Fact on the ground

Sir, – Regarding “Munich widows make last-ditch effort in campaign for Olympic moment of silence” (July 25), I have a simple suggestion that would accomplish this and thus commemorate the memories of the Israeli athletes who were the victims of the Munich massacre 40 years ago.

I suggest that at the opening ceremony, as the teams of the various countries march into the main stadium, the Israeli squad, when it reaches the center of the stadium, stops marching, dons black armbands, brings the Israeli flag to half mast, lowers its heads and stands for a moment in silence before proceeding.

A little Israeli chutzpah and some old-fashioned Israeli facts on the ground would be just right for this occasion.

ELI SCHMELL
Rehovot

It’s not Jew-hatred

Sir, – By tying the recent German court decision to outlaw circumcision to a general thesis on ever-morphing anti-Semitism (“Circumcision,” Editorial, July 25), you missed the point and did the fight against both race hatred and religious intolerance a disservice.

The moves to limit religious rituals seen as cruel (ritual slaughter, circumcision) have a lot to do with the mania for political correctness that has gripped a decadent Europe, as well as ignorance, intolerance and simple stupidity.

It is not a manifestation of Jew-hatred.

One must remember that there is a small but growing secular movement in Israel that is against circumcision; are these people anti-Semites? Famously, a former head of the British Pediatric Association, a Jew, was tooth and nail against circumcision. Misguided and bigoted he may have been, but he was not anti- Semitic.

Of course, circumcision is common in some Christian countries, not to mention Muslim countries, a fact that suggests nothing with regard to them being philo-Semitic.

ANTHONY LUDER
Safed

The writer is head of the Department of Pediatrics at Ziv Medical Center

Scorched earth

Sir, – In “Ramot residents incensed over ‘helter skelter’ tree thinning” (July 19), your reporter was told by a KKL-JNF spokesman that complaints directed against it were “distorted and false” and that “staff members are present at all times during the trimming process and continue to supervise all procedures.”

The rote assurances by professional handlers make good copy but reflect fiction, not fact. When neighbors confronted the cutting crew the foreman admitted he and his men had not been given any real guidelines about which trees to cut, but were cutting on a basis that could be called somewhere between helter-skelter and scorched earth. Only after the damage had been done did representatives of the JNF show up.

At least 80 percent of the forest has been razed, as the tree stumps clearly show – and the JNF has the effrontery to call it “trimming.”

The motives behind the cutting must be questioned.

The Post has reported that city planners and developers want to build apartments here to provide promised housing solutions.

Look no farther than the end of Mishol Hamagalit Street, where trees have been felled to make a clearing that matches perfectly an extension of the road and new residential lots – but with a few decorative trees left in place.

Two years ago the JNF conducted a Tu Bishvat ceremony in the forest, including the planting of hundreds of saplings.

Music and speeches were part of the program. The saplings were never tended to and died within weeks, foreboding the future.

A lawsuit prevented the last vestige of trees from being cut, but the damage has been done. This blight on the JNF’s reputation will take decades, literally, to rectify.

DAVID GOLDBERG
Jerusalem
The writer is a resident of Ramot

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