It’s time for ‘an eye for an eye’ by Israel
I write this letter with a measure of trepidation. One hears on a regular basis now, for so many years, that Israel is plagued with the dangerous nuisance of infernal but lethal rocket attacks. These are not always reported in the world media but, nonetheless, go on and on – making the daily lives of innocent Israelis a constant and very real threat of being killed. The rest of the world does not realise the massive emotional stress this frequent and random lethal nuisance has on the state of mind of all who have to live under this dangerous curse. Nothing like this happens anywhere else in the world, nor would it be tolerated. Nothing appears to put a permanent and lasting stop to this terrible practice; no treaties or, indeed, air strikes by long-suffering Israel. There appears to be no answer to this seriously dangerous nuisance. Israel certainly appears powerless to put a permanent stop to it, and the hapless residents under the almost daily threat of these killer rockets coming over into Israel have to grin and bear it.
Certainly, the resulting air strikes by Israeli jets afterwards does nothing to deter it and only serves to invite all manner of international criticism against the country, especially from those who safely and comfortably do so from their their safe homes. They don’t have to run at a moment’s warning from sirens which, in themselves, instil sheer terror into the hearts of all those having to live under this daily, intolerable, unacceptable and ongoing threat to life and limb, to run to the nearest bomb shelters.
For what it’s worth I believe that, as air strikes do nothing to put a permanent end to this enjoyment-of-life nuisance, I believe – strongly believe – that saying “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”, will really come into its own and may well put a permanent end to this evil against Israel. If Israel stops all its air strikes as a response to these rocket attacks and embarks on an indefinite rocket attack campaign of its own against the territories, which will also be random and dangerous for the population, for however long it takes for the message to get through, the chronic rocket-firing will finally cease.
Isaac Cohen Bushey
Britain’s tradition is not all good
It’s not doubted that Jews, and not only Jews, are currently facing the evil doing of religious fanatics across the world, as Sir Mick Davis writes (Jewish News, 13 August). His fulsome praise, though, of the best traditions of the relationship of Britain and its Jewish community should surely have been tempered by Britain’s enactments in the past.
Yes, Britain favoured the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine and it is to be heralded. But it was also Britain that in 1922 unilaterally partitioned Palestine giving 75 percent to the Arab fiefdoms and hence was born Transjordan. It was also the architect of the White Paper that limited the number of Jews permitted to find a safe haven in Palestine escaping from the terror of Nazism. It was also Britain, one of the only two countries, the other being Pakistan, who recognised the (illegal) annexation by Transjordan of the land it occupied west of the River Jordan as a result of the 1948 War of Independence.
It was Britain, too, and a Conservative government, that refused to send Israel the contracted for spare parts that her military desperately needed in the 1973 war and compounded it by refusing landing rights to countries that were prepared so to do. This, too, is the tradition of Britain. I would like to believe, Sir Mick, that British Jews can rely on the current government to be supportive of our needs. That is only for the next four years. Our history has taught us to be aware and wary. We would be foolish to allow complacency to blind us to what the future could have in store.
Leila Umber Hendon
We must keep sense of proportion
I’m concerned about your extensive treatment of recent atrocities in Israel. Of course, the stabbing of people on a march (and the consequent death of one) is to be condemned. One might question though whether recklessly releasing the criminal from prison where he had already served a sentence for a similar crime, was wise. Should he not have been kept under surveillance and banned from approaching similar events? As to the death of the Arab boy in the fire-bombing and the serious injury to his family members, this was a gross act of terrorism and the guilty parties need to be apprehended and suitably punished. However, the presence of Hebrew inscriptions at the crime scene does not prove that a Jew did this nor, in particular, that it was committed by settlers; funnily enough, Arab Israelis also write Hebrew and there are plenty of potential criminals who might be responsible. In particular, the minister’s comment and your headline: ‘Any method is kosher in the war against extremists’ goes completely against Israel’s democratic ethos. Arresting and imprisoning those the police and security services would like behind bars sounds too much like Casablanca, where the police chief demands: ‘Round up the usual suspects’. Jews are attacked, whether by rocks, fire-arms, fire-bombs, by a lone knifeman and in their homes in north London and nobody raises a concern. In the meantime, I suggest we all retain a sense of proportion.
Rabbi M Lester Israel and South London
E J Moss By email