I found Abraham Rabinovich’s account of the lead-up to the Six-Day War (“An Unintended Conquest,” front page essay, May 18) extremely moving. What was most compelling about the piece – in addition to its depiction of the great valor of Israel’s soldiers – was the lesson that in the final analysis, Israel must take ultimate responsibility for its own security.
As Rabinovich reminds us, the U.S. counseled patience and promised Israel military support if it were attacked. Maybe the Johnson administration would have fulfilled that promise, but the outcome of the war was dramatically determined by Israel’s decision to follow its own lights.
Indeed, Rabnovich’s account of President Johnson’s pressure on Prime Minister Eshkol “to desist from military action in order to give the international community time to resolve the problem” sounds very much like the situation today with regard to U.S. policy on Iran.
Michael Zilber New York, NY
Seeing Both Sides
The controversy over the Tal law is generating more heat than light (“Israel’s New Coalition Government Showing Early Strains Over Tal Law,” front page news story, May 18).
Opponents of deferments for yeshiva students need to address the fact that most Western countries, including the United States, have similar rules for religious school students. They should also explore how a Jewish state that bases its legitimacy on Divine Providence could place restrictions on the right to study God’s Torah or abandon the concept that learning Torah mightily contributes to Israel’s security.
They should also reconsider their complaint that haredi youth do not have their lives disrupted the way non-haredi youth do when they serve in the army. After all, haredi youth are essentially stagnant in terms of secular careers and so generally do not compete for jobs with non-haredi young people.
On the other hand, it’s hard to quarrel with parents of Israel’s non-haredi youth who ask why their children should be put in harm’s way while their haredi counterparts are not.
Cynthia Niss (Via E-Mail)
Doctoring Documents (I)
Kudos to The Jewish Press for continuing to shine the spotlight on President Obama’s insistence on playing fast and loose with our country’s laws and traditions (“Doctoring Documents Postscript,” editorial, May 18). The mainstream media obviously aren’t interested and other Jewish publications are seemingly afraid of being perceived as too critical of Obama.
Keith Adler Sacramento, CA
Doctoring Documents (II)
It is surely the height of hypocrisy and hubris for Obama administration officials to engage in such nefarious – if not actually illegal – actions of “scrubbing” all references to “Jerusalem, Israel” in Bush-era documents and arrogantly assuming they can get away with it.
The incontrovertible mendacity in this flagrant attempt to deny Israel’s valid 3,000-year-old claim to Jerusalem and the deliberate falsification of government records should elicit harsh criticism from all quarters.
Fay Dicker Lakewood, NJ
Wait And See
Now that Prime Minister Netanyahu has established himself as the leader of a coalition that for the present holds 94 out of the 120 seats in the Knesset, it will be important to see what his agenda will be and whether the parties on the right as well as members of his own Likud Party will endorse or reject that program. Certainly the addition of a split Kadima Party with limited prospects for maintaining its 28 Knesset seats was a boon not only to Netanyahu but to Kadima, which was facing a very uncertain electoral future.
For the future, it will be important to note whether the party platform of Kadima becomes secondary to that of the Likud or shares equal status. Israeli voters, while giving Kadima a slight numerical advantage over Likud, veered to the right in the 2008 elections granting the conservative parties control based on a more forceful approach to negotiations and further enlargement of Jewish cities and towns beyond the temporary pre-1967 armistice lines.
The first test of the new Netanyahu coalition will be its attitude toward the “settlements.” The second will be whether it chooses to weaken its negotiating stance vis-à-vis the Palestinian Authority. And, finally, the third will be its response to the Iranian nuclear bomb program. Then and only then will we know whether the security of Israel has been enhanced or diminished by the formation of the coalition.