February 22: Clear answer

We shouldn't withdraw from the West Bank if we are still worried that missiles will be fired from there if we leave.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Clear answer Sir, - The Olmert government is asking whether if the Palestinians "fire a Kassam rocket into Israel, will we be able to respond, or will we need to rely on the foreign troops stationed there?" ("Israel, US discuss deploying NATO troops in West Bank," February 20). The real question needs to be: Should we withdraw from the West Bank if we are still worried that missiles will be fired from there if we leave? The answer is no. BARRY LYNN Efrat Frames of reference Sir, - David Brinn's "Masters' voices" (UpFront, February 15) reminds me of a visit I made several years back to an archive in an old apartment in North Tel Aviv. Many paintings by artists who perished during the Holocaust were being stored there by a foundation dedicated to searching for their relatives or descendants so they could return the artworks to them. While many of the paintings were framed, many more were not and had deteriorated with the passage of time. Then in the shipping and forwarding business, I had gone there to estimate how much it would cost to ship some of these artifacts to an exhibition in Australia commemorating Holocaust-period artists. It was sad to see these precious works stored in such a state; the lady who managed the archive said the foundation simply couldn't do more, due to budgetary problems, to prevent their deterioration. MAURICE PICOW Netanya Begin book that fails the reader Sir, - Shimshon Arad's sarcasm - it was sarcasm, wasn't it? - in writing that Avi Shilon's new biography of Menachem Begin, Begin 1913-1992, "reveals quite a few unknown facts about the former prime minister" was right on the mark ("Dispassionate about Begin," UpFront, February 15). For in truth, there are many "facts" in the book of which even Begin himself wasn't aware. On page 16, Shilon writes that Begin was born on a Friday, when he was born on Shabbat, August 16, 1913. On page 32, he informs us that Menachem Begin married Aliza Arnold in 1937 after a three-month courtship. Actually, they married in 1939 after a two-year courtship. On page 52, he writes that Begin heard about the split in the Irgun in 1940 while he was in Poland. Begin was really in Vilna. On page 87, Shiloh asserts that Begin wrote in The Revolt that 1,500 Irgunists were handed over to the British during the Saison. In truth, Begin wrote that Richard Crossman noted that number, but he estimated a good few hundred only. On page 168, when the Begins leave for a month's vacation in Europe, their children, Benny and Hassia, are left with a friend, Shilon claims. What happened to their sister Leah? Apropos being left out, Shmuel Tamir's 2002 autobiography is not mentioned - which is quite amazing. For anyone looking for dramatic tales, Tamir has them. In my reading of Shilon's book I found an error of date, name or place, as well as false footnotes, on average, every second page. The are also numerous typos. Moreover, he leaves much out of Begin's life, incidents that other biographers such as Eric Silver, Ned Temko, Amos Perlmutter and others thought important. For example, Shilon makes much of Begin's love-hate relationship with Amichai Paglin, but fails to note that in summer and fall 1948, Begin ordered Paglin to return from Europe, where he was engaged in underground activities. Begin had decided to end any independent existence of the Irgun and heed the laws of the state. Paglin refused until late November. The correct thing would have been to highlight Begin's democratic behavior and explain that perhaps this was the undercurrent of antagonism. Shilon fails the reader. His omissions are as bad as many of his commissions. YISRAEL MEDAD Shiloh Sir, - Shimshon Arad referred to Menachem Begin's being influenced by the Polish nationalist and militarist legacy, as exemplified by his standing up and saluting whenever a general entered the room. Based on personal experience, I would suggest that this was an example of his well-known gentlemanly behavior. When Mr. Begin was a patient in Shaare Zedek Hospital for major surgery, I was the cardiologist responsible for overseeing his cardiac condition. I visited him twice daily, and on every occasion that I entered his ward, he stood up out of his chair and extended his hand to greet me. MONTY M. ZION Tel Mond Obscene equation Sir, - If I ever meet "avowed atheist" Shraga Biran, I will tell him that his equating "Judaism, Christianity, communism and brutal Nazism" is obscene ("Survival of the fittest," UpFront, February 15). With all his achievements, he would fail a psychometric test which lists words and asks which one doesn't belong. Jews, unlike Christians, communists and brutal [sic] Nazis, did not mass-murder people. MOSHE BERLIN Jerusalem Love you Sir, - I enjoyed Liat Collins's "Love, love, love" (UpFront, February 15) and appreciated her explaining the Hebrew for those of us unfamiliar with it. I am a gentile Christian who loves the Jewish people. I have never lived near a large or small Jewish population, but I have prayed for the Jewish people for many years. Over a year or so ago I began reading The Jerusalem Post. I can't tell you what a blessing it has been. I began with the articles, which were very foreign to my thinking, and the talkbacks. Sometimes I felt I was listening in on a "family" conversation. Through my exposure to the Post, I have come to know some very dear people, Jewish and gentile, whom I call friends. LINDA KROPP Waynesville, Illinois