letters to the editor 88.
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Smell the humous...
Sir, - As a six-year-old child of Holocaust survivors who escaped to Bulawayo, south Rhodesia, and lost more than 50 relatives in the camps, I was the victim of daily Jew-baiting, bullying and physical attacks by my contemporaries on the playground.
Obviously my parents were deeply concerned by my often bloodied appearance and distress, but my father (himself the recipient of torture inflicted by the Nazis) decided to instruct me in self defense and retaliatory measures, which within a very short time stopped the attacks and gained me a measure of respect and friendship among the pupils.
Concurring with Stewart Weiss's "Lessons from an Arab shopkeeper" (July 23), I never cease to wonder at the naivety and spineless appeasement exhibited by the so-called peace camp - my terminology would be graveyard peace. It ignores the realities of worldwide terrorism, which incidentally kills and mutilates far more Muslims than "infidels" and whose credo is to sow the seeds of strife and instability everywhere.
When will the Western world unconditionally unite to destroy this evil fanaticism which is already exploiting its democratic values, aided these last 30 years by its own politicians?
World, wake up world and smell the humous!
GISH TRUMAN ROBBINS
...and the remedy
Sir, - Stewart Weiss says, "Everything I know about Arabs, I learned in the shuk." I am sure that most Israelis, whose main contact with Arabs is in the marketplace, would agree that hard-nosed bargaining is the best way to deal with them.
About six years ago, when I started to work in a pharmacy that hired Arab pharmacists, I found myself working side by side with Israeli Arabs. I began to realize that more than anything else they craved respect for their work, an opportunity to advance in their profession and an opportunity to make a decent living.
Once Israel proves again to the Arabs that we are here to stay we must make it clear that if they have the courage to embrace peace they will find a partner who is willing to work hand-in-hand to secure the future of the Middle East.
Action and inaction
Sir, - It is a trivial and ridiculous requirement that Israel is given several weeks at best to dismantle terrorist organizations when these entities have been fighting Israel for 50 years ("IDF: Terrorists running out of rockets. Military Intelligence assesses 10 days left for Lebanon operation," July 24).
Terror against Israel is embedded in the Arab mind and support for terror on the Arab "street" is rife.
The Western mindset that this problem must be eliminated quickly does not enter into the equation of a successful conclusion to the problems Israel faces. When attacked from any quarter, a swift deadly response must occur. A measured response encourages more attacks.
The concern regarding injury and death of civilians is the responsibility of the governments that allow terrorists to operate in their territory.
People must be held to account for their actions, and for their inaction in this regard.
JOHN RANDALL PEACHER
Martinsburg, West Virginia
Sir, - Last summer the government and General Staff planned and implemented a brilliant plan for the expulsion of 8,000 Jews from their homes and the complete destruction of 18 communities at a cost of NIS 8 billion.
The world looked on with admiration as this military operation, which was suppose to take two weeks, was completed within several days.
In contrast to the detailed plans for the operation in Gaza, the IDF has again entered Lebanon, but without what appears to be the proper military intelligence, planning and clear purpose.
Can anyone doubt that last year the government should have concentrated more on the enemy threat from Lebanon rather than expending vast resources on dispossessing Jews from their homes?
Sir, - As I look at "From our Archives" (July 23), it occurs to me that history is repeating itself:
"On July 23, 1981, The Jerusalem Post reported that Prime Minister Menachem Begin visited Galilee and promised local citizens an end to terror from Katyushas... The Israel Air Force again bombed Lebanese bridges and terrorists' lines of communications, but claimed that it was trying hard to limit any civilian casualties."
We do not want this to happen again in 25 years. We hope US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will solve this problem once and for all.
Sir, - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, has accused Israel of excessive use of force (Kofi Annan: Hizbullah is 'deplorable,' but Israel has torn Lebanon 'to shreds," July 21). It seems that every time Israel responds to an unprovoked attack, it is accused of using disproportionate force.
The traditional response is that the IDF takes great care to avoid civilian casualties. But there is another, more emotional response, referring to the Shoah: Never again.
Never again we will allow another Holocaust against the Jewish people. Never again will the Jewish people go quietly to their deaths. Never again will we allow anyone to attempt to kill Jews just because they are Jews. The world remained silent as Jews were being murdered over 60 years ago. No nation came to our rescue.
After more than six million of our people were murdered, no force is too great if it means saving one Jewish life. It's time for Israel and all the Jewish people to say to the world in a united voice, "Never again."
St. Louis, Missouri
Sir, - Just as the IDF has arrested Hamas members in Jerusalem, it should arrest MKs who are pro-Hamas and anti-Israel ("Siding with the enemy," Editorial, July 23).
Keeping us safe
Sir, - I did not know Benjy Hillman, yet my heart missed a beat on Friday morning. I have never met him, yet I found it impossible to contemplate sleep ("A father's eulogy for a slain soldier," July 23).
I feel the heart of the grieving mother beating inside my own. I feel her pain, her anguish, her distress, when I think of a new marriage, a beginning of a new family, a life. I did not know that her son risked his life, every day, to protect me, to keep my loved ones safe.
He risked his family's health and nerves, to ensure that I could sleep at night. And now, when I know of these events, it expands my love and passion for this country. This country that has taken so many lives, and has given so much back.
I am holding hands with Benjy's family. I am sharing their pain, as I am sure much of the country is. May they never know more sorrow.
Prayers for Israel
Sir, - I am a Christian American with no family ties to Israel but I support its resistance to cowardly terrorist nations. I am investigating how Americans can volunteer to fight in the IDF should Iran and Syria get involved militarily with the current conflict ("Syria: We will not stand idly by if IDF invades Lebanon," July 24).
Charleston, South Carolina
Sir, - As a Christian American woman, I will continue to pray for Israel and the Jewish people. Regardless of what is said throughout the world against Israel, please know many Americans stand behind your country and pray daily for our Jewish friends and the peace of Jerusalem.
Whom to blame?
Sir, - For more than a week, my family and I have been living within reach of the Katyushas fired from Lebanon. We felt that we had mastered the game, rushing to our bomb shelter on the lower floor of our house within less than 30 seconds, the time between hearing the sirens, and the actual dropping of the shell.
My wife and I gave our four children clear instructions and developed with them a procedure on how to act when they hear the sirens.
This week, these arrangements were tested by reality when rockets fell just hundreds of meters from our house. We could not hear the sirens, mainly because we do not have one in our town of 12,000 Arab inhabitants. We depend on hearing the sirens of the nearby Jewish town, and when the wind blows in the wrong direction we cannot hear it.
The noise of the first rocket was unbearable, and naturally created panic in the house. Furthermore, we have no public shelters, as is the case in Jewish towns ("2 children killed as rockets hit Nazareth," July 20). It made me feel that from the government's point of view, Arab citizens are expendable.
Whom to blame? The Hizbullah forces that sent these rockets our way? Or the Israeli government, which failed to provide adequate protective measures to its Arab citizens?
One thing I know for sure, and that is how to sympathize with the innocent civilians who are dying during this ridiculous show of power.
Sir, - One would find the article "Elyashiv: shut down Conversions Authority" (July 19) amusing if it were not so tragic.
One must recall what had been revealed precisely two months ago ("Wolf pack goes meek," May 19). Two years previously, a top official of the Conversions Authority (part of the Prime Minister's Office) empowered by the government to conduct conversions, was found to have signed a certificate to the effect that he had performed a certain conversion (or several such conversions) abroad, when in fact he had never left Israel.
In any other country, such an official would resign immediately upon being found out, before the government fired him. But in Israel, nobody seems to care about the shenanigans of rabbinical or even higher government figures. And that is the real tragedy. They shame both Torah and democracy.
IRA L. JACOBSON