letters to the editor 88.
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Sir, - Together with Michael Freund, I too am heartened as Tisha Be'av arrives by the newly awakened unity among our people ("The Jewish people's 9/11," August 2). The acts of loving-kindness between Jews and the selfless courage of our soldiers characterize our nation in times of trouble.
In contrast, one year ago, upon the execution of the disengagement, our nation was polarized. The most difficult aspect of that episode was the apathy and contempt displayed by those unsympathetic to the refugees from Gaza.
I can't help but feel that God brings these trials upon us to remind us that we are one people. And it might be helpful if we showed God that we, on both sides of the political divide, have learned a thing or two.
Sar-El going strong
Sir, - Thank you very much for "Sar-El moves volunteers from bases in North" (August 2). I would like to clarify one thing: Despite the low percentage of cancellations due to the war, we are experiencing at least a 30% increase in volunteers because of the war.
Gen. Aharon Davidi founded Sar-El during the Lebanon war; and during times of crisis, our volunteers continue to come in order to help and do whatever is necessary.
Program Coordinator, Sar-El
Bombs and bullets
Sir, - Germany's officials may seem indifferent, but they aren't.
On the one hand we've learned our lessons from our past wars, and the Holocaust. That's why we feel bad about every bomb or bullet fired at a human being. History also tells us that the Jewish people have the right to protect and defend their country.
We know Israel is an enlightened, democratic state open to controversial debates, and you deserve our respect for that. May your government always make the right decisions ("German troops to the Middle East?" Werner Sonne, August 2).
Sir, - I was surprised to see in "With the combat engineers in south Lebanon" (On-Line Edition, August 2) the excitement of Capt. Ro'i, who was "pleased that one of the first IDF missions on which journalists were allowed was his unit's. 'The papers were full of photographs of my soldiers coming out of Maroun A-Ras this week.'"
I humbly suggest the defense forces do not head down this path. It will rebound on you, just as it did on the Americans in Iraq.
Journalists have no place with fighting troops. They should be briefed by senior officials at headquarters far from the frontline. Journalists will do anything for a sensationalist story or headline, even accusing frontline troops of murder, as they did in Iraq.
Up until this article I thought the IDF was clean of this embedded nonsense.
Not so nice to Rice
Sir, - The comprehensive "Palestinian anti-Rice feeling peaks with monkey cartoon," (August 2) by the unsurpassed Khaled Abu Toameh well deserved its place on your front page.
For those who aren't aware, I would like to point out that referring to blacks or other non-whites as apes or monkeys is a classical racist depiction.
Sir, - Not being a fan of Condi Rice, I found the Arab protests against her almost, if not tragically, amusing. They chanted slogans like "Shame on you, Condoleezza, your parents were slaves for the whites!"
Yet we must remember that it was Arabs in Africa who sold the blacks into slavery. They conquered and colonized Africa long before the West began buying slaves there, and should be held responsible for the history of black enslavement.
Sir, - Shame on the refusenik written about in "Captain jailed for refusal to serve" (August 2). It appears he is putting achievement of a university degree before anything else. It shows that he values a piece of paper over the survival of his people.
He is forgetting to stop and think that his degree will be worth nothing if Israel does not succeed in the current war.
Let's hope he repents and redeems himself by serving his country in time of war first, and then himself.
Sir, - In "Seattle's 'hidden Yidden,'"(July 31) Judy Lash Balint put forth the idea of a quaking, Jewish community in Seattle. Contrary to her assertion, the congregation she referred to, Congregation Beth Shalom, did hold Friday night services only two hours after the tragedy. Because it could not establish security at the synagogue at a time that it was not clear if the Federation shooting was the act of a single perpetrator, the congregation kept someone at the synagogue directing all people coming for services to a nearby alternative location, where services were indeed held.
By Saturday morning it had security personnel in place and an overflowing crowd of congregants, Jewish non-congregants and non-Jews expressing solidarity attended services in the synagogue. At Havdallah, about 60 people gathered spontaneously in the synagogue to hold a candlelight vigil and recite Psalms.
The Jewish community of Seattle has been highly visible and outspoken since the awful attack.
Right to defense
Sir, - Here in Canada we see front-page headlines of Lebanese casualties. It's not until we read farther back in the newspaper that we find out Hizbullah is firing rockets from within civilian neighborhoods.
I believe your country has a right to defend itself at all costs.
Leaving the weak
Sir, - I have noticed that during the reports of evacuations from southern Lebanon and the aftermath of fighting there are no men between the ages of 15 and 50 to be seen among the displaced Lebanese. Where are they all?
We see only the old, handicapped, women and children, the types of people who have been killed in the bombings in southern Lebanon. What conclusions can be drawn from this?
The most obvious, unfortunately, is that the men are all out fighting and have left the frail and weaker members of their society behind.
Truth in a bottle?
Sir, - Re "ABC drops Gibson's Holocaust miniseries" (August 2): Mel Gibson used his intoxication to attempt to excuse his comments. In such a case, we must recall the wise Jewish proverb Nichnas yayin, yotse sod - when the wine goes in, the secret comes out.
Sir, - People like Mel Gibson have no reason to fear unemployment... there is a flourishing film industry in Iran.
Sir, - What a shame Israel's basketball victory over Russia merited only four lines and one picture in "Beating Blatt" (August 2).
A full and detailed account of the game - especially in these times when national morale is not at an all-time high - would have afforded fans a greater opportunity to revel in this great win.