January 25: Diaries of love

I was moved to tears by Maria Hjort's feature on Ellis Lehman and the diaries she and Berny Spier wrote during World War II.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Diaries of love Sir, - I was moved to tears by Maria Hjort's feature on Ellis Lehman and the diaries she and Berny Spier wrote during World War II ("A tombstone for Berny," January 22). Kudos to Ms. Lehman and her daughter, Shulamit, on the translation they are doing. This is truly an appropriate tribute to Mr. Spier. IRIT DAGAN-BENYAKIR Jerusalem False image Sir, - As a resident of Samaria for more than 20 years, I was hard-pressed to identify the reality David Forman described in "Israel's fifth column" (UpFront, January 18). The IDF bears sole responsibility for protecting the citizens of Israel, including the residents of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. However, it has asked the civilians in these communities to help shoulder the burden. Rapid-response teams have been set up in all the communities, armed by the IDF, provided with two-way radios by the IDF and deployed by the IDF. Members of these teams are asked by the IDF to carry their weapons at all times when in the community to upgrade the level of citizen protection. Claims of gun-toting settlers destroying Palestinian property are legion, but I wonder how many are true. I have never seen it happen, never met anyone involved in such reprehensible activity. If, indeed, it is going on, the overwhelming majority of Jews in the area would support the arrest and prosecution of these individuals. I have, however, spoken to farmers and others in Judea and Samaria whose trees and plants have been destroyed by Palestinian Arabs; these acts are rarely reported. As for being a fifth column, statistics show that the residents of Judea and Samaria serve in elite units and combat positions far beyond their representative numbers in the population. They volunteer countrywide with new immigrants and needy families. During the Second Lebanon War, not only were disproportionate numbers of so-called settlers serving in the army (and being killed), many young men and women were going up north to volunteer in Kiryat Shmona and Safed. A fifth column is a traitorous force which acts against its country. How can anyone say that about a group of people that has demonstrated more patriotism and loyalty than almost any other group? SONDRA OSTER BARAS Director, Israel Office CFOIC Heartland Karnei Shomron Sir, - My good friend married a man whose first wife was murdered by terrorists; he and his daughter were left crippled in wheelchairs. My son's best friend was murdered in a suicide bomb attack in Karnei Shomron. So who is terrorizing whom? When I first moved here, I bought my fruit and vegetables from local Arabs, but after the escalation of violence the army asked us to stop. I had Arab workers in my home, and we ate and laughed together. I wish we could go back to those days without fear. ESTELLE LAVI Ginot Shomron