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Sir, - Elliot Jager's "'Perfidy' revisited" (August 1) was excellent. I also read the book many years ago, and then reread it. When I first came to yeshiva in Israel and we went to Sde Boker to visit Ben-Gurion's grave and home, I was appalled. I actually considered him an enemy of the Jewish people. That's how much the book influenced me.
Hecht's book uses very emotional language for a reason - to sweep the reader along. The accusations are fired steadily and build up in their seriousness. The truth is, I don't know why I allowed this book to dominate my thinking when I was younger.
In the early '90s I hosted a friend for Shabbat. He brought along a young college student, who spoke about Perfidy for most of the meal. He was angry and bitter. Following the Rabin murder he was expelled from school, and subsequently committed suicide.
Who knows how much the book set this young fellow on such a tragic and unfortunate course? The op-ed's ending says it all: Let's move on. I might add, for the sake of our sanity and health, individual and national.
Sir, - It was wonderful to read this article. I'm glad to say Perfidy is no longer out of print. We at Gefen Publishing House in Jerusalem have been republishing this important book since 1999.
MURRAY S. GREENFIELD
A Hillel Kook for now
Sir, - Woe to the world Jewish community if it forgets the lessons of the Bergson Group ("Bergson's legacy," Editorial, July 31). Now is the time to speak out against the indifference of the past when the American president would not take an active part in stopping the massive Jewish blood-letting in Europe. At a time when the matter is becoming more and more urgent, not only regarding the existence of the Jewish nation in Israel but also the safety and security of the entire Western world, Jews worldwide must act to inform a disengaged Western leadership about the path of unchecked evil in an Iranian regime bent on global jihad.
Where are the Hillel Kooks of the 21st century?
'Face to face' with Avshalom Haviv
Sir, - A personal postscript to Yehuda Avner's harrowing account of the hanging of three Irgun fighters by the British ("They went to the gallows singing 'Hatikva,'" July 26):
In 1982-3, shortly after making aliya, I was conscripted as a driver by the wonderful hesed machine in our district, Rabbi Rogol. Every weekday he would visit a different hospital, where he volunteered to put on tefillin and say Shema with elderly or incapacitated men.
On Tuesdays I would drive him to the Rehabilitation Unit at Herzog Hospital - which was where I met Rivka Lieblich, a bright and cheerful older lady recovering from a hip operation, and I was delighted to try out my imperfect Hebrew in getting her to talk about her life.
That's how I discovered, to my horror, that she had lived here during the Mandate, and that her son had "alah lagardom" (gone up to the gallows). When I finally clarified the meaning of those two Hebrew words, my face must have revealed my shock and pain.
But Rivka, the mother, comforted me: "It's better he died that way than losing his life for no purpose in a road crash. Now at least the country is ours."
Mr. Avner must continue to write his marvelous memoirs of those early heroes, to whom we are all so indebted; and I will never forget the words that Rivka Lieblich (hebraized to "Haviv") spoke to me.
'We're all right'
Sir, - Reading "Bill targets Katsav's retirement benefits" (July 31), I was flabbergasted to learn that retired presidents get a monthly pension of NIS 48,000 per month - or NIS 576,000 per year - at the same time as the government has promised to give NIS 130 million shekels to be shared by 120,000 Holocaust survivors. That's one-44th of what the president gets. This is especially troubling when we hear that survivors get better benefits from other European countries.
It's the old story of the members of the club taking care of themselves.
Red card for the ref
Sir, - Re "Betar Jerusalem edged out in first leg" (August 1): It seems obvious that the chief person responsible was - the referee. His contribution did not end with his voiding of the equalizing goal (there was no offside - as later proved by slowed-down replays that showed the scorer's exact position when the ball was kicked) and sending off Boateng with a second yellow card when the Copenhagen player concerned deliberately staged a theatrical fall for which Boateng was in no way responsible. He also gave several yellow cards to Betar players in the first half and only one - probably as an afterthought to make his bias less obvious - to a Copenhagen player in the second half.
The least the Israel Football Association should do is request that this referee not be scheduled to officiate at any matches in which Israeli teams participate. Ignoring such bias only encourages its repetition.
Don't gut this hut
Sir, - I, like many, many others, are appalled and regretful at the idea of destroying the hut in which Shimon Peres lived on Kibbutz Alumot. We want future generations to know how our leaders suffered for many years and kept their spirits high under the most primitive conditions. This is definitely one symbol of their greatness.
Let future generations feel from where they have come! ("Peres surprised his hut on Kibbutz Alumot to be destroyed," July 31)
Sir, - As an animal lover and cat feeder who neuters the cats in my neighborhood and encountered some shocking, and illegal, behavior after paying to have dozens of cats at a residential hotel neutered as well, I was cheered by the wonderful words of the Duchess of Hamilton ("Blair and the stray cats of Jerusalem," July 29).
As a psychologist, it troubles me to see the negative attitude of many residents to the suffering street cats of our city. Torturing animals is a prime symptom of conduct disorder in youth and in the history of adults with antisocial personality disorder ("psychopaths").
We volunteers at the Jerusalem Society for the Welfare of Street Cats, in conjunction with the JSPCA and Spay Israel, propose a project where the charities will take responsibility for stabilizing the cat population - which the municipality has not done, in contrast to Tel Aviv and Herzliya. We have been encouraged by the duchess's interest and applaud her for her public stand on this important challenge.
DR. CHARLOTTE SLOPAK GOLLER
Sir, - MK Gilad Erdan has succeeded in pushing through a law which can be expected to prevent many head injuries in cyclists. Religious Jews should support it. Not only do we have an obligation to protect our lives ("v'shmartem et nafshoteichem"), but also from the verse "And you shall build a guard rail (ma'akeh) on your roof to prevent a fall." This commandment extends to both helmets and seat belts ("Head up! Protective helmets required," July 26).
Monroe Twp, New Jersey