May 17: Nakba Day on campus
As an Israeli and a Jew I am deeply disturbed by the baseness of Tel Aviv University’s decision to allow the “commemoration” of Nakba Day.
Nakba Day on campus
Sir, – As an Israeli and a Jew I am deeply disturbed by the
baseness of Tel Aviv University’s decision to allow the “commemoration” of Nakba
Day on campus (“Tel Aviv U. students stage ‘Nakba Day’ memorial amid raucous
counter-protest,” May 15).
It seems that the maxim of extracting the
galut (Diaspora) out of a Jew is still more difficult a task than pulling a Jew
out of the galut.
Sir, – Could anyone ever
imagine Palestinian and Israeli students at Bir Zeit University linking arms
commemorating Israel’s Remembrance Day for fallen soldiers? And yet, our Jewish
students, doubtlessly influenced by shameful naivety and post-Zionist
professors, indulge in a grotesque scenario dedicated to the Nakba.
in the name of heaven is there any example of a victorious defender actually
mourning its enemy’s defeat? It’s utter lunacy! To quote from your editorial
“Nakba and freedom” (May 15), “If the Palestinians had succeeded in snuffing out
Israel at its very inception, there would almost certainly not be an institute
of higher learning like Tel Aviv University – not just in Israel but in the
entire region – that accepts all students regardless of race, religion or gender
and fosters an atmosphere of free expression....”
GISH TRUMAN ROBBINS
Sir, – As a foreigner who lives in Israel and loves this people and
land, I wonder how far many Israelis are willing to go in defining something as
“freedom of expression?” When citizens who have all rights and possibilities
“celebrate” the founding of their state as a catastrophe, they should be
stripped of their citizenship and expelled, not excused or
Sir, – As another Israeli
concession looms (“Israel to transfer bodies of 100 terrorists to PA for
reburial,” May 15) we await the first concession from the PA to give us Israelis
the confidence that the Palestinians want to make peace.
At the very
least we should demand, if not the actual return, then information leading to
the return of our POWs: St.-Sgt.
Zachary Baumel, St.-Sgt. Zvi Feldman and
St.-Sgt. Yehuda Katz, all missing since 1982; Capt. Ron Arad, captured in 1986;
Guy Hever, missing since 1997; and Majdy Halabi, missing since 2005.
the agenda for any return of prisoners, dead or alive, this should be Demand
Sir, – If Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas wants to squeeze more concessions from Israel, he should
go on a hunger strike!
MILTON J. KRAMER
Haredim and the draft
Sir, – Zev
Golan (“The IDF wants you – or does it?,” Comment & Features, May 15) is
right that drafting large numbers of ultra-Orthodox men will not work since, as
experience shows, haredim will proudly sit in jail to exhibit their stubborn
will. Instead, he proposes a paid volunteer army where no one is drafted against
his or her will.
But while solving one problem this would create several
Golan points out that the army does not exist to expedite social
policy. Yet dispensing with the desirable by-product of educating so many of our
youth would be foolish. In addition, we may have sufficient volunteers for
prestigious combat units, but there are many other essential jobs in the army
that would be very difficult to fill on a volunteer basis, even with due
The only fair and practical solution, therefore, is to
increase the monetary benefits for citizens who serve, at the expense of
financial aid to those who do not. In this manner, gradual changes will occur in
the haredi world without a lot of needless battles.
Sir, – The solution to the problem of the non-contributing
ultra-Orthodox sector shouldn’t begin with drafting yeshiva students but with
canceling their stipends and other monetary advantages. Without that support
they will have to decide for themselves whether they want to contribute to the
country or starve themselves.
If they are drafted against their will they
will cause much more trouble and expense than they are worth. They will refuse
orders not sanctioned by the most fanatical rabbis and require two additional
soldiers just to check their food and keep females out of sight and hearing
Sir, – I am a veteran of both the Viet Nam
War and the IDF, and my feeling is that there is nothing more sacred for an
able-bodied citizen than to serve in his country’s military forces.
IDF, the first Jewish army in almost 2,000 years, is itself a yeshiva of sorts,
where Jewish men learn and put into practice the lessons of the Torah and the
Talmud. In my opinion, in the eyes of God, service in the IDF is even holier and
of greater value than any yeshiva in that far greater sacrifices, up to and
including the sacrifice of one’s life, are routinely made.
I am saddened
and angered when respected rabbis denigrate and disparage service in the
Sir, – Much has been written and said
about the Tal Law and ultra-Orthodox men who do not serve in the IDF. To date I
have not seen or heard anything of those leftists who would rather defend
Palestinians than their own brethren and whose numbers reach those of the ultra-
Orthodox not doing national service.
If we are to become a nation where
everyone pulls his weight, then do not let us divide the population by talking
only about the ultra-Orthodox. Let us have the courage to talk about all who do
not do their part in defending the country.
the kids alone
Sir, – Rivka Lazovsky (“Who is responsible for youth violence?,”
Comment & Features, May 10) is critical of those who blame “only the youth,
claiming that they are damaged,” when trying to explain the serious rise in
violence and public disturbances by young people.
Two recent events
highlight the real source of this serious challenge.
During a Holocaust
memorial day program this year at an elite secular high school in Israel, a
survivor was mocked by a number of rowdy students in the audience. I was both
shocked and saddened upon hearing that such an occurrence could take place at a
Jewish school in the Jewish state.
However, what really upset me was that
the principal explained the inexcusable conduct of the students by declaring
that they had been driven to it by the policies of the Israeli government in
condoning the “occupation” and recognizing the legitimacy of the settlements
built in Judea and Samaria! More recently, following the stabbing death of a
father attempting to quiet a group of noisy teenagers, two police officers
claimed to have responded to the family’s initial call for help in dealing with
the loud and raucous behavior.
Only after the officers were questioned
and holes were found in their testimony did it become apparent that they did not
respond at all and, in fact, had lied about their whereabouts.
happened to good old ethics, morality, honesty, integrity, hard work and
perseverance? Are we destined to have our youth emulate the examples of family
life in inane sitcoms and such “role models” as overpaid athletes and movie
stars or, even worse, corrupt and dishonest politicians and government
officials? Will we continue to blame the failures and meager educational
accomplishments of our students on their teachers and schools? I strongly
propose that all parents, educators and leaders in society do some serious
Maybe then we can “adopt new and innovative approaches in
educating toward values which are suited to today's reality.”