The funeral

Sir, – Those who attended the funeral and burial service for Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Fraenkel and Gil-Ad Shaer (“Nation mourns as slain yeshiva students laid to rest,” July 2) will never forget it.

Jews from all of Israel – secular and religious, old and young – flocked to Modi’in to honor our holy martyrs and their parents.

Many were overcome by the emotion and the heat, but they continued to arrive. Not since the Rabin assassination has Israel experienced such national trauma.

It was a special crowd; waiting for the family it sang softly and sobbed quietly. Israelis came to honor these boys because they were our sons. And Rachel Fraenkel, Bat-Galim Shaer and Iris Yifrah were our mothers – in their unbearable grief they redeemed the souls of many of us by their faith and unimaginable love for the people of Israel.

Most of all, even through the eulogies, one fact remained evident.

All of Israel had gathered to cry together and be united in love for our fellow man. Amid the sobbing and national sentiments, that brotherly love transcended all else.

This national day of mourning changed Israel forever.

YITZCHAK BEN-SHMUEL
Modi’in

Sir, – Our three young sacrifices to being Jewish were buried together at the cemetery in Modi’in. It was probably the most appropriate place for them, as Modi’in was the home of the Maccabees. It was hope that brought on the Maccabee- led revolt of the Jewish people against Hellenism, which was the antithesis of Judaism.

The world today is the antithesis of Judaism. It has no values whatsoever except worship of the self. Modi’in reaffirms that Judaism has long stood alone – the few against the many. We will always remember that these three young boys were killed simply because they were Jewish and because the world can find a way to justify any evil.

Modi’in will become enshrined once again in Jewish memory and stand as a symbol of the few who stand bravely against the majority – which is so wrong, wrong, wrong.

THELMA SUSSWEIN
Jerusalem

Land for peace

Sir, – With regard to your June 30 editorial “Umm el-Fahm protest,” there are so many liberals who promote the land-for-peace formula. Let’s give it a try! Since the Arabs in the Umm el-Fahm area are so unhappy living in Israel – they hate the Jews, continually demonstrate or even riot and are noisily pro-Palestinian – why not give them what they want? Let them unite with their own people. Let them become Palestinian.

Redraw the borders and give them the land. They would stay on their land in their hometowns and enjoy all the Palestinian social benefits and medical services. Hurrah! They could also vote for their own people, not for the hated Jews, and, of course, luxuriate in the Arab world’s famed freedom of speech (so long as they say what they are told to say).

All it takes is to move the border a bit! Okay, so we lose a bit of land or swap it, and we will need to rebuild a main traffic route, but we’ll have a lot more peace without these people.

JOE FRANKL
Savyon

Sir, – In “Umm el-Fahm protest” you write about the rioting and closing of the main road after Foreign Minister and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman offered an exchange of land that would enable the Arabs of Wadi Ara to become part of the Palestinian Authority.

When I asked one of my Arab friends why, even after such an offer, these people rioted and stoned the police, his answer was because in Palestine they would not be able to do that!

C.B. KENAN
Kibbutz Lavie

For real?

Sir, – Seeing the headline “Momentum for peace can still be achieved” (Comment & Features, June 30), I assumed it had been written by a leftist member of Knesset. Of course, I realized what I was in for as soon as I read the bit at the end about writer Michael A. Ratney and the explanation of whom he had been addressing when he gave the speech.

Is he for real? After US President Barack Obama made it a point to meet with the Palestinian political leadership and then have a “low-key, off the record meeting with Palestinian youth,” he missed a perfect opportunity to tell them that crime against Israel doesn’t pay. He missed a perfect opportunity to implore them to learn from Israeli youth and leaders the meaning of morality, that young Israelis don’t kill other people for the sake of martyrdom, that Israeli mothers don’t hand out candy when a young Palestinian is killed.

For Ratney to write that Palestinian youths are “not so different” from American and Israeli youths is insulting, to say the least.

In one of his final paragraphs, he stated that the Americans were watching closely how the Palestinian “interim” government develops. Although that government is supposed to consist of technocrats (albeit Hamas members), I should hope he writes another article, this one describing in great detail how that government seems to be operating regardless of what PA President Mahmoud Abbas is saying, by keeping terror on the front pages of the Israeli newspapers, with rockets raining down on our towns and children being kidnapped off our streets.

DEBRA FORMAN
Modi’in

Fanning the flames

Sir, – In “Arsonists and firefighters” (Comment & Features, June 30), Thomas L. Friedman asks the question: “What’s the real fight in the Middle East today? Is it just sectarian... [o]r is it something deeper?” To Friedman, the side that has legitimate claims based upon history, legality and morality, as well as the side that doesn’t, are not factors that should be considered.

What should be considered is which side the extremists and radicals (the “arsonists”) are on, and who are the “firefighters.”

He says the extremists and radicals include both the kidnappers and murderers of the three Israeli youths, as well as Naftali Bennett and Uri Ariel, the latter having announced plans to build 700 new housing units for Jews in what Friedman calls “Arab east Jerusalem.”

By lumping together the terrorists and those who wish to build housing for Jews, Friedman himself is pouring fuel on the fire.

IRA NOSENCHUK
Jerusalem

Sir, – Thomas L. Friedman hits the jackpot. Imagine – “radical Jewish settlers....” That’s three pejoratives, one after the other. Golly.

Friedman charges these “radical” people with arson for trying to build houses. Not for kidnapping children. Not for murder. Not even for gassing civilian populations. Oh, yes, these houses (still in the planning stages) were to be built in “Arab east Jerusalem.” We Jews have a prior claim to that piece of real estate. It’s the Arabs who are disputing it.

And as for Tzipi Livni, whom Friedman casts as a “firefighter,” many of us have an extremely low opinion of her and her “movement.” This so-called movement is the spectacularly unfortunate translation of her party’s name in Hebrew, Hatnua.

Juvenile? Probably. Apt? Also.

THELMA JACOBSON
Petah Tikva

Non-Israeli health

Sir, – Regarding “Private medical services won’t be allowed in state hospitals” (June 26), can anybody explain why medical tourism is still going to be permitted, but not private (SHARAP) services? The findings of the German Committee provide an incentive to be a non-Israeli, like the Syrian wounded who are brought here for treatment. They can truly enjoy Israeli health services, especially in cases where these services are paid for by Israeli citizens.

PETER SCHWEITZER
Tel Aviv

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