(photo credit: )
Get 'em out
Sir, - Re "Neo-Nazi cell busted in Petah Tikva" (September 9): Ironically, people like my mother, an olah from Canada and Orthodox Jewish Holocaust survivor, had her aliya held up because the aliya department lost her rabbi's letter attesting to her "Jewishness." This in spite of the fact that the person running the department knew both my father, from shul, as the kohen/chazan and my brother, a well-known rabbi/community leader.
We don't need Christian anti-Semites like these here. Shame on us for our "moral" equivalence in helping those who would destroy us.
Deport them. That is much kinder than they deserve, but at least they won't be an affront to the Jews who live here and love our homeland and people. They also won't be a threat to anyone.
Sir, - You would not wish to print what I would like to do to the Neo-Nazi cell. The lightest punishment they should get would be to throw them in prison and lose the key.
Sir, - This writer has for many years been a member of the International Law Committee of the American Bar Association, and is, among other things, a member of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists.
The cloudburst of debate over whether or not it would be illegal to cut off water and electrical power to the Gaza Strip as an indirect measure of inducing their terrorist groups to refrain from hitting us with missiles is not only insipid. It is also brain-dead.
If we cut off these services, the Gazans have two alternatives: to find other sources of supply; or to apply to Israel's High Court for an order requiring Israel to restore the services. In light of the court's recent decisions in the [security] fence cases, the odds in their favor look pretty good ("Do it now," Letters, September 5).
...got a better one?
Sir, - Why are we playing Russian Roulette with our children's lives? Switch off the power, and let them scream for the Kassams to stop! ("As Sderot strike ends, residents turn to court," September 7.)
Cry not for these
Sir, - Seth Freedman's op-ed would have any warm-hearted individual weeping for those poor helpless Palestinians being scrupulously examined at the checkposts by "bored teenagers" with "stony faces" ("Checkpoint checking, September 4). Unless, that is, the aforementioned warm-hearted reader noticed that these selfsame soldiers were wearing bullet-proof vests - and understood why.
It was surely a problem for the Palestinian men to have to remove their belts. But it would be more of a problem if the trousers they were holding up concealed explosive belts.
Indeed, this was "no good-humored queue... this was life"; or, should we say, life or death.
With what sympathetic verbs the Arabs are described by Mr. Freedman; not at all like the Israeli soldiers, who, one is given to understand, are positively inhuman.
I, for one, would like to see those Israeli soldiers continuing their thankless task, harried as they are by the women of Machsom Watch and people like Mr. Freedman. These soldiers are keeping us all alive, and they deserve gratitude, not harassment. Let us not forget those who, while trying to get work or seek medical care in Israel, wish to harm us.
The women of Machsom Watch try to show the Palestinians that not all Jews are their enemies. I would love to see proof that none of the Arabs are ours.
Being Arab in Israel
Sir, - I found Elliot Jager's "The taxi ride during which nothing happened" (September 5) entirely correct: Most people, here and abroad, confuse prejudice with racism. This story may enhance Mr. Jager's observations:
Years ago, a young Palestinian coworker from the West Bank asked me, an American Jew living in Israel, if I would like to be an Arab living in Israel. My response was: No, I would not. I acknowledged some of the daily occurrences Arabs in Israel experience (such as being triple-checked at Ben-Gurion Airport, asked for ID when entering government buildings, etc.) and acknowledged that I would not relish the same treatment.
But I continued: I would not like to be an Arab in the West Bank or Gaza. Or in Egypt. Or in Libya. Or in Sudan, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen, the UAE, Aden or any other Arab country I can think of.
If I had to be an Arab in a particular country, I concluded,I'd choose Israel.
He thought for a moment, smiled, and said, "You are right."
Sir, - Yehudah Mirsky's "American youth lose interest in Israel... What can be done?" (September 6) touched on our youth in Israel also. As an olah from the US and a product of the American education system, I am wondering if any schools in Israel have a morning assembly during which "Hatikva" is sung or some sort of "pledge of allegiance"-type vow is taken; or in which, at any rate, some recognition and appreciation of our country expressed.
I have asked two of my grandchildren, who attended different schools, and they remember no such thing. In their schools, "Hatikva" was sung only during ceremonies such as those honoring Yom Ha'atzma'ut.
Alongside Mirsky's list of reasons why Israel is a less attractive society than it once was, I feel our failure to teach civic values is important to address. Why don't we instill in our children pride in our flag and our anthem? We expect them to risk their lives and put off their future to defend us, so we owe it to them, and to our country, to teach them pride in being who they are - Israelis.
One of the things we learned in school in the US was "My country, right or wrong - if it's wrong, let's make it right." That little phrase sounds tailor-made for us here, too.
...in our youth
Sir, - Israel can make all the laws it wants to try to shame our youth into serving the country, but it is more important to instill pride in their country into our youth so they will want to serve.
They seem to have given up on even fighting. That is where the really serious problem lies: giving up.
Where are the young in the government?
Sir, - 2-0 would have been just acceptable; but 3-0 is a national disgrace. Saturday night I thought of handing back my teudat oleh ("England deals Israel's European hopes a blow," September 9).
Helmets vs hairdos
Sir, - In light of the fact that helmets have now been enforced for bicycle riders, I would like to propose that every person traveling in a car be required to wear a helmet (perhaps on motorways only?). It could be nicely designed and fitted with a special intercom. Children's models could be painted with a picture of Mickey - or Minnie - Mouse ("Heads up! Protective helmets required," July 26).