letters to the editor 88.
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Why this war is like no other
Sir, - Has there ever been a people living on a patch of land surrounded by a vastly superior enemy who dared to lob rockets at that enemy's civilian population and kidnap its soldiers, knowing that its own population was largely safe from retaliation?
Has there ever been a war where that enemy - whose cities were being bombed and into which suicide bombers were being dispatched - continued to provide the population from whose territory these attackers originated with electricity and water?
That enemy is Israel. And when, finally, it cannot stand the situation any more and sends in its troops, you will see photos not seen in any other war: Palestinian children throwing stones at Israeli tanks.
Has anyone seen photos of Hungarian children throwing stones at Soviet tanks in 1956, of Vietnamese children attacking American troops in 1969, or any children attacking German, Chinese, Iraqi, British or any tanks other than Israeli ones?
There are no such photos. Palestinian children confront Israeli tanks because they know Israeli soldiers will do their utmost not to hurt them. Palestinians count on and exploit Israeli humanity, though they don't understand it.
That is why this war is like no other ("Gazans brace for possible IDF operation," June 28).
Learn from enemies
Sir, - Launching major military operations into Palestinian territory hasn't been particularly effective, primarily because those funding and masterminding the terror are sitting in Damascus and Teheran.
It was once said that "You learn more from your enemies than from your friends." If so, perhaps Israel should learn from Iran's president, who constantly says: "If the US attacks us we will attack Israel." Perhaps it is time for Israel to raise the stakes and announce: "The next terrorist attack against Israel will bring severe repercussions in Damascus," and follow it up.
You want to neutralize a snake? Cut off its head, not its tail.
At cross purposes
Sir, - Now that the Palestine Authority is a member of the International Red Cross, why isn't the IRC demanding access to kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit? And why isn't Israel demanding that the IRC demand access?
Sir, - Why are we pussyfooting over securing the release of Gilad Shalit when all that needed to be done (and hopefully will soon be done) is to pull the plug on the electricity supply to Gaza? Had it been done in the hours after the abduction chances are Shalit would now be home. This should be a knee-jerk reaction to any such event, in spite of the likely howls from the usual quarters.
If after 24 hours there is no effect, turn off the water.
Sir, - Jeremy Maissel's article on road safety was timely and thought-provoking ("Carnage on the roads - stop the insanity," June 27). It is difficult to comprehend how Israelis, on the one hand, care greatly about every soldier's life, but appear immune to death on the roads.
We pray with you
Sir, - To the family of the captured soldier: Our hearts, souls and prayers are with you and your country in your time of need. We all know the Israeli fight against terrorism is true, as we in the US stage battles in the fight for freedom elsewhere in the world.
Good of the child
Sir, - As a maybe rare husband who has called the La Leche League both in Amsterdam and Jerusalem to help with information on breast-feeding our newborn children, I totally disagreed with Shmuley Boteach's "Why the bottle is sometimes a better choice" (June 28).
Why not support one's wife in doing this great, but sometimes cumbersome, service to one's children rather than make it an issue of jealousy between the new parents? What's next - saying that pregnancy often comes between spouses and so better look for other ways to have children?
The rabbi should be educating men and women to choose the best option for the child, not for themselves. Giving, instead of being lazy or selfish, is anyway the best way to a healthy marriage.
Sir, - Rabbi Shmuley Boteach should be reminded that the reason women have two breasts is one for the baby, one for the father.
Craving to be Jewish
Sir, - Re "Muslim woman fights to convert and stay in Israel" (June 26): That Israel can lock a woman up in jail for six months, among criminals, because her visa has run out and she's applied to convert to Judaism is beyond the comprehension of anybody who cares about human rights. That it should be done to somebody who has spent 10 years living here and caring for those in need is incredible.
Interior Ministry officials should have known that with a surname like Abadi, it is more than possible that this lady is of Jewish descent. We at this institute hope to amass sufficient support to enable the necessary legal representation to get this woman released, and help her achieve the life she craves.
Casa Shalom Institute for
Hebrew to Russian?
Sir, - In "Rendering Hebrew into English? Make it simple (June 27), Ornan Uzzi proposes a transliteration that steps outside the bounds of what an English-speaker would be able to read.
The goal of using exactly one letter for each Hebrew letter is interesting, but Mr. Uzzi picked the wrong alphabet, with too few letters. We should transliterate Hebrew road signs into Russian, a much better match for all those missing consonants.
English-speaking visitors will still be unable to read the signs - but at least they won't be wasted on Israel's Russian- speaking population.
Sir, - I have bigger things to worry about. So I'll just sit down with a glass of Sangriyya, listen to my favorite ariyya and plan my next trip to Austriyya, East Angliyya or, out of sheer dementiyya, maybe Bosniyya.
Gays aren't bizarre
Sir, - In your reporting of the gay pride parade you've reused a photo of two rather flamboyant gay dancers (June 28). I've never attended the parade in Jerusalem, but I'm sure there were other marchers who looked much like anyone else - khakis, sandals, backpack. Wittingly or unwittingly, you create an assumption that gays and lesbians are bizarre.
Don't you have photos from a previous parade of quietly dressed families taking a stroll in the sunshine, marching not to stress their difference but to claim their right to be treated like anyone else?
Got no culture
Sir, - Orthodox youth need to be introduced to Israeli "culture" in their schools. I recently informally surveyed about 30 black-clad, payot-adorned youths and none of them - not a single one - could identify US rapper 50 Cent; clearly a serious failing in the religious educational system.
What a lacuna in proper acculturization! ("Gunshots and thuggery end in 'shalom,'" June 19).
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