germany, and in many other places.
But not all Germans were or are antisemites. In fact, some today are actively more pro-Israel than some of our own co-religionists.GABE GOLDBERG
Jerusalem Compensation deserved
Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, whose daughters were killed by Israel Air Force bombs during Operation Cast Lead in 2009, is now suing the country for damages (“Gaza physician whose daughters died in 2009 fighting here to push civil suit,” March 13).
There’s no way the government can pay him – it would counter a legal principle and open the door to unlimited claims for inadvertent civilian casualties during war. On the other hand, this gentleman who studied and worked in Israel and was never an enemy deserves compensation.
I, for one, would be willing to contribute to a fund for that purpose.NAOMI SANDLER
Jerusalem Prioritizing Iran
With regard to “Prioritizing Iran” (Editorial, March 13), we cannot bury our heads in the sand. We must proclaim loudly that Iran has taken over Lebanon and that Hezbollah will be much worse now that it has become so much stronger due to Tehran’s support.
Are we prepared up North? I recall very well what Haifa went through during fighting with Hezbollah. It will be far worse now if we don’t make the world understand that Iran is already in Lebanon and practically in Syria.
If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not succeed in making US President Donald Trump aware of what has to be done with Iran, he has failed to protect Israel. What’s more, the United States must be a special friend to Israel for its own security.
Jeff Barak’s March 13 Reality Check column “Women soldiers are a distraction,” your March 9 editorial “Women of valor” and comments by others, including MK Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, are harshly critical of the leader of the Bnei David Academy in Eli, Rabbi Yigal Levinstein, who delivered a lecture stating the inappropriateness of female combat soldiers for both themselves and the IDF.
Through distortions of history, litany (not even a hint of a combat role in the list of feminine attributes in the editorial), the Declaration of Independence and facts on the ground, the case is made to pull the plug on this educator and cease funding his academy although it has turned out top IDF commanders.
In fact, Rabbi Levinstein was only doing his job. As a theologian and committed Jew, it is his duty to defend the immutable words of our Torah, even if it ruffles the feathers of the politically correct.
Yes, there have been exceptional instances of female combatants in our history, but the overwhelming portrayal of women has been that of kindness, gentleness and empathy.
The argument that women are legally entitled to equality in social and political rights does not hold water – a woman’s capacity to stand up to the rigors of the battlefield is as factitious as my ability to give birth.
To encourage the recruitment of women into the IDF, the bar has been lowered, reducing our overall military effectiveness. I shudder to think of our young women crawling in the mud with their M16s, being taken captive by our truculent enemies or being intimidated and abused by male officers! If we must engage in war, let us leave it to our young men.
As Rabbi Levinstein so eloquently stated, the idea of a female combatant is simply “crazy.”