August 29: What they say

When did Israel become the Warsaw ghetto?

August 28, 2011 22:29

letters. (photo credit: JP)

What they say

Sir, – Regarding “South pounded by rockets, prepares for more violence” (August 26), when did Israel become the Warsaw ghetto? There are daily attacks. We have a defense minister who is admittedly afraid and behaves as if Jimmy Carter were making the decisions. Our billion-shekel Iron Dome has done nothing but encourage more barrages of cheap hundred-dollar rockets and has our South living in fear.

This is what happens when politicians are more concerned about what people say than about defending our nation. We are long past due for a public inquiry and perhaps a refresh in the Knesset!


Sir, – The score is in. Palestinians invaded Israel, killing eight and wounding more than 40.

In response, mighty Israel bombed some empty buildings and tunnels. It then pressed for a ceasefire – this, under a Likud government.

It is over for Israel. When you lose the will to fight, the enemy will pick you apart. We cannot support you when you won’t defend yourselves.

Highland Park, New Jersey

Sderot is strong

Sir, – “‘Fear has no scent or sound, but it has a color: Red’” (Home Front, August 26) is dramatic, full of pathos and human interest – but exaggerated. The impression that Sderot residents are largely traumatized is inaccurate.

Dr. Adriana Katz is no doubt a competent psychiatrist, but like many mental health professionals appears to view normal stress reaction in traumatic conditions as pathological PTSD.

Careful reading shows that even she talks about 150-200 truly traumatized cases (bad enough) while mentioning 1,500-2,000 out of the 25,000 residents who consult with the mental health center, a perfectly proper thing to do given the crazy circumstances.

In recent years, Sderot has experienced a building boom and a baby boom, as well as improvement in its education system and public environment.

Residents now share a pride of place never before enjoyed by the long-neglected development town. That doesn’t sound like a demoralized or traumatized city to me.

Far more useful – because it would enable the rest of us to learn from their experience rather than wring our hands – would be to look at the remarkable “emergency sub-culture” that has developed in Sderot, which enables the great majority of residents to lead their lives under impossible conditions.

That is what I have attempted to do in my recent book, Sha’at Hazahav (Dekel Publishing, with sponsorship by the Home Front Command).

Petah Tikva

The writer is a retired professor of social work at Bar-Ilan University and a senior consultant to the Home Front Command on population problems in emergencies. His daughter and her family reside in Sderot

Wild-eyed call

Sir, – It would be difficult to dream up a more total recipe for disaster than Martin Sherman’s wild-eyed call for the military reconquest of Gaza (“White flag Over Gaza,” Into the Fray, August 26). What makes it worse is that his argument is not without a sort of misconceived logic.

All attempts at reconciling Israeli and Palestinian aspirations are indeed thwarted by the fact that Hamas, irredeemably rejectionist as it is, is the de facto government of Gaza. But how can the solution be for Israel to embark on a further military adventure with the unrealistic aim of forcing it to an unconditional surrender? Sherman mentions “collective civilian casualties” as one consequence of his proposal to “crush Hamas by overwhelming force.” But surely Cast Lead demonstrated the virtual impossibility of undertaking a military operation in Gaza City without inflicting incalculable loss of life, casualties, misery and disruption for innocent civilians.

The redoubled military effort he advocates would inevitably redouble this wholly undesirable outcome. International opinion would be outraged – and rightly so.

If Sherman wants Israel’s political and military leaders hauled up before the International Court of Justice, he is going in the right direction. He may regard with equanimity the prospect of Israel becoming a pariah on the world stage. I, for one, do not.

Ramat Beit Shemesh

Too optimistic

Sir, – Steve Linde reviews Hirsh Goodman’s soon-to-be-published book The Anatomy of Israel’s Survival (“Israel can survive,” Editor’s Notes, August 26), in which Goodman writes that the best defense against unfriendly governments is for Israel to make peace with the Palestinians. He believes the price of peace is worth the risks.

Doesn’t Goodman acknowledge the terrible price we paid in Jewish lives since the Oslo Accords? It takes two parties to make peace and it is clear that there was and is only one. That is Israel.

It is about time that Goodman listens to what our negotiating partners say to their own people. The Palestinians want a one-state solution, and that state will be Palestine, a country free of each and every Jew, including him. He also believes that peace with the Palestinian Authority is possible, but not with Hamas. Well, Abbas wants to get together with Hamas.

People get together when they think alike.

We are at war for the very existence of Israel. In order to win we have to fight, acknowledge who our enemies are and know they will never be peace partners. This is the only way Israel can exist.

Ma’aleh Adumim

Sir, – Hirsh Goodman states that “developments on the Palestinian side are encouraging” for peace. Yet TV programs broadcasted to hundreds of thousands of people in Palestinian Authority-controlled territory show no evidence that much has changed in encouraging positive attitudes toward peace.

Below is just one example.

During Ramadan, PA television chose to visit the mother of Darin Abu Aisheh, a suicide bomber who blew herself up at a roadblock in 2002, wounding three Israelis.

The camera focused on a poster of the terrorist with the following text: “The Palestinian National Liberation Movement – Fatah – Beit Wazan branch is happy to announce [the death of] the heroic martyrdom-seeker Darin Muhammad Tawfiq Abu Aisheh, member of the Al- Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.” The mother spoke with pride of how she received the news of her daughter’s death, seeing it as her “wedding.”

Perhaps I’m missing something, but I really can’t see what Goodman finds so encouraging on the Palestinian side.


Two sides of Glenn

Sir, – Thank you to Caroline B. Glick (“Glenn Beck’s revealing visit,” Column One, August 26) for once again putting my feelings into words.

We were at the Glenn Beck rally and left feeling so encouraged.

As someone who moved to Israel from America, I appreciate Americans acknowledging the courage it took to move here and remain here.

I wish more people like Beck would come – and bring a thousand visitors with them.

Ma’aleh Adumim

Sir, – It is not only leftists who find Glenn Beck unpalatable.

This right wing “settler” finds him hard to swallow, too. In fact, I can identify friends on both sides of the Beck issue.

This notion has left me scratching my head, wondering whether Beck is divisive or spans the divide and offers some of us on both the Left and Right a point of agreement?


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