No mere roar
Sir, – The situation in the South (“Military prepares for further
escalation in Gaza as ‘new cease fire’ attempted,” October 31) has gone on far
Any time the terrorists in the Gaza Strip feel like it, they
lob some missiles into our cities to see what we will do. Our responses have
been negligible and paltry.
This reminds me of a poem I occasionally
heard on the radio when I was a kid, a very funny reading of Marriott Edgar’s
“The Lion and Albert”: A bored kid goes to the zoo and pokes a stick into the
lion’s ear. The lion, not being bothered by “proportional response” or any other
type of foolishness, simply eats him.
Maybe it’s time for the State of
Israel to start behaving like a lion again.THELMA JACOBSON
Leniency and laxity
Sir, – I am far from happy about the very lenient sentence
given to Anat Kamm, who stole so many important documents from the army (“Anat
Kamm gets 4.5 years in jail for passing IDF secrets to reporter,” October 31).
It hardly befits the crime.
I know the judges took into account that Kamm
had no criminal record. But her crime was not one of criminality per se – it was
a crime against the State of Israel, its security and people, who once again are
the victims of attitudes and beliefs that absolutely endanger their
In addition, I cannot fathom the lack of IDF security that allowed
Kamm to be in a position where she could steal so many documents without anyone
Jerusalem Prize for (in)accuracy
Sir, – Regarding
“Free loan advocate, dialogue group awarded Knesset Speaker’s Prize” (October
31), Professor Eliezer Jaffe is a social worker, not a sociologist. In addition,
since it was founded in 1990 the Israel Free Loan Association has distributed
nearly $150,000,000 in interest-free loans, and not as reported.ARDIE
Jerusalem The writer is director of development for the Israel Free Loan
Association Unholy uppercut
Sir, – The Greek priest who thought it right to
punch a yeshiva student in the face for spitting toward him was exonerated
(“Judge quashes indictment of pugilistic priest,” October 31).
no way condoning the boy for his demeaning act, it did not warrant rough justice
at the hand of the priest. Further, by not making this point crystal clear to
the priest, the court in fact gave a green light to anyone and everyone who
feels in any way slighted to quite literally take the law into his own
hands.DAVID S. ADDLEMAN
Mevaseret Zion We’ll outlast them
Sir, – Elliot
Jager (“Are young rabbis turning on Israel?,” Jewish Ideas Daily, October 31)
points out that 30 percent of Reform rabbinical students are hostile or
indifferent to the Jewish state upon returning home from
Similarly, 53% of Conservative rabbinical students are sometimes
or often ashamed of Israel.
American Jewry is in an abysmal state: high
rates assimilation and intermarriage, low rates of affiliation and a negative
birth rate (below 1.7). Synagogue attendance at Reform and Conservative
synagogues is typically seasonal rather than daily or even weekly. While hardly
perfect, Orthodox synagogues generally do not suffer from these maladies, at
least not to the same degree.
Reform and Conservative Jews, on the other
hand, have become accustomed to family members opting out – of shul, of marriage
within the faith and of childbearing.
That’s why desperate measures, such
as patrilineal descent for determining Jewishness, are used to bolster the
Somehow, I can’t see these rabbinical students legitimately
lecturing Israel on how to run its society, live or survive when their own house
is in such a sad state.
They don’t even have a formula for
They’re uncomfortable with a “Jewish” state precisely
because their own agenda is closer to the secular, left-wing politics of the
Democratic Party than to Torah.
Despite its relative size, which still
leaves it with considerable influence and resources, the American Jewish
community is imploding.
Israel will be here long after the last American
synagogue locks its doors. You don’t have to be right-wing or religious to
recognize this.JUDITH GOLDBERG
Jerusalem Hardly laughable
Sir, – You
report that “[f]ormer Labor leader and ex-defense minister Amir Peretz clamors
for the unconditional release of convicted murderer Marwan Barghouti, one-time
commander of the Fatah militia Tanzim and now doing five life terms and another
40 years for attempted homicide” (“Don’t free Barghouti!,” Editorial, October
If it were not so tragic it could be almost laughable that in a
country fighting every day for its very existence, we are debating the release
of another murderer of innocents.
There is no difference between the
Palestinian Authority and Hamas except that PA President Mahmoud Abbas has
managed to fool the world, ourselves included, just like his mentor Arafat
Netanya A real democracy
Sir, – Ben Blanchard
(“Looming presence of China fosters Taiwan identity in independence heartland,”
Comment & Features, October 30) visited Kaohsiung, the second-largest city
on the island, and interviewed people who spoke freely about their political
ideas for or against the government. In other countries, such people might be
arrested or even disappear.
Even though different political ideas exist
among Taiwanese people, their support for the democratic status of quo is the
This reminds me about the process of the exchange for Gilad
Schalit: While the Israeli government was negotiating, there were many different
voices among the public. Some even opposed the exchange.
But when Schalit
was safely back, Israeli people welcomed him home and appreciated the decision
of the government.
All this has shown the existence of freedom of speech
and proved that both Israel and Taiwan are true democracies.SIMON C.
HSIEH The writer is director of the Information Division at the Taipei Economic
and Cultural Office in Tel Aviv Indeed another way
Sir, – Many of us would love
to see a different prime minister heading our government. Some would also like
to see a different electorate. But at this moment we can only work with the
given conditions while making every effort to effect positive
There is however another community involved that could contribute
positively to the manifestation of another way and another reality (“There must
be another way,” Savir’s Corner, October 28).
It seems that Uri Savir
himself is in a unique position to lay the foundation to convince his good
friends among the leaders and decision makers of the Palestinian people to go
ahead and take a great risk – if necessary to eat humble pie for their holy
cause – and accept Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s meaningless and foolish
demand by publicly acknowledging the reality: Israel is indeed the state of the
Another possible way requires reaching past the
politically motivated and contemporary rejection of the historical truth: Why we
are here, on the west coast of Asia, the eastern end of the Mediterranean,
between the river and the sea. Who sent us to this place? Why did we choose this
place to build our state? In these ways Savir might help bring about another
reality, another way. I believe these changes would open the gates to another,
more peaceful and creative way for Jews and Muslims to relate to one