April 11: 'Twilight War'

It seems that Israel is going through a period of "Twilight War" similar to WWII. The Israeli government is waiting for the same "stroke of catastrophe.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
'Twilight War' Sir, - After occupying Czechoslovakia, Austria and Poland, in the spring of 1940 Nazi forces occupied Norway. For the first time, France and England counterattacked. But the effort failed. However, the Allied effort to liberate Norway marked the end of what was called "The Twilight War," a period in which England and France declared war against Hitler's Germany but did not organize in a warlike manner against it. In his six-volume history of World War II, Winston Churchill reflects in his simple but direct manner: "This phase (of Twilight War) proved most harmful to the Allies… The sedate, sincere, but routine character of the Administration did not evoke that intense effort… which was vital. The stroke of catastrophe and the spur of peril were needed to call forth the dormant might of the British nation. The tocsin was about to sound." It seems to me that Israel is going through a similar period of "Twilight War." The Israeli government is waiting for the same "stroke of catastrophe." And there is no shortage of directions from which "the spur of peril" may come. The clearest signs beckon from every corner. The country awaits with baited breath the tocsin's sound, and we depend as ever on our "dormant might" ("IDF warns of more kidnapping attempts after two civilians killed in Nahal Oz raid," April 10). YONATAN SILVERMAN Beit Shemesh Visionary key Sir, - Shmuley Boteach's vision in "'Birthright' for non-Jews?" (April 7) is the key to surmounting the first obstacle on Israel's way back to spiritual greatness, if - if - those holding the political and financial power are ready to listen. Birthright has brought a hundred thousand young Jews to the love of Israel, and they have become ambassadors in the cause of bringing back five times more. For non-Jews it may work similarly. Take-A-Pen, a penniless grassroots organization, has been trying to do the same thing for seven years now, using two guiding principles: working with non-Jews in their own languages (18), and not cultivating "ambassadors" so much as specializing in public letter-writing - to the media, to politicians - in defense of Israel. Welcome to those who can act on the much larger scale required. ENDRE MOZES Chairman, Take-A-Pen Haifa Free from fear? Sir, - Re "British Jews are free from fear" by Ambassador Tom Phillips and "We're alright, Professor Wistrich" by Henry Grunwald (both April 3): I found these op-eds puzzling in their assertion that Britain is a tolerant society. I left and made aliya in 1969. I have been subject to anti-Semitism directed at me personally during my trips back to the UK. Three examples: • In 1990, both my grandfathers' graves in the Blackley Cemetery, Manchester, were vandalized. • I was insulted and called unpleasant and anti-Semitic names while parking my car on Golders Green Road in London, by people who looked like "Middle Britain." There was no provocation. • In August 2007, I was returning from sheva brachot in Hendon (London) with my brother-in-law, sister-in-law and nephew. At approximately midnight, while we were walking past the Hendon Adass synagogue, a car drove past and showered us with eggs, ruining my brother-in-law's suit. If anti-Semitism isn't such a problem in the UK, why is the Anglo-Jewish community called upon to pay toward CST (the security wing of the local Jewish organizations)? Does any other religious group have special security guards at their places of worship? Are there any other places of worship where people enter through the side door to pray and are asked not to gather in front of the building after services? It would be interesting to hear the writers' answers to these questions. YISRAEL (IAN) LAST Kiryat Ata From TLV to JLM Sir, - In your report on the possible change of Ben-Gurion Airport's call letters from TLV to JLM, a senior official in the aviation industry was quoted as saying, "The world has already become accustomed to the old name, and changing it now would be practically impossible." I totally disagree with this assessment and cite the change of Idlewild Airport in New York to JFK and, parallel to it, the change of Burma to Myanmar as an example of many such changes which the world seems to have taken in stride. Such a change would reinforce our stand that Jerusalem is our historical capital, and should be recognized as such by the international community ("Lupolianski: Make Ben-Gurion Airport code JLM, not TLV," April 8). SHLOMO JUSTER Karmiel Unfair play Sir, - Avraham Grant arrived in England to take up one of the top soccer coaching positions there. He was completely unknown as an individual and, of course, professionally. He immediately came under the media's spotlight - understandably - but then he was put under a magnifying glass. What was despicable was the prying into and dirt-raking of his wife's personal life. No other coach, foreign or local, has come under such scrutiny. The fact that Grant was an Israeli and a Jew (what a bonus!) only added grist to the mill. What has happened to the press in the land of sportsmanship and fair play? Despite the media's relentless baying, the Grants themselves have reacted with commendable cool. An apology would be very much in place - if the media have the necessary guts. Irrespective of the final end-of-season results, Grant's achievements have been admirable, something even the British press grudgingly acknowledges ("D-day for Chelsea boss Grant," April 8). ZVI FREEDMAN Kiryat Tivon