January 24: Derfner's selective memory

January 24, 2010 16:39
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letters 88 NICE. (photo credit: )


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Derfner's selective memory

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Sir, - In commenting on Israel's heroic response to the tragic Haitian earthquake, Larry Derfner wonders, "When will this big-hearted nation stop being heartless to the people in Gaza?" ("The pride and the shame," January 21) Unfortunately, he fails to mention that thousands of trucks carrying humanitarian aid have flowed from Israel into Gaza during and after Operation Cast Lead. He also forgets the many Gazans who continue to receive medical treatment in Israel. And what other country in the world would have stopped fighting for three hours each day in order to allow humanitarian supplies into Gaza during a war? (Hamas regularly transferred weapons and personnel during those three hours, secure in the knowledge that the IDF would not fire at them.)

It is unfair to assume that Gazans are simply innocent

victims of a political battle between Israel and Hamas. The Gazans gave overwhelming electoral support to an organization openly dedicated to Israel's violent destruction.

In the end, Derfner refuses to see the fundamental difference between the two situations. While the Haitians' horrible suffering is the result of a natural disaster, the Palestinians have it in their own power to improve their circumstances. They need only recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state and stop the violence.



A trap...

Sir, - The IDF teams in Haiti are winning kudos around the world for their modest dedication and bravery in the midst of chaos and suffering. Now a request has been extended to Israel to send a contingent of Israeli policemen to join "peacekeeping efforts" in Haiti ("UN, US ask Israel to send police to Haiti," January 21). And our Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch is planning to comply.

We wonder what is behind this plan and what the intentions are. Surely the thousands of

soldiers from America and other countries can cope with the possible outbreak of violence while masses are clambering for food and water. To us, it seems like a trap by those who want the image of the brutal IDF, the cruel Israeli, to be in the forefront; to change the positive response and respect the Israelis are earning over there.

The cameras will be ready to catch even one act of violence by one of our policemen, even if he is unarmed. That will make the headlines and feed the tabloids and once again we will be on the defensive. The IDF's reputation will be diminished, its achievements looked upon with suspicion.

Why, we ask, have we lost all sense of proportion and foresight. Can we not let good alone? There are enough countries able and equipped to lend a strong hand.


...or a show of

Sir, - The headline in the Jerusalem Post ("UN, US ask Israel to send police to Haiti") on January 21 made me aware of what Israel means to the world. It was a headline that made me read the story twice. The United States and the United Nations have asked Israel to send a contingent of police to Haiti. What a remarkable story.

Little Israel, the country that the UN loves to criticize and denigrate and pass countless resolutions against, has finally been valued appropriately.

Israel has send more aid proportionately to Haiti than any other country, including the mighty United States. Little Israel has shown itself to be an enormous country of compassion and efficiency. It supplied much needed direct relief and was able to rescue so many people. Its worth is beyond rubies as the Bible states.

Israel is truly a light unto the nations and may it continue to be so.


National pride

Sir, - Our hearts are bursting with pride for our wonderful and courageous teams working non-stop in Haiti ("Two local Jews helping Israel's relief effort in Haiti," January 20). You are amazing.


Tit for tat

Sir, - The Palestinian list of demands is very short. In fact, it can be summarized in one word: Everything. The Jerusalem Post reported in "No Israeli presence in our state" (January 21) that chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat rejected a call by PM Binyamin Netanyahu for an Israeli presence in a future Palestinian state. "Palestinians want to create an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem with no Israeli presence, military or civilian, the senior PA official said."

Fair enough, it's a valid point. Does this now leave the door open for Israel to demand that there be no Arab presence in the Jewish state? After all, Erekat continuously exhorts Israel's Arab citizens to express their Palestinian nationhood. And many do just that, not least MK Ahmed Tibi and his colleagues.

Same rule for all?

Gothenburg, Sweden

It's just human nature

Sir, - It was interesting to read that the Immigrant Absorption Ministry apparently found it surprising that Israelis like aliya but are ambivalent regarding olim ("Israelis favor aliya but are mixed on olim, poll shows," January 20). For more than 30 years, starting in the 1970s, Shirley Goodman, the director of Volunteers for Clevelanders in Israel, began preparing Clevelanders for aliya by educating them with seminars on what to expect in Israel from banking and the various bureaucracies, to buying or renting a home, purchasing health insurance, and getting children into school. Clevelanders became successful olim - out of approximately 500 families who have made aliya over the past three decades, I recall only one returning to Cleveland. But the 'joke' was always: "Israelis love aliya but hate olim."

Dr. Ze'ev Khanin, chief scientist of the Ministry wants to blame the media for causing this discrepancy which, he says, "...highlights the negative instead of reporting on the norm." But this isn't a new phenomenon. It's human nature. And it's why Shirley advised us to participate as fully as possible in Israeli life and to socialize with all Israelis, but "live with your own.

Beit Shemesh

Where's the praise?

Sir, - Permit me to differ from the review of the new opera, "The Child Dreams" (January 20). The impression given by your reviewer is that the opera is a failure, that it was "an almost impossible task" to turn the play into an opera and that the only part of the production that came even close was the set and the production. The music is damned with faint - very faint - praise. If the reaction of the audience is any measure, the opera is a resounding success. Seldom have I heard such long and resounding applause for any opera here, much less a new, modern work.

Personally I found the evening to be profoundly moving and meaningful and the music itself was the center of this. I would have appreciated a fuller analysis of the music. It was most listenable, unlike many modern scores, and seems to have been influenced by Debussy and Ravel, along with echoes of Alban Berg and even Kurt Weill. The singers were all excellent and each received the applause so richly deserved. The Israel Opera undertook a courageous act in this time of financial difficulty in sponsoring a serious Israeli opera by a serious composer and it succeeded.


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