June 29: Horrifying Statistics

"What ever happened to our government’s policy of not releasing prisoners with blood on their hands?"

letters (photo credit: JP)
(photo credit: JP)
Horrifying statistics
Sir, – What ever happened to our government’s policy of not releasing prisoners with blood on their hands? Now it wants to release over 100 prisoners responsible for many, many deaths (“Israel’s offer to Hamas: We’d free killers of 600 Israelis, but not ‘mega-terrorists,’” June 27).
Are the 600 Israelis worth less than those killed by mega-terrorists? I certainly feel for Gilad Schalit and his family, and want the captive soldier back soon, but the statistics you quote are horrifying: Forty-five percent of released terrorists return to terrorism. That number is even higher among Hamas and Islamic Jihad members.
Is our government prepared to accept the deaths of so many more Israelis after the release of prisoners not considered megaterrorists? Let us hope that a way can be found – other than the release of these prisoners – so that Gilad Schalit can rejoin his family and civilization soon.
Lip-smacking pleasure
Sir, – Regarding “The court keeps the faith” by Jonah Mandel (June 25), you can literally hear the writer’s lips smack with vengeful pleasure at the thought of haredi mothers and fathers being carted off to jail.
I am certainly not in favor of racism in any form, especially since I myself married an Ethiopian Jew. However, over-kill is counter-productive, and the Israeli context is not that of the US South in the 1960s.
Tearing parents who have not been accused of abusive behavior away from their children and imprisoning them has shocked even many of my secular friends who have no sympathy for the haredi way of life. If the courts and the Ministry of Education sincerely wish to solve an unjust situation – and not just lash out – there are many real alternatives, for example, by depriving the offending schools of funding.
If Mandel believes that the hassidim- were-in-for-a-surprise formula will work, he is in for a surprise and does not understand the nature of the problem.
Jonah Mandel notes: Perhaps the best response is to quote from my analysis of June 28 (“Emmanuel winners all around”): “Despite the disgraceful notion of imprisoning mothers, it seems that the court reluctantly proved to be the necessary enforcer that helped push the sides to an agreement.”
Should have known better
Sir, – A few days ago in these pages, I expressed my support for Larry Derfner’s assertion that the only way to convince the world to maintain the Gaza blockade is by negotiating in earnest with the PA (“Larry and me,” June 24). But now, Derfner argues that Israel should allow flotillas from Lebanon and Iran to reach Gaza unimpeded. He raises many of the standard arguments against the blockade, and adds that he “seriously doubts” that these particular ships will be carrying weapons for Hamas.
Derfner completely misses the point. The ships coming from Iran and Lebanon don’t have to contain weapons in order to achieve their ultimate goal. Once Israel allows any ship to land in Gaza without inspection, there will be no turning back, for it will never again be able to claim that a blockade is legal or necessary. At that point, Gaza’s port will be open for arms shipments whenever Iran and Hamas so choose – on the next ship or the ship after that.
Put these two Derfner columns together and you have his real agenda: Concede everything to create a Palestinian state in order to justify a blockade, while at the same time doing everything possible to dismantle the blockade.
It’s classic bait and switch. What more could the PA and Hamas want than this obvious recipe for Israeli disaster? I should have known better.
Keep talking, Bork
Sir, – Now I remember just how bad a judge (both in a court and of character) Robert Bork was (“Kagan’s support for the ‘worst judge on the planet,’ Aharon Barak, disqualifies her, says Bork,” June 25).
Even with a Republican Senate, Bork was too right-wing to even be considered for the Supreme Court. Thus, his criticism of Elena Kagan and, in retrospect, of Aharon Barak can only add to both’s luster.
Certainly, Barak doesn’t need the backing of a much-maligned member of the legal community such as Bork, whose criticism of Kagan makes her position as a future Supreme Court justice even more solid.
Chin up, Israel
Sir, – It is a fundamental psychological principle that we see ourselves and behave through the way others relate to us, and, in turn, others perceive us according to how we see ourselves and behave. This, in part, explains present world behavior toward Israel and the resultant frustration here (“Misdirected castigation,” Editorial, June 25).
A start to changing this state is presently at hand. Instead of constantly trying to please an insatiable world, Israel should totally close all Gazan borders to “humanitarian aid,” Israeli aid, Arab workers, diplomats and the foreign press – all of this until the Red Cross or a similar body has met with Gilad Schalit, as called for under international law.
Because it’s being done by the Jews of Israel, the world will continue with its implacable anger.
But this assertive, justifiable action just might initiate a change in the world’s perception of us.
More importantly, though, we in Israel may begin to revive our self-esteem.
Abbas no moderate
Sir, – While we are making concessions with every demand made upon us by our “friends,” the “moderate” Mahmoud Abbas continues to condemn us.
“Israel’s decision to revoke the permanent residency status of four Hamas representatives from east Jerusalem is extremely dangerous and complicates efforts to achieve peace,” he says (“Abbas slams Israel’s decision to expel four Hamas legislators from Jerusalem,” June 25).
What I found very interesting, though, was when he continued by saying, “No one can tolerate the expulsion of people from their homes....” I could not agree more. Therefore, all Jewish families expelled from their homes in Gush Katif should immediately be repatriated.
It is also very telling that no Western leaders – and I mean none – have any compunction in standing beside Abbas directly under the portrait of the terrorist Yasser Arafat, of whom he is a proud protege. (He has often said that he intends to follow in his mentor’s footsteps until all of “Palestine” is liberated.) So someone tell me please: Why do we continue pretending we’re negotiating with anything other than a terrorist in a suit?
Torah values needed
Sir, – David Breakstone’s excellent opinion piece (“Zionism 2010: No longer weeping by the rivers of Babylon,” June l4) addresses an important issue: In order for it to remain relevant, the World Zionist Organization must recognize that the Jewish question has changed, and figure out how to answer it.
We agree.
Since the establishment of our national Jewish homeland, with God’s help, six decades ago, the overriding question has been whether the state would be secular or a holy nation based on Torah law. If the Jewish people is to fulfill its destiny as a “light unto the nations,” there is now a pressing need to fill the spiritual void in Israel with time-honored Torah-true values that, sadly, Zionism seems to be losing.