letters to the editor 88.
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Win... or else
Sir, - I found Barry Rubin's "Why Israel wins wars" (September 4) to be right on the mark, as usual. Each of the close to a dozen reasons he listed as to why Israel repeatedly overcomes the adversary, despite the odds, is absolutely correct.
But he left out one reason, which may be the most important: Israel, as a nation and a people, simply has no choice. It is perhaps the only nation in this 21st-century world whose motto should be "Victory or death."
Ben-Gurion said it best: The Arabs can afford to lose many wars. Israel cannot afford to lose even one.
State as milch cow
Sir, - Barry Rubin focused on technological aspects, not cultural ones. Arab states are failed states, and their future is even worse than their present. Within 50 years they will have run out of oil and returned to the Stone Age, or rather, sand age.
Saudi Arabia, for instance, is armed to the teeth with the most sophisticated American weapons, but could it launch a war or defeat any of its neighbors? No, for the simple reason that such societies lack even the notion of statehood or patriotism. When Saddam invaded Kuwait, the whole Kuwaiti leadership left the country and called on the Americans to liberate it.
The strength of the Israeli army lies within Israeli society and its culture. The weakness of the Arab armies lies not in their military hardware, but in the individuals who operate it.
In the past five years the GCC countries' revenues from oil were $900 billion, and even with this wealth, states and societies cannot function properly. The army is part of the larger society, and it seems that Arab states are in the business of postponing the inevitable collapse.
Arabs look at their states as big fat cows that need to be milked to the maximum. The Israelis look at their states as an organic part of themselves.
A lost cause
Sir, - I think it is important at all times to put one's effort where it will do the most good. Pleasing other people - in this case, sending money to Lebanese victims because Jews have been labeled uncaring about others' problems by "people in the world" - is an empty cause.
In this case public opinion has been fueled more by emotion than by reality: Jews the world over are extremely active in non-Jewish charitable efforts, donating their money as well as volunteering their time.
There are always people who support Jews, and people who are virulently against them, no matter what. No act of charity will change that (Breach in the dam," Ariel Beery, September 4).
Tyranny of the Left
Sir, - As a very secular Gentile and American supporter of Israel and its war to defend itself against Hamas and Hizbullah terrorist aggression, I was struck by the naivete of Zephaniah King's "Experiencing Israel-bashing first-hand at a NYC anti-war coalition" (September 3).
Working with people who oppose America's right to guarantee its own security, did he think Israel's exercising that same right would find acceptance? The anti-war movement in America comprises many people who loathe democracy and see appeasement and abrogation of a nation's right to self-defense as the way to peace.
The liberal Left in America is one of the most intolerant of any voices in the multitude of debates on political issues worldwide, and no issue shows this more clearly than the one of supporting Israel and its ongoing war to secure its borders and defend its citizens from attack.
Mr. King's op-ed shows the danger of communing with the Left.
Sir, - David Lee asks why the Israeli government is not protesting about warped Western media coverage ("Selective, or what?" Letters, September 4). But surely he realizes that European governments will not take any Israeli government complaint on that score seriously, and that the only possible effective form of complaint can be through Diaspora communities locally.
He also asks why Israel does not demand financial help from Europe in the light of the damage done to northern Israel - but, again, it is not really for the Israeli government to ask. It is for European governments who understand the true nature of what the fighting was about to appreciate that if they give aid to Lebanon alone they are not adequately reflecting the damage Hizbullah was allowed to do to both Lebanese and Israel citizens.
It would be much better for Mr. Lee to raise the question with his member of parliament and member of the European Parliament, as I have already done with mine.
Pinner, Middx, UK
'Don't want to hear it'
Sir, - Your recent correspondence on the subject of anti-Israel expression in Scotland reminded me of my own experience when, in advance of a visit to Scotland in June of last year, I offered to talk to a Christian group in their church hall in Edinburgh. The two Christian Zionists who wanted me to address their group asked me for the title of my talk. After a great deal of thought I decided on "Making the case for Israel."
The sad rejection I received from these valuable friends of Israel was that their minister "was not prepared to hear my message," and I was prevented from addressing this audience.
While in Edinburgh I did speak to a large audience in the Edinburgh synagogue hall. Although this may seem like preaching to the converted, there was, even among that Jewish audience, a small hard core of anti-Israel individuals.
Ironic, or Iranic?
Sir, - Re "Teheran's call for Holocaust parley worries Iranian immigrants" (September 4): Why do those who want to commit another Holocaust bother to deny the first one? Because Santayana was wrong. It is those who do learn from history who try to repeat it.
Iran knows the world allowed the first Holocaust to happen. It sees the world ganging up on Israel when Hizbullah shoots rockets at it.
The planned conference is going to deny the fact of the Holocaust, but its real purpose will be to instigate another Holocaust - and that they are not denying. They claim the Koran demands it and they know a cowardly Europe will allow it to happen, just as it is allowing its Muslims to take over their countries.
Sir, - At first I thought "In the US, Jewish Greeks return to their roots" (September 3) meant Jews of Greek background. Of course, most Americans would know that "Greeks" referred to college fraternities and sororities.
Not only was Zeta Beta Tau the first Jewish fraternity, it was specifically Zionist. ZBT stands for Tzion bemishpat tipadeh ("Zion will be redeemed with law"). Greek letters had to be used according to the rules of the time, and so the tsadik, bet and tav were transcribed into their Greek equivalents.
IDA SELAVAN SCHWARCZ
Sir, - What is the significance of the sudden demotion of Pluto? It's still rotating, keeping its orbit, and visible. Does it mean that when interplanetary travel becomes a reality journeys to and from Pluto will not be tax-deductible?
("Size matters: Pluto downgraded to dwarf planet," August 24.)
Setting the tone
Sir, - Nearly all our better-known orchestras, especially the Jerusalem one, use the word subscription wrongly in Hebrew. Minui means appointment; the correct word is manui. As long as only Egged drivers make that mistake I do not really care, but one does not expect it of a cultural institution.
I would also like to see a return to itzumim instead of sanktiot, masokim instead of helicopterim, and so on.