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Never on Friday
Sir, - I very much enjoyed your special Independence magazine of April 23, especially as I remember all the events it highlighted. However, I was surprised by a mistake under the 1948 headline "Proclamation by Head of Government."
The report said that "the creation of 'Medinat Israel,' the State of Israel, was proclaimed at midnight on Friday by Mr. David Ben-Gurion." But Friday night could not have been used for this historic event. Ben-Gurion's proclamation in fact took place at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 14, at the Dizengoff Museum in Tel Aviv.
As a Haganah soldier, I sat with other soldiers in a jeep on Jerusalem Blvd, opposite the Post Office, listening to Ben-Gurion's voice. None of us moved. We hardly breathed in order to hear every word of the historic announcement.
It is this moment of my 67 years in Israel that I will never forget.
Hon. Life President
Sir, - David Kimche rightly bemoans today's lack of a leader of the caliber of David Ben-Gurion. He then cites examples of actions Ben-Gurion would have taken against the "lawlessness" of the settlers. Typically, he ignores unlawful, far more egregious actions by the Left.
Most notably, Ben-Gurion would never have countenanced the illegal meetings with the PLO that led to the so-called Oslo peace process ("The lessons of 1948," April 27).
Sir, - Re "Olmert, Peretz, Halutz to face Winograd's harsh criticism" (April 29): Justifiably, all eyes, ears and minds are on our deplorable leadership situation and we in CEPAC feel daily the increasing frustration of the public. That much of our leadership should be replaced is a given... but with whom? Surely not the failed leaders of the past.
Post editor David Horovitz, together with Nachman Shai, during an interview on IBA English news stressed the necessity of involving new personalities in leadership roles, people from the business community and other walks of life. This cannot happen under our present political system, which discourages new leadership. And the current bankrupt political party structure is, unsurprisingly, not attractive to new personalities.
CEPAC's goals advocate the opportunity for new people to enter politics through a strengthened, more independent Knesset. We invite you to join our signature campaign for regional Knesset elections (see www.cepac.org.il).
There are MKs who do support our goals. They should receive our support.
Public Action Campaign
Sir, - In "The Independence Day that changed all others" on Yom Ha'atzma'ut 1967, a puzzling quote attributed to Asher Cailingold referred to "the terrible post-war anti-Semitism in the UK in the late '40s where Enoch Powell's fascists were marching through the streets on a regular basis" (Independence Day supplement, April 23). As a resident of the UK until the end of the '50s, I cannot recall anything approaching "terrible" anti-Semitism.
Even during those tense years after the end of the war until 1948, when the Yishuv was engaged in its struggle with the mandatory power, anti-Semitism in the UK was relatively muted.
The reference to Powell and his fascists could only have resulted from a transposition of historical events and personalities. Enoch Powell - with all his racist, anti-immigration activities in the '60s - was certainly no anti-Semite. Suffice it to remember his vigorous anti-appeasement, pro-Churchill policy in the '30s.
Wasn't your writer recalling the activities in the '30s of Oswald Mosley and his marching fascists and ascribing them to the late '40s and Enoch Powell?
Sir, - Yehoram Gaon was a good singer 40 years ago. However, his hoarse moaning at Auschwitz was nearly as tasteless as his fee-grabbing (Celebrity Grapevine, April 22).
Honor these, too
Sir, - On Remembrance Day Israel justifiably pays tribute to IDF soldiers who fell defending the Jewish state in all its wars, and the ceremony on Mt. Herzl now also includes an official memorial service for the countless victims of Arab terror, murdered in Israel and worldwide.
Yet there is no recognition of the sacrifice of the thousands of seriously wounded Jewish soldiers and terror victims whose lives are a daily struggle for survival.
Surely the exemplary courage of these heroic Jews who, despite untold hardship, live as part of our people in our homeland deserves to be officially honored?
SHIFRA HOFFMAN, Founder
Victims of Arab Terror International
Out of touch
Sir, - I and several colleagues regularly discuss current affairs over a weekly lunch and on one subject we all agree: Larry Derfner has no idea what Israel is all about. His habit of referring to Israelis as though he is different from and superior to the rest of us is insulting.
"To cry on cue" (April 26) describing our deep national mourning on Remembrance Day as nothing but a show, was insensitive and illustrated the extent to which he is out of touch with the real Israel.
Sir, - Usually I read Anshel Pfeffer's articles with approval, agreement and admiration for his ability to get behind the spin doctors and closed doors of Israeli society with clear-eyed, level-headed common sense. However, "My beef with Independence Day celebrations" (April 27) was sour and unnecessarily critical.
What I saw, on that absolutely beautiful day, from my apartment overlooking San Simon Park in Jerusalem, was Israelis using a day of rest to drive their cars and light their fires; Jews with their extended families enjoying their own land, knowing they were safe from attack, and living the dream of Herzl from the Bible (I Kings): "Each man shall live under his own vine and fig-tree."
Sir, - Rabbi Emanuel Feldman accurately described the slippery slope taken by those who wish to bring Torah into the 21st century; that is, throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Jonathan Swift's essay "A Modest Proposal" couldn't have articulated it any better ("'Yom Kippur's the obstacle,' - a look into the future," April 25).
Sir, - I have known Rabbi Feldman for decades. I consider him to be a true Torah scholar, a deeply religious Jew, a well-informed Israeli, and a kind and sensitive person. Thus I was amazed and disturbed by this mean-spirited and sarcastic op-ed in which he disparaged potential converts to Judaism, particularly Russian ones, while entirely ignoring the serious problems of our rabbinical court system.
A potential convert once asked the sage Shammai to give him a concise explanation of Judaism. Shammai beat the man with a stick and drove him off. The man then turned to Hillel, who told him to be kind to others, the rest was commentary.
I would have expected this article to show the same sort of kindness to potential converts.
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