December 16: No-reason risk

My grandsons will soon be serving in the IDF. Why are you risking our soldiers' lives every night to capture enemies who are just going to be released anyway?

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
No-reason risk Sir, - After reading "IDF troops arrest 17 Palestinian fugitives in the West Bank" and "Court cancels injunction against Palestinian prisoner release" (Online Edition, both December 15), I would say this to our commander-in-chief: My grandsons will soon be serving in the IDF. Why are you risking our soldiers' lives every night to capture enemies who are just going to be released anyway? Our IDF commanders, our government and our Supreme Court are all guilty of endangering our soldiers' lives for no reason. None of them deserves to continue in office. DAVID FEIGENBAUM Netanya Found wanting... Sir, - I was disappointed with "Dutch parliamentarian screens film, criticizes Islam at Jerusalem conference" (December 15). One would think that MK Aryeh Eldad and Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders were the only presenters at the event; when in fact there were eight speakers, including Daniel Pipes, who often appears in your paper, and an African guest who spoke about the Islamists' murderous treatment of Sudanese Africans. Most disturbing was the amount of space the report devoted to Arab spokesmen criticizing the conference - 84 lines - as compared to 69 dealing with the conference itself. It's hardly what I would call objective and comprehensive coverage of an excellent conference featuring knowledgeable figures detailing the Islamist threat to world civilization. BERT ABELL Jerusalem there's an understatement Sir, - The world is in turmoil. There is recession all over, especially in the US and Britain, and everyone is waiting with bated breath - for renewed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Isn't the peace process the solution to all the world's problems? However, there are Arabs who continue to tell the truth, such as the figure Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni continue to embrace with eagerness ("Ahmed Qurei, PA's chief negotiator: No room for Jews in the West Bank," December 15). Every last settlement, including Efrat and Ma'aleh Adumim will have to go. Those are the Palestinian terms. The people of Israel love to fool themselves, but the Palestinians make it very clear that they want everything. That, down the line, means no Israel and a Jerusalem that is theirs. They are sure it will happen sooner or later. Then, of course, we will have peace; but no land of Israel. TOBY WILLIG Jerusalem Work for two states Sir, - To work toward a two-state situation is the best way to serve the interests of both Israeli Jews and Palestinians. They have lived side by side since antiquity, often in peace. This can be achieved again, absent the political designs of other nations. We must give peace a chance for these beleaguered peoples. Peace, now. RITA SOKOLOW Los Angeles Norway, the Jews... Sir, - I found certain statements in Manfred Gerstenfeld's "Norway - a paradigm for anti-Semitism" (December 14) unbelievable. Here is why: A young man who stayed in Germany after the end of WW2, hoping to immigrate to the US, wrote me from Norway that while he was in a DP camp, a Norwegian committee visited with the purpose of replacing the Norwegian Jews who had died in the Holocaust. As a baker, he was given the house and workshop of a Jewish baker. Both house and workshop were intact. After escaping from Hungary in 1956, I spent a year in Norway, where I found no trace of anti-Semitism or any anti-Israel feeling. On the contrary, the head of the institute where I worked, Dr. Karl Semb, a world-renowned renal surgeon and a leader of the Norwegian resistance movement against the German occupiers, helped develop the Israeli health care system. I have a number of Norwegian friends, whose sentiments - it is true - unfortunately turned against Israel in later years. I see two obvious points here: First, Norwegians have a great tradition of sympathizing with the underdog. The numerous immigrants from Arab lands have presented themselves as suffering refugees and gained many Norwegians' support. Second, the very unfortunate and mistaken killing of an innocent Arab man by Mossad agents (he was thought to be one of the murderers involved in the Munich Olympic massacre) created great anti-Israel emotion in Norway. While the current anti-Israel feelings in Norway are, indeed, a problem, alleviating them will not be achieved by generalizations against the Norwegian people. G.G. PINTER Elliott City, Maryland ...and Jesus Sir, - To all anti-Semites: In the Middle East, tribe and family have always been important. Leaving aside the issue of Jesus as God or Messiah, it appears that He has tremendous power. He was a Jew, and His mother and family were Jews. I would hesitate to offend Him by attacking one of His relatives. FRANCIS DONOVAN Long Island, New York Trivializing Torah Sir, - Your pro- and anti-Darwinist correspondents all miss the crucial point. On the one hand, the anti-Darwin religious purists have to decide whether they are prepared to subject their belief in Divine creation and the moral values it embodies to the same empirical tests that govern all scientific disciplines. On the other hand, the Darwinian hypothesis itself is being constantly modified in the light of ongoing research, though its basic tenets have so far stood the test of time. Is it realistic to suggest that moral values and the belief in God can be proved in a laboratory or through logical theorems? Religious philosophers down the centuries have tried, to no avail. I, for one, share with many the belief in God and its concomitant moral law. I accept the validity of the Torah as a timeless book of instruction and inspiration that provides me as a Jew with the roots of my national identity and moral values. To me, it would be the greatest trivialization and distortion of the Torah to involve it in any scientific hypothesis or subject it to those observational tests that are the vital ingredients of any scientific discipline ("No one's laughing," Letters, December 15). ARYEH NEWMAN Jerusalem Maimonides' creed Sir, - Israel Drazin (Letters, December 14) takes exception to my assertion that Maimonides attempted to formulate a creed "that every Jew must believe." He is, of course, entitled to do so. Nevertheless I should like to point out that there are many scholars who would agree with my statement. To cite only two, Solomon Schechter wrote: "As is well known, Maimonides was the first Rabbanite who formulated the dogmas of the synagogue... The task (of furnishing evidence from philosophy for the truth of religion) was undertaken by Maimonides. I refer to the thirteen articles embodied in his first work The Commentary to the Mishna... the following Thirteen Articles constitute the creed of Judaism...." Second, The Encyclopedia Judaica states that "Maimonides' intellectualism is reflected in the formulation of 13 principles that in his view every member of the Jewish community is bound to accept." Evidently there are those who do not think my view is a misconception. REUVEN HAMMER Jerusalem Sir, - Maimonides wrote: "And when all these fundamentals are firmly established by man and his faith in them is true, then he has entered into the Community of Israel and there is then an obligation to love and have compassion for him... but if a man doubts one of these fundamentals he has abandoned the community and is a denier and is called a heretic..." (Based on Rav Kapach's translation of Maimonides' Commentary to the 10th chapter of Sanhedrin) MATIS GREENBLATT Jerusalem