Letters to the Editor: May 8

Sweden: Why on earth give Hamas a foothold? Sir, - The Swedish minister of defense proclaimed a while ago that my country and Saudi Arabia are cooperating in defense matters. The minister invited the Russian army to our country in order to train with the Swedish army. The Swedish air force prepared for eight months for a peace-keeping exercise with several countries, in Italy. The Swedish government decided that it would not go. The reason: The Israeli air force is participating. But Sweden has opened its borders to a minister in the Hamas-led government even though, together with other EU countries, it has proclaimed that Hamas is a terror organization. I can just say that I am ashamed of how my country acts toward Israel - the Israel I love very, very much ("Hamas minister calls granting of Swedish visa a 'political message,'" May 7). EWA JONSSON Granna, Sweden Sir, - I fail to understand why our government is so upset about Sweden issuing a visa to a Hamas representative. Open any history book about World War II and you will see that treachery is nothing new to the Swedes. What can we expect from a country that stabbed its next-door neighbor, Norway, in the back by allowing Nazi troops free passage across Sweden so they could crush the Norwegians? I shall boycott any Swedish products sold here, and I will launch a campaign among my many relatives and friends in Israel and abroad to do likewise. ELI MINOFF Safed Sir, - Please understand that the socialist government in Sweden has been in power for so long that they think they know better than the people they are supposed to represent. The Swedish people is far more positive to Israel than it may appear. Luckily there is an election in September. Please forgive us! TORLEIF TORGNYSON Sweden Sir, - The Swedes have been consistently hostile toward the Jewish state despite the fact that Sweden itself has a huge problem with its growing Muslim minority, which refuses to assimilate. The city of Malmo, third-largest in Sweden, has been so overrun by Muslim criminals that in many areas the police refuse to patrol. Swedish women have been attacked and raped by Muslim gangs. Yet Swedish politicians choose to close their eyes and attack Israel. In an election year, when the votes of Sweden's 400,000-strong Muslim electorate easily outweigh those of its mere 16,000 Jews, the Swedish Social Democratic administration obviously considered it worth the half-million or so kronor it had already spent on its 10-month preparations for the joint exercise to drive home its desire to attract more votes. Sweden's latest in a long line of questionable decisions could scarcely have come at a more indelicate point in time - almost coinciding with Holocaust Memorial Day. Sweden is doing what it did 60 years ago - turning its back on those in need and siding with the force it sees as likely to win. Given its timing, it is perhaps not out of place to recall that it was high-quality Swedish ore that powered Nazi Germany's war machine. ELI TABORI Paris Sir, - Defense Minister Leni Bj rklund explained that Sweden withdrew from a European peace-keeping exercise because Israel "does not participate in international peace-keeping missions." So if you're not already in the club, you've no right to join. The defense minister was embarrassingly wrong - Israel sent a peace-keeping force of policemen during Fiji's elections. 2006 is election year in Sweden. The governing left-communist coalition is trailing in the polls and it appears no measure is too marginal in the drive to adjust the balance. It is noteworthy that the government's decision to ostracize Israel coincided with the Muslim Council of Sweden's demand for the implementation of Islamic law for Swedish Muslims ("Israel slams Swedes for decision to drop out of military exercises," April 28). ILYA MEYER Gothenburg, Sweden Sir, - It's important to understand that Hamas terrorists have murdered hundreds of Jewish children, women and men, and continue to conspire to murder Jews and eliminate the entire Jewish State of Israel. The official visit or presence of Hamas in Sweden will encourage the anti-Semites to launch further attacks on Jews and Jewish property in Sweden. And hatred of Jews will increase too in the streets. The US government should condemn this visit. BENNY AVRAHAM Helsingborg Sweden Sir, - Re "Israel fumes as Sweden grants visa to Hamas minister" (May 5): Imagine - we Jews are trying to give Hamas our country, but are angry that Sweden wants to give it a two-week visitor's pass. How about this: We will give Hamas a two-week pass, and the Swedes can give it a piece of their country. M. AARON Hashmonaim Strange priorities Sir, - Perhaps millions of shekels and battalions of soldiers are being deployed to evict three Jewish families from a building in Hebron. While the government has no trouble finding resources to evict Jews, hundreds of illegal Palestinian workers go untouched in Beit Shemesh. There is a price to pay for this warped set of government priorities, and last week a young girl paid with her life ("5 Palestinians held in murder of 8-year-old girl in Beit Shemesh," May 5). How many more men, women and children will die because the government is more set on evicting Jews from their homes than in protecting their lives? STANLEY BROCHSTEIN Rehovot Sadly unique Sir, - Re "Never again" (Editorial, April 25) concerning the killings in Cambodia, Bosnia, Sudan, etc.: I am a survivor, born in Rzeszow, Poland, living now in Israel. When speaking in the US to students I brought out three major differences that make the Holocaust unique: The Jews didn't fight to have more land or to overthrow a government; nobody had ever before built railroads straight to gas chambers to torture, murder and gas men women and children; no country was interested in helping at all. Most, including the US, even refused to accept refugees, and sent them back to be killed. Do not trivialize the Shoah. SAM STIMLER Beit Shemesh Uganda wouldn't do Sir, - Perhaps everything Jonathan S. Tobin wrote about Theodor Herzl is correct ("A visionary who's also above politics," May 7). However, he omitted a most important fact: Herzl would have been satisfied if the Jewish state had been established in Uganda. He missed the point that there cannot be a Jewish state without the land of Israel. C. HEUMAN Ginot Shomron 'God bless America'... Sir, - It is good to see Zacarias Moussaoui penalized, but uncomfortable to see his cruel and abusive words plastered all over the daily media ("Moussaoui sent to prison for life," May 5). This evil Islamic fundamentalist 9/11 co-conspirator expresses his fellow-believers' ugly views, and the world has to listen to this pollution. But it is interesting to note that while he says "God curse America," there is a song called "God Bless America" by Irving Berlin, an American immigrant Jewish composer. It may not be worthy of headlines, but sentiments like "God Bless America" make the world a more pleasant, more decent place. It's no coincidence that the Bible says, regarding the Jews: "Those who bless you will be blessed, and those who curse you will be cursed" - which, in Moussaoui's case, can also be applied to America, a country that cherishes freedom for people of all faiths, including Islam and Judaism. This terrorist wishes death upon innocent people. Although he has evaded the death penalty, what kind of life can such a person live behind bars? ROBERT HARRIS Chicago ...and Warren Buffett Sir, - Congratulations to Iscar and the Wertheimer family for concluding their deal with Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway organization ("Buffett buys Iscar for $4b." May 7). At a time when so-called leading academics around the world advocate boycotting Israeli companies, products and services, it is refreshing that one of America's most respected businessmen has recognized the inherent potential within Israeli industry. DARREN GLADSTONE Tel Aviv Mom's life, her goal Sir, - After watching my mom, Judith Nusbaum, endure the pain and dependence of being confined to a dialysis machine for four hours, three days a week and feeling tired and ill for the rest of the day, I believe that it was nothing short of a miracle that Martin Filla was there for her during the most difficult time in her life ("Save a life, save the world," May 1). My mom, prior to kidney failure, was a busy, healthy and positive role model for all. Now, thanks to Martin, she has returned to the life that she loves. Thank you Martin, and thanks to all the medical staff at her various stations along the way. Now mom's goal is to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation. DEBBIE NAIM Rishon Lezion Meet Danger, Disco and baby Shalom Sir, - Re "Why stars name their babies Moses" (April 18): What is unusual about that? We have many boys named Moses in our part of Africa. Other common boys' names include Elijah, Elisha, Solomon, Caleb, and especially Joshua. So many children have biblical names including Jehosophat, Zedekiah, Elimelech, Ephraim. One young couple I know have three under-fives called Shadrack, Meshak and Abednego. Local names often tell of the time of birth, or what happened at birth. For example: famine, locusts, harvest, plenty of meat (these have male and female versions); or born at night (which explains the girls who are called Knight). As a teacher of many years, I have seen some very unusual girls' names in my registers. Perhaps the most unusual are Pacific Ocean, Skyline and Wilikister. Interesting non-biblical boys' names are Danger and Disco. Recent babies' names include Victory and Patience for girls, giving some idea of the mother's problems in giving birth; Honest, Blessing and Shalom for boys. What is unusual in one culture may be normal in another - so, American stars, why not look to Africa for your names? You'll find plenty of good ones. A. G. LIPSON Kimilili, Kenya