February 9: Remembering Raoul

Sixty-seven years after his abduction by the Soviets, and on his 100th birthday, Wallenberg still stands out among the scores of brave women and men who risked their lives in an effort to save others and make a difference.

Letters 521 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Letters 521
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Remembering Raoul
Sir, – Greer Fay Cashman is right in stating that “the name of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg is inextricably bound with both the fate and the future of Jewish people” (“The centenary of Raoul Wallenberg’s birth,” Grapevine, February 8). Sixty-seven years after his abduction by the Soviets, and on his 100th birthday, Wallenberg still stands out among the scores of brave women and men who risked their lives in an effort to save others and make a difference.
We at the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation pay tribute to his legacy in diverse ways.
We research and divulge the hitherto unknown feats of other rescuers and create educational programs aimed at instilling their deeds in the hearts and minds of youngsters. We also address other periods and areas, such as Turks who saved Armenians, and foster projects of reconciliation.
And we don’t neglect our relentless efforts to secure reliable information as to Wallenberg’s fate and whereabouts. We believe that the answers must be buried somewhere in the KGB archives. We strongly urge the Russian authorities to let Raoul reunite with his living sister, Nina.
New York
The writers are, respectively, president and founder of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation Losing sight Sir, – The practice of the Jewish religion in Israel is quickly being transformed from a personal way of leading a disciplined and moral life to an albatross encumbering society to the point of paralyzing both the military and civilian sectors (“Religious soldiers file complaint over denial of rights at officer school,” February 7).
Rabbis and congregants seem to have lost sight of the higher purpose of their observance.
They devote themselves to ensuring that nothing stands in the way of the smallest detail of the infinite number of restrictions and demands originally crafted to ensure the survival of the Jews in foreign lands. They do nothing but promote the destruction of the Jews in their own land.
Healthier discounts
Sir, – Regarding “Movie prices cut for seniors” (News in Brief, February 7), movies are marvelous, but I would have thought a reduction in the price of water or electricity for seniors would be much better for their health.
Clear and unavoidable
Sir, – Caroline B. Glick correctly emphasizes the fact that the international community, the United Nations Security Council and the United States are all powerless in the face of the Iranian nuclear threat (“Obama’s rhetorical storm,” Our World, February 7). But the fact remains that Iran must be prevented from developing nuclear weapons and the ballistic missile systems to carry them. If not, Israel will face an existential threat and the real danger of a second Holocaust of the Jewish people.
Diplomacy, economic and security sanctions, political pressure, and even an Israeli military strike using conventional weapons are all plainly inadequate to the important task of keeping nuclear weapons out of Iranian hands.
The only effective option – and it is a terrible option – is rapidly becoming perfectly clear and unavoidable: Israel will soon be forced to use its nuclear arsenal to destroy Iran.
There is no other choice. Israel cannot and must not allow Iran to become armed with nuclear weapons.
Kiryat Arba
Sir, – I am an American. I am becoming increasingly disturbed by my country’s foreign policy concerning an old and trusted ally, Israel.
My country’s current administration has an unspoken agenda honed by years of listening to a deluge of anti-Semitic ranting in an Illinois church. It is further intoxicated by the politically correct belief that the Muslims are our friends.
This administration continues to receive the support of the American Jewish community, whose behavior is a complete mystery to me. It almost seems as if it has no sense of self-preservation, thinking that somehow the danger that is plainly in front of its face is somehow not real and will not materialize.
Young Americans have been fed a steady diet of reconstructed history or no history at all. They are shockingly ignorant of even recent historical events.
When Iran says it wants to destroy Israel and annihilate the Jews, we have to take it at its word and act accordingly. After it carries through on its threats, would Americans shake their heads and claim they did not see it coming, that if they only knew they would have helped? The time to help is now, before the religiously despotic Iranian regime unleashes what everyone knows is coming.
We must stand shoulder to shoulder with our friends, the Israelis. Not to do so is unthinkable.
History cannot be allowed to repeat itself.
Tempe, Arizona
Our own backyard
Sir, – Regarding “PM tells UN, US he’s committed to peace” (February 2), the tendency is to blame UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for shortsightedness, partiality or even anti-Israel bias in his failure to perceive the danger that an alliance between Fatah and Hamas poses for Israel.
His suggestion that Israel make goodwill gestures by giving away land is also met with contempt.
But the source of Ban’s faulty vision does not stem from any of these. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu purports to be fair and balanced, but his having perpetuated the myth that Fatah is interested in pursuing peace is at the heart of the issue.
If Netanyahu were to refuse to talk with any group that is dedicated to the destruction of Israel, regardless of international pressure, he would set the stage for an honest narrative. When Fatah educates for hate and teaches its children to revere terrorists by glorifying them, when it denies the verity of the Holocaust and the historical claim of the Jews to the land of Israel, why would we want to negotiate with it? The fault starts at home, in our own backyard, for tolerating terrorism in Fatah. We set the stage for lies and cannot blame others for perpetuating them.
Come to terms
Sir, – When Ray Hanania (“The hallucination of peace,” Yalla Peace, February 2) talks about the failed peace process, he takes the position of most Palestinians and many others: moral equivalency.
When he says he is not “advocating that Palestinians or Israelis forget the atrocities that each have inflicted on the other,” he ignores the fact that the Palestinians are deliberately attempting to kill Israeli men, women and children in the hope that they can wear us down and claim what they consider to be their country. This is juxtaposed alongside our ongoing attempt to defend our people and country while avoiding, to the extent possible, any harm to the Palestinians, particularly their civilian population.
What the Palestinian leadership believes and teaches its children is that Israel is their country and we, the Israelis, have taken it from them. This narrative might be believable to them, but it is a distortion of history, as has been described by many well-informed, knowledgeable and objective historians.
I believe that one of the most serious problems preventing peace is the fact that the Palestinians do not – and never did – want to live in peace with us.
They want all of Israel and will not be satisfied with less. Their media, their textbooks and their discourse all attest to this fact.
Hanania must come to terms with this, as until the Palestinians can accept Israel as the Jewish state and our presence here as permanent, there will not be peace.
Zichron Ya’acov