January 10: Alamo? No

Today I prefer to compare Israel to the great state of Texas itself.

letters 88 (photo credit: )
letters 88
(photo credit: )
Alamo? No Sir, - Kudos to Rabbi Stewart Weiss for his beautifully written "From one Texan to another" (January 9). However, I have to express my surprise at his comparing the State of Israel to the Alamo. The Alamo was a massacre in which all the defenders representing the cause of Texas independence were killed. We have all heard the story of Lt. Colonel William Travis, who drew a line in the sand asking all to cross it who were ready to fight to the last man. All but one of the almost 200 volunteers stepped forward. In reality, it was an act of suicide no less noble than that of the men and women who, centuries earlier, sacrificed their lives for the Jewish cause at Masada. Today I prefer to compare Israel to the great state of Texas itself. Just like the State of Israel, the pioneers who came there to join in the fight for independence came not only from other states in the Union, but from many foreign countries as well, and from all walks of life. They were white, black (freed slaves), Native American, Mexican, etc. These heroic figures gathered together to fight for a dream of freedom with the hope of a better life for all. Yes, Rabbi Weiss, I agree that it's important to "Remember the Alamo!" However, I would never have brought my wife and four children to Israel nearly 30 years ago had I thought I was bringing them to "the Alamo." I preferred to think I was bringing them all to a new "Texas." And as I said goodbye to my co-religionists in the US, I thought of that great American hero, Davy Crockett, who was martyred at the Alamo. When he left Washington DC for the very last time, he bid farewell to his fellow Congressmen with these words: "You can go to hell. I'm going to Texas." HOWIE KAHN Jerusalem Sir, - Rabbi Weiss's plea to George Bush, "From one Texan to another" (January 9), was worth the entire year's subscription to The Jerusalem Post. EPHRAIM SCHREIBMAN Jerusalem Making a mockery Sir, - Condoleezza Rice's criticism of Israel's building in Har Homa makes a mockery of President Bush's pledge to former prime minister Ariel Sharon to recognize Israeli cities over the Green Line. Alas, it makes a greater mockery of our leaders, notably Ehud Olmert, who clearly has greater faith in a piece of paper than in our ability to persevere in difficult times ("As Bush flies in, crisis looms over settlements - Secretary Rice tells 'Post' US is completely opposed to Har Homa," January 9). BARRY LYNN Efrat Sir, - A recent poll showed that the vast majority of Arabs in East Jerusalem prefer to continue living under Israeli rule. In that light, doesn't it appear that "core issues" related to Jerusalem may represent outsider efforts to fit local Israeli life into a pattern totally unrelated to its true nature? BORUCH FISHMAN Tel Aviv If the vision's there Sir, - The most important gift the president can leave on this short visit is his vision of peace in this part of the world. Israel is being pounded in the south on a daily basis by Kassams as well as by occasional attacks on the northern border; our leadership is under pressure to resign for its mishandling of the Second Lebanon War; there is internal pressure not to give an inch of territory to the Arabs, and Iran has made it clear that it will continue to work for the destruction of Israel. With the end of President Bush's term a short year away, there is apprehension that the next leader of the free world may have different priorities and different plans for the Middle East. The bottom line is that if the vision is there, peace will follow. PAUL BERMAN Shoham Why not try this? Sir, - Re your editorial "Spinning our wheels" (January 7): I agree that Palestinians must learn about the Jews' historic ties to the land and their need to establish a state where they could live without discrimination or the fear of annihilation. But Jews also need to learn about the Palestinians' historic ties to the land and their need for statehood on the same land. Why not two states on the same land? See parityforpeace.org ESTHER RILEY Fairfax, California You have the power, Mr. President Sir, - To this former member of the executive of the Jewish Resistance in France during WW2, two episodes of political daring triggered by moral imperatives come to mind at this crucial moment, when Israel - and the democracies - are at a crossroads, having to decide between surrender and resistance in the face of major and suicidal concessions requested from the Jewish state. In the part of France occupied by the Italians, these allies of Nazi Germany prevented the Vichy-French from sending the Jews to the death camps. And the Spaniards, also partners of Nazi Germany, allowed French Jewish Resistance fighters to cross their territory, from where they reached Allied-held North Africa and the Jewish Brigade in Palestine. Italy and Spain, acting according to long-term political and moral imperatives, thus resisted their apparent immediate interests. You, President Bush, undisputed leader of the free, democratic world, are engaged in a historic struggle against the "Axis of Evil." You have the power to resist those who would force Israel to return to the "Auschwitz borders" manned by Palestinian gunmen equipped with Iranian weapons. Such a move would put Tel Aviv nine miles from the missile launchers and bases of these bloodthirsty assassins ("Olmert: Even Israel's good friends see our future based on the '67 borders, with Jerusalem divided," January 1). You have the strength - and even the time - to go down in history as the president who derailed the jihadist victory. EYTAN GUINAT Tel Mond Sir, - The prophet Ezekiel named Jerusalem God's wife. The Jewish people regard Jerusalem as Israel's wife. Would those advocating the division of Jerusalem negotiate sharing their wives, regardless of the benefits? AARON SWIRSKI Netanya Scrabble on Shabbat Sir, - As a Scrabble-holic, I enjoyed Andrew Silow Carroll's ode to Scrabble, "Love is just a 7-point word" (January 8). Carroll made reference to the popular rabbinic opinion that on Shabbat, because the issue of making words could constitute writing, the deluxe edition of the game, with its ridges that separate the letters, is more acceptable than the standard Scrabble game. On the contrary, I have heard the opinion that it is the standard edition that is the most "kosher" for use on Shabbat, due to its less structured board. Are there any Scrabble-holic rabbinic authorities out there who can clarify this issue? SEMA CHAIMOVITZ MENORA Skokie, Illinois CORRECTION In Amnon Rubinstein's op-ed "Why US Muslims live in peace" (January 8), the North-African Jew quoted was Albert Memie, and not as stated.