letters to the editor 88.
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Catch the fever
Sir, - Michael Freund's article is right on target ("A year of patriotism and prayer," September 20).
Many Anglos grew up in Zionist homes, went to Zionist schools and had a dream of fulfilling their Zionist ideals in Israel. When we got here and sent our children to school, we discovered that in most cases Zionism was dead or dying.
Of course, there are many organizations trying to inject some Judaism/Zionism into our school system, but if the teachers are not in love with the country how can they show their students Israel's eternal beauty? If nothing else, perhaps children in sixth grade and 12th grade should be encouraged (contests, prizes, presents, etc.) to write or create an original media presentation about the wonders of Israel - past, present, and future.
If schools develop exciting curricula focused on Israel, it won't be long before students, and their parents, begin to catch the fever and reawaken their Zionist feelings that, in many cases, are just below the surface.
Who knows, perhaps the love of the Land of Israel will once more be "in," "cool," even "achla."
Sir, - What a relief to find that even a right-wing writer - in this case, Evelyn Gordon - may have a socio-economic agenda that makes good sense ("Demography's bottom line," September 21).
To quote Ms. Gordon, "raise child allowances enough to really matter, and lower the cost of day care and education." This would be a way to help families survive that both the Right and the Left should be able to agree on.
So why not do it?
He's no 'Star'
Sir, - Congratulations to Helicon for deciding not to put out the disc of loud-mouthed draft-dodger Jacko Eisenberg ("New 'Star' winner dropped by label," September 21).
I might also suggest that the producers of A Star Is Born look more closely into the background of people who are likely to become role models for Israeli youth.
Sir, - I'd like to call to your and your readers' attention that the biblical reference cited in your news item "Lulav prices may skyrocket due to fungus fear" (September 21) is incorrect. You named it as Leviticus 24:50. In reality, the Scripture concerning the lulav is Leviticus 23:40.
Sir, - Why bother dealing with the rising poverty in Israel when terrorism is ever-present? Why bother cracking down on drug dealing when schools must be funded? Why should countries have bothered opposing the Final Solution when there were other problems to deal with?
This very logic was used by Peter Simpson (Letters, September 21) when he implied that Israel does not have the ability or luxury of "choosing" to care about the genocide in Darfur.
It is true that a country must rank priorities, but surely the mass murder of human beings warrants at least awareness among Israelis.
After all, "If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?" ("Ethics of the Fathers" 1:14).
Co-Founder, Talmidim Against Genocide
News network needed
Sir, - Cookie Schwaber-Issan (Letters, September 20) advocates English speakers in Israel relying on Fox News. However fair and balanced Fox is, it is presenting news from a US perspective (and is certainly now constrained in its ability to report from the Gaza Strip) and is no substitute for a real Israeli English-language news channel.
Sure, as long as there is no such thing one resorts to Fox, but an Israeli channel would complement Fox. Good luck to former MK Shmuel Flatto-Sharon in his project to achieve the Israeli equivalent of Al-Jazeera. Never has this been more needed than now.
MICHAEL H. ANISFELD
Sir, - Prof. Paul Kennedy says that the UN's "blue-helmeted observers in the southern border [were] blown away by Israeli shells" ("Scapegoating the UN," September 19). He should know better than to accuse Israel for the shortcomings of the UN.
There is ample evidence by at least one of the blue-helmeted UN officers and others that Hizbullah planted its weaponry and personnel very close to the UN inspectors' sites, knowing full well that the UN umbrella would shield them from Israeli retaliation. On July 21, Secretary-General Kofi Annan himself admitted that "some Hizbullah positions remained in close proximity to United Nations positions, especially in the Hula area, posing a significant security risk to United Nations personnel and equipment."
Using the words "blown away" grossly distorts the reality on the ground. Kennedy's exploitative use of language to tarnish Israel's highly ethical army is lamentable. One would expect a political propagandist to use inflammatory words, not a Yale University professor.
Sir, - That only 17 percent of the rabbis born in Arab communities, 61% of the Israeli ones and 83% of their English-speaking counterparts agreed to the public's right to know is not a fair comparison ("Survey: Rabbis wary of muckraking media," September 19). The Arab immigrants must be much older than the Israeli ones, and the English-speaking ones have also non-Orthodox rabbis among them.
MOSHE-MORDECHAI VAN ZUIDEN
Sir, - Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz has repeatedly said that he will stay in his job and correct all the mistakes from the last Lebanon war ("Halutz fires back," September 21).
Why didn't he correct the mistakes during the long time he was in office before the war? Is it because he is a mediocre soldier and just couldn't see all the failures and bad planning in our army?
Who imitated who?
Sir, - While the similarities between Egyptian and Jewish religious artifacts is striking, Stephen Rosenberg fails to offer some very basic explanations as to why this may be so ("Tefillin - made in Egypt?" UpFront, September 1).
First of all, who is to say that we imitated their culture and not the other way around? Do carbon dating methods or other such archeological practices prove which predated which? I ask this because it makes very little sense for the Jews emerging from a crushed and defeated Egypt to imitate the practices of the vanquished nation.
The Torah clearly says that God waged war against their idols to prove their inadequacy, so why would the victorious Jews imitate a culture that had been proven to be patently false? It would make little sense.
The fact that the Egyptians were inspired by all of the plagues God wrought in Egypt is clear from the "mixed multitude" of Egyptians who clung to the Jews during their departure into the desert. The desire to imitate the victorious Jews applies to other examples given by Rosenberg as well, specifically that of Ramses' war camp, which resembled the Jewish encampments in the desert. The Jews, with the help of God, conquered many seemingly insurmountable foes upon their entrance into the Promised Land, so it is reasonable to assume that foreign leaders would attempt to emulate the methods of the Jews in the hope that they too would be victorious in battle.
Also, rulers in nearly every nation wear some form of headgear to show their elevated status and, as Rosenberg himself points out, the crown worn by Osiris, which our phylacteries supposedly imitate, is worn on top of the head and not on the forehead line.