January 1: Judging the judges

January 1 Judging the j

Judging the judges Sir, - The opening sentence of the Book of Ruth lends itself to two explanations. The first is, "In the days that the judges judged"; the second is, "In the days of the judging of the Judges" - i.e., the judges committed more abominations than the rest of the people. Personally, I lack the professional qualifications to judge the judges. However, I join many of my peers in feeling that the court's decision to open Highway 443 to Palestinians is a morally grotesque one. The original closing of the road was due not to theoretical threats; rather, it was based on the real loss of Israeli lives in terror attacks. We are further told that this decision will prompt an influx of court petitions to open more roads ("Defense Ministry braces for spate of court petitions to open more roads to Palestinians," December 31). Judges who ignore imminent danger to human lives for the sake of ideals, however lofty, are not adequately acting in the interests of their fellow citizens. ZEV CHAMUDOT Petah Tikva Answers to a taboo question Sir, - I'm a 27-year-old Jewish woman living in the US. I went on my birthright trip to Israel last year in January, at the height of the Gaza crisis. I fell in love with Israel, and I want to travel back with my boyfriend someday and spend more time there. However, I've had some concerns regarding the politics toward the innocent Palestinians living in Gaza. Mind you, I emphasize "innocent," meaning those trying to go about their daily lives - not the terrorists. As someone from the outside (probably much like the world saw our war on Iraq), I worried that the Israeli response a year ago - though necessary and justified - was too harsh. And I profoundly appreciate Larry Derfner's recent column, "A taboo question for Israelis" (December 31). Thank you for saying what needs to be said, from an Israeli perspective. I do hope others will read your words and try to open their minds. I support Israel. I made Israeli friends while visiting. I just don't want to see us Jews de-justify the reason we established Israel in the first place. SHARI LOPATIN Phoenix, Arizona Sir, - Larry Derfner's article points out some very good questions that demand action. The article is well-written, tight, concise and well-thought-out. Keep up the good work. MIKE SHEETS Lansing, Michigan Sir, - Larry Derfner asks what Israelis would do if anybody treated us like we are treating the people in Gaza. I would like to inform him of what we would not do. We would not send a woman from our country back to the country that had saved her life, with a belt of explosives strapped to her body intending a suicidal attack on the very hospital that had treated her. We would not accumulate thousands of missiles to kill countless numbers of citizens in the major residential centers of the country imposing the siege. We would not continue to boast that we would not recognize the right of the blockading country to exist as an independent, legally formed state, and that our ultimate goal was the elimination of that country. We would not kidnap young soldiers to serve as ransom for the release of thousands of convicted criminals in their prisons. We would not permit our government to use the considerable sums of money provided by outside sources for our relief, for any other purpose. MONTY M. ZION Tel Mond Sir, - What would we do if we were treated as we treat the Gazans? Well, let's think about that. Were we ever in detention camps or worse? What did we do then? We elected responsible community leaders and formed a local government, provided for education, health care and housing as best as we could, built energy, water and sewage facilities. ALLAN FARBER Hashmona'im