March 18: Arms in good hands

With the seizure of the weapons-laden vessel, I am sure that half the world will eventually be screeching in condemnation of this “terrorist” attack by Israel.

Arms in good hands
Sir, – With the seizure of the weapons-laden vessel (“Navy intercepts ship with Iranian arms bound for Hamas, March 16), I am sure that half the world will eventually be screeching in condemnation of this “terrorist” attack by Israel.
Yet I would advise those waiting for their cargo to rest easy. Israel will carefully safeguard the materiel, and if the need arises will surely return them, one by one, where they will do the most good.
A thousand tents
Sir, – Perhaps one way to gain the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit (“Peres expresses ‘kinship’ with Schalits as 5 minutes of silence held for soldier,” March 16) is for the government to print the names of the Palestinian prisoners it is willing to release – and then let a thousand families in Gaza pressure Hamas to get their relatives back.
Brooklyn, New York
Is he embarrassed?
Sir, – Ray Hanania’s response to the Itamar butchery is irrational and offensive (“Free us from this bondage of violence,” Yalla Peace, March 16).
He compares the murders to settler incitement and, in a statement that strains the bounds of reason, criticizes Prime Minister Netanyahu for calling on PA President Mahmoud Abbas to strengthen his denunciation of the killings, because “no one yet knows who committed the murders.”
Hanania ignores the fundamental distinction between the Fogel family massacre and the acts of a few Jewish extremists: official sanction and support. It is no coincidence that just three weeks earlier, PA television broadcast a program honoring the murderers of three Itamar residents nine years ago. No Israeli squares, sporting events or public buildings bear the names of the killers of innocent children, as is the case in Palestinian-governed areas. Nor is there any Israeli parallel to the Hamas government’s expressions of joy and organized public celebrations in Gaza after the Itamar atrocity.
Fully two-thirds of Hanania’s column following the slaughter of a Jewish family on Shabbat is dedicated to criticizing settlers for incitement and the Israeli government for building additional housing in existing settlement blocs that almost certainly will be retained by Israel in any final peace agreement.
Hanania’s argument is a blatant attempt to blame the victim. He has the audacity to suggest that it’s “almost as if some [presumably despicable religious settlers] are hoping for such tragedies” in order to prevent a final peace agreement. But there is no conceivable justification for last Friday’s bloodthirsty terrorism. His shameful resort to moral equivalence is an embarrassment both to Hanania and to anyone who takes him seriously.
Zichron Ya’acov
Delight explained
Sir, – The article on Xu Long (“Chinese chef’s main course: Ancient Jewish coins,” Comment & Features, March 15) was both fascinating and heartwarming.

We were celebrating Israeli Independence Day with the Jewish community in Rome in 2008 when we noticed a very tall, beaming Chinese man with a white kippa, waving an Israeli flag and shouting a hearty “Shalom!” to all in the crowd. We could not understand why such a person would be there, but it gave us great delight in seeing somebody who apparently was not Jewish having such a wonderful time.
Imagine our further delight when we opened your paper and saw the same face looking out at us! We are so pleased we now know who this wonderful person is.
Tsur Moshe