(photo credit: Courtesy)
Cause for concern
Sir, - There is much talk about the success or otherwise of the peace talks shortly to be convened in America between Israel, Fatah and the US. But how can these proposed peace talks have any meaning without the prior acquiescence and acceptance of Hamas, Force 17, Islamic Jihad and the PFLP - not to mention Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran? Without their joint agreement all Israel will get from the talks will be more suicide bombings, more rocketing and more Jewish deaths worldwide.
Sir, - "Less panic, more solidarity" (Editorial, September 16) on the attitude of parents to the Zikim training base attack missed an important point.
Sderot is a well-established town and moving it to another location is well-nigh impossible. A training base for new recruits could, however, be relocated to another part of the country, at minimal cost. The suggestion that this would convey weakness to the enemy pales into insignificance compared to the direct threat to our children's lives.
Certainly, dealing with the source of the Kassam rockets would be preferable. However, given the government's obvious reluctance to do this, no matter what the provocation, shouldn't it at least make minimal efforts to protect Jewish lives?
...so let's get moving
Sir, - May I respectfully disagree with your assessment that the ultimate goal of terrorism is psychological damage. The ultimate goal of modern terrorism is to break the trust of citizens in their government by repeatedly demonstrating that their government cannot provide security. Every attack on Sderot, every soldier kidnapped breaks the solidarity of that trust. The bitter realization of a gloating enemy is a painful consequence.
Thank God, we are not dead, and lamentations are not in order. However, in these Ten Days of Repentance between Rosh Hashana and the Day of Atonement we do have the opportunity to admit that the nation as a whole (and this includes me and thee) has not protested vehemently or cried in anguished outrage to make our elected government take decisive action for the safety of our fellow citizens of Sderot - for starters.
MIRIAM L. GAVARIN
Sir, - The impressive cover of your Rosh Hashana Magazine (September 12) titled "Diaspora delights" gave me mixed feelings. I was happy to see "vigor" in some Diaspora communities, showing that our enemies have not been able to wipe out our existence even in the places where they exterminated us. And on Rosh Hashana I wish all Jews worldwide the best of life and blessing. The mixed part came with your subheading, where I read "vigor" coupled with "lost glories."
These Diaspora glories and delights represent loss, not gain; defeat not victory. Sure, in the homeland we were also destroyed - twice. But history, or God, or both, have given us a third chance.
We have a state, we have an army, we have resources. Should we roam the world looking for our lost glories and pockets of vigor? Is it good that American rabbis are discussing topics other than Israel on Rosh Hashana? ("How important is Israel for US rabbis? September 12.) Or should we gather our strength, wealth and people from the four corners of the earth and concentrate Jewish thought, hope and faith in our Israel?
This is our chance, at least in these past 2,000 years, for us to live as a nation, culture and religion. Why scatter, when our enemies are not scattering us, and try to rebuild past glories? Let us centralize, emphasize, concentrate - like a laser beam - upon our present power and our future dreams of sustaining Zion as a rallying point for all Jews; and even eventually for all mankind in a redeemed world.
Here in Israel...
Sir, - "Dream big - who knew we'd have Israel?" (September 11) was a wonderful interview by Ruthie Blum. We ought to have more Americans like Hy Brown and Ruthie Blum, who contribute so immensely to Israel's growth. Kol Hakavod!
Sir, - This interview with Hy Brown was inspiring, uplifting and optimistic. We have here an extraordinary human being with the wherewithal to totally change the lives of countless people in Israel for the better with wonderful, affordable homes, jobs and development of the Negev. Astounding - and all in minimum time.
Mr. Brown's personal story brought tears to my eyes.
Here in Israel...
Sir, - Eli Masterman, the attorney for Ukrainian-born Ilya Bondenko, one of the neo-Nazi youths arrested in Petah Tikva, feels that "We made every possible mistake with these immigrants" (September 12). "Many youths are looking for somewhere to fit it," he goes on, "so they find themselves groups of similar youths. Many of them have a lot of hatred for the Israeli establishment and are bitter and angry that they were brought here as children."
Many young immigrants to Israel have experienced difficulties and frustration in adapting to Israeli culture and being accepted by sabras. But they do not become involved in neo-Nazi cults. They do not physically assault minorities, nor indulge in the trappings of Nazi hatred.
Attorney Masterman comes to the astounding conclusion that "their pattern of behavior doesn't fit that of a neo-Nazi." If wearing swastikas, employing heil Hitler salutes and reading anti-Semitic literature does not fit the pattern of a neo-Nazi, what does?
Wake up, Mr. Masterman, and stop blaming Israel for your client's degenerate, Nazi behavior.
JERRY AND SYLVIA DORTZ
Sir, - Public Security Minister Avi Dichter recommends we examine the mistakes these youths made, and those we made, before deciding how to respond ("'There may be dozens more neo-Nazis,'" September 11).
A large percentage of Russians coming to Israel after the fall of the Iron Curtain had a connection to Judaism so tenuous as to be non-existent, and we should have realized that many of those making "aliya" would be less than Judeophiles. What, then, could we expect from their children?
I, for one, am not interested in the rehabilitation of these youths. They are a cancer in our society that needs to be excised. The fact that someone walking the streets of Israel can carry an Israeli identity card proclaiming them to be Jewish while they are tattooed with Nazi symbols is sickening.
Pride & pity
Sir, - Heartiest congratulations to David Blatt on taking his Russian team to win the European Basketball title - a first-time achievement for an Israeli coach. As I recall, some months ago petty bureaucracy disallowed Blatt from becoming the coach of the Israeli national team.
What a pity national characteristics prevented a national triumph.
DAVID S. ADDLEMAN
Sir, - Re "10 impressive synagogues to inspire prayer" (Rosh Hashana Magazine, September 12): The photo of the synagogue in Liverpool, England, was not of Princes Road, but of Greenbank Drive Synagogue, a listed building.