letters good 88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Rabbi will be greatly missed
Sir, - Thank you for publishing the stunning and emotional picture captioned "Passing of a hassidic leader" (January 9).
The late Rabbi Aryeh Halberstam, may his memory be blessed, will be remembered for dedicating his whole life to others. Up to his last weeks, confined to bed in Laniado Hospital, he was still reachable, aided by his close family. He exemplified "You shall love your fellow man as yourself" and will be greatly missed by thousands, including my family. May he be the pleader for our nation in heaven!
Watching the watcher
Sir, - Machsom Watch activist Maya Bailey raises a question regarding security check personnel ("Machsom Watch wants to expand by supervising security checks at airport," January 10). She says: "We want to know who these people are, who trains them, and why there isn't any supervision over them."
Well, Ms. Bailey, who exactly are you? Who trained you? Who supervises you? Why do you think you know better? Perhaps if you have any spare time left over after harassing our soldiers and security officers, you could find something useful to do.
To echo the old song: 'Won't you go home, Ms. Bailey? Won't you go home?
Sir, - David J. Forman, in "I'm ashamed, I've transgressed, I have sinned" (January 8) should certainly be ashamed when he accuses Israeli Jews of being racists and lumps them in with Nazis just because some of them want to adopt Avigdor Lieberman's stringent policies.
After all, Israelis have real security concerns when it comes to the Arab population, many of whom identify with Israel's mortal enemies. That's very different from the unprovoked hatred of real racists, who see themselves as innately superior to others.
Your columnist also commits the sin of pride in adopting an attitude of moral superiority by failing to empathize with the very real insecurities his fellow Jews have in trying to be fair while simultaneously protecting themselves from harmful neighbors.
Repent, for the hour is late!
Sir, - To obtain Cpl. Gilad Shalit's release, Gershon Baskin believes Israel must release about 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, including terrorists with blood on their hands. Such a prisoner exchange would not lead to more kidnappings, he says, because "If Hamas could kidnap more soldiers it would, regardless of what price is paid..." ("Cut a deal for Shalit," January 9).
This is dangerous nonsense. Kidnappings that result in the release of large numbers of Palestinian terrorists clearly encourage more kidnappings and give a victory to Hamas and any other kidnappers while bolstering their image as heroes.
However, the chief security issue raised by releasing Palestinian terrorists is not more kidnappings, serious and real as that is, but their return to terrorism and murdering more Israelis.
According to a detailed report produced last year by the Almagor Terror Victims Association, Israel released 6,912 terrorists between 1993 and 1999. Of these, 854 committed further terrorist acts, which claimed the lives of 123 Israelis. Baskin avoids discussing this, presumably because it would destroy his argument.
MORTON A. KLEIN
National President Zionist Organization of America
Count on Europe
Sir, - When Michael Freund claims in "Say goodbye to Europe" (January 10) that Israel cannot count on Europe in times of crisis because of its increasing Muslim population, instead of being "Right On," he is, in my opinion, "Dead Wrong."
It is important to note that Europe's response to the Muslim demographic dilemma is the same as Israel's, where, too, "16-20% of children are Muslim." Both places are determined to maintain their cultural majorities, and both will use immigration regulatory laws in order to do so.
For Europe, this is more of a cultural than a political issue, but the outcome is the same. Israel can count on Europe because of the latter's history with Islam. Europe has faced the Muslim challenge in the past and knows what it is all about. It's reflected in the date Freund mentions - September 8, 1683 - the date on which Christian Europe, led by John Sobieski of Poland, defeated "the terror of the world," Muslim Turkey, and began to put an end to its European domination. Europe remembers her history and does not want a rerun.
This is indicated in her willingness to bring Christian Bulgaria and Romania into the European Union, while keeping Muslim Turkey out. Hence, I believe Israel would do herself a service by saying hello rather than goodbye Europe.
DR. LILY POLLIACK
Welcome, and not
Sir, - Re "US warplanes from newly dispatched carrier flying missions over Somalia" (January 10): American Navy bombs helping to play havoc with al-Qaida's operations in Somalia can only be welcome news to those of us perhaps fearing for the Bush administration's resolve in carrying out the war against Islamist terrorism.
America's right to defend herself, and in fact all of us who've progressed beyond the 14th century, is really only an issue among the anti-America Left and its allies within the international news media.
Those Islamist primitives now stumbling through the muck of coastal Somalia to flee Ethiopian and American ordnance are not heroes to the vast majority of us. They would deny liberties precious to their own media defenders, and gleefully plunder our daughters' self-esteem, given the chance. Critics who would see such murderers live to further oppress should oblige us all by clearly identifying themselves.
Boot in the behind
Sir, - Your decision to print only letters that attack Larry Derfner and thus praise Bibi seemed, at the very least, unfair. Surely mine couldn't have been the only one praising Derfner and giving Bibi what he deserves - a boot in the behind? But you're the boss ("A bigot called Bibi," January 4).
In "Educators 'accelerate' learning for Australian Aborigines" (January 9), the Post incorrectly reported that the program developed at Hebrew University was also used in the Tafnit project of the Sacta-Rashi Foundation. The university program and the Tafnit program were developed independently. The mistake arose from an unintended inaccuracy in information supplied by the university and brought to the attention of the Post by it. All parties regret the error.