May 7: Benji's House

Lone soldiers deserve our special appreciation, living and working as they do without the benefit of family support.

letters independence day (photo credit:)
letters independence day
(photo credit: )
Benji's House Sir, - We were interested to read about the group of parents of lone soldiers flown in specially for Yom Ha'atzma'ut ("Four hundred olim arrive, celebrate 'a special time to have made aliya,'" May 6). Lone soldiers deserve our special appreciation, living and working as they do without the benefit of family support. Our nephew, Benji Hillman, of blessed memory, who was killed in the Second Lebanon War, always took particular care of lone soldiers under his command. In his memory we are building, in Ra'anana, "Habayit shel Benji" (Benji's House), which will provide accommodation, support and guidance for up to 50 lone combat soldiers. We invite readers to take part in the second annual community-sponsored walk in aid of Habayit shel Benji, to take place on Friday, May 16 at 8 a.m. from Park Ra'anana (opposite the Gam Cafe). Anyone interested in participating, or in sponsoring a walker, should contact David Rurka, tel. (052)660-8655; or see www.benjihillman.org for more details. RUTH AND DAVID RURKA Ra'anana Remember Sir, - "My father's will" by Naphtali Lau-Lavie (May 1) touched this American Israeli deeply (Americans liberated Buchenwald). I too have stood in an umschlagsplatz - not in Piotrkow but in Warsaw, with my daughter on her school trip. Equally touching was the illustration above the op-ed. Has any institution laid claim to this item? Surely it belongs in a place like Yad Vashem. FAITH ANTEBI Ra'anana Bravo, Polish police! Sir, - Bravo and hurrah to the Polish police, who stormed the Holiday Inn in Warsaw to free three Jewish teens held captive there by an Arab man. Their determination was exemplary and should be taken to heart by other nations. And it happened on Poland's celebration of May 3, which is the nation's Constitution Day. The modern Polish constitution of 1791 was also a first in Europe, and the world's second after that of the US. It was both envied and hated by other European nations. Concerning the thousands of young Israelis visiting Poland each year: From my own experience, this is one of the few countries where one really can feel secure, even when wearing a kippa on the street, in hotels or at any of the memorials, as well as at the beautiful sites of the land. Contemporary Poland's friendship with Israel is exemplary ("Polish police storm hotel to free 3 March of Living teens held captive," March 6). HILLEL GOLDBERG Jerusalem No way to give honor Sir, - I feel impelled to share with your readers - hopefully also with the IDF Spokesperson - my anger at seeing emblazoned on the great facades of the entrance to the Armored Corps Memorial at Latrun the following supposedly English words, which of course do not exist: "Eternization," a would-be translation of the Hebrew hantzaha, and "variated," referring to the Corps' impressive collection of weaponry - to say nothing of the key word "Solder" encountered at the information desk inside. There are other examples, but these will do. This sloppiness is inexplicable, dishonoring the men and women whom the memorial seeks to commemorate. In its modest way it joins the ranks of other recent, infinitely graver examples of the authorities' slipshod, irresponsible and ultimately disrespectful attitude toward the rest of us. RINNA SAMUEL Rehovot Dreams & destiny Sir, - Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that 65 years after the Holocaust I would witness a country that is like no other. We remain, despite our problems, the most fortunate and blessed Jewish generation in over 2,000 years of exile and persecution. The vibrant Jewish State of Israel stands out as the greatest success story of over a century. We share no illusions about achieving "peace in our time"; however, we can exalt in the realization that we are better able to defend ourselves against those who seek our destruction. There was never a period in Jewish history when we did not face adversaries, yet we always triumphed. My father used to dream of Jerusalem, but he never made it there. His son did. ISSY BURSTYN Edmonton, Alberta Logo is a no-go Sir, - What is Israel's 60th birthday logo supposed to represent? Was the blue ribbon recyled from Arad Communications' "successful" disengagement campaign? As for the message "Today & Beyond" - what does it mean at a time when we should be seriously reflecting on our 3,000-plus years of Jewish history, of which 2,000 years were spent in exile? To me, the logo best represents our government, whose main goal appears to remain history- and value-free ("Logo a no-go for some seeking to celebrate Israel at 60," May 2). STEVE SCHWARTZ Karnei Shomron A state, realistically Sir, - I very much appreciate all Jacob Chinitz's letters. His "our nationhood gives us a state" was absolutely right ("Shoah does not give us a state," May 4). NAOMI KUBITSKY Ganei Omer Sir, - Re Jacob Chinitz's eloquent letter: The question of whether Jews have the "right" to a state is too abstract. Do the Cherokee and Iroquois and many Indian groups of North and South America have the right to a state? Do Basques, Sikhs, Jains and each of the innumerable tribes and groupings of India and sub-Saharan Africa, of western China, the former Soviet Union, and Afghanistan - the al-Qaida-run tribes of northern Pakistan? The Iroquois used to have a nation in upstate New York. Do they have a right to return and reconstitute their state? The answer to such a question must be based on realism and "how." For example, people have the right to become wealthy, but not through bank robbery. It's not whether Sikhs and Jains - or Jews - have the abstract "right to a state," but the amount of cleansing, suffering, structural explosiveness and dangerously expanding conflict that carving one out would generate. The Jewish state is based on recent, not ancient history. It is a messy right, as messy as the real world it reflects. It is undeniable that there could not have been a state without the Shoah. The State of Israel is based on 20th-century persecution, refugeeship and the unexpected self-destructiveness of the Arabs in their violence against the Jewish refugees. These messier facts are the realistic rights that constitute credible - and the only believable - "hasbara" to the educated Western world. JAMES ADLER Cambridge, Massachusetts Sir, - Three thousand and 60 years, and still going strong! CYRIL LEVIN Petah Tikva