April 4: Brickbats, not bouquets

I was astounded and shocked when I read Ben Caspit’s articles about Gilad Schalit.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Brickbats, not bouquets
Sir, – I was astounded and shocked when I read Ben Caspit’s articles about Gilad Shalit (“The true story: What Gilad Shalit told IDF investigators,” March 29; “The true story of Gilad Shalit in captivity,” March 31).
Obviously, Shalit was poorly trained, both physically and mentally, and was not up to the task even though he was well equipped as a fighting machine to protect and defend the Jewish people. In any decent fighting force his cowardly conduct would result in a court martial against him and his superiors.
But even more seriously, Shalit’s incompetence and gutless actions, together with his father’s continuing protests and publicity, were the reason Israel released hundreds of murderous Arabs with blood on their hands. How many more Israelis will lose their lives through this selfish action? Instead of strutting the world stage on lecture tours, both father and son should hold their heads in shame. For the bleeding hearts and their support for Shalit in this tragic event, it should be brickbats, not bouquets.
JACK DAVIS Jerusalem
Sir, – Since when does being incarcerated through one’s own dereliction of duty warrant the title of hero? Gilad Shalit made absolutely no attempt to resist or evade capture, not even firing one shot, and willingly went along with everything his captors told him to do, even to run quickly.
A hero is not one who volunteers himself to the enemy without a murmur, especially when his tank and its guns were fully operational. He could have killed his abductors, but he never even made an attempt.
It is to our everlasting shame that our prime minister and president did not make the same effort to bring home Jonathan Pollard, who saved the lives of many Israelis but languishes in the hell hole of an American prison.
One can only imagine what would happen to our country with “heroes” like Gilad Shalit.
Rocks and ages
Sir, – Palestinian youths recently were detained and later released for violent rock throwing, and B’Tselem spokesperson Sarit Michaeli strongly objected on grounds that the law prohibits arresting minors under 12 (“IDF releases video of Hebron kids throwing stones,” March 31).
Michaeli is right about the law, but the law in its current form is preposterous.
Stones thrown by children under the age of 12 are just as capable of causing serious injury. Even death. Inevitably, when such minors are left unpunished there is an increase in stone throwing by other minors. Indeed, this has become a dangerous problem not only in Judea and Samaria, but also in and around Judaism’s holiest of cemeteries on Har Hazeitim (the Mount of Olives), where mourners and their vehicles are regular targets.
Creative new solutions must be explored, perhaps punitive measures against parents. As the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court makes clear, “conscripting or enlisting children under the age of fifteen years into the national armed forces or using them to participate actively in hostilities is a war crime.”
JEFF DAUBE Jerusalem
The writer is co-chairman of the Israel committee of the International Committee for the Preservation of Har Hazeitim
Sir, – Judge Amir Dahan’s logic (“Rocks and murder,” Editorial, March 29) defies common sense but certainly serves a liberal agenda. Applying it to another somewhat related situation exposes the absurdity of his argument.
Since most Katyusha and Grad rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip do not result in death or even serious injury, one cannot assume an intent to kill. Therefore, when one of these rockets does cause mayhem among civilians, the launch crew cannot be accused of a war crime or terrorism.
Like Hamas rocket teams, when accurate, rockthrowers are deadly and can even wipe out a family in a car.
In view of the culture of terrorism and violence cultivated in Palestinian Authority schools, broadcasts and mosques led by radical imams, an intent to kill must be assumed in every case of rock throwing perpetrated by Arabs against Jews.
Sir, – Your editorial relating to the continued, violent stone-throwing attacks by Palestinians is to be hailed because it calls it like it is. These attacks are planned, premeditated attempts at murder, and nothing less.
The world has turned against Israel to such an extent that it no longer pays any attention to rock throwing at Israeli vehicles.
The driver under such an attack is a victim of terror. But who pays attention to Palestinian terrorism anymore? Those who throw rocks must be found and stopped before the rock throwing becomes flame throwing.
Perhaps for every rock thrown a road should be closed. Perhaps it is time to make sure the world sees photos of rock throwing, and then for every rock thrown Ramallah and its leadership would be held up to world scorn.TOBY WILLIG Jerusalem
Seeing the light
Sir, – Your editorial “Daylight saving time” (March 28), while dwelling on the advantages of extending DST into the winter months, excludes the disadvantages.
The extra daylight in the afternoon is gained at the expense of daylight in the morning. This brings with it increased use of electric lighting and heating in the early morning hours, and more road accidents due to the morning rush hour starting in the dark.
Integrating haredim into the workforce would become more problematic since religious people need time to pray after sunrise.
With Europe, our biggest trading partner – which could be on DST while Israel is not – our clocks would coincide exactly, a great advantage to trade. (In fact, it could be advantageous to abandon DST altogether solely for this reason.) Finally, how can the Israel Hofshit movement, “whose mission is to promote freedom of religion and pluralism in Israel,” live up to its mission if it places stumbling blocks to all Jews needing to pray in the morning? I suspect that it, like Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz, wishes to settle accounts with the ultra-Orthodox at the expense of all mitzvah-observant Jews.MALCOLM MANDEL Ra’anana
Sir, – I was amazed to read some of the recent letters about summer time (“Changing the clocks,” April 2). My guess is that the writers were haredim or Shas loyalists. Otherwise, why would anyone take the trouble of writing a letter trying to convince people that an extra hour of darkness every day is a good thing? The argument that we don’t need daylight saving time since we are closer to the equator than Europe is pure nonsense. Whether a person lives north of London or south of Israel, the effect is to give exactly one more hour of daylight.
But Israel has an additional problem: We live at the eastern end of our time zone.
As a result it gets dark earlier here than it does at the western end.
I still teach at the Technion a few days a week. I normally leave the office at about 6 p.m.; from November through February I leave in total darkness, while in October and March I leave in semi-darkness.
I now have the pleasure of leaving while there is still daylight.
I drive without using my headlights (which, by the way, saves fuel) and get home in time to enjoy our garden.
Daylight saving time is a gift to the tens of thousands who work or study during normal business hours.