Remembering the Rachels
Sir, – David Bedein rightly draws attention to the
questions surrounding the death of Rachel Corrie in 2003 (“Misleading pic and
text,” Letters, October 18).
Perhaps this is the time to remember some of
the Israeli women and girls, also called Rachel, whose deaths were not the
result of any accident, negligence or misunderstanding, but who were brutally
and deliberately murdered.
They have not been the subjects of plays,
musical events or ongoing media attention.
The Corrie family seeks an
apology and closure. There will be no apologies from the Al-Aksa Martyrs
Brigade, or the like, any time soon.
Rachel Levi, 19, was one of eight
young Israelis killed when a Palestinian driver crashed a bus into a crowded bus
stop, south of Tel Aviv, in February, 2001.
Rachel Thaler, 16, died on
February 27, 2002, of wounds sustained on February 16, when a suicide bomber
blew himself up in a shopping mall.
Rachel Gavish, 50, her father,
husband and son were murdered by a terrorist who burst into their home and shot
them on March 28, 2002.
Rachel Levy, aged 17, was murdered in Jerusalem,
March 29, 2002, by a suicide bomber.
Rachel Charhi, 36, died on April 4,
2002, five days after being critically injured in a suicide bombing attack on a
cafe in Tel Aviv.
Rachel Shabo, 40, was murdered on June 20, 2002,
together with her three young sons, when a terrorist entered her home and shot
Rachel Kol was murdered on July 23, 2005, together with her husband
Dov, when their car was ambushed by terrorists as they were returning home to
Rachel Ben Abu, aged 16, was murdered by a suicide bomber on
July 12, 2005, in a Netanya shopping mall.
Haifa A Birthright
Sir, – In the framework of his army service, my son accompanied a
Birthright group of American young people.
The Taglit-Birthright program,
which brings young Jews or children of Jews from the Diaspora to Israel for a
free 10-day trip to Israel, is partly subsidized by our tax money.
I was dismayed to hear that the only speaker these kids heard on the subject of
the Mideast conflict was a “human rights rabbi” who enjoyed enthusiastic
applause after speaking of our obligations to the unfortunate
Two of the Taglit participants (both innocent, charming and
very likable), who lengthened their stay in Israel, joined our family for a
barbecue. When asked about their impression of Israelis, one spoke of rampant
racism (against Arabs), insensitivity to the plight of the refugees, and lack of
enthusiasm for the peace process.
I told our guests of the many Jewish
refugees from Arab countries who were absorbed by Israel, of the Arab countries
that perpetuated the refugee status of the Palestinians, using them as weapons
against the Jewish state.
I also told them that had they spoken to
Israelis before the Oslo accords blew up in our faces, they would’ve encountered
many enthusiastic Israelis who felt warmth for their peace partners.
told them that as long as the Palestinians are educated toward hatred, there
will be no peace, and that Israelis have adjusted their expectations
accordingly, and that if we have more sympathy for our own victims of terror
than for the enemy, it is only natural and just.
It’s hard to understand
why Taglit would waste this rare opportunity to present a narrative slightly
more sympathetic to the Israeli position and instead present a narrative,
familiar to students via the international media, in which the Palestinians are
the main victims and we, the Israelis, the guilty ones.
It’s a very
generous gift to give Jewish youth a free trip to Israel, but if they come away
without better understanding who the Jewish people are and what we are doing in
the land of our forefathers, then the money may be better spent
Rehovot Salient omission
Sir, – I read with
interest Jeff Barak’s column in praise of Isaac Herzog’s announcement of his
intention to run for leadership of Israel’s Labor Party.
While it is
certainly Herzog’s right to do so and it is certainly Barak’s prerogative to
support his candidacy, there is a salient omission about Herzog’s past which I
think Barak omitted from the article. In fact it has always been astonishing to
me that most journalists of left-wing persuasions omit this detail about Herzog
when writing about him.
Herzog was questioned by the Police regarding the
allegedly illegal fund-raising schemes that financed Ehud Barak’s campaign for
prime minister. At that time he refused to answer the Police’s questions in the
matter, relying on his right to remain silent. The matter against him was closed
for lack of proof, and one of the reasons for its closure was Herzog’s refusal
to answer the Police’s questions.
While Isaac Herzog as a citizen has
every right to assert his right to remain silent, should not such a decision be
disclosed to the public, so that they can determine whether they want someone in
a leadership position who refused to cooperate with a Police investigation of
alleged wrongdoing? BARRY EISENBERG
Jerusalem No to Dan Halutz
Sir, – The
Israeli public has come a long way from the days of its blind admiration of
generals – especially failed ones, like former IDF chief of General Staff
Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz (Gil Hoffman, “Riding into Politics,” October
Halutz may have a fast motorcycle, as the photograph shows, but he
does not have the right stuff.
Are we to conclude that riding a
motorcycle would make him into a legislator and political leader? His lack of
effectiveness and overconfidence during the Second Lebanon War should disqualify
him from public service.
Dan Halutz should stay home.RIVKAH
Sir, – The statements by former IDF chief of General Staff Dan
Halutz (“Halutz to ‘Post’: PM angering US president harms anti-Iran effort,”
October 15) are patently ludicrous in light of his own shortcoming during the
prosecution of the Second Lebanon War.
While he enjoys the right of
freedom of speech, he would do better to restrain himself during a time period
when the prime minister is contending with myriad problems, some of which result
from Halutz’s own inadequate performance during that war.A. SAFIR
Warminster, Pennsylvania Dark narrow world
Sir, – The latest remarks of Rabbi
Ovadia Yosef (“Yosef: Gentiles exist only to serve Jews,” October 18) would be
easy enough to dismiss as the rantings of some fringe lunatic, except for the
fact that they come from the spiritual leader of the Shas Council of
Words such as these should be made to stay in the dark and narrow
world from which they came.
We are constantly urging “moderate” Muslims
to challenge the hateful mouthings of their extremists or be seen as agreeing
with them. Now is the time to practice what we preach.GERALD FLANZBAUM
Hadera Superficial blame
Sir, – Regarding the report “Lador rejects request to
cancel Margalit Har-Shefi’s conviction” (October 18), Avishai Raviv was never
convicted of anything, yet he knew more than anyone the direction Yigal Amir was
being pushed, since he allegedly was the one pushing.
In their frenzy to
find a scapegoat, Margalit Har-Shefi was a godsend to those who did not wish to
delve deeply into this dreadful assassination but chose, rather, to assign blame
and close the case.