July 6: A misguided display

Unless our prime minister has the inner strength to withstand this misguided public display, the left-leaning media will make it too difficult for him to be firm in his decision.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A misguided display
Sir, – Since the tragic issue of Gilad Schalit has been gaining momentum in the media, I have been flooded with a variety of emails asking for support. They range from messages of encouragement to the Schalit family, which I have endorsed with heartfelt sympathy, to joining The March, which I feel is the wrong way to go about achieving the release of “our son.”
Until I read Rabbi Weiss’ evocative article (“Why I’m not marching,” July 5), I had difficulty expressing my thoughts. He has done it for me. Unless our prime minister has the inner strength to withstand this misguided public display, the left-leaning media will make it too difficult for him to be firm in his decision, and they will ultimately “decide” for us, as they have done in the past, to the detriment of Am Yisrael.
Silent voices
Sir, – The display of support for the release of Gilad Schalit has been overwhelming (“Gazans rally to demand release of all Hamas prisoners, July 5”). Thousands have taken the time to march in support of the family and all of their efforts for the release of their beloved son. As a result, the Israeli government has offered to free 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Gilad.
Each of these 1,000 prisoners, despite the fact that many of them have been responsible for murders of innocent civilians, have families, parents, siblings and/or children of their own.
What amazes me is that the families of these 1,000, who would get their loved one back in exchange for only one Israeli, remain amazingly silent. We hear no petitions to the Hamas authority to implement the release of their family members, we hear no pleas through the media to have their sons, daughters, husbands, wives or parents released and returned to the homes they left.
Surely these Palestinian families love those captives just as much as the Schalits love Gilad, and yet one has to wonder why they make no effort to pressure Hamas to release just one Israeli captive so these 1,000 families could have their loved ones back.
There must be some explanation for the silence of these families and the silence of the media, which, it would seem, makes no effort to interview these families and report on their lack of action.
Wouldn’t we all like to know why these Palestinian families remain so silent? JEROME POLLOCK
What happened?
Sir, – In the front page article (“Gazans rally to demand release of all Hamas prisoners, July 5”), I found the following sentence; “Thousands of Israelis in the last week ... joined Schalit’s parents, Noam and Aviva, who on June 27 began an 11-day trek to Jerusalem.”
We demonstrated against the “disengagement” from Gaza in 2005. At that time we were viciously and brutally forbidden from blocking the roads. The claim was then that this kind of demonstration was anti-democratic, and a form of civil rebellion.
Policemen, some on horseback, beat up demonstrators who dared to block intersections.
Young girls were beaten up and jailed. Noam Schalit, of course, can block whole stretches of highways.
And some of his supporters can shout, “Bibi, go home!” What happened?
Petah Tikva
 A golden opportunity
Sir, – Since the 1948-rebirth of Israel in the political form of the State of Israel, a class of Jews has developed who live their Jewishness by doing the mitzvot (commands), but who do not believe that it is God who gave the 613 mitzvot to His people (“New conversion institute aims to spark robust halachic debate” July 5).
Perhaps the vast majority of Jews today fall into this category. If a prospective convert to Judaism is committed to doing the mitzvot but not to belief in God, will he or she be accepted for conversion? For sure, this will be one of the questions discussed in the “robust halachic debate” in the newly established Israel Institute for Conversion Policy. Isn’t this a golden opportunity to change the halacha (Jewish law) from within, in the service of the unification of different streams of Judaism both inside and outside of Eretz Yisrael?
Methodist response
Sir, – In the closing paragraph of the article titled “Banality of Methodist Evil” (July 5), Robin Shepherd suggests several responses to the Methodist church’s boycott of Israel and general mud-slinging.
I think that nothing will be done about this well-documented hatred. We won’t ban their officials, or deport their very busy missionaries, or tax their churches.
Some of our citizens will not allow those of us who would to do any such things, for they are too concerned about what the world will say. We all know that the world will say whatever they can to besmirch us. Nothing is new about that.
Identity crisis
Sir, – The New Israel Fund seems to be going through an identity crisis (“New Israel Fund pledges ‘to strengthen democracy’ in response to right-wing attacks,” July 5). Democracy exists when all ideologies – right, left, and center – can be debated freely in the market place of ideas. Left wing ideology alone is not democratic.
The New Israel Fund wants to create an image of a country that does not adhere to the traditions and precepts that make Israel particularly Jewish. The New Israel Fund`s philosophy could be in any country of the world that is not rooted in traditional faith. Perhaps a Muslim country would benefit from the ideas of the New Israel Fund, since Syria and Jordan were certainly created by France and Great Britain after World War 1 with the famous Sykes-Picot Agreement, having no basis in history and artificially called into being by two diplomats.
 Just say no to Obama
Sir, – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, all of us who voted for you in the last election did so because we believed you and had trust in your words. Don’t let us down now (“PM may offer Obama freeze extension outside major blocs,” July 5). You are allowed to say “no” to the United States, especially if it is against everything that you believe in, or at the very least what you promised to all of us.
The support of your followers hinges on the outcome of your meetings in the U.S.
Sir, – This week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be travelling to Washington to meet with President Obama. Fearing that the prime minister will change his mind and allow the building freeze to continue, hundreds of people are protesting and placing ads in local press reminding Netanyahu that “a promise is a promise.”
I note with pride that all of these reminders are being made during the week we will read the Torah portion of Mattot-Mas’ey.
The beginning of Mattot is all about “keeping your word” and Mas’ey means “travels.” So, not only are our own citizens reminding Netanyahu that on his ”travels” he should keep his “word,” but apparently a Higher Authority is doing so, as well!
Ma’aleh Adumim
Setting a precedent
Sir, – It is interesting reading Alexander Zvielli’s column, “From Our Archives,” and seeing how previous events unfolded. Particularly interesting was the column of July 4, 1985. Mr. Zvielli chronicled the hijacking of a TWA airliner.
The outcome, he tells us, is that prime minister Shimon Peres released Arab terrorists to free American hostages. Today we are upset by the thought of releasing terrorists to free an Israeli hostage.
It seems Shimon Peres, as prime minister, set a precedent of freeing prisoners held by Israel for (foreign) hostages.