June 22: Someone say decency?

The families of our captives are deliberately kept in suspense by the enemy about the fate of their loved ones.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Someone say decency? Sir, - In flagrant defiance of the Geneva Conventions and simple human decency, the families of our captives are deliberately kept in suspense by the enemy about the fate of their loved ones. Full disclosure of this information should be the minimum condition preceding any prisoner exchange. It is also inexcusable that only Ron Arad gets a mention when the conditions of the pending prisoner exchange for Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev are discussed, when the families of Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman, Yehuda Katz, Guy Hever and Majdy ben Fahmiya Halaby are suffering equally with Arad's family. In 1993, Arafat handed half of Baumel's identity tag to Yitzhak Rabin, with a promise of more information regarding the MIAs. He never kept his promise, but his associates should be pressed to disclose whatever information they have. ("Defense officials: Swap for Goldwasser, Regev imminent," June 19). MAURICE OSTROFF Herzliya Giving in to Hamas's need won't elicit appreciation Sir, - Pro-peace Isaiah Berlin once told me Israel should withdraw from the occupied territories. Palestinian extremists would then use the freed land to attack Israel with such ferocity that the world would finally understand Israel had no choice but to retake the territories for its own security. And so it was. Israel withdrew from Gaza all its troops, settlements and citizens in 2005, yet Hamas is using Gaza to rain dozens of missiles daily down on Israel. Giving into extremists encourages them. Israel's giving in to Hamas's need for a truce will be interpreted by all Israel's enemies as further weakness, and the long-term consequences will be more violence and bloodshed among both Palestinians and Israelis ("Hours before truce, Kassam slams into home of Sderot resident," June 19). ANDREW M. ROSEMARINE Salford, UK Ray of light Sir, - Hamas is claiming that the agreement Israel has made with them is a sign they are now legitimate and should be recognized by the rest of the world. Well, all is not gloomy. By making this claim, Hamas has effectively recognized Israel as a legitimate partner ("Izzadin Kassam vows to keep truce,"June 19). DAVID AMINOFF Jerusalem A religious Zionist rabbinate... Sir, - Rabbi Shlomo Riskin's "Why my Torah is crying" (June 16) was both moving and very distressing. That a rabbi of his standing should be pushed to vent his emotions to such a degree regarding the current conversion crisis is extremely sad. A gang of inhumane rabbis, left to their own devices, will destroy thousands of lives. Neither religious nor secular people must allow this to continue. What I cannot fathom is why such a brilliant, scholarly and erudite rabbi as Shlomo Riskin - and other equally scholarly and enlightened rabbis who agree with him -do not form their own religious Zionist Rabbinate. They would have a huge backing. URI MILUNSKY Netanya ... and very Jewish converts Sir, - When this latest controversy began, I felt either that Purim had come early, or that some people had completely lost the plot of Judaism as I know and love it. What a relief to read such a true Jewish article - highlighting the beauty that Rabbi Riskin's Orthodox, inclusive and compassionate Judaism has to offer, as opposed to those who are sowing despair, anger and contempt among Jews and non-Jews alike. The great Rabbi Akiva was explicitly of converted stock. And we must assume that the wife of the greatest Jew in history, Moses, was a convert. Talk about Torah-documented tolerance of people who volunteer to share your faith and fate! How can these explicit Torah lessons be ignored by Torah-abiding Jews? The converts are more Jewish in my eyes than the rabbis who vetoed the conversions; they seek to contribute to Judaism and the Jewish people. VICTOR B. POLAK London A bridge too small? Sir, - The Bridge of Strings at the entrance to Jerusalem is too small - it should be two or three times bigger. Only the tip can be seen from most parts of the city; the skyline is still dominated by the former Hilton Hotel. Those who compare the bridge to the Eiffel Tower forget that the Eiffel Tower was, for many years, the tallest structure in the world. The bridge isn't even the tallest structure in Jerusalem ("Eiffel Tower of Jerusalem, or a hideous monster?" April 11). BARRY NESTER Jerusalem