April 24: Twenty-seven years

Peres should decline accepting the US medal if he does not receive a direct reply from Obama.

Twenty-seven years
Sir, – Over two weeks ago President Shimon Peres sent a personal letter to US President Barak Obama, asking him to pardon Jonathan Pollard (“Divergent religious streams join together in appeal to release Pollard,” April 23).
The first insult came when some White House underling said “there has been no change in policy.” The letter was for Obama and no one else. Common courtesy requires a reply from Obama himself. The fact that this has not yet happened is an insult to our president and through him to the entire nation. I would hope that for his pride and that of the nation, Peres would decline accepting the US medal if he does not receive a direct reply from Obama.
KURT SIMON Jerusalem
Sir, – Most Americans feel not one more American life should be sacrificed to protect any foreign nation and as for Jonathan Pollard’s release... NO! He was caught spying and must serve out his term. In both cases, I say “Enough, already!”
HERB STARK Massapequa, New York
Sense of justice Sir, – About “Case that led to Eshel’s resignation included sexual harassment,” (April 22), I’m still waiting for organizations and groups to award whistle-blower Yoaz Hendel with awards and prizes.
This would not only satisfy a sense of justice; it would also tell others in similar situations that besides it being right to stop abuse by powerful people, one will be widely supported doing so.
Eye in the sky
Sir, – I was particularly interested in Liat Collins’s article “Of wings and prayers” (My Word, April 22) as my husband was a doctor in the Israeli Air Force after being an officer in the British Royal Air Force in Egypt.
He remembers being called to his annual service at Ramat David in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War when the head of the base, Zorik Lev, was lost.
He said he was a fine man, and went to his home at the base to treat his sick children. My husband was upset to be reminded of that incident.
We also remembered the day at Hatzerim when our granddaughter graduated to become an officer in the Air Force, and the whole family went for the day.
I was fascinated by the rare collection of planes including Ezer Weizman’s black Spitfire.
I also organized the first meeting of an exhibition on Mahal [volunteers from abroad] in September 2010 with a member of Mahal and a curator at Beit Hatfutsot – The Museum of the Jewish People.
I also made a documentary film about them called Volunteers of Valor, 1948, which was televised, and the Mahal exhibition is due to be opened next month.
Countering hostility
Sir, – The apathy shown by British Jews to anti-Israel demonstrations is disturbing. (“A wakeup call,” Tal Ofer, Comment and Features, April 22).
From what I have been told by my parents, this reflects the feelings they had when they spent two years in London before my birth. They told of acquaintances changing their names, so as not to sound Jewish; they told of discrimination against Jews in the employment market, but their leaders failed to raise their voices in protest.
Thus, the failure of British Jews to join a counter-demonstration against a protest organized by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign can be regarded as “par for the course.”
It surely is time for the leaders of the Jewish organizations in Britain to make their voices heard loud and clear.
Sir, – Tal Ofer’s claims that “the level of hostility against Israel has reached an all-time high in the UK because it is not being countered effectively” and one online commenter responded: “Every newspaper article which appears in anti- Israel newspapers need to be answered with the truth. The PR war has been going on for years and the appearance is that Israel is losing it.”
In practice, unfortunately, it is the editor of the paper who decides what appears on its letters page.
Most letters I have written to such “enlightened” journals as the The Guardian or The Independent simply do not get printed. I am fairly sure that my experience is shared by most other pro-Israel letter writers.
Telling image
Sir, – If a picture is a worth a thousand words, can there be a more telling image of the “religion of peace” than a group of Islamic religious leaders presenting Syrian mass-murderer Bashar Assad with the gift of a sword (“With echoes of Saddam, Assad may endure,” Comment and Features, April 22)? One can only imagine the global outrage were a group of rabbis to present President Shimon Peres or Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with the gift of a gun.
JJ GROSS Jerusalem
Visual beauty
Sir, – I have long become accustomed to gritting my teeth when reading the concert or opera reviews of one of your more regular reviewers, who seems more to wish to regale the readers with the extent of his scholarship than his understanding of the performance about which he is meant to be writing.
It was therefore with a deal of pleasure that I read Herb Keinon’s review (“‘Madama Butterfly’: A treat for ear and eye,” Arts and Entertainment, April 22) of the very same Madama Butterfly performed in Tel Aviv and already reviewed last week.
His manner of describing both the production, the staging, lighting, costumes and individual performances of the artists were a model of how such articles ought to be written and gave a clear indication of the comparative merits of all concerned.
To my mind your two reviewers gave every impression of having attended different performances with different artists in different locations.
I write this both as a fan of this medium and as an erstwhile opera singer.
Defining ethics
Sir, – Once again I fail to see the logic of events occurring in our country. In Yaakov Katz’s analysis piece “IDF under Gantz won’t tolerate ethical errors” (April 19), he makes a distinction between “operational errors” and “ethical errors.” He proceeds to give the readers an example of an ethical error – a high-ranking officer was dismissed, not because he left a soldier behind in an operation, but because he falsified the report and covered up the error.
The example of an operational error was allowing 100 Syrians to breach the border on “Nakba Day” in May.
Now we have to decide whether Eisner’s error was operational or ethical and, of course, Gantz decided that it was ethical, therefore, Eisner had to be sacked. However, Katz finishes the piece by recommending that the army “try to understand what brought a senior officer to lose control the way Eisner did.”
If I had to categorize Eisner’s mistake, I would call it an “operational” error and not an “ethical” one. Falsifying a report is a breach of ethics.
Losing control (Katz’s words) is an operational failure. Even ethical people lose control at a certain point.
I am not justifying Eisner’s action (since I do not know what led up to his loss of control) but I definitely condemn his being dismissed.