Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Unpublished Letters to the NYTimes

In writing of Israel's "three small wars" against Arafat, Hebollah and Hamas that "Israel chose to go after them without being deterred by the prospect of civilian casualties", Thomas Friedman pens an immoral calumny ("War, Timeout, War, Time ...", June 27). Israel, more than the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than Nato in the Balkans as well as Syria in Hama, was very much deterred from causing unnecessary civilian casualties. This aversion was not due to international pressure but our country's rule of law and religious/cultural heritage. Inquiries and trials are the norm including punishment for proven offenders.

This behavior was of no diplomatic benefit as Israel, nevertheless, was pilloried and subject to condemnation such as the Goldstone Report. Why then should Israel, despite its very Jewish ethics, seek to offer any further sacrifices, especially security endangerment and possible existential threats simply to gain favor from columnists and biased diplomats?

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Roger Cohen describes the Biblical portion his daughter read for her Bat Mizvah as "about the Korah rebellion and God’s sweeping punishment" ("Modern Folly, Ancient Wisdom", June 11). He is referring to 250 Israelites swallowed up by the earth. They had sought to undermine Moses' authority. His daughter has learned that God needs human help to sensitive himself to the human condition.

However, it seems that in relation to the punishment meted out to the Golden Calf sinners when 3000 were killed by the Levites, according to Exodus 32:28, God was learning from experience in a quite orderly, and human, fashion. It is another question whether man is learning from God.

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Lydia Polgreen's report on Ayodhya ("Years Later, Destruction of a Mosque Still Echoes", Dec. 7) has ramifications for another religio-nationalist flashpoint - Jerusalem's Temple Mount - on two levels. The first, unfortunately she provides no indication that the Muslim mosque built there in 1582 supplanted previous Hindu temples as similarly, the Temple Mount's history as a Jewish sacred location is too often glossed over, ignored and deprecated. Secondly, there is the parallel unwillingness of the Waqf Islamic trust not to seek compromising on facilitating shared use of the large compound. Moreover, the Waqf and also the Palestine Authority are propagating a 'Temple denial' theme in the face of archaeological finds despite Muslim efforts to destroy them.

The Jewish people cannot be expected to erase the Temple Mount's past nor it's expected future. Will the lesson of Ayodhya be learned?

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