Mother Of Liberty (I)
Reading Zev Golan’s article about the work of members of the Stern Gang (“Mother of Liberty,” front page essay, April 27) it occurred to me that while they zealously espoused Jewish nationalism, central too was a desire to save the Jewish people who they felt were in mortal danger from European anti-Semitism generally and the growing menace of Nazism in Germany.
I am not sure that the goal of political self-determination alone would have been enough to drive them absent the sense that Jews desperately needed a place of refuge.
Mother Of Liberty (II)
Zev Golan’s riveting article about the Stern Gang, particularly 96-year-old Tova Svorai, persuades me that given half a chance, Jews can take care of themselves and do so without losing their innate humanity.
Against The Odds
Last week’s Yom Ha’Atzmaut issue of The Jewish Press led me to reflect on how the odds have seemingly been against Israel’s survival at every stage of its existence.
When Israel was about to declare Independence in 1948, the best military minds said it would be defeated in a war with the Arab states – and in a very short time. General Montgomery said the Jews would be defeated in about two weeks. General Marshall also predicted immanent defeat for Israel.
In Israel’s early years it was common for reporters to ask people such as Golda Meir and Abba Eban about the “slim” chances of Israel’s survival, witness Meir on Meet the Press and Mike Wallace’s 1958 interview of Eban.
In a his April 20 Media Monitor column, Jewish Press Senior Editor Jason Maoz mentioned the aforementioned Mike Wallace quoting anti-Israel statements made by the historian Arnold Toynbee. Toynbee happened to believe Jews were historical fossils. Jews – and Israel – have proved him, along with all the other naysayers, dead wrong.
Israel And Redemption
Rabbi Eliyahu Safran is mistaken if he believes “the majority of Orthodox Jews in America act as though nothing of note happened on May 14, 1948” (“How Can Orthodox Jews Deny the Miracle of Israel?” op-ed, April 27).
I suggest that it would be difficult to find many Orthodox Jews who believe Divine intervention played no role in the Jews’ victory over the Arabs. There are, of course, those of us who believe this did not necessarily constitute the onset of a redemptive age. Rabbi Safran alludes to this when he writes, “The fact that modern Israel may not as yet be the fulfillment of all Messianic dreams and aspirations does not, cannot and must not mean its rejection, denial or disdain.”
I’ve always wondered how supporters of Zionism can arrogate to themselves the role of providing context to the achievements of modern-day Israel? Are they claiming equal status to the biblical and Talmudic narratives or those of the Prophets? Where is our equivalent of Moses who told the Jewish people why they were miraculously freed from Egypt and victorious over Pharaoh and Amalek? Where, indeed, is Mashiach?
Eisner Affair (I)
I appreciated your comments on the incident in which an IDF officer was videotaped hitting a Danish demonstrator with the butt of his rifle (“The Eisner Affair,” editorial, April 27).
My visceral reaction to the video was great disappointment that a representative of the Jewish state could do such a thing. I don’t buy the story that he was perhaps justified by provocation, or that the video didn’t tell the whole truth, as you insinuated.
What I do find compelling, though, is your argument that the facts in this matter are largely beside the point. The real significance here lies not in what one soldier may have done but in drawing attention to the efforts of leftists and anarchists to force Israel to respond to what is widely mislabeled as “non-violent protest.”
Israel is situated in a sea of very dangerous enemies and that reality has to be factored in when critiquing any defensive measure the government and its soldiers take. Your point about the protesters ignoring what is happening nearby in Syria was well taken.
Los Angeles, CA
Eisner Affair (II)
Your editorial “The Eisner Affair” missed the point. It is not the reaction of the world that’s the problem but rather the reaction of Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Barak, the IDF command and the Israeli media.
They should be ashamed of themselves for destroying a Jew who is so loyal to Eretz Yisrael. They should have given him a medal. When will our people ever learn?
“The Community Organizer-In-Chief” (editorial, April 27) captures much of what President Obama is all about. From the beginning of his administration he went around telling everyone that it was U.S. policies that were the cause of most of the problems around the world. Domestically, though he didn’t use the label “capitalism,” his message was that our economic, law-making and legal systems didn’t work for most Americans.