Sir, – With regard to “We won’t put our fate in the hands of
others,” PM says at Yad Vashem” (March 8), Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,
during the main ceremony opening Holocaust Remembrance Day, also said that there
were now over six million Jews in Israel.
“This is our victory, our
consolation, our pride,” he added.
These words ring hollow for me. Where
is the pride in the shameful neglect with which Holocaust survivors have been
treated since their arrival in Israel? Clearly there is no dearth of fine speech
writers here. However, words alone – unaccompanied by meaningful action – become
insults to the memory of the six million who were murdered and to those
survivors who chose to come to live in Israel, many of whom fought (and were
killed) in its wars.
“In every generation, every one of us must think of
himself as though he survived the Holocaust and established the state [of
Israel],” Netanyahu declared.
If this really were the case there would be
no Holocaust survivors living in poverty in Israel – the one country that, logic
dictates, should have welcomed them with open arms and ensured that their
material suffering, at least, would end there.
The announcements on the
eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day by Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid,
of a few more millions pledged toward the needs of survivors, also smacked of
the lowest sort of political point-scoring.
As the granddaughter of
survivors who carried their trauma and grief until the end of their lives, I am
disgusted and ashamed that the State of Israel has so badly neglected its
ILANA BARDA Tel Mond
Sir, – Speaking at Yad Vashem, Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu said that Israel’s existence will keep the Jewish people from
“returning to a situation where it is too late.” President Shimon Peres said
that since World War II, the Jewish people has “decreased in number but not in
What we need from Netanyahu and Peres is not idle words – which
we hear far too often, with no results except those that end in concessions and
The deepest meaning of the State of Israel is that God gave us
another chance to build the Jewish land and brought us back after thousands of
years of wandering.
We certainly were not brought back to give up the one
and only piece of land given to us in perpetuity, and to no other.
must never forget that it is not only Iran threatening to wipe us out, but also
our socalled partner in peace, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas,
who daily preaches incitement to hatred and promises to walk in the footsteps of
his mentor, Yasser Arafat, all the way to Jerusalem. We must listen to him no
less than to Iran.
EDITH OGNALL Netanya Don’t expect healing
Sir, – I
found your editorial “Remembering the Shoah” (April 8) deeply troubling for
While dutifully repeating the mantra “We must not forget
the lessons of the Shoah,” you go on to state that the waning in intensity of
Holocaust memories “should be welcomed as part of the gradual process of moving
from destruction to rebuilding, to a semblance of normalization – and healing.”
How much this must resonate with those who are already crying, “Enough of the
Holocaust already!” The inevitable lessening of the intensity of Holocaust
memories is to be regretted, not welcomed.
As eyewitnesses are
increasingly lost each year (even as many accounts have been preserved on
video), the opportunity to question those able to give first-person accounts, to
learn from the intensity of their experiences and understand the uniqueness of
their history, will be gone.
Their stories are not to be equated with
destruction, as your editorial suggests, but must stand as examples of faith,
courage, survival and incredible acts of human kindness in the face of
unimaginable evil. It is these lessons of the Shoah that we must never forget –
and the “intense memories” of those who lived through it remain the best way to
As to “semblance of normalization and healing,” how many
voices must be stilled and how little attention should we pay to their memories
before this is complete? To what extent shall we reduce the books, articles and
movies that appear each year? How many school hours devoted to the Holocaust
must be cancelled, and how far must we silence the sirens and diminish the
commemorations of Holocaust Remembrance Day before we become healed? I would
suggest to you that the memory and history of the Shoah is now a part of the
Jewish psyche from which “normalization” and “healing” can be neither sought nor
GERALD FLANZBAUM Givat Olga Mind-boggling
Sir, – While the
official state ceremony commemorating the opening of Holocaust Remembrance Day
was taking place in Jerusalem, US Secretary of State John Kerry was visiting
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah (“Kerry arrives in
another bid to get Israel, PA to talk,” March 8).
Abbas is a Holocaust
He received his doctorate at Patrice Lumumba University in
Moscow, where his thesis (later turned into a book published in Arabic) was “The
Connection between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement.”
it he claimed, among other grotesque things, that the Zionists created the
“myth” of six million and plotted with the Nazis to expand the mass
The timing of this visit by Kerry indicates either
mind-boggling insensitivity or utter ignorance of the character of the leading
figures in the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. In either case it does not bode
well for American involvement in an issue that involves the security and the
very existence of the State of Israel.
JAY SHAPIRO Jerusalem Freedom for
Sir, – In “Combatting anti- Semitism” (Comment & Features, April 8),
Arsen Ostrovsky quotes an interviewee as saying, “I hate Jews period. Nothing
you do will make me change my mind.”
Modern Israel is an oasis for those
people trying to escape irrational hatred of the Jews, which we call
Israel is the only country in the world where a Jew can
live as a totally free person. I came to live here at the age of 32, and my only
regret is that I did not come at an earlier age.
Herzl, one of the
founders of modern Israel, pointed out that as long as there was even one Jew
living in a foreign country, anti-Semitism would raise its ugly head. It was
essential to reestablish a large and thriving Jewish community in its own
country as the best means of protecting the Jewish people and to fight the
phenomenon of unbridled and irrational hatred against it.
P. YONAH Shoham Held to their faith
Sir, – In “The value of a sharpened conscience” (Comment
& Features, April 8), Jürgen Bühler pays highly deserved tribute to the
Huguenots of Chambon sur Lignon, who saved about 5,000 Jews from the
The Jews weren’t sequestered there. Chabon sur Lignon became a
haven and a factory for moving them to safety.
loving people even learned how to forge documents and whatever else it took for
a mission they considered holy.
As I recall my history, the Huguenots
just wanted to be left alone. The Catholics and Calvinist Protestants demanded
they choose – they would not tolerate such a Jew-loving, tolerant sect. The
Huguenots held to their Bible faith.
PESACH GOODLEY Telz Stone
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