letters good 88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Terror from within
Sir, - Having a parade is not against the law. But violent demonstrations, in which public property is destroyed and people are hurt, are illegal and the people who do these things are behaving like terrorists. Israel must never give in to terrorism ("For haredi rabbis, losing control of their followers is worse than a gay parade," Anshel Pfeffer, November 7).
PHYLLIS FREED NARROL
Commanded to be violent
Sir, - Your editorial "Take the struggle off the streets" (November 7) states that "the use of violence is a much greater violation of Jewish law than that advocated by the marchers." This cavalier assumption goes counter to the fact that Halacha, including the Torah itself, not only does not eschew violence against what is considered sin, but actually commands it.
It is true that actual practice - or rather, lack of practice - has mitigated such attitudes. But there has, for example, been no clear rejection of the violence of Pinchas, grandson of Aaron, who kills sexual sinners in the Torah story (Book of Numbers).
After the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, a poll found that 27% of religious students approved of the act. Not only haredi rabbis, but rabbis in general have failed to annul these laws of violence, to openly reject them and declare them inoperative for all time.
RABBI JACOB CHINITZ
Sir, - The news that Saddam Hussein has been sentenced to death by hanging means they finally got it right. What makes it even better is that a jury of his peers found him guilty of crimes against humanity ("Justice for Saddam," Editorial, November 6).
HERBERT W. STARK
Massapequa, New York
Sir, - Uri Dan's recent diatribe against Ophir Paz-Pines was an example of personal prejudice masquerading as semi-coherent thought ("Think of him as 'last of the just,'" November 2).
Everyone Mr. Dan likes is a great, talented leader, while everyone he dislikes is a nobody. So Avigdor Lieberman is a leader even though he doesn't seem to have done much before becoming a politician. Ami Ayalon is a nobody although he was a general in the army and in charge of one of the intelligence services. Colette Avital is also a nothing even though she was a successful diplomat.
Strangely enough, Ehud Barak achieves the "great" category even though he led the country to the disaster of the Oslo war. To confuse things even more, Dan first bemoans the level of corruption in this country, then pardons all the great people's mistakes.
I am no supporter of Paz-Pines, but at least he has the courage of his convictions, and should be praised for this.
Sir, - The story was the same old, same old: The IDF was once again battling Hamas terrorists in Gaza. Oh, by the way, Hamas was holed up in a mosque. Yawn. And Arab women were brought in to serve as human shields for the terrorists, many of whom tried to escape by dressing in women's clothing ("Gazan women come to the aid of Hamas gunmen," November 5).
Another day in the Middle East.
In the history of the world, what people have fought from their houses of worship or used their women and children as human shields? Even the Nazis kept their women and children out of harm's way.
...the Dark Ages
Sir, - I nearly choked on my morning coffee when I read that Hamas was "threatening to resume terror attacks" inside Israel if the IDF did not put an end to Operation Autumn Clouds ("Palestinians threaten new wave of suicide bombings," November 5).
Resume terror attacks? When did they ever stop?
The only reason there has not been a terror attack inside Israel in recent months is the security barrier and the vigilance of the IDF and the police.
In the past two months well over 60 planned terror attacks have been thus foiled. And this does not take into account the relentless barrage of Kassam rockets fired into Israel with the blessing of Hamas.
Do the Hamas spokesmen really expect those of us who live in a democracy and enjoy the benefits of a free press to believe such twaddle?
E. JOAN O'CALLAGHAN
Tucked up at night
Sir, - Further to "Israel: Resolution 1701 in jeopardy. 'Syria must stop arming Hizbullah or IDF will take action,'" (November 1):
Rumors, seemingly well-supported, have been doing the rounds about Hizbullah being massively rearmed by Syria, with arms coming over the border every night. The Spanish UNIFIL official in Lebanon, asked if he could confirm or deny the rumors, said he could not because UNIFIL soldiers are forbidden to patrol the Syrian border after nightfall!
Doesn't this negate the purpose of the presence of UNIFIL soldiers in Lebanon, and shouldn't Israel be protesting to the UN Security Council, which sent the UNIFIL soldiers there specifically to stop the smuggling of arms?
Sir, - There is a need to clarify several points concerning the problems of asbestos contamination in the western Galilee area ("Hizbullah missiles unleashed asbestos carcinogens in North. Danger will never disappear from the environment," November 2).
Most of the contamination comes from asbestos tailings used as paving or surface cover for roads, paths and courtyards which, when recirculated in the air, may be inhaled. Such tailings may also contaminate shoes and clothing, which then become carriers for the fibers.
To abate these population-wide risks, last April Dr. Arthur Frank of Drexel, a world expert on asbestos, and I proposed to the Health Ministry that pits be dug and this debris buried in them, obviating the need for transporting the asbestos - itself a hazard.
Today the prevailing legal concept in Western countries is that the costs of such decontamination should be borne by the polluter.
ELIHU D RICHTER MD, MPH
Help me find Sijya and Phyllis
Sir, - I am trying to obtain information about Sijya Feferkorn, who had a photographic studio and shop in Jerusalem in the 1940s and 1950s; and Phyllis May Denby (nee Greenwood), originally of West Dulwich, London, who married Elias Denby in London in September 1950 and, I believe, emigrated to Israel during the subsequent decade.
I shall be grateful for any help regarding either of the above. Kindly write to 123 Station Road, West Horndon, Essex CM13 3NB, England. All letters will be acknowledged.
West Horndon, Essex, UK
Many, many thanks
Sir, - Amazing! A few days ago I wrote asking for help to allow my very senior citizen father to obtain travel insurance to come here from the UK ("Please help," Letters, November 1). The next day I received 18 phone calls from ex-Brits, all keen to offer useful suggestions.
Sincere thanks to the Post and all who took the time and made the effort to phone me.
REUVEN BEN DOV