Touching depiction

Sir, – Ben Hartman’s touching depiction of Lt. Hadar Goldin (“‘The happiness in our house won’t be extinguished,’” August 4) rightly lists many of Goldin’s heroic qualities, as well as those of his fellow fallen combatants.

When questioned about the timing of his recent marriage proposal to his fiancée, Edna, he is said to have responded that building for the future was particularly important at this time, just when so many were tragically unable to do so. His and Edna’s bond created hope for the future.

May the emotional graveside plea of his father, Dr. Simcha Goldin, that others “should live their lives as Hadar had lived his – looking for the best in every person,” be spread far and wide.

PESSY KRAUSZ
Jerusalem

‘Lessons’ of Gaza

Sir, – In “‘We could have taken Gaza in a week, but that wasn’t our mission,’ says senior IDF source” (August 4), you state that according to this source, “Had the IDF been ordered to, it could have seized the whole of the Gaza Strip in a week, and spent up to two years taking apart Hamas’s guerrilla army....”

I guess we found some of Hamas’s tunnels and it used up some of its rockets. Unfortunately, it now will survive to build more tunnels and acquire more rockets.

On a more positive note we read in “Sa’ar: The lesson we can learn from Gaza is not to allow a Palestinian state” (August 4) that, in the words of our interior minister: “After withdrawing from Lebanon brought Hezbollah to power and withdrawing from Gaza brought Hamas to power, the lesson must be not to form a terrorist state in the heart of our land. A Palestinian state would endanger Israel’s future.”

Maybe it’s time, in the interest of Israel’s survival, for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to hand over the reigns to Sa’ar!

JACK SHEBSON
Jerusalem

Moral, but wise?

Sir, – Who can argue with Jeff Barak when he says that “Israel needs to occupy the moral high ground in its fight against Hamas” (“Israel must be moral,” Reality Check, August 4).

Of course we must. But I have a question for him and others who feel this way: What if Israel ultimately loses its wars against Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, none of which care about Western morality? And what if, as a consequence of taking the high ground, the State of Israel ceases to exist? Is that what we mean by “moral high ground?” Scriptures may offer guidance here: “With the devout you act devoutly; with the wholehearted, act wholeheartedly. With the pure act purely, and with the crooked act perversely” (Psalms 18:26).

AVIGDOR BONCHEK
Jerusalem

Ultimate responsibility

Sir, – In “Some thoughts on the current situation” (Think About It, August 4), Susan Hattis Rolef holds Israel to be ultimately responsible for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. She is aghast at the lack of empathy that most Israelis have for Palestinian suffering.

Yet Ms. Rolef offers no constructive solution for this unfortunate conflict, nor does she mention the murderous intent of the death tunnels. She wants us to fix Gaza, pay for Gaza, support Gaza, heal Gaza and feed Gaza all the while that Gaza attacks us and seeks to destroy us.

Maybe she can explain why Hamas uses 40 percent of its budget to kill Israelis instead of putting it toward domestic use.

MATTIAS ROTENBERG
Petah Tikva

Siding against Israel

Sir, – I am reminded of reading and hearing news reports as a high school student in the Bronx in the 1940s of how the citizens of London sat in subway stations and basements and survived the blitz. They maintained a spirit of defiance, patriotism and determination while whole neighborhoods were burned and devastated by the indiscriminate Nazi assault. Children were sent by their parents to the countryside or even abroad to assure their safety.

At the same time, Allied forces carpet-bombed German cities, including Berlin. More than a million civilians in Nazi Germany and other parts of Europe were killed in these bombings. There was no UN to moralize about the “disproportionality” of actions felt necessary to shorten the war and preserve freedom for the Western world.

Today we hear many of our erstwhile allies and our own American leadership castigating Israel for doing what is felt necessary to protect its population and, equally importantly, teach a lesson to Hamas, which makes no secret of its plan to destroy Israel and then lead the forces of radical Islam to eliminate any vestiges of democracy and freedom enjoyed by the world of infidels.

Israel is obliged to carry the banner and message of freedom to resist and defeat the clear and present dangers presented by Hamas and its ilk. Its efforts must be seen as a proper, necessary and humane effort to use military force as a defense against criminal and continuing attacks.

Those who understand the present and remember the past should be supporting and encouraging Israel to take on the burden, which if not assumed will certainly one day be visited on other free people.

KENNETH J. BIALKIN
New York

The writer is a former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

Sir, – We finally have a leader of the free world who stands for clarity and commitment to democracy and all that is good.

He severed all ties with Iran and fully backed Israel for defending its citizens. Unlike other leaders, he refuses to be intimidated by Hamas savages and terrorist regimes, or by their ruthless demands. His name is Stephen Harper, prime minister of Canada (“Prime minister explains goals of Gaza operation to Australian counterpart,” July 15).

Kudos, as well, to John Voight, who boldly confronted fellow actors Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem (“Operation Protective Edge provides bumpy social media platform for celebrities,” Arts & Entertainment, August 5).

All freedom-loving people should boycott all work by Cruz and Bardem, as well as that of singers Rihanna and Selena Gomez.

LISA HERSHKOVITZ
Jerusalem

Sir, – Thanks to many in the mainstream media, Israel’s image has been unjustly damaged and is in shambles in many parts of the globe.

Europe has harbored ill feelings toward Jews for generations and still does. Even the US government’s strong support for Israel has begun to buckle under the combined weight of Islamic and European anti-Semitism.

Sadly, diplomatic efforts and accomplishments thus far have only served to perpetuate the myth of moral equivalency and lift the curtain on the theater of the absurd.

The most potent weapon Hamas has in its arsenal is latent anti-Semitism, currently on display in bold relief. The thin veneer of shame that provided cover for Europe’s silent complicity in the Holocaust has begun to wear thin, exposing the moral decay that lies beneath the surface.

STEVEN WENICK
Cherry Hill, New Jersey

Qatar and academia

Sir, – Your editorial “Red-carding Qatar” (August 3) covered the Gulf state’s extensive cushioning of the various material needs of the West while abetting terror organizations and states.

What about academia? That’s where Qatar is investing heavily.

Some prestigious research centers in the West receive generous funding – providing they choose their words wisely, namely by censoring works and rewriting of the history of Islam.

HANNAH DVIR
Haifa

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