(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sir, - I read Liat Collins's "Still standing, still proud" (April 22) with delight. It was a lovely breath of fresh air, especially after one of your senior columnists recently declared that Israel doesn't inspire him like South Africa does as it has become too inward- looking and its spirit has grown old.
Not Liat's. She's brimming with confidence, despite all the terrible military and political blows we have sustained this past year. As she states, we are still here - battle-scarred but not beaten, and all the things that make this country great remain. Beautifully written!
...but not beaten
Sir, - Every Post reader has reason to kvell at Liat Collins's poignant article. With insight and sensitivity she has described us best as a people and a nation, with our failures and our successes, our hopes and our disappointments, our goals and our efforts to bring them to fruition.
We may squabble among ourselves and complain about corruption in government - in which land does it not exist? - but when all is said and done, we are mishpacha, a family whose roots were set down in this beloved land 3,000 years ago. Our enemies historically have tried to eliminate us from our homeland. As they have failed in the past, so will they continue to fail. Our love for our great nation will sustain us and preserve us in dignity and strength.
I have framed this article, put it on my desk and made it compulsory reading for my university students. A happy and healthy Yom Ha'atzma'ut to all of us. May we be privileged to celebrate many more.
What Librescu stood for
Sir, - At a time when it seems the world is implicitly or explicitly rejecting Israel, her people and all the nation stands for; when many worldwide are calling Israel the "Little Satan" and Jews selfish "devils," I find it tragically yet wonderfully ironic that it was an Israeli Jew, a survivor of the Holocaust and of Communist Romania, who chose to stand up against evil at Virginia Tech and give his life for the sake of so many young men and women.
May all the world bear witness to the fact Prof. Liviu Librescu did not stand in the doorway that morning for Jews or Gentiles or Muslims or Christians. He stood up for people. He stood up for good. He stood up for what was right in the face of the unspeakable, and he laid down his life for it. May we all learn from his example ("Israeli who saved Virginia students buried as hero," April 22).
Sir, - Reading press reports on-line, I noticed how the British papers were reporting the part Prof. Librescu played. One called him a Romanian, another the same, yet another said he was a Russian. Of four publications, not one mentioned that he was an Israeli. Perhaps their union doesn't allow Israeli heroes.
Sir, - Liviu Librescu is a shining example of bravery and kindness, a beacon of hope in a world that sometimes seems to have no bright spots.
Sir, - David Horovitz told the wonderful story about the Ayalon Institute and its production of over two million much-needed bullets in the underground factory near Rehovot ("Role models,' April 13). Its heroes are the young chaverim from the Scouts Movement, who went on to found Kibbutz Ma'agan Michael after the War of Independence.
Not mentioned was that they were joined in that underground factory by a group of eight young members of British Habonim: Zvi Black, Sheila ben Yehuda (Green), Marian Gershman, Selma Davis, Louie Natan, Chava Markevitz, Dan Reiss and Betty Shulman, all recently arrived in Palestine by illegal aliya - Aliyah Bet or Daled - some of them having spent time in the Cyprus internment camps. All were members of the settlement group that afterwards founded Kfar Hanassi.
Incidentally, Sheila was one of the group of seven British Habonim members who came here on the Exodus - but that's another story.
Organization of Habonim Veterans
Tears & groans
Sir, - Re "From filthy to clean - 'unofficial' beaches make dramatic turnaround" (April 18): As a tour guide here for the last 25 years, I can attest to the disgraceful beaches, especially those seen by 90 percent of package-tour visitors, such as the beach at Caesarea, and especially the Roman aqueduct area there, which most times is nothing more than a refuse dump strewn with narcotic needles. We no longer advise people to take their shoes off and go wading, as they would love to do as it is the only touch many of them ever have of the Mediterranean. The disgust and shock registered on their faces is sobering.
The same can be said of the Jordan River outlet at the southern end, between Degania and Kinneret, at the Yardenit dam; it is always strewn with vodka and beer bottles and assorted litter. I have never guided a group in which people didn't comment; recently one woman broke down and cried.
Another form of litter is the oversized neon McDonald's signs found at the entrance to Jerusalem and Galilee next to many historic and religious sites. The groups actually groan when they see them. Other countries have restricted Macdonald's to more modest signs in historic areas. The magic of this country is instantly dissipated when visitors see these signs.
There has never ever been a serious attempt to educate the public, nor to fine people.
I'll give you gematria!
Sir, - David Skolni's fantasy about a Jewish connection, via gematria, with the Manchester United soccer team is just that - a fantasy. The Creator, blessed be His Name, has only one sports interest: the welfare of the New York Yankees.
Why else would they have won so many baseball championships despite the unending curses of the other teams' fans? Why else does the team thrive in September-October, at the end of the season, if not for the connection to Jewish renewal that inheres in Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Succot?
Skolni should note that the Hebrew numerical value of the Yankees is 230, or Resh-Lamed. That stands for rahmana litzlan, which Jews invoke to ward off evil things - which the team does, perennially.
Fifth of Iyar
Sir, - Changing words in our national anthem to please some, or marking Independence Day on Pessah to please others - or, for that matter, putting up with with a government or PM that is not necessarily one's choice - are all part of trying to please all the people, all the time.
About Mordechai the Jew, the Book of Esther notes that even after so great a victory he was "ratzui lerov ehav" - accepted by the majority, but not all, of his people.
For whatever reason, the fifth of the month of Iyar was the date chosen for Israel's Independence Day 59 years ago. Regardless of minority opinion or objection, that date must stand.
Why my car
has no flag
Sir, - I decided not to buy an Israeli flag for my car this year because I understand that all the flags are made in China. I want my country's flag to be manufactured here, even if it costs a shekel or two more. Having flags made in Israel would also be a step toward creating jobs for our unemployed.
JOSHUA J. ADLER