Sir, - I commend Daniel Friedmann on his excellent analysis of the Goldstone Report ("The terrorists' Magna Carta," October 30). Goldstone overreached and he also may have been intimidated.
Missile fire on one's land is a breach of national sovereignty that demands a punishing response so that it doesn't happen again. Since Operation Cast Lead and the entry of Binyamin Netanyahu as prime minister, Hamas has reduced its firing significantly. If anything, Israel should have taken action before, and not waited and waited.
Friedmann should challenge Goldstone to a panel debate. He should be challenged wherever he goes. But perhaps Friedmann can also explain why, as justice minister, he didn't oblige then-prime minister Ehud Olmert to respond earlier to the rocket fire. Olmert's incredible, prolonged passivity should have been another signal to Goldstone that Israel did not want to launch the Gaza operation.
Sir, -Goldstone's proper course of action would have been to report that his task could not be completed without the participation of all parties.
WAYNE D ROSENFIELD
The Temple is a central focus
Sir, - Helen Levenston argues in her November 1 letter that prayer has replaced the need for a Third Temple. She says that giving up visits to the Temple Mount would be "politically embarrassing" but wouldn't affect her Jewish identity or her pride in the Land of Israel.
But what is the land of Israel without the Temple Mount? The prayers on which she relies include numerous pleas for a return to Zion and rebuilding of the Temple "speedily and in our day." Remove that central focus from Judaism and we might as well be in Uganda or Siberia. It is precisely the centrality of the Temple and Temple Mount to our religion that makes our presence in Israel so essential to our continued existence as a people.
Maybe we aren't worthy of a new Temple right now. But that doesn't lead to Levenston's conclusion that, "to try to build another temple is a diversion and a misguided waste of effort." On the contrary, her cavalier rejection of the importance of the Temple cuts us off from thousands of years of our history, diminishes our call for support from our brethren throughout the world, and invalidates any claim that Eretz Yisrael is the unique site most appropriate as a homeland for the Jewish people.
EFRAIM A COHEN
Let them stay!
Sir, - Why is it so important for Eli Yishai and his Shas party to deport those innocent, Israel-born children ("Cabinet to discuss children's deportation," November 1)?
As Jews, who have suffered so long and so much, do we dare to commit such a dastardly act? These poor children (of illegal foreign workers) haven't committed any crimes; they're too young for that.
We should be proud to know that people of all stripes and religions run to our shores because they believe that they will be allowed to work here and will be safe. If children are born here during their stay in Israel, so what? Let them be! Let them grow up, serve in the army (as most of them would be happy to do ) and raise their own families as good Israelis.
Why reach out to Syria?
Sir, - An October 29 headline stated, "US want to move'beyond dialogue' with Syria." It is truly amazing and heartbreaking that in a world where Israel is regularly delegitimized, the US and that same world accept Iran and Libya and their raging rulers and now court Syria. Is threatening to destroy a member state of the UN not a reason for delegitimization? Is shooting down a passenger plane not a reason for delegitimization? Is interfering with Lebanon for so many years not a reason for delegitimization? Only Israel, a leader in water technology and high-tech, a refuge for a million Jews from the Arab states and a million from the Soviet Union, the home of Judaism which gave birth to Christianity and Islam - only this state is threatened.
Not mere props
Sir, - It was obscene for Larry Derfner to refer to the minutes of the Wahnsee Conference and the blueprints of the Auschwitz death camp as "Auschwitz props" used by the prime minister in his address to the UN General Assembly ("Some victims we are," October 29).
It is indeed 62 years since the Holocaust, but that was precisely the prime minister's point. At a time when a Holocaust denier who openly expresses his wish to annihilate Israel is given a courteous audience at the UN, the world must be reminded what can happen when madmen use the potent tool of anti-Semitism to garner support for their evil schemes. It is one of the duties of the State of Israel to make sure the world does not forget - both for the sake of the Jews and for the sake of mankind in general.
My grandmother, my uncle and my aunt all died in Auschwitz in accordance with the evil protocols developed at Wahnsee. I hope the world will always be made to remember that dark chapter of history. What the prime minister displayed for all to see were not props. They are rather two indisputable witnesses. And two witnesses are required for accusation under Jewish law. May these witnesses remain in view long after all those humans who can bear eyewitness to the Holocaust have passed from the scene.
ARNOLD I KISCH
Sir, - The Israeli government removed all the Jewish citizens of Gush Katif. The army left the Gaza Strip and the Philadelphi Corridor. The hothouses were left intact only to be destroyed immediately afterwards. The unilateral Israeli withdrawal could have been a beginning of Palestinian self-rule and self-sufficiency. But Hamas took over Gaza, and there was non-stop firing of rockets on the citizens of Sderot and other areas within range.
How can Larry Derfner compare the Israeli men, woman and children under rocket fire to the terrorists killed in Gaza? How can he compare the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, who has never seen a Red Cross representative since his capture, with the terrorist prisoners in Israeli jails who receive regular visits from their families?
Sir, - Oxfam International has been an NGO of good repute. It has helped children all over the world to have a better life. If, as alleged, however, it has helped divert water illegally to the Palestinians in Hebron, it has done irreparable damage to itself.
The idea that NGOs can do whatever they want in the Palestinian areas is not only morally wrong but tends to divert the real issue of peace from the negotiating table. It sends a not so subtle message to the Palestinians that since the NGOs are with them, they can set their own terms.
A response to Bostrom
Sir, - You report (November 1, internet edition) that Swedish journalist Donald Bostrom, whose August article in the newspaper Aftonbladet accused Israel of harvesting the organs of Palestinians during Operation Cast Lead, landed at Ben Gurion Airport overnight Saturday to participate in a media conference in Dimona.
In view of the campaign to charge IDF commanders and senior politicians with war crimes when they visit certain countries, why can't Mr. Bostrom be arrested now and charged with, at the very least, defamation?
MARTIN D. STERN