For their sakes, and for ours
Sir, Your "Sinai snare" editorial (October 6) was sound and timely. Nevertheless, Israel is unlikely to leave its citizens to stew in their own juice even though they have been warned they will be taking their fate into their own hands if they holiday in Sinai.
The cost of freeing Israelis captured by Arab terrorists will be to exchange them for hundreds of unrepentant terrorists serving time for killing innocent Israelis. The consequences of such a horrendous exchange are known. We cannot afford such a devilish bargain.
The only way Israel can secure the safety of its citizens who might otherwise become hostages is to prevent them from visiting any area Israel deems dangerous. Visas must be cancelled and not renewed until Israel believes the dangerous area is safe once again.
JOCK L. FALKSON
Sir, The story of Moshe Landy was inspirational, exhilarating and exceptional ("Patented experience," Rosh Hashana supplement, October 3). The yeshiva-educated rabbi, albeit an MSc graduate in chemistry, has devoted his life to a work ethic, thus supporting his large and ever-growing family. This stands in direct contrast to the many haredim who depend on handouts from public and private sources and refuse to educate their children adequately, which prevents them from entering the workplace and establishing a better economic environment for themselves.
Where in the Torah is it forbidden to earn an honest living?
GISH TRUMAN ROBBINS
Sir, From the sister of fallen soldier Jerry Bregman (1973) of Kibbutz Ginegar: Many thanks to Stewart Weiss for a concrete review of Israel's current plight coupled with a timely, enlightening and uplifting article ("No time for despair," October 2).
ANITA BREGMAN JAGET
Faith and sweat in the 'City of Faith'
Sir, You have published many informative articles about the plight of expellees from Gush Katif and Northern Samaria, but "Despair in the 'City of Faith,'" (October 3) missed the mark. On my frequent visits to the tent city near Netivot despair is one emotion I never encountered. The article's premise, that the difficulties faced by a teen and a few friends reflect the spirit of this entire community, is false. Though the teen's difficulties are real, any parents can share a list of difficulties their teens faced at this turbulent stage of life.
You ignored the encampment's accomplishments. While expellees from other communities have been forced to depend on a slow and ineffective government bureaucracy at a loss to find real solutions, Atzmona residents took matters into their own hands. The temporary home they have built outside Netivot was accomplished on their own initiative, using their own resources.
The City of Faith was dedicated on the night of their expulsion. Despite their enormous pain and sense of loss they showed their indefatigable belief in the future. Today, still living in difficult conditions, they dismiss the inconvenience, speaking proudly of their independence, their plans for the community and how grateful they feel to be united.
Among their many accomplishments is the on-site school. The 16 classrooms were constructed in a matter of a few weeks, enabling the schooling that went on in Atzmona to continue without interruption. Many Gush Katif children from other communities are bused to the school, an anchor of normality in the life of many Gush Katif expellee children.
I am in debt to the residents of the City of Faith for teaching me that faith also means hard work and self-reliance.
Down with these dictatorships
Sir, Re "Bali bombings kill at least 25 in tourist spots" (September 30): These attacks reminded us again that Islamic terrorism is very much alive. Such terrorism was and is made possible by the Islamic dictatorships especially Iran and Saudi Arabia that sponsor it. Such regimes have used money from nationalized oil fields to finance a mystical culture of hatred and violence against the West and its values of reason, individual liberty, material prosperity and the earthly pursuit of happiness.
Tragically, the West has done virtually nothing to stop these dictatorships from seizing oil fields even though history aptly demonstrates that extorted wealth in the hands of dictators begets mass slaughter. Now we have the nightmarish spectacle of Iran sponsoring the insurgency in Iraq and rapidly building a nuclear bomb while its mullahs chant "Death to America!" and "Death to Israel!"
A war on terrorism must begin with the ending of the dictatorial regimes that sponsor it.
Sir, What occurred in 2000 were not riots but an insurrection timed to coincide with the most recent stage in the Palestinian war of stages toward Israel's destruction ("Families of those killed in 2000 riots to seek compensation," October 2). Arab Israeli citizens ran through the streets hurling firebombs and missiles and calling for the slaughter of the Jews.
Is there any doubt that but for the courageous action of our police, including their use, where necessary, of deadly force, slaughter is what would have taken place?
This uprising was not some kind of spontaneous combustion. It was part of a larger effort, ordered, coordinated and carried out by Israeli citizens at the behest of Yasser Arafat and the PLO. It must, therefore, by any definition be regarded as treason.
Sir, Had the Arabs solely blocked roads and used non-violent means to protest I sincerely doubt anyone would have died that day in 2000. As it actually happened, their intent was to damage property and inflict bodily damage dare I say it, even murder on their Jewish countrymen. And for what purpose? To support the launch of a terror campaign against their own country! Every participant in that riot should have been permanently deported ("The frustration of Israeli Arabs," September 19).
Teaneck, Nerw Jersey
Sir, In your interview with Isaac Herzog featuring some of the highlights of this youthful man's ascendance to prominence, I searched in vain for mention of his role in the Barak campaign in 1999 in which he was a key player in the "amutot" scandal. In my native land, the US, the interviewee would have been asked some hard questions about the issue, and his response presented. Without such clarification the title "His father's son" was hardly appropriate (September 27).
With all due respect to the illustrious Herzog family but in light of the corruption that seems to be rampant in Sharon's I believe the time has come for people with a less-tainted record of morality to be "in the cockpit," and for Herzog to return to "his lucrative legal career," which he gave up "to work for the Jewish people."
One of a kind
Sir, About Simon Wiesenthal: He was a man, take him for all in all. We shall not look upon his like again ("Wiesenthal buried in Herzliya as 'emissary' of Jews," September 25).
No bones about it
Sir, Re "Mother Hubbard's accident problem" (October 3): As the father of a rather large family I have to respond that it was the "Old Woman who lived in a shoe" who "had so many children she didn't know what to do." And the next story Dad will be reading is...
Sir, Mother Hubbard had a different problem a bare cupboard and no bone for her dog!
One for the goose
Sir, It's a cruel world, especially for defenseless birds and animals. For the delicacy if one can call it that of foie gras, geese are cruelly force-fed through a tube inserted into the esophagus to enlarge the liver. It was exhilarating to read that Israel is ending this cruel practice and I sincerely hope that more countries where it exists will follow suit ("Government ends goose force-feeding," October 2).
Sir, "El Al buys Boeing again: Two B777-200 ERs for $246m." (Business, October 3) was welcome, but it is probably too much to hope that El Al will consider its economy passengers' needs, remove two rows of seats and move all the other rows by 2-3 centimeters, giving those passengers a tiny bit more legroom. El Al's current configuration on the 777 is the most uncomfortable in its entire fleet even more so than on its clapped-out 747-200s, which should have been pensioned off years ago. I and most of my Frequent Flyer acquaintances groan when we hear that the equipment on our flight is the 777.
Eye Ball's watching
Sir, Your report on Ehud Gal's new security surveillance device "ODF to sell 'Eye Ball' to US Army" (September 22) reminds me of something I read about as a youth. Years ago, as a reader of Batman comics, I remember a "flying eye" that could spy on criminals and transmit the pictures to Batman's headquarters. That invention was the fruit of a writer's imagination, while Mr. Gal seems to have realized it except for the flying part, of course.