A misguided display
Sir, – Since the tragic issue of Gilad Schalit has been
gaining momentum in the media, I have been flooded with a variety of emails
asking for support. They range from messages of encouragement to the Schalit
family, which I have endorsed with heartfelt sympathy, to joining The March,
which I feel is the wrong way to go about achieving the release of “our
Until I read Rabbi Weiss’ evocative article (“Why I’m not
marching,” July 5), I had difficulty expressing my thoughts. He has done it for
me. Unless our prime minister has the inner strength to withstand this misguided
public display, the left-leaning media will make it too difficult for him to be
firm in his decision, and they will ultimately “decide” for us, as they have
done in the past, to the detriment of Am Yisrael.LINDA STERN
Sir, – The display of support for the release of Gilad Schalit has
been overwhelming (“Gazans rally to demand release of all Hamas prisoners, July
5”). Thousands have taken the time to march in support of the family and all of
their efforts for the release of their beloved son. As a result, the Israeli
government has offered to free 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for
Each of these 1,000 prisoners, despite the fact that many of them
have been responsible for murders of innocent civilians, have families,
siblings and/or children of their own.
What amazes me is that the
families of these 1,000, who would get their loved one back in exchange
one Israeli, remain amazingly silent. We hear no petitions to the Hamas
authority to implement the release of their family members, we hear no
through the media to have their sons, daughters, husbands, wives or
released and returned to the homes they left.
Surely these Palestinian
families love those captives just as much as the Schalits love Gilad,
one has to wonder why they make no effort to pressure Hamas to release
Israeli captive so these 1,000 families could have their loved ones
There must be some explanation for the silence of these families
and the silence of the media, which, it would seem, makes no effort to
these families and report on their lack of action.
Wouldn’t we all like
to know why these Palestinian families remain so silent? JEROME POLLOCK
Sir, – In the front page article (“Gazans rally to demand release
of all Hamas prisoners, July 5”), I found the following sentence;
Israelis in the last week ... joined Schalit’s parents, Noam and Aviva,
June 27 began an 11-day trek to Jerusalem.”
We demonstrated against the
“disengagement” from Gaza in 2005. At that time we were viciously and
forbidden from blocking the roads. The claim was then that this kind of
demonstration was anti-democratic, and a form of civil
Policemen, some on horseback, beat up demonstrators who dared
to block intersections.
Young girls were beaten up and jailed. Noam
Schalit, of course, can block whole stretches of highways.
And some of
his supporters can shout, “Bibi, go home!” What happened?
Tikva A golden opportunity
Sir, – Since the 1948-rebirth of Israel in the
political form of the State of Israel, a class of Jews has developed who
their Jewishness by doing the mitzvot (commands), but who do not believe
is God who gave the 613 mitzvot to His people (“New conversion institute
spark robust halachic debate” July 5).
Perhaps the vast majority of Jews
today fall into this category. If a prospective convert to Judaism is
to doing the mitzvot but not to belief in God, will he or she be
conversion? For sure, this will be one of the questions discussed in the
halachic debate” in the newly established Israel Institute for
Policy. Isn’t this a golden opportunity to change the halacha (Jewish
within, in the service of the unification of different streams of
inside and outside of Eretz Yisrael?
Jerusalem Methodist response
Sir, – In the closing paragraph of the article titled “Banality of
Evil” (July 5), Robin Shepherd suggests several responses to the
church’s boycott of Israel and general mud-slinging.
I think that nothing
will be done about this well-documented hatred. We won’t ban their
deport their very busy missionaries, or tax their churches.
Some of our
citizens will not allow those of us who would to do any such things, for
are too concerned about what the world will say. We all know that the
say whatever they can to besmirch us. Nothing is new about that.MARCELLA
Jerusalem Identity crisis
Sir, – The New Israel Fund seems to be going
through an identity crisis (“New Israel Fund pledges ‘to strengthen
in response to right-wing attacks,” July 5). Democracy exists when all
ideologies – right, left, and center – can be debated freely in the
of ideas. Left wing ideology alone is not democratic.
The New Israel Fund
wants to create an image of a country that does not adhere to the
precepts that make Israel particularly Jewish. The New Israel Fund`s
could be in any country of the world that is not rooted in traditional
Perhaps a Muslim country would benefit from the ideas of the New Israel
since Syria and Jordan were certainly created by France and Great
World War 1 with the famous Sykes-Picot Agreement, having no basis in
and artificially called into being by two diplomats.TOBY WILLIG
Jerusalem Just say no to Obama
Sir, – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, all of
us who voted for you in the last election did so because we believed you
trust in your words. Don’t let us down now (“PM may offer Obama freeze
outside major blocs,” July 5). You are allowed to say “no” to the United
especially if it is against everything that you believe in, or at the
what you promised to all of us.
The support of your followers hinges on
the outcome of your meetings in the U.S.VEL WERBLOWSKY
This week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be travelling to
meet with President Obama. Fearing that the prime minister will change
and allow the building freeze to continue, hundreds of people are
placing ads in local press reminding Netanyahu that “a promise is a
I note with pride that all of these reminders are being made
during the week we will read the Torah portion of Mattot-Mas’ey.
beginning of Mattot is all about “keeping your word” and Mas’ey means
So, not only are our own citizens reminding Netanyahu that on his
should keep his “word,” but apparently a Higher Authority is doing so,
RABBI ZE’EV M SHANDALOV
Ma’aleh Adumim Setting a precedent
Sir, – It is
interesting reading Alexander Zvielli’s column, “From Our Archives,” and
how previous events unfolded. Particularly interesting was the column of
1985. Mr. Zvielli chronicled the hijacking of a TWA airliner.
outcome, he tells us, is that prime minister Shimon Peres released Arab
terrorists to free American hostages. Today we are upset by the thought
releasing terrorists to free an Israeli hostage.
It seems Shimon Peres,
as prime minister, set a precedent of freeing prisoners held by Israel
(foreign) hostages.AHARON GOLDBERG