letters to the editor 88.
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Tried and tested
Sir, - For the past four years, during our summer and autumn months, I have hosted 800 Israeli travelers in New Zealand. My three-month trip to Israel to visit them has almost come to an end and I will be returning to my new homeland of Australia. I will take back many wonderful memories, and also some very unexpected ones from the past 10 days of bombings in the North.
The day the bombings started I was visiting a Jewish family in Kiryat Shmona. By evening I was advised by my caring hosts to move south to Haifa, which I did, passing through many towns that were also later bombed. The four days that followed were filled with times of "quiet" and "booms" of exploding rockets.
The sounds of the sirens and "that strange little room at the end of the house" suddenly became very important. My moments in the shelter brought out many feelings, and with them a greater understanding of what it is like to live here in these very difficult and uncertain times.
During these past 10 days I have experienced much love, care and concern by my Jewish hosts and I have been deeply moved by the experience. As long as I can remember I have had a love for Israel and the Jewish people. It has now been tested and proved true.
Invercargill, New Zealand
Best face forward?
Sir, - Of the 2,000 meals a day being provided by Meir Panim, one-third to one-half are being prepared in the Hatzor Haglilit branch for Hatzor, Safed, Kiryat Shmona, Rosh Pina and even some local moshavim. The dedicated volunteers and two paid employees have been working around the clock during the present crisis, and several outside volunteers have expressed amazement at the camaraderie and determination of Meir Panim's workers.
The flip side, of course, is that the government and other official bodies have made dependence on volunteer and philanthropic organizations an almost dangerous precedent in such trying times.
As we sit in shelters waiting out the latest challenge to our very existence, one is both amazed and heartened by the activities of Meir Panim and others, but also discouraged and even frightened by the fact that our own government is apparently incapable of taking full responsibility for the welfare of its citizens.
Dealing with Hizbullah
Sir, - I am tired of world governments trying to make a deal with Hizbullah ("Rice hoping to pave way for cease-fire," July 25). The organization means to wipe out Israel and anyone who supports it. Hizbullah will stop at nothing to eliminate Christianity.
God bless you all.
Sir, - I trust this will be the final conflict with Hizbullah. I hope Israel will not repeat its past mistakes and do half the job.
Sir, - I support Israel's right to defend itself.
That being said, I find the following disturbing: On the homepage of Jpost.com (July 24), while there was a story about cats and dogs being rescued from the aftermath of rocket attacks, there is no mention of the human suffering in Lebanon. To be sure, there is suffering on both sides of the border and both deserve attention.
Sir, - In two weeks of battle I have not seen or heard a single report of an Israeli official publicly stating regret for the death of Lebanese civilians. A Web search for "Israeli regret" only revealed regret for the deaths of seven members of a Palestinian family on a beach in June, which, as reported by The Jerusalem Post ("IDF says beach blast not its fault," June 14), may not have been due to Israeli fire.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert could certainly express regret when there is no question that an Israeli rocket has caused a civilian casualty.
I support the IDF mission to disarm and push back Hizbullah. I am aware that no Lebanese official has stood up to express regret for the loss of Israeli life. Could someone in the Knesset please issue a quote expressing some regret?
...and those spared?
Sir, - Is it my imagination, or have there been fewer deaths on our roads during the past two weeks? Or are they just not being reported because of the prominence being given to the southern and northern armed conflicts? If road fatalities have decreased, I wonder if there is any connection to the external threat.
No middle ground
Sir, - It is quite clear what the silent majorities in both camps desire, which sadly for Israel means our desire for peace will continue to be met with a desire for our destruction by the other side.
Sir, - I would like to express regret that my country has, so far, failed to show support for the IDF's operation ("Correct the damage," July 16).
As a Christian it saddens me even more that the UK would rather abstain than support Israel in its vote on a UN Security Council Resolution that would have first condemned Israel's "military assault" on Gaza and secondly "also the firing of rockets into Israel and the abduction of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian armed groups from Gaza, and the recent abduction and killing of an Israeli civilian in the West Bank."
It was a missed opportunity to once again show the UK's commitment to fighting terrorism, something I thought we were committed to, especially after July 7, 2005.
It might be little consolation to know that there are many who support Israel in the UK, and are willing to show it, even if, sadly, our politicians are not.
Sir, - As long as rockets are being fired into Israel, I can't argue with Israel's right to defend itself.
But now it has been reported - and denied ("IDF denies Halutz ordered retaliation," July 25) - that IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz has ordered the IAF to destroy 10 multi-story buildings in Beirut in response to every rocket fired on Haifa, according to a senior air force officer interviewed on Army Radio on Monday. To what end does intentionally destroying civilian infrastructure and creating hundreds of thousands of refugees serve Israel?
I fear that Hizbullah will likely come out stronger and the democratically elected government in Lebanon will be dealt a death blow. Why can we not take the higher and more moral road?
ABRAHAM J. BONOWITZ
Willingboro, New Jersey
Show of support
Sir, - As an American, I support Israel and its current military action. I hope and pray for your success and the safety of your people.
I will someday bring my family to visit your wonderful country and I have faith it will be safer and more secure. Americans support and love your nation. Good luck.
Sir, - Israel, the people of the United States are behind you. Your struggle for existence should be an inspiration to all free people.
While our "War on Terror" seems to be weakening, Israel continues to strike at our mutual enemies. Please remember that millions of Americans are praying for you. You are not alone.