June 9: So kind and helpful

We were deeply touched by Liat Collins's article on Yona Baumel.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
So kind and helpful Sir, - We were deeply touched by Liat Collins's article on Yona Baumel ("The mourning after," June 7). Our paths and the Baumels' crossed a few years ago on a flight to the US. Our travel agent had messed up our seat assignment. We always sit by the aisle on the left side of the plane so Ida can stretch out her leg, but this time our assigned seats were on the right. The flight attendant told us that she couldn't do anything; it was up to us to approach passengers and ask if they would switch. One couple, Miriam and Yona Baumel, immediately responded to our request. We chatted and exchanged cards and Miriam even gave us a beautiful bookmark. At the time, we did not connect their names with missing soldier Zack Baumel. After we returned home, we realized who our new friends were and communicated with them a number of times. They were so kind and helpful. JOSEPH & IDA SELAVAN SCHWARCZ Ganei Omer Who's a violator? Sir, - Re "Haredim riot in Jerusalem over Shabbat opening of parking lot" (June 7): I would like to lend my voice in protesting this grave violation of both the observance and spirit of Shabbat. What has the world come to? Unless, of course, the haredim set aside the rocks in advance of Shabbat, in which case I guess it's OK. JONATHAN FELDSTEIN Efrat Sir, - The fourth commandment is: "Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy." Rioting is anything but holy. HANNAH SONDHELM Jerusalem Those pre-'67 borders Sir, - "Netanyahu is mistaken if he thinks he would find any Palestinian who would accept anything less than a sovereign Palestinian state on all the territories that were occupied by Israel in 1967" a PA official is quoted as saying in "'Talks hang on PM accepting 2 states, settlement freeze'" (Khaled Abu Toameh, June 8). Surely there are people who are aware that the 1967 war was a defensive war? That many attacks on Israel's population have been caused by infiltration from areas Israel has been expected to relinquish since the day the war ended? Does the world think the entire State of Israel has been lobotomized with no recollection of its historical rights? The 1967 war was fought to protect the Israeli people from ongoing attacks by Arabs from many of the areas that the PA - and people worldwide who adhere to the revisionist Arab doctrines - so blithely expect Israel to relinquish. How can anyone expect to go back to those pre '67 borders? Also, according to a senior Abbas aide, "Abbas had stressed that all the prisoners should be released unconditionally as a prerequisite for peace." Oh yes, that would be too wonderful - 1,000 or more prisoners, hundreds with blood on their hands, released to swell the terrorist forces against Israel! But what I find most worrisome is Israelis being asked for decades to give up land to which they have a legitimate right; that after losing so many of their people in Arab-initiated battles, they should even have to consider whether or not to build a larger home in Judea/Samaria or Hebron; and, most of all, Jerusalem. It defies all logic. After the rape of Gaza, after what has been done with and from it, it's hard to explain the harping on the need for Israel, the victor in these wars of defense, to relinquish even more areas to the Palestinians. Has the entire world lost its memory, if not its mind? BEVERLY ADINA BAR-ILLAN Jerusalem Sir, - In 1947 it was the Jews who accepted a two-state solution for Palestine, and the Palestinian Arabs who rejected the UN partition plan and did not want to establish their own Arab Palestinian state. The Arab rejection of the two-state solution then was accompanied by the launching of an unending war against the Jewish State of Israel, and it was this war which caused many Palestinian Arabs to flee and become refugees. Unfortunately, these facts are not only not taught to our young people, who are falling for the lies and distortions of the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, they are being suppressed in the Western media as well. JOSHUA J. ADLER Jerusalem Essential 'rightness' Sir, - I have nothing but the utmost respect for Stewart Weiss; but I strongly believe that he is missing the important message ("What's best for the Jews," June 8). Of course we Jews need to think about doing what is good for ourselves. However, what is much, much more important is explaining to Americans, Europeans and certainly to our fellow Jews around the world why what is right for us is also right for them. Obama's most troubling talent thus far has been his ability to split the American Jewish community, making it believe that support for Israel is antithetical to its cherished Democratic Party traditions. We need to explain clearly to everyone that our history, our morality, our values and the promise of God Himself gives us title to this land. The "rightness" of that reality speaks louder than Obama's apparent willingness to surrender to tyranny to avoid conflict, and it is the reason we deserve support from the free world. CHAIM A. ABRAMOWITZ Jerusalem ...and wrongness Sir, - "The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop," said the president ("Obama's speech," June 5). This should be a wake-up call for Israelis who believe that the US recognizes Israel's right to the "consensus settlements"; it means this administration does not differentiate between Efrat and Itamar, or between Ma'aleh Adumim and Yitzhar. According to Obama, Israel doesn't have a legitimate claim to even once inch of land over the so-called Green Line. Without going into our biblical rights to the entire Land of Israel, it is time for Israelis to understand that as Alfei Menashe and Har Adar go, so go Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and make their voices heard. JOSH HASTEN Jerusalem The 'yes, but' approach Sir, - It seems clear that the Palestinians will never recognize the right of the Jewish people to a state in any part of the land of Israel. They say this over and over again. Why, therefore, can't Binyamin Netanyahu simply say "Yes, of course" to two states for two peoples - with emphasis on the "two peoples"? Explaining what he means by that (demilitarized Palestinian state, etc.) can come afterwards. He can point out the Arab rejection of the 1947 partition plan, adding that it is the Palestinians and their Arab supporters who have always rebuffed the idea of two states for two peoples. He can then take the high road and challenge the Palestinian and Arab leaderships to say they also support two states for two peoples, and not just the simplistic "two-state solution," their code word for one Palestinian state and another Palestinian state-to-be which right now just happens to be called Israel. He can point out the historical and religious connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. He can paint a vision of a truly peaceful Palestinian state living next to and in peace with Israel, recognizing the history of the Jewish people in this land and the right of Jews to a state here. This is the "Yes, but" approach, via which Netanyahu would come out as the peace visionary, with the other side exposed as the rejectionists they have always been ("PM set to address settlement construction, Palestinian state in Bar-Ilan speech next week," June 8). LARRY BIGIO Zichron Ya'acov