Jews stand firm
Sir, - Contrary to what Max Friedlander believes ("Jews against Jews," Letters, April 16), British Jews - Scottish, English, Irish and Welsh - firmly stand their corner and often punch well above their weight, strongly supported by our fellow, non-Jewish Brits, in the fight against Jew-hatred and anti-Israel rhetoric.
To lump a very small number of self-hating Jews, many imported for the cause, together with all British Jewry is irresponsible and plays into the hands of those who want to divide us.
The puppet Gerald Kaufman is as relevant to British politics as the disgraced David Irving is to history.
Scottish Friends of Israel
Skewed, or what?
Sir, - Your story "Jericho man murdered over home sale" (April 13) highlighted another example of skewed equivalence in our national struggle.
When Arabs sell their homes to Jews for a fair price they are tortured and killed by their own people. When Jews hand over parts of their homeland to Arabs for free they are handsomely rewarded by their own people with votes, ministerial office and perks - and the power to give up even more of our precious homeland for nothing in return.
Hamas's blood libel
Sir, - Another horrific terrorist attack in Israel this week. News reports described the grim details, the numbers of dead and wounded - and the reaction of the new Hamas-led PA government, which called the suicide bombing a legitimate response. Said the Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman: "This operation... is a direct result of the policy of the occupation and the brutal aggression and siege committed against our people."
If Palestinians suffer, then Israelis will have to suffer also.
These news reports circulate throughout the world. While the informed and intelligent will recognize the propagandistic nature of Hamas rhetoric, many are buying into the Palestinian propaganda. Israel is a brutal occupier and so deserves whatever it gets from terrorists.
Amazingly, Israel's government and media seem to be doing nearly nothing to call Hamas's bluff. They neither repudiate use of the word "occupation," nor make it clear that Israel is not "brutal." They do not point out that vast numbers of Palestinians live under their own government - and that Israel has ceded land to Palestinian control; while neither Egypt nor Jordan gave the Palestinians any territory or autonomous rule when they controlled the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
In short, Israel's government and media need to speak out forcefully, consistently and in every possible forum, making people understand that Hamas's lying propaganda is a blood libel against Israel and the Jewish people.
Israeli spokespeople must not make the mistake of assuming that everyone understands the truth and can distinguish between truth and propaganda. We need to hear strong, clear Israeli voices defending Israel's honor and integrity ("Olmert: 'We will know how to respond, we know what to do,'" On-Line Edition, April 17).
Sir, - The North Cambridge Family Opera has just performed Antiphony, a beautiful show by Graham Preskett and John Kane, played by both kids and grown-ups, about worker ants and warrior ants (my daughter was a warrior ant). Much of it could have been about the Middle East.
The warrior ants sing: "What do we want, we want your space, what will we grab, we'll grab your place, what do we hate, we hate your face!"
The worker ants sing: "What do I need, I need some space, what do I want, I want some place, what do I like, I like your face...."
As I was listening to the CD of the opera, the news broke that a homicide bomber had killed people in Tel Aviv. When will they ever learn?
As the show closes, the ants end up all together singing the worker ants' anthem, with a special poignancy right now, as art so much imitates life - or rather, what life should be:
"Life is far too precious to simply throw it away," and "Live and let live... give life a chance."
Meeting Levi Eshkol
Sir, - Yehuda Avner's "When a new prime minister has no clue" (March 24) reminded me of my meeting with Levi Eshkol in Berlin in 1933.
I was working as a secretary at the Palestine Office when in walked Eshkol, then named Shkolnik, together with David Umansky and Moshe Katznelson, nephew of Berl. They had been sent as emissaries from Eretz Yisrael and were idealistic and extremely modest. It goes without saying that nobody had any money, so we would exchange lessons in Hebrew and German. They told us about life in Eretz Yisrael, its hardships and its charm, and we listened avidly, awaiting the entry permits meagerly distributed by the British Mandatory Authorities.
Only those who had at least 1,000 English pounds or were "special workers," mainly agricultural laborers, were allowed in. So I and others went to a farm in Holland for some arduous agricultural preparation called hachshara.
Three years later, in Haifa with my new husband, I met Levi Shkolnik in the street, to our mutual pleasure. We wanted to enter a small kibbutz. Could he help? At once he answered: "I shall send you to Kfar Hahoresh, near Nazareth."
Thus did this modest and helpful man set us on the path our lives would take - particularly important for us as I was five months pregnant with our only son. Today he's nearly 70!
I have always recalled Eshkol's straightforwardness and helpfulness with gratitude, and his successful premiership. How badly our country needs such people today!
For better & worse
Sir, - Once again The Jerusalem Post has proven that it is truly the best Israeli daily. I refer to "Man murders wife, commits suicide" (April 16). While the Hebrew-language dailies and radio couldn't stop talking about the frustrated, unemployed, alcoholic Ethiopian Jewish immigrants et al in Or Yehuda, casting not-so-veiled aspersions upon the entire community, you just reported the facts, without embellishment, as should be done.
The Post has always been careful and fair in reporting such incidents, standing out in its sensitivity to the almost blatant racism that fills our airwaves and sensationalist banner headlines every time an immigrant is involved in violence or crime.
With all due respect to the very real problems faced by the Ethiopian Jewish community in particular, many could be more easily solved if Israeli society took the Post's approach: We are all, first and foremost, Israelis and must be treated as such, for better and for worse.
Two activities: Which is more appropriate?
Sir, - Recently I placed the question of "breast-feeding or smoking in public" on the discussion board of more than 25 US newspapers. I asked readers to consider: Which is more harmful, smoking in public or breast-feeding in public?
After panning out the jokey replies, I found some really insightful nuggets. One of my favorites said how sad it was that we force a mother into a dirty bathroom stall to breast-feed her baby while we allow smokers to blow their toxic secondhand smoke in our faces. Several forum members commented, "Uh, I never thought of it like this before."
Regretfully, we know that smoking continues to be more acceptable in public than a mother discreetly allowing divine nature to take its course. Most smokers shared the thought that breast-feeding should be more acceptable than smoking in public.
This topic continues to get an amazing number of hits and comments. The Kansas City Star newspaper alone has received over 400 replies.
Hopefully, in Israel, breast-feeding is regarded as more appropriate than smoking in public.
Not so in America.
I Will Never Use Tobacco