July 7: 'Life as usual'

"Life as usual" is not the perfect a response to a terror attack, for an individual or a nation.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
'Life as usual' Sir, - Following last Wednesday's horrific attack in Jerusalem, I took two of my grandchildren on the bus to Jerusalem to do our weekly Shabbat shopping at the Mahaneh Yehuda market. When I moved here two years ago, it was what I always thought I would do in the aftermath of a terror attack. Going on with my life would be my answer to those who wish to destroy us. When bus No. 74 passed the site of the attack, however, I realized that "life as usual" is not that perfect a response, for an individual or a nation. The shuk, the bustling streets looked as always. Missing was precisely some sign of all that had been lost in those few moments of violence: an infant deprived of her mother; a wife and mother cut off in her middle years, many others marked forever by that noonday disaster. I realized that a new challenge of my family's aliya will be to figure out how to continue with life as usual while integrating the pain and confusion - indeed, the terror - of such an event ("Terror victim Jan Relevy laid to rest," July 4). JOANNE JACKSON YELENIK Beit Shemesh What's a terrorist? Sir, - Last week's attack took place on Jerusalem's busiest street. The attacker did not take out his anger and frustration on his own neighborhood. He targeted Jews. I therefore took exception to "Jewish mother of bulldozer terrorist's child speaks out - he really didn't hate Jews" (July 6). In my book, if someone acts like a terrorist, then a terrorist he or she is, with or without membership in a terrorist organization. The only people who deserve understanding and sympathy in this case are the innocent victims of the attack and their families. LINDA WOLFF Sha'are Tikva Demolishing the argument Sir, - I don't understand what would be achieved by demolishing the house of the family of the bulldozer terrorist. He no longer has any use for it, and demolition will only cause more resentment. Illegal building by Arabs in East Jerusalem is already a problem; razing this house is hardly going to help put a stop to it. Furthermore, since the attacker has left his wife and children without a husband or father, putting additional hardship on the family is unlikely to serve as a deterrent. Terrorists just don't seem to care even about their own families ("IDF might seal, not demolish, home of 'bulldozer terrorist,'" July 6). MENDEL BERNSTEIN Jerusalem Don't fall for Arab propaganda... Sir, - In your editorial "Out of context" (July 4) you cited, rightly, examples of biased anti-Israel reports from the world media about last Wednesday's rampage in Jerusalem, and concluded: "Any 'root causes' appraisal of Arab brutality that ignores more than 60 years of Palestinian rejectionism... and denial of Jewish rights offers neither context nor candor." Nor does the term "Palestinian rejectionism." Why follow Arab propaganda, which depicts the conflict as an "Israel-Palestine" one - while in fact it has from its start (in 1919) been a Muslim-Arab rejection of any return of Jews to their ancient homeland? Many local "Palestinians," mainly of the big Nashashibi tribe, did not share this rejection by fanatical Muslim leaders, foremost among them Mufti Amin el-Husseini, and the Arab League. In fact, the whole conflict is an Arab-Muslim war against Jews - and, since 1948, against Israel, in which the former (mis)use the locals as a spearhead for their own interests. The "quest of Jerusalem" is obviously not a Jewish-Palestinian problem, but an Arab-Islamic confrontation of Israel. That has to be made clear: to our own people and to the rest of the world. Falling for the ruse of Arab propaganda is simply self-defeating. ASHER EDER Jerusalem Back to the future? Sir, - Reading Yehuda Avner's brilliant "Hijacked in the sky" (July 3) transported me, as usual, inside the policy-makers' circle at the time of the Entebbe rescue. Unfortunately, though, Mr. Avner's material is drying up as Israel's glorious episodes all seem to be in the past. MICHAEL MOHNBLATT Tel Mond Banking on poverty Sir, - In "The 'P' word" (July 4) David Horovitz discussed the real poverty that exists in Israel without mentioning our robber barons. The causes of poverty and near-poverty in Israel can be traced back to two sources: the banking duopoly, which was robbing us blind to begin with, and, as of July 1, 2008, is robbing us at an even greater rate; and the food, gas, water, electricity and other monopolies which increase the average Israeli family's billsby up to 50 percent! The government is to blame because it has failed to rein in the banks and break up the monopolies. And yet how could it do this, the parties being so deeply in debt to the banks and so dependent on the largesse of the 12 or so really wealthy families who control Israel's monopolies to keep them elected? Weeping over the poor and providing them with charity, while compassionate, doesn't help them at all. If the government really wants to help get Israel's poor out of the cycle of poverty, it needs to force the banks, via legislation, to roll back their recent round of extortionate service charges. Then the Finance Ministry should send in its examiners to conduct a serious investigation into how the banks determine grant mortgages and loans; if they are operating as an illegal cartel, and how they determine who is allowed to default on loans. Oh, I forgot - most of the senior bankers used to work for the Finance Ministry as bank examiners, and those presently working in the Bank Examiner's department there expect to be employed by either Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi or one of their subsidiaries after they retire. KENNETH BESIG Kiryat Arba This 'book's no best-seller Sir, - Re "Bridge of Pretension" (Letters, July 6), I'd like to offer another example of a structure that won awards and yet simply doesn't "work": Daniel Libeskind's Wohl Center at Bar-Ilan University. Supposedly looking like an "open book" when viewed from above, viewed from the street the building is an ugly mass of misshapen metal that my wife, a student at the university, unaffectionately refers to as "The Asteroid." She had one class there in a classroom as misshapen as the exterior, in which the seating arrangements lay at such an angle to the blackboard as to make seeing anything written on it virtually impossible. After only three sessions, protests by the students forced the university to move the class to a more educationally friendly venue. DANIEL STERMAN Jerusalem King David reunion Sir, - Next weekend, July 11-13, the class of 1968 from King David High School in Johannesburg, South Africa, will be holding a reunion in Jerusalem. In the 40 years since we finished school, the Davidians from our year have spread all over the world. When we decided to hold a reunion, a vote was taken to decide on its location. Jerusalem was by far the most popular choice. We expect more than 80 people at the reunion dinner on the Saturday night, comprising ex-students and their families. Davidians are travelling to Israel from six countries for this occasion. Information about our class and the reunion can be found by going to the www.classof68reunion.com Web site. AURYT JACOBSON Sydney