August 7: Precious survivors...

I think that heroes like Leo Laufer and my father must be listed among the Dayans, Ben-Gurions and Rabins of our time.

letters 88 (photo credit: )
letters 88
(photo credit: )
Precious survivors... Sir, - I read David Horovitz's column about his father-in-law at a time when I'm trying to store up every memory of my late, beloved father, Mordechai Zuckerman. Born in Radom, he too was the only member of his hasidic family to survive. He escaped to Russia at the onset of the war and ended up in a Siberian labor camp where people also died like flies. He spent the war in Uzbekistan, met and married my mother in Poland, and from there went to the displaced persons camp of Farenwald, in Germany. As deputy chief of police there for six long years, he was responsible for Holocaust orphans who had survived by their own wits. As later documented in Israel, some were institutionalized for the rest of their lives. I think that heroes like Leo Laufer and my father must be listed among the Dayans, Ben-Gurions and Rabins of our time. The remaining survivors are a very precious commodity: They are the living reminder of the greatness of the human spirit, from the Warsaw Ghetto, the Jewish partisans, down to the simple man in the street. They are also the voice of Israel's conscience. When we look at these frail men and women before us today, we are reminded of our own potential for humanity in the face of inhumanity ("Leo Laufer's victory," August 3). ESTHER SCHNEIDER Union, New Jersey/Jaffa ...from out of the ashes Sir, - As a Holocaust survivor and great supporter of Israel, I am deeply disturbed by the way survivors have been treated by the Israeli leadership. We came out of the ashes of the ghettoes and concentration camps to build a democratic State of Israel. Fifty-nine years later we have to march to the Knesset and the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem to protest against the meager government assistance package offered to survivors. Prime Minister of Israel: Our plea, our demand, is: Do not abandon us ("MKs bow to pressure from survivors," August 6). ISSY BURSTYN Edmonton/Tel Aviv Sir, - The essence of shame was revealed when CNN showed the whole world the Holocaust survivors' demonstration and let it hear the prime minister of Israel degrading the survivors' feelings by calling the march political. It was a sign of his utter contempt for the people of Israel. Ehud Olmert has been blessed with the ability to survive politically. That makes him a very skilled politician; but nothing so reveals his character as his reaction to the survivors. TOBY WILLIG Jerusalem Tragedy & farce Sir, - My profound thanks and congratulations to the MKs who have petitioned the government against deporting the Sudanese refugees ("Sending Sudanese back to Egypt would be immoral, 63 MKs declare," August 5). For our PM to make an issue, in the current circumstances, of whether the Sudanese are "genuine" refugees or "economic" migrants is ridiculous. On the basis of the most recent incident Egypt is little better than the Janjaweed. Any agreement that might have been reached between Ehud Olmert and Hosni Mubarak is meaningless, and for the government to return any of the refugees would mean death for them - if not in Egypt, then in Sudan. It would be an unforgivable crime by a nation born out of immeasurable suffering. I. KEMP Nahariya Sir, - Tapes apparently exist which show the brutal murder of four Sudanese refugees by Egyptian border guards. Channel 10 decided not to show these tapes out of worry about causing a "diplomatic row" with Egypt. Our playing nice with Egypt will never reward us enough to justify this disgusting cover-up. Those pictures should be publicized all around the world, and Egypt's moderate reputation is a farce. MARCELLA WACHTEL Jerusalem Too soft on the Arabs Sir, - I agree with Jonathan Tobin's "The JNF vs politically correct Zionism" (August 5), but found his defense of the JNF status quo too soft on the Arabs. It is a euphemism to call Arabs a minority in Israel; they are a minority only in the narrow, technical sense. Regionally, the Arabs are the great majority surrounding a small Jewish minority. And when we Americans think of a minority, we envision people who want the equality they deserve as loyal citizens of a state. The loyalty of Israel's Arabs to Israel is questionable. Only when the Arab majority in the region starts showing a convincing acceptance of Israel should Israeli Arabs be considered a minority in the fullest sense. Until then, please do not expect American Jews to continue to contribute to a fund which will aid Israel's enemies. DAVID KATCOFF Jericho, Vermont Look in the mirror Sir, - Why does Jorg Luyken sublet an apartment in Jerusalem when he is made to feel so "unwelcome?" ("They roll out the 'unwelcome' mat for me at border control," August 1.) From the identical reactions of the myriad security personnel he has encountered on his crossings in and out of Israel, one has to deduce that the security people were probably confronting an arrogant and uncooperative journalist with an attitude inconsistent with the imperative to take no chances in ensuring the safety of Israel's population. There have, sadly, been many instances of purportedly unbiased and non-partisan journalists and NGO members abusing Israel's democratic and free society. Mr. Luyken should engage in some self-reflection to determine whether the "unwelcome" mat was placed there by none other than himself. FAY DICKER Lakewood, New Jersey Recognition, at last! Sir, - I am glad to hear the IDF is considering revamping Shlav Bet in order to better use the talents of immigrant recruits. So many of us "shlav betnikim" began our IDF service pulling weeds and painting curb stones before someone could be convinced that we had more to contribute ("IDF revamping 'Shlav Bet' for new olim," August 4). LT.-COL. (RET.) AVINOAM SHARON Nili Fairly Black Sir, - I have been a Daily Telegraph reader for over 50 years and under Conrad Black's stewardship the newspaper always presented Israel fairly and properly. Not so today under different ownership. Black's wife, Barbara Amiel, was an outspoken journalist with a strong affinity for Israel. On TV she was stunning and immaculate and her eloquence always put paid to the usual snide anti-Israel mob. It is a great pity there are so few of her stature around at the present time ("'The Jerusalem Post's Black years," Larry Derfner, August 2). JOEL JOSEPH Essex, UK Immunize now Sir, - In 2001, during the worst case of foot-and-mouth in UK history, Downing Street flew in the world's leading authority on the disease from the US, the late Prof. Fred Brown, who recommended immediate immunization of British animal stock. He flew back, and the British PM took no notice of his recommendation. The extent of the epidemic became apparent after six months, and the industry and the nation suffered great financial and other loss. Today let us hope Gordon Brown has more sense and acts to immunize Britain's cattle. It is the only answer if history is not to be repeated ("UK fights foot-and-mouth, tooth and nail," August 6). DR. DAVID HILL World Innovation Foundation Charity Bern, Switzerland