February 24: James Bond for real

A Kuwaiti newspaper quoting unnamed sources citing Israel's involvement in the elimination of Imad Mughniyeh did us a good turn.

jp.services1 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
James Bond for real Sir, - Re "Kuwaiti paper: Israel admits Mossad killed Mughniyeh" (February 21): That Arab newspaper, quoting unnamed sources citing Israel's involvement in the elimination of the Hizbullah terror chief, did us a good turn. Even though Israel has not admitted a connection to the killing, the fact that the Arab world thinks there was one means Israel's power is regarded as awesome - that Israel is capable of pursuing justice under the most difficult conditions. It suggests that Israeli intelligence can find someone in Damascus, capital of a terror-supporting state, that it can identify a man who had had his features altered and was constantly on the run. This is a James Bond movie for real, and is vital to how Israel is perceived. When Israeli power is feared - and not when our government is afraid of what the world will think - Israel will be better able to safeguard its little territory and borders. It will not be loved by its enemies, but it will be respected among the nations. TOBY WILLIG Jerusalem Hungry lions Sir, - Reading Larry Derfner's "When in doubt, bomb" (February 21), I couldn't help wonder about his present location. It seems impossible that an educated Jew living in Israel could be so naive about the term "cease-fire" (in this case, with Hizbullah) and its significance to our neighbors. The earliest meaning of hudna was the 10-year period of peace guaranteed the people of Mecca after they defeated the forces of Muhammad. During this period, they watched him rebuild his forces and said, "There is peace, let him do what he will." Within two years Muhammad broke the treaty and the community of Mecca was destroyed. The hudna or cease-fire, which our foes declare regularly each time we show our might, is meant to lull us into a sense of security. Then, like a waking and hungry pride of lions, they will again attempt to kill their prey. We must continue to remind our neighbors that we are here, and intend to stay. If Mr. Derfner is worried about "upsetting the goyim," perhaps he should move to a safer neighborhood. DAVID STAR Ma'aleh Adumim Core of the problem Sir, - The "core issues" in negotiating with the Arabs never list Israel's core issues, only the Arabs'. For example, we don't hear Israel's demand for a complete revision of Arab textbooks and curricula, with Israeli oversight of these changes. Or that Israel wants the number of Jews living across the Green Line to equal the number of Arabs living in Israel. Or that the Arab government and its community as a whole will be held directly responsible for violence committed by "unaffiliated organizations" and "private militia." Or that the defilement of Jewish national icons like Joseph's Tomb and Joshua's Tomb be rectified by the Arabs. Or that all future construction and repairs on the Temple Mount be in Israel's hands exclusively, etc. Is our government too shy to list our core issues? I can't believe that FM Tzipi Livni would be satisfied simply with a piece of paper that renounces violence and terrorism. Are we Jews to accept Arab promises in exchange for hard assets? ("All core issues are on the table," Verbatim, February 21). CHAYIM SEIDEN Jerusalem He listened, and helped Sir, - I enjoyed Thomas Dine's op-ed on Tom Lantos, whom I remember as a person and a Jew who was always ready to help people - important and not so important. I remember him when, in my capacity as chairman of the National Council for Soviet Jewry in London, we asked for his help; and on other occasions when he helped us with Jewish refugees from other countries. He always listened in London and in Los Angeles, always tried to help, and in this way encouraged others to listen and to help. He will never be forgotten ("Tom Lantos's liberal anti-authoritarianism," February 17). ARIEH HANDLER Jerusalem 'Adopting' Shoah victims Sir, - Re "France debates 'adopting' Shoah victims" (February 18): In the ongoing debate on the advisability of "imposing" on young French schoolchildren the memory of the 11,400 Jewish children deported from France during the Holocaust, precedents exist. As a child in the 1950s, studying at the Lycee Henri-IV, the famous state high school in Paris, we had in our classroom a photo of a young girl killed in the massacre at Oradour-sur-Glane. At the end of the year, a "friendship prize" was awarded to a student, according to the wishes of the girl's father. Her story was told. This was done over half-a-century ago. Nobody back then spoke about a potential trauma caused to children. I, for one, never forgot the girl, or her story. ELIE FEUERWERKER Highland Park, New Jersey Honorable men Sir, - Being a Freemason myself, I am happy to see fellow Masons recognize the impressive historical origins of the Masonic fraternity in Israel ("French Freemasons to explore Israel," February 14). From the days of King Solomon to today's modern age, honorable men have come together to make honorable promises to each other. Every Masonic obligation is taken while touching an open Holy Bible. Several American presidents have taken their oath of office while touching a Bible used by George Washington - a Freemason - borrowed from a Masonic Lodge. Freemasonry is a society which has enabled me to have extended friendships with Jews and Christians whom I otherwise might not have met. JAMES A. MARPLES Longview, Texas