April 14: Safer than NYC

The media may portray Israel as a country reeling from unremitting terrorist stabbings, shootings and car rammings, but it would seem that in reality, Israel is far safer than many other places.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Safer than NYC
There has been a drop in the number of terrorist attacks against Israelis (“Attacks now under control, but could resume full-force,” April 11).
The defense establishment reports 20 “significant attacks” in March and three in the first third of April.
Interestingly, I heard on the radio this morning that so far this year New York City has had more than 1,100 stabbings.
The latest murder from the stabbings occurred overnight.
The media may portray Israel as a country reeling from unremitting terrorist stabbings, shootings and car rammings, but it would seem that in reality, Israel is far safer than many other places in the world, such as New York – especially since I suspect that Israel authorities apprehend the murderers with much higher frequency than NYC police do.
New York
It’s method, not motive
Your editorial (“Terrorists or freedom fighters,” April 11) is a misguided attempt to distinguish terrorists
and non-terrorists based on motive. The writer seeks to differentiate between Jews who fought the British Mandate and Palestinian Arabs fighting alleged Israeli occupation by justifying the Jews’ goals.
That rationalization allows some Israelis to accept the recent outbreaks of Jewish terrorism against Palestinians, because they see such acts as furthering a “noble” cause.
While there is no universally accepted definition of terrorism, the following is a good starting point: “The deliberate threat or use of violence against civilian targets in order to promote political ends.”
Terrorism is a tactic, not an ideology.
A freedom fighter who resorts to terrorism to advance his goals is also a terrorist, however laudable his goals may be. The critical element is not the actor’s ultimate purpose, but the decision to attack innocent victims with no military value.
The actions of organizations must be evaluated individually.
If the Irgun had attacked purely civilian targets, they would have acted as terrorists. The King David attack was not terrorism because the hotel contained the British military command and their Criminal Investigation Division.
The purpose of the attack was neither to kill civilians, nor to cause generalized fear (ample warning of the attack was given).
Civilian deaths are an inevitable byproduct of armed conflict.
The fundamental question is whether they were a primary purpose of the military action.
The unfortunate civilian casualties during Operation Protective Edge were not victims of terrorism, because Israel did not intentionally target Palestinian civilians.
If we are to convince the world that Palestinian terrorism is wrong, we must stand for the proposition that attacks on civilians as primary targets cannot ever be justified, not even by even the purist of motives. Otherwise, those who support the Palestinian cause, however misguided, will never recognize the evil of the methods they employ.
Newton, Massachusetts
New Middle East
The Arab world is changing (“Former Iraqi diplomat: Israel should insist ‘secret’ Arab visits take place in broad daylight,” April 12). The facts are so crystal clear that even President Obama may awake to the new reality.
Egypt and Saudi Arabia have formed a new alliance because they are deathly afraid of Iran.
Each country needs to feel protected.
The United States has abandoned its traditional alliance with both of these countries and the two nations realize that they cannot face Iran alone.
The other great bit of news is that an Iraqi visitor to Israel whose visit has not been announced had the courage to tell the Israelis that the visit should not be kept secret as more and more Arab diplomats are coming to Israel.
There is now increasing acceptance of Israel amongst the nations, which fear and hate Iran.
We have not yet reached the point of thinking about alliance with certain Arab nations but as long as Israel remains strong, innovative and courageous , she will be a country that inevitably will shape a new Arab world.
Monsters and thugs
Gil Troy’s article (“Religio- Goons – the Jewish Taliban – threaten Judaism and Zionism,” April 13) was embarrassing and disgusting. He started with a list of items intended to deceive people to believe that they were similar.
The connection between people agreeing to be located together in hospital rooms and a horrible killing and burning of an Arab boy is ridiculous.
Yet he equates them.
Troy tells us Muslim Arab boys are “our kids.” In what world is he living? They are taught from birth that Jews are the enemy and should be killed or driven from the land.
Are those really “our kids?” He says rabbis are “worshiping human monsters” and “producing thugs.”
Unsurprisingly, he quotes the Torah, that because we were strangers in Egypt we must treat strangers with generosity.
This is a wonderful commandment that we should accept, but Muslim Arabs are not strangers.
We know them well and are correctly apprehensive of them because of their upbringing and intentions.
I do not like everything ultra-orthodox Rabbis say. I would like them to be more liberal with conversions, etc.
But to demonize them as goons or hooligans is a sad and unsuccessful way to address the problem.
Calling them shrill, mean-spirited, small-minded and soul crushing, Troy is acting exactly like that.
Kfar Saba
Nobel Prize gag?
Oops! Who was responsible for the glitch in which an item intended for your Purim page appeared on a regular page (“Palestinians launch campaign to award jailed Fatah leader Barghouti Nobel Peace Prize,” April 13)?
Correction It was the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union – not the Inter-Parliamentary Union itself – that voted to expel the Knesset from the international body (“Kuwait pushes to expel Israel from Inter-Parliamentary Union,” April 13).