Sir, – Ben Caspit’s two-part series (“The true story: What Gilad
Schalit told IDF investigators,” March 29; “The true story of Gilad Schalit in
captivity,” March 31) is less a factual account and more of a
Caspit passes judgment on Schalit, claiming he was derelict
in his duty as he had been sleeping the “sleep of the just” when the assault
took place, and that were it not for being a “rosh katan” (a person who does not
exercise initiative) he could have avoided capture by attacking his
Schalit’s five years in captivity, according to Caspit, were
not overly stressful (“he was forced to eat what Gazans eat”). In a particularly
ridiculous comment related to Schalit being able to see the Mediterranean Sea,
Caspit remarks that “under other circumstances, he could have believed that he
was on vacation.” At the close of the article Caspit states that Schalit should
never have been placed in a tank unit and that IDF Chief of Staff Gantz misspoke
when he called Schalit a hero, stating that the captive soldier was actually an
Caspit also suggests that Schalit now perform volunteer work
to show gratitude to the country for having compromised its essential interests
for this anti-hero.
Who should be considered a hero is subjective, and
Caspit’s criticism of Gantz is unjustified.
Acts of heroism are
characterized by bravery or sacrifice, and Schalit’s five-year sacrifice for his
country was heroic and should be recognized as such.
The salute Schalit
gave his commanders after his release, and their reciprocation, more than
anything else symbolized Schalit’s fulfillment of his duty as a soldier, and a
nation’s gratitude to all its soldiers.
Caspit’s tendentious redaction of
an IDF report is a vehicle for pushing his longstanding misgivings about the
Schalit deal. He does not strengthen his position by defaming Schalit or
minimizing the rigors of his captivity.SHAYA WEXLER
Sir, – I am
shocked that the military censor allowed Ben Caspit’s two-part series to be
published, and most disappointed that The Jerusalem Post
Schalit gave five of the best years of his life to the State
of Israel, which is a hell of a lot more than the tens of thousands of
able-bodied young men (and not only haredim, might I add) who avoid any national
service. The only positive point made in the article is that “Schalit is an
introverted young man who is both emotional and fragile. He should not have been
placed in a tank unit in the first place.”
Future IDF recruits should be
informed that if they are captured, not only will the State of Israel do
everything possible to secure their safe return, but might well reveal their
personal behavior to the press.SAMUEL LEWIS
Herzliya The writer is
chairman of the Israeli branch of the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen-Women
Sir, – Exactly to what tradition of Dutch Holocaust moderation does
Barry Rubin refer in “Anti- Semitism in the Netherlands?” (“Comment &
Features, March 31)? Statistics and the experience of Dutch Jews in World War II
do not bespeak moderation.
By country, the percentage of Jews annihilated
was greatest in the Netherlands (about 95 percent, certainly the highest in
Western Europe, and possibly in all of Europe). This genocidal distinction was
achieved by the widespread, pernicious identification of Jews, meticulous
recordkeeping of addresses, and the large-scale cooperation of the non-Jewish
Islamic anti-Semitism blooms in the Netherlands because
it is planted in fertile soil.BOB FRIEDLAND
Richmond, British Columbia
So he’s not hostile
Sir, – Headlines such as “Poll finds huge drop in Israelis
who see Obama as hostile” (March 29) might sell newspapers, but surely we have
got beyond the need for such black-and-white superficiality to know that the
results of the survey are meaningless.
It is true that Obama demolished
the absurd claim extolled during his initial four years (and still extolled by
the Europeans) that settlements are the prime obstacle to peace. The true core
issues always have been Palestinian sovereignty/autonomy and Israeli security.
For the first time Obama made this clear to Palestinian Authority President
Mahmoud Abbas, as he did the obvious fact that the Palestinians need to
recognize that Israel is a Jewish state.
However, Obama stubbornly clings
to the totally erroneous objective of the two-state solution, as well as the
view that in the Middle East one cannot have democracy without the Muslim
Rather than being encouraged to indulge in childish pursuits
as to whether the president loves us or not, it is far more important to start a
serious debate about alternatives to the twostate solution, which clearly can
never come to pass with a hopelessly divided Palestinian
Tel Aviv Digest the facts
Sir, – I believe
Finance Minister Yair Lapid should be asked to read and digest the facts stated
in “Jews who did not leave Egypt” (Grapevine, March 29) regarding what the
haredim did for Passover – and do all year round – to help all types of poor
people without discrimination.
I pray that when faced with the truth, he
will stop his hateful attacks and prejudice against the
Nahariya So sorry
Sir, – Now that Maccabi Tel
Aviv “trampled” the basketball team from Istanbul (“Mac TA tramples Besiktas by
43 points,” Sports, March 29), will we be required to apologize once again to
Turkey for our actions?
Sir, – On
the morning of March 27 I was returning from Yeroham to Herzliya along Route 40,
the scene of two fatal traffic collisions that day (“Holiday marred by deadly
vehicular accidents,” March 28).
I have been driving for many years, both
in the US and in Israel. I remarked to my passenger that I had never experienced
such shocking driver behavior – cars were passing dangerously in and out of
lanes, and driving much too close to the rear of my own car.
road safety the first step might be better driver education (including basic
The second step might be the look of authority, that is,
police in patrol cars on the roads, especially at holiday time.AUDREY
Herzliya Ancient timeline
Sir, – So Stephen Gabriel Rosenberg (“The
Exodus enigma,” Comment & Features, March 25) wants us to believe that the
Exodus took place during the reign of Tutankhamen.
Of course, there’s
nothing like ignoring the evidence if you want to promote a pet
The Torah’s account tells us that the Israelites built the city
of Ramses. This can only refer to Ramesse II’s new capital of Pi-
Ramesse-Aa-nakhtu, built in the mid-13th Century BCE. If, according to
Rosenberg, the Israelites left Egypt in the mid 14th-Century BCE, are we to
believe that they came back a hundred years later to build Ramesses’s city?
Also, in the late 13th Century BCE, Ramesses’s successor, Merneptah, set up a
stele (currently in the Cairo Museum) mentioning Israel (as shown in the
hieroglyphs) not as a location but as an unsettled group of people. Is it
feasible that if they had left Egypt during the time of Tutankhamen the
Israelites still, well over a hundred years later, had not settled into their
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