I don’t understand all the talk about how Israel performed badly in the war in Lebanon (“The Second Lebanon War: ‘A serious missed opportunity,’” CJN, Feb. 7). That is not the case at all. The speed with which the Israeli forces mobilized totally surprised the enemy. The ferocity of Israel’s attack stunned the world. With pinpoint artillery, air and naval barrages, they were able to systematically wipe out targets in the middle of Beirut. Ground troops braved uncharted hostile enemy territory and cleared out all of southern Lebanon. Israel took the fight to Hezbollah and had them on the run.
The Israelis may have encountered some surprises that weren’t accounted for, but what do you expect? It was a fight. The only reason the job didn’t get finished was the international community made the Israelis back off because they were hitting too hard. Things were going Israel’s way until then. There is too much Jewish guilt and not enough credit where credit is due. I don’t imagine the neighbouring Arab leaders who saw what happened to Lebanon are nearly as dismissive of what Israel is capable of.
Negative assessment of the Dutch
Sheldon Kirshner’s review of Diane Wolf’s book Beyond Anne Frank: Hidden Children and Postwar Families in Holland had me shedding bitter tears (“Scholar questions Holland’s wartime image,” CJN, Jan. 31). As the daughter and sister of Dutch gentile resisters, I was hurt to the core of my being.
Let me point out a few facts:
• While France had the Dreyfus affair and the guillotine, humanistic Holland has been a refuge for the persecuted for more than 400 years.
• True, percentage-wise, more Jews were saved in France than in Holland. But it is not just a question of numbers. Wolf owes us all an explanation of the circumstances peculiar to Holland. Doesn’t she know that to avoid handing over the colonies, navy and air force, Holland’s government and Royal Family went into exile? Wolf does say that the police and civil service, therefore, came under German (it was actually Austrian) command.
• For Jews, hiding in densely populated Holland was virtually impossible (remember: office workers were in the Frank house throughout the day).
• Only half of France was occupied, making it easier for French Jews to “disappear.”
• Finally, as a Dutch “hidden child” has explained in his biography, a Mediterranean-looking boy could not possibly blend into a typical Dutch white-blond family without creating suspicion. In southern France, that would never have been a problem.
What does Wolf want to achieve with her negative assessment of my courageous countrymen. Create more anti-Semitism? Is that what the world needs today?
Short-term Israel Bonds
While it may make good economic sense for Israel Bonds to no longer offer bonds with a maturity exceeding five years, there is one sense in which it doesn’t (“Israel seeks early bonds redemption,” CJN, Jan. 31).
When my children were young, my parents bought long-term Israel Bonds in their names. Their intention was to provide funds for a future time when the children were older. It was also a way to help Israel, help their grandchildren and connect their grandchildren to Israel. Physically, the bonds consisted of handsome documentation that could be stored away in a safety deposit box.
Now that we have grandchildren of our own, my wife and I have started to buy them Israel Bonds. In the recent past, we purchased 10-year bonds, the longest maturity period possible. Now, the documentation provided is a simple letter. And now the longest maturity date is being reduced to five years? Too bad.
Irving Donsky memorial book
Plans are underway to publish a memorial book in the name of Yitzchak HaCohen (Irving) Donsky, who passed away recently in Toronto. Yitzchak was a brilliant scholar who delighted everyone with his beautiful and unique divrei Torah at Ner Israel Yeshiva College in Toronto in the 1960s and ’70s.We would be interested in hearing from those with any material to contribute. This includes Yitzchak’s original Torah ideas or anecdotes and reflections on his life.
Response to Held
I agree with Daniel Held’s sentiment that all Jews should find a shul where we feel comfortable (“We need to create our own shuls,” CJN, Feb. 7). In Toronto, we are fortunate that there are shuls for everyone. These shuls offer early-morning simple services, services for youth and services for women. There are also many branches of Judaism in our Toronto shuls, including humanistic shuls and Orthodox, Conservative and Reform shuls.
However, I object to Held’s suggestion that building stronger congregations entails segregation. Held’s vision of services held without old people is lacking in humanity. We need everyone who is committed to shul involvement. There are valuable lessons that seniors can impart to youth, so why shun this segment of our population?
Response to Mintz
Regarding Jesse Mintz’s column “Israel should re-think policy in Gaza” (CJN, Feb. 7), Israel fulfilled all its obligations in regards to its disengagement from Gaza. What has it received in return? In the past two years, more than 2,500 Qassam rockets have landed in Sderot.
An election brought Hamas, an Iranian-backed terror organization, to power in the Gaza Strip. Hamas’ charter calls for the destruction of Israel. If the Hamas-backed population put down its weapons today for true peace, there would be peace tomorrow. If Israel put down its weapons today, in the current situation, there would be no Israel tomorrow.