October 19: Remembering the Rachels

The Corrie family seeks an apology and closure. There will be no apologies from the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade, or the like, to their victims' families any time soon.

Remembering the Rachels
Sir, – David Bedein rightly draws attention to the questions surrounding the death of Rachel Corrie in 2003 (“Misleading pic and text,” Letters, October 18).
Perhaps this is the time to remember some of the Israeli women and girls, also called Rachel, whose deaths were not the result of any accident, negligence or misunderstanding, but who were brutally and deliberately murdered.
They have not been the subjects of plays, musical events or ongoing media attention.
The Corrie family seeks an apology and closure. There will be no apologies from the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade, or the like, any time soon.
Rachel Levi, 19, was one of eight young Israelis killed when a Palestinian driver crashed a bus into a crowded bus stop, south of Tel Aviv, in February, 2001.
Rachel Thaler, 16, died on February 27, 2002, of wounds sustained on February 16, when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a shopping mall.
Rachel Gavish, 50, her father, husband and son were murdered by a terrorist who burst into their home and shot them on March 28, 2002.
Rachel Levy, aged 17, was murdered in Jerusalem, March 29, 2002, by a suicide bomber.
Rachel Charhi, 36, died on April 4, 2002, five days after being critically injured in a suicide bombing attack on a cafe in Tel Aviv.
Rachel Shabo, 40, was murdered on June 20, 2002, together with her three young sons, when a terrorist entered her home and shot them.
Rachel Kol was murdered on July 23, 2005, together with her husband Dov, when their car was ambushed by terrorists as they were returning home to Jerusalem.
Rachel Ben Abu, aged 16, was murdered by a suicide bomber on July 12, 2005, in a Netanya shopping mall.
A Birthright narrative
Sir, – In the framework of his army service, my son accompanied a Birthright group of American young people.
The Taglit-Birthright program, which brings young Jews or children of Jews from the Diaspora to Israel for a free 10-day trip to Israel, is partly subsidized by our tax money.
And so I was dismayed to hear that the only speaker these kids heard on the subject of the Mideast conflict was a “human rights rabbi” who enjoyed enthusiastic applause after speaking of our obligations to the unfortunate Palestinians.
Two of the Taglit participants (both innocent, charming and very likable), who lengthened their stay in Israel, joined our family for a barbecue. When asked about their impression of Israelis, one spoke of rampant racism (against Arabs), insensitivity to the plight of the refugees, and lack of enthusiasm for the peace process.
I told our guests of the many Jewish refugees from Arab countries who were absorbed by Israel, of the Arab countries that perpetuated the refugee status of the Palestinians, using them as weapons against the Jewish state.
I also told them that had they spoken to Israelis before the Oslo accords blew up in our faces, they would’ve encountered many enthusiastic Israelis who felt warmth for their peace partners.
I told them that as long as the Palestinians are educated toward hatred, there will be no peace, and that Israelis have adjusted their expectations accordingly, and that if we have more sympathy for our own victims of terror than for the enemy, it is only natural and just.
It’s hard to understand why Taglit would waste this rare opportunity to present a narrative slightly more sympathetic to the Israeli position and instead present a narrative, familiar to students via the international media, in which the Palestinians are the main victims and we, the Israelis, the guilty ones.
It’s a very generous gift to give Jewish youth a free trip to Israel, but if they come away without better understanding who the Jewish people are and what we are doing in the land of our forefathers, then the money may be better spent elsewhere.
Salient omission
Sir, – I read with interest Jeff Barak’s column in praise of Isaac Herzog’s announcement of his intention to run for leadership of Israel’s Labor Party.
While it is certainly Herzog’s right to do so and it is certainly Barak’s prerogative to support his candidacy, there is a salient omission about Herzog’s past which I think Barak omitted from the article. In fact it has always been astonishing to me that most journalists of left-wing persuasions omit this detail about Herzog when writing about him.
Herzog was questioned by the Police regarding the allegedly illegal fund-raising schemes that financed Ehud Barak’s campaign for prime minister. At that time he refused to answer the Police’s questions in the matter, relying on his right to remain silent. The matter against him was closed for lack of proof, and one of the reasons for its closure was Herzog’s refusal to answer the Police’s questions.
While Isaac Herzog as a citizen has every right to assert his right to remain silent, should not such a decision be disclosed to the public, so that they can determine whether they want someone in a leadership position who refused to cooperate with a Police investigation of alleged wrongdoing?
No to Dan Halutz
Sir, – The Israeli public has come a long way from the days of its blind admiration of generals – especially failed ones, like former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz (Gil Hoffman, “Riding into Politics,” October 15).
Halutz may have a fast motorcycle, as the photograph shows, but he does not have the right stuff.
Are we to conclude that riding a motorcycle would make him into a legislator and political leader? His lack of effectiveness and overconfidence during the Second Lebanon War should disqualify him from public service.
Dan Halutz should stay home.
Sir, – The statements by former IDF chief of General Staff Dan Halutz (“Halutz to ‘Post’: PM angering US president harms anti-Iran effort,” October 15) are patently ludicrous in light of his own shortcoming during the prosecution of the Second Lebanon War.
While he enjoys the right of freedom of speech, he would do better to restrain himself during a time period when the prime minister is contending with myriad problems, some of which result from Halutz’s own inadequate performance during that war.
Warminster, Pennsylvania
Dark narrow world
Sir, – The latest remarks of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (“Yosef: Gentiles exist only to serve Jews,” October 18) would be easy enough to dismiss as the rantings of some fringe lunatic, except for the fact that they come from the spiritual leader of the Shas Council of Sages.
Words such as these should be made to stay in the dark and narrow world from which they came.
We are constantly urging “moderate” Muslims to challenge the hateful mouthings of their extremists or be seen as agreeing with them. Now is the time to practice what we preach.
Superficial blame
Sir, – Regarding the report “Lador rejects request to cancel Margalit Har-Shefi’s conviction” (October 18), Avishai Raviv was never convicted of anything, yet he knew more than anyone the direction Yigal Amir was being pushed, since he allegedly was the one pushing.
In their frenzy to find a scapegoat, Margalit Har-Shefi was a godsend to those who did not wish to delve deeply into this dreadful assassination but chose, rather, to assign blame and close the case.