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September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
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Letters To The Editor

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A New Pope

Congratulations to the Catholic world on the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis I. He is known for his past good deeds in Argentina, for his humility, and for his help in putting down fascism in the 1970s.

As part of the new pope’s reforms he should continue denouncing his country’s wartime and postwar embrace of Nazi Germany when it served in the Peron era as a haven for Nazi war criminals, its most notorious resident being Riccardo Clement, alias Adolph Eichmann, chief of Hitler’s transport section of Jews, Gypsies and others to Auschwitz.

Germany went through years of anti-Nazi cleansing but Argentina has not yet fumigated itself from the stink of Hitlerism. That should be placed on the agenda of the new pontiff.

Ray Kestenbaum
Rego Park, NY

A New Government

Re “Bibi on Brink of Forming Coalition but Issues, Acrimony Linger” (front page news story, March 15):

A new Israeli government has been formed – a better government than anyone could have imagined when the results of the election were first announced.

Yesh Atid, even though it is a center-left party, has shown itself to be patriotic and aware of the many problems Israel is facing. HaBayit HaYehudi has conducted itself with intelligence and a sense of purpose. It is focused on the future and of course it will push for unity among the Jewish people.

There is reason to be optimistic about the future of the Jewish homeland.

Toby Willig
Jerusalem

A New Intifada

Don’t believe all of those officious-sounding people and “experts” who pooh-pooh the possibility of a new intafada (“Palestinian Riots Fizzle, as Do Fears of a New Intafada,” front page news story, March 8).

As soon as Mahmoud Abbas and company lose faith in their hope that Barak Obama will force Israel back to the negotiating table on Palestinian terms, the order will go out to restart the unrest and terror in the West Bank. Given Israel’s overwhelming military superiority, it’s not as if Abbas has other options to demonstrate that he is really a leader. This is also the only way he can show Obama the Palestinians are a force to be reckoned with and must be appeased.

Further, Abbas needs to produce for the Palestinian street or he will be totally eclipsed by Hamas. And we should not dismiss the possibility of violence coming from that quarter; though Hamas took a drubbing last year during Operation Pillar of Defense, it has not given up its goal of control over the West Bank.

Oscar Gordon
(Via E-Mail)

Iran Unbowed?

Re: “Has Iran Already Won?” (editorial, March 8):

I fear Iran has long figured out that the U.S. is a paper tiger these days, worn out by the Iraq war and interminable involvement in Afghanistan and petrified of any new involvement in anything other than perhaps a conventional war for which it is admirably equipped.

And should Iran be attacked, that country would, aside from its own retaliatory measures, doubtless unleash Hizbullah to rain havoc on Israel and other Mideast nations with its vast store of rockets.

Scott Dorman
(Via E-Mail)

Never Forget

So now it has been learned that the Nazis had more than 42,500 death camps, forced labor sites, ghettos and detention facilities – not 20,000 as previously believed – and that they were spread across Europe (“Nazi Camps, Ghettos Far More Numerous Than Previously Thought,” news story, March 8).

This simply reinforces my belief that far more people than those who ever admitted awareness of it knew of the Nazi war against the Jews. In addition, that kind of massive effort involving so many localities means that countless everyday Europeans worked for the Germans, sold them what they needed to operate and were connected to the slaughter.

Let us never forget why Jews need a state of their own.

Shira Horvitz
Los Angeles, CA

Tightening Rules Of Release

It is hard to comprehend that the lives of a 21-year-old young man and his 21-year-old pregnant wife were snuffed out in a car crash and that the baby she was carrying was prematurely delivered and died the next day (“Tragic Deaths Cast Pall Over Community,” news story, March 8).

Nevertheless, as a society we have an obligation to address some of the issues that have arisen. As the article states, it seems the driver of the car that allegedly plowed into the car in which the couple were passengers served ten years in prison after his conviction for manslaughter and robbery. He was also awaiting trial for driving while under the influence, though it has not been determined that he was intoxicated at the time of the accident because he surrendered several days afterward.

And there is the rub. He was out on the street because a judge denied the district attorney’s request for setting bail at a relatively high amount as a condition of his release until trial. Perhaps we have to tighten the rules for the release, even the temporary release, of someone convicted of violent acts and accused of driving under the influence.

A car can be a lethal weapon and someone who is so indifferent as to commit manslaughter and drive when not fully in control of himself should be presumed to constitute a continuing risk to others and kept off the streets.

Alan Karlin
(Via E-Mail)

‘Strategic Ally’ Bill (I)

I am having a lot of trouble understanding the logic of those in Congress who are pushing to officially designate Israel a key ally of the United States (“Congress Introduces Bill to Make Israel ‘Major Strategic Ally,’ ” news story, March 8).

It is one thing to arrange for legislators to join in a letter or adopt a resolution urging the president to support Israel on a particular issue or set of issues. But it is quite another thing to seek a law requiring him to pursue a certain foreign policy that seems to me to be unprecedented and beyond the province of Congress.

Shlomo Trachtenberg
(Via E-Mail)

‘Strategic Ally’ Bill (II)

I applaud the bipartisan effort of Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch to pass legislation requiring that the Obama administration deal with Israel as a “major strategic ally” in terms of cooperation on defense issues, energy research and cyber security.

It seems like a good idea in principle and is certainly called for in view of the many existential threats Israel faces.

Allison Berg
New York, NY

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