May 1: Conspicuous by his absence

Imagine our dismay at [your Independence Day supplement's] apparently obvious attempt to downplay the role of Menahem Begin.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Conspicuous by his absence Sir, - When we received the Post's special Independence Day 5767 magazine we eagerly paged through it to see the kaleidoscope of our country's first 59 years. But imagine our dismay at an apparently obvious attempt to downplay the role of Menachem Begin by the usual technique of ignoring his role, in text and in pictures. It is difficult to believe that in all the 146 pages there was not a single picture of Begin, not even in a group. Even in events he initiated, his name was excluded. "1967 Time Line: Moshe Dayan joins Cabinet as Minister of Defense. Unity government formed." The dramatic entry of Menachem Begin into the unity government was ignored especially since he had much to do with its creation. In the years 1977 and 1978, Begin won the Knesset election (reported, but no photograph); Anwar Sadat paid his historic visit to Israel at Begin's invitation (not mentioned, no photograph); Begin and Sadat received the Nobel Prize (mentioned, but no photograph); Begin launched Project Renewal, Israel's important socioeconomic program (not mentioned, and no photograph). 1979 - Signing of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty on the lawn of the White House was mentioned but without a photograph, even though the world's media featured the famous three-man handshake, including The Jerusalem Post on its front page. 1981 - Israel's attack on Iraq's nuclear reactor at Osirak near Baghdad, which Abba Eban described as "one of the most remarkable decisions in the nuclear age," was mentioned, but with no reference to Begin! How can these sins of omission be explained? HARRY HURWITZ Menachem Begin Heritage Center Jerusalem The Editor responds: The content of the Independence Day 5767 magazine was drawn from articles that had appeared in the Post over the years on Independence Day. There was, of course, no deliberate attempt to downplay Menachem Begin's central role in the evolution of Israel, and we are happy to help redress the balance a little by publishing Begin's portrait, together with a historic "three-man" photo at the White House in 1978. Sorrow & survival Sir, - In "To cry on cue" (April 26) Larry Derfner wrote that "the only Americans who pay their respects on Memorial Day to the US soldiers who got killed in the wars are the families and close friends of those soldiers - a tiny percentage of the population - along with, of course, America's announcers and politicians, who like Israel's announcers and politicians, know the drill." I cannot speak for the American announcers and politicians, but I do hope and pray that our people, as well as our announcers and politicians, are not "crying on cue" because, bottom line, we are like no other nation. We are one giant family, and when disaster occurs to a Jew anywhere in this world we react, as a Jew should. It is told of Napoleon that he once passed a synagogue, heard the Jews wailing and asked what had happened. He was told that it was the anniversary of the destruction of the Temples some 1,500 years earlier. His comment was that only a people with such a memory could survive. SAM LOTTNER Petah Tikva 'Real market price' Sir, - Re "State comptroller to report on Olmert's home purchase this week" (April 29): As far as I am aware, nothing has been written about valuations carried out by registered valuators. They serve an important function in the economy, but the valuation they arrive at is no guarantee of "true market price" obtainable in a real-estate transaction between a buyer and a seller. Professional valuators take numerous factors into account, and several of them valuating the same property can arrive at a wide range of prices, all professionally justifiable. A "willing buyer" takes many additional considerations into account when negotiating with a "willing seller." This is why many buyers consult a registered real-estate broker who deals in the area where the property is located. Such a broker, handling many actual sales, is more likely to establish the "real market price." DAVID GOSHEN Kiryat Ono Great ambassadors Sir, - During the recent Fed Cup in Kamloops we volunteered to assist with the organization of the event and were asked to act as drivers for the Israeli team. We had no idea what to expect from stars of the tennis world. Would they be arrogant and treat volunteers as conveniences? After spending a week with them, we can only praise the entire team's deportment. They treated us with courtesy, thanked us for every small service, and even included us in Tzipi Obziler's birthday celebration. Oded Jacob and the rest of the coaching staff never seemed too rushed to answer our questions or express appreciation for our services. In spite of being under considerable pressure, the players were gracious to their three drivers and took time to chat with us, making us feel part of the team. In short, the Israeli team performed not only as consummate tennis professionals but as outstanding ambassadors for Israel. Our short time with them was one we will treasure. To the coaching staff: Oded, Lior, Alex and Mo; to the players: Anna, Tzipi, Shahar and Yulia, and to Ian Froman - thanks for a wonderful experience ("Israel awaits crucial Fed Cup draw - eliminates Canada 3-2," April 25). ROD ANDREW TONY DUFFICY PETER HUMPHREY Kamloops, B.C., Canada Dropping the ball Sir, - Editorial judgment is a heavy burden to bear, and you generally do so admirably. However, twice you let us down. Accepting backing from the Volkswagen company in order to underwrite the costs of producing an Independence Day supplement which otherwise beautifully illustrated the 59 years of our wonderful enterprise here may be seen as an acknowledgement of the current healthy state of the relationship between Israel and Germany. However, barely a week after we marked Holocaust Remembrance Day, I find it unconscionable to have showcased this company in such a manner. And when I saw that the detailed timeline of the company began only in 1945, thereby completely ignoring the role Volkswagen played in Nazi ideology and its conduct during the World War II, I fear that what we have here is almost Holocaust denial. Then in your April 25 issue, under the caption "Seeing the Sights," you chose to print a photograph of a small Israeli boy holding a rifle and being shown how to sight a line of fire. Is this really the image we want to be seen around the world? ELLIE MORRIS Asseret