February 24: Hidden atrocities

In addition to the shame of the Catholic Church, the allies must also be held accountable for failing to try Croatian perpetrators of genocide.

Hidden atrocities
Sir, – Thanks to Julia Gordin for her harrowing article on the genocidal events that took place in Croatia from 1941-45 (“Mass grave of history: The Vatican’s World War II identity crisis,” February 23). The article brings to light atrocities hidden all these years. Criminals responsible for events of this magnitude should have been tried at Nuremburg.
In addition to the shame of the Catholic Church, the allies must also be held accountable for the fact that not one of the perpetrators was ever brought to trial.
    JOYCE KAHN     Petah Tikva
Evangelical loyalties
Sir, – David Newman is seriously out of touch with reality if he would have Israel sever its ties with America’s Evangelical Christians because of “liberal Jewish America, from where Israel’s most important source of support – political and financial – is derived” (“An unholy alliance,” February 23).
For one thing, the support of liberal Jews is both conditional and rapidly diminishing. For most under-50 secular American Jews, Israel is of little or no interest, and over 90 percent have never been to Israel or show any interest in visiting.
By contrast, Evangelical support for Israel is unconditional, they number some 80 million strong and growing, and no one can accuse them of dual loyalty. The much-touted fear of their theological beliefs is bogus, and seems to terrify only those same liberal Jews who are writing themselves out.
    JJ GROSS    Jerusalem
Sir, – Both David Newman and Rabbi Shlomo Aviner have got it right. Evangelicals love us not for our bodies, but for our souls. Their generous offers of friendship should be viewed by every thinking Jew with a great deal of respect – and suspicion.
    HAIM M. LERNER    Ganei Tikva
Wanted: Public remorse
Sir, – The anonymous rabbi quoted in Jonah Mandel’s article “Rabbi: Elon case could ultimately benefit the religious” (February 23), notes, “The greater a man, the greater his urges.”
That may be true, but it can not serve as an excuse. The prophet Amos (3:2) emphasizes that our special relationship with God does not mitigate our sins, but makes us all the more culpable when we do sin. This obviously applies particularly in the case of someone who has always been looked up to as a great rabbi.
The rabbi in the article then says of Rabbi Elon – if he committed the acts with which he is charged – that “he might be in a process of repentance as we speak.” Would it not be more appropriate for a renowned rabbi who has sinned to follow the example of our ancestor Yehuda, who, realizing his guilt vis-à-vis Tamar, courageously proclaimed, “She has been more righteous than I?”
I believe that the ordinary citizens of Israel are fed up with the alleged misdeeds of so many of our top leaders, and feel it is high time that those so-called leaders and role-models started expressing some sense of public remorse rather than hiding behind the cloak of their office, temporal or spiritual.
    JAC FRIEDGUT    Jerusalem
Save the IBA
Sir, – I cannot believe that they would seriously consider eliminating the only English news broadcast that we Anglo speakers eagerly look forward to every day – especially when the international media is so hostile and we so desperately need a proactive mechanism such as correct information and analysis to confront our enemies (“Knesset panel hears plethora of complaints about crisis-hit IBA,” February 23).
Surely there are enough Jewish philanthropists able to contribute toward ending this catastrophic but completely unnecessary situation.
    GISH TRUMAN ROBBINS    Pardesiya
Keep the disabled in mind
Sir, – People with disabilities welcome the government’s plan for the rehabilitation and preservation of our national heritage sites (“The ties that bind: Cabinet okays PM’s Heritage Plan,” February 22). However, we appeal to the government to make sure that, in every case, equal physical and information access for the disabled is taken into consideration at the outset of the work and in prior consultation with the disability community, rather than added on as a result of after-the-fact protests and demonstrations.
As a blind person, I have been persuaded by three recent experiences that Israeli society and media, as well as the Jewish community abroad, either are still insufficiently aware or choose to ignore the cultural and information needs of the blind. Last year, I wrote to the administrators of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, arguing the case for exhibit descriptions to be posted in Braille for the benefit of blind patrons. I have yet to receive a response from the museum’s management.
On a recent visit to the Jewish Museum in Berlin, an institution devoted to decrying discrimination and promoting respect for differences, I was precluded from using the listening device provided to visitors who opt for the audio guide to the museum, because there was no way to operate it other than with sight. This is all the more puzzling, given that the building housing the German parliament and the Check Point Charlie Museum, both also in Berlin, have audio-guide systems that can be independently operated by a blind person.
The Israeli government should learn from such personal experiences and make disabled access an integral part of any refurbishment and conservation work on our national heritage sites.
    AVRAHAM RABBY    Tel Aviv
Too much information...
Sir, – It is absolutely inappropriate for The Jerusalem Post front page to feature an article on the intimate details of a botched circumcision repair (“After botched circumcision, Haifa surgeon enables Muslim to marry,” February 23). This article, if it had to be printed, should have been confined to the health section.
    JUDITH LUDER    Rosh Pina
... and too little access
Sir, – The recent traffic snarl on the coastal highway could have been alleviated by providing barrier-controlled opposite-lane access for use in case of emergencies (“Stuck for six hours,” February 22). These, with crossovers at convenient intervals, can provide emergency vehicles access to the scene of an accident, as well as enabling vehicles trapped by the accident to have controlled access to the closest exit so they can reenter the highway at some point beyond the crash site.
The Transportation Authority surely must be aware of this provision on all major US limited-access highways.
    ALBERT RETTIG    Tel Aviv 
Remembering Rabbi Porush
Sir, – In 1972, Rabbi Menahem Porush gave us a tour of the Knesset (“Thousands pay last respects to Rabbi Menahem Porush,” February 23). He told the following story.
A foreign diplomat asked him: Why does such a small country need such a large Knesset building? He answered: We will have to make the country larger.
    JACOB CHINITZ    Jerusalem
The real passport culprits
Sir, – The whole passport fracas is really Dubai’s fault (“FM expectedto be grilled in Brussels over passports used in Mabhouh hit,” February22).
If the UAE allowed Israelis to visit its tourist paradise on Israelipassports, without restrictions, there would have been no need for thealleged assassins to use forged European passports. Forged Israelipassports could have been used instead.
In which case, instead of being the accused, Israel could have been theaccuser, demanding to know which foreign government or secret servicewas trying to incriminate the Mossad in the affair.