'Short of sending in limousines to extract Gaza’s civilians, Israel is doing everything it can to protect them.'

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Get it out there!
Sir, – “The moral edge” (First Person, July 18) should be translated into as many languages as possible and disseminated globally.
Many world leaders have called upon Israel to “do even more” to protect the civilian population in Gaza. This article makes an articulate and cogent representation of the facts. It demonstrates that short of sending in limousines to extract Gaza’s civilians, Israel is doing everything it can to protect them.
Excellent piece. Now get it out there, please!
Ma’aleh Adumim
Stench, not fragrance
Sir, – For some time I have followed Lawrence Rifkin’s “Grumpy Old Man” columns, and have agreed wholeheartedly with his views. I must, however, express my reservations over his praise of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for condemning the kidnapping and murder of our three youths (“Double-edged sword,” July 18).
Admittedly, Abbas’s condemnation was delivered in Arabic at a conference of Arab foreign ministers. But only when he expresses such sentiments in Ramallah will it be time to take notice.
The slight fragrance of roses Rifkin detects as resulting from this activity is, unfortunately, overwhelmed by the stench resulting from the complete avoidance by Abbas, like Yasser Arafat before him, of the need to prepare his people for coexistence. Apparently, it was futile to expect this from the double-dealing, two-timing Arafat, but one expects more from his successor.
Evil still exists
Sir, – If any of your readers still have the July 18 Jerusalem Post Magazine and did not read Daniel Gordis’s excellent “Whatever happened to evil” (A Dose of Nuance, July 18), they should go back and read it. It is extremely important to fully understand that evil does exist.
It is impossible to navigate the challenges we face in this world without that understanding.
Clearly, neither US President Barack Obama nor Secretary of State John Kerry understands this, and their lack of understanding is tremendously dangerous for the people of Israel.
Sir, – The most unfortunate element of “Whatever happened to evil” is the framing by my teacher, Dr. Daniel Gordis, of the conversation we recently shared at his Shabbat table in Jerusalem, when I was in Israel as one of the leaders of the AIPAC Progressive Rabbinic Mission to Israel 5774.
I was the rabbi who asked for his help in developing language based in Jewish values to describe not Hamas, for whom I believe the Torah’s instructions are clear (see Exodus 22:2 for the injunction to kill your murderer before he kills you), but Palestinians – who, I believe, are being held hostage by Hamas’s evil blood-thirst.
(For now, I leave behind the fact that the rabbis of the Talmud eliminated the halachic applicability of the term “Amalek” 2,000 years ago.) I asked this question after witnessing the saving power of Iron Dome above my head, and after witnessing pervasive Israeli humanism in the face of the terrorists’ onslaught. I am in awe of the deep huma nity of the IDF, warning Palestinians before firing on rocket launchers placed to maximize civilian casualties. Just imagine the numbers of deaths if Israel wasn’t concerned with saving Palestinian lives.
I ask again because it is a crucial question, one that protects Jews from embodying the hatred cast against us time and again: Is there a way to communicate Jewishly about Palestinians which doesn’t effectively erase our recognition that they are created in the image of God? I beg my teacher’s forgiveness for airing my encounter with him in such a public way, and share that my comment is not only a clarification of what I actually said, but also a caution against what I fear can happen when Jews lump Palestinians into one moral category.
I stand proud as a liberal Zionist rabbi. I’m not worried about proving my credentials.
I am worried about deep pain and rage turning our necessary military response into an ideology of hate. We are better than that, and the Jewish state is premised upon broader notions of humanity than only Jews.
We do have enemies, but we are called to embody holiness when we fight them.
Berkeley, California