Sir, – The latest diatribe against the IDF has just been given to the world by Amnesty International (“Amnesty International to US, EU: Suspend all arms transfers to Israel,” February 27). It is a document that is filled with a barrage of charges against Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. It is extremely one- sided, and we all know this.
What is to be done about all these NGOs that persist in accusing Israel – and Israel alone – of these terrible charges? How can they refuse to admit that the Palestinians throw rocks and Molotov cocktails, and commit knifings, random shootings and killings? What should we do? Should we lie down and say, “Don’t kill me. I will give you my land and my family, and I will try to find refuge somewhere else in the world?” Or should we be able to say, “I live here. I am an Israeli and this is my land from time immemorial?” Human rights organizations need to have their policies exposed. Silence to their bias is acquiescence.
Sir, – Familiarity with the modern Israeli scene is an essential requirement for any newspaper.
In “Comptroller criticizes Likud for Sarit Hadad campaign event” (February 27), you display regrettable ignorance of the modern Israel social atmosphere by derisively referring to Sarit Hadad as “performing three songs, in which she compared Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to a cannon.”
The reference to a “cannon” is extremely complimentary, today meaning an “amazing guy,” a “force to be reckoned with.”
LAURENCE (SHMUEL) BECKER
Sir, – Thank you for printing John M. Duffy’s “‘Israeli Apartheid’ – the new form of anti-Semitism” (Comment & Features, February 27). It ought to be part of our hasbara (public diplomacy) the world over.
My mother passed away 10 years ago at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center. I stayed with her every day for six weeks.
During that time I thought I was in Ramallah. She was lying next to Muslims, Christians and sometimes Jews. So this incredible lie about calling Israel an “apartheid state” is just a mission to delegitimize it.
Our enemies must stop using vile vocabulary to describe a multifaceted nation like Israel, which boasts very diverse citizens who make up this remarkable country.
Sir, – Douglas Bloomfield (“AIPAC – Whose lobby is it?” Washington Watch, February 27) raises a conflict faced by American Jews ever since the establishment of the State of Israel. Questions often arise regarding Jewish loyalties to the US when American Jews wish to be vocal about their support for Israel.
The issue of Iranian nuclearization is Israel’s greatest security concern since the establishment of the state. AIPAC members are fully aware of this and unite toward eliminating this evil goal.
True, the wording of statements and policy by AIPAC is something delicate, which is necessary so as not to alienate the White House. But there are no doubts that it is America’s pro-Israel lobby, and not Israel’s American lobby. Its members are tax-paying, patriotic American citizens who feel strongly about securing Israel’s future. Some have served in the US armed forces and have been willing to give their lives for their country.
There is no doubt of their undying loyalty to the United States, and this must not be questioned.
Furthermore, most AIPAC members believe that what is in Israel’s greatest interest is also in the best interest of the US, and that is definitely the case in regard to Iran’s nuclearization.
Sir, – Reader Norton Druger’s idea of accepting 20,000 Syrian Christians (“Righteous move,” Letters, February 27) sounds like a very bad idea to me.
It would be seen as a publicity stunt. The rest of the world would not take the slightest notice anyhow, happily continuing with its boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign while the new refugees become an antagonistic minority.
We would simply get 20,000 more potential congregants for the anti-Semitic rants of the Latin patriarch. We have enough enemies living here, the only place in the Middle East where Christians are not abused, killed or caused to flee, and the only place where their number has actually grown.
We don’t owe these people anything. We have our own country and we intend to keep it that way.
For those who want to know more about the Church’s crimes against us, I urge them to read the short book The Vatican against Israel by Giulio Meotti.
It’s an eye opener!
Time to stand up
Sir, – Shame on the government that gave away responsibility for our most holy site, the Temple Mount. And shame on the government that allows this situation to continue (“Knesset hosts stormy debate on Temple Mount sovereignty,” February 26).
What is more important – our self-respect or kowtowing to Jordan, a state that was artificially set up by the British on 77 percent of the original Land of Israel? The Temple Mount is the most holy place in Judaism, as well as being at the center of our capital, Jerusalem. In a normal world, everyone – regardless of religion, nationality, color, etc. – should have the right to ascend the mount, to walk, sit, talk or pray there. If Muslims have a problem with that, it’s just too bad.
It is the duty of our government to ensure that the Temple Mount is a place of tranquility and prayer, something that, as we have seen, will only happen under our jurisdiction.
It is time to stand up for our self-respect – and for the same respect to be shown to all people.
Haredim and the IDF
Sir, – The spectacle of rabbis from traditionally warring factions of extreme Orthodoxy coming together to plot strategy against their common bête noire, the Zionist state, is reminiscent of the Appalachin mafia summit of 1957, when 100 mafioso capos gathered to consolidate their strategy against the forces of law and order (“Haredi councils unite against conscription,” Analysis, February 26).
It is high time law-abiding Israelis who believe in their country and democracy face the truth. The handful of haredim in uniform is no indicator of any shift. It is naive to expect an exponentially growing population of people who believe it is a mitzva to help themselves to the earnings of others to volunteer at the draft office.
Criminal charges against haredi draft dodgers are worthless.
Thousands of incarcerated haredim in Israeli prisons would only mean they can continue their activities uninterrupted while having the rest of us pay for their room and board. What we can do is simply cut off all government funding and social benefits for nominal citizens – Jewish and non-Jewish alike – who refuse to shoulder an equal burden for national security or meaningful national service.
The writer “spends his mornings studying Talmud in a Jerusalem kollel whose members receive no payments or benefits”
Sir, – Some haredi leaders imply that jailing people who refuse to serve in the army because they claim they are studying Torah would be “criminalizing Torah study” (“Porush: PM betrayed us,” February 26).
Using similar logic, since while in jail they would no doubt be able to sit and study Torah all day at government expense, anyone opposing their imprisonment would be against Torah study.