Jewish Journal

Reflections on the Six-War; Suicide bombers next door; JCC tragedy; Evangelizing military

Posted on Jun. 7, 2007 at 8:00 pm


In his column in the June 1 Jewish Journal, Rob Eshman says Israel now has only three alternatives: hold on to territory it captured in 1967 and become a fortress pariah state; hold on to the captured territory and become "a state of chaos," with Arabs taking over democratically; or "it could be a state with smaller boundaries, with a democratic Jewish majority and productive relations with its Arab neighbors" ("1967-2047").

The last option puzzles me, because Israel before June 1967 was a state with smaller boundaries and a democratic Jewish majority. Yet its Arab neighbors at that time not only rejected "productive relations," they yearned for Israel's destruction.

Now, with Islamism growing in the Arab world and Iran working feverishly to obtain nuclear weapons, Eshman acts as if we were still in the halcyon days of the "peace process." Even Neville Chamberlain finally realized who he was dealing with, but some people apparently have yet to reach Chamberlain's level of enlightenment.

Chaim Sisman
Los Angeles

How about a fourth possible ending, that of a state with slightly greater borders than that of pre-'67, democratic with a Jewish majority and forced by it's neighbors to be a fortress state. This, coincidently, is the situation today.

Unless you have a magic wand, you can't force an Arab population to love us. I'm sorry Mr. Eshman, but your conclusions are incorrect. In this world, it's often how your neighbors treat you that determines, despite great intentions, the way you need to treat them.

Bill Bender
Granada Hills

Rob Eshman really needs to reconsider Israeli options in light of prevailing realities and instead of focusing on the need to sustain the democratic principle ingrained in Israel, should rather prioritize the Jewish peoples' survival in their homeland.

History had proven that when a Palestinian "Mandela" comes to the fore, the Israeli leadership will be forthcoming in reaching a compromise with their adversaries that will hopefully engender both peace and democracy in the volatile region.

Dror Yaron
Los Angeles

Rob Eshman's editorial on the Six-Day War is right in one respect. The final battle of that war will be fought between Jews. Those like Eshman accept the theory of appeasement, that if only Jews would give up their rightful claim to live in peace in all of the Land of Israel then peace will reign.

Israel must hang tough, hold on to all it can until the day arrives when there really is someone with whom peace can seriously be negotiated. Until then, there may be many hardships and loss of allies, but that is better than national suicide espoused by the appeasers.

Alan S. Jacobs
Teaneck, N.J.

Six Days of War

As the 40th anniversary of the Six-Day War in June 1967 approached, I decided to read Michael Oren's Book, "Six Days of War" last month. It caused me to recall the fateful months leading up to the '67 war. Most remarkably, the same rhetoric of hatred and annihilation of Israel and Jews was coming from the Arab world as continues to come today from Hamas, Iran, Hezbollah and the like.

There was no difference. I am compelled to conclude that the failure to accept the Jewish State of Israel remains the single defining element of the conflict in the Middle East. Nothing has changed and nothing will change until this basic level of opposition to non-Muslim sovereignty occurs.

Consequently, anything that will cause Arab/Muslim society to accept the permanence of a Jewish state will lead toward peace; anything that doesn't only leads to more of the spirit of hatred and annihilation.

International recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (final borders not yet settled) would do much toward forcing that acceptance of Israel's legitimacy and permanence.

David Schechter
Los Angeles

Beginning in 1947, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan allowed the Palestinians living in Israel to live in their countries until Israel would be demolished by the Arab armies ("1967-2047," June 1). Back in 1947 and 1948, Israel was just born and they were a very unstable country, they did not have a strong military or government.

Israel's victory in the Six-Day War proved that the Jews were to be reckoned with. The Arab world has been fighting against Israel in the past 60 years, while Israel has become a more stable country. If Israel could not be defeated when they were a "baby" country, what makes them think that they could take over Israel now that it is stronger?

Melody Bandary
Sarah Markoff

It is tragic that The Journal would question that Israel's victory in '67 was anything but the greatest blessing. This comes from worshipping the golden calf of "acceptance by the nations," often disguised by rhetoric of "peace."

It is a deep-rooted self-negation that says: If the nations don't like us, we must've done something wrong. This results from a profound lack of Torah education about the reason for Israel's existence as a people and as a nation.

The question is: What will it take for the mentality that publishes such pieces in The Journal to understand the deeper truth of the Jewish people?

You didn't learn from Gaza, from Lebanon, from the suicidal idiocy of Olmert, and now you question an open miracle that happened a mere 40 years ago?
News flash Journal writers and readers: One doesn't have to be fully observant/religious to understand the reason for Jewish existence, which would include yesha borders. But the lack of that understanding causes fundamental problems, which threaten our existence.

We will not worship your false deity of "peace," which amounts to the destruction of Israel.Joshua Spiegelman
Los Angeles

Bittersweet Legacy

The illusionary vision of peace with the Arabs is just an illusion ("Bittersweet Legacy," June 1).

When will we learn that only if we are victorious each and every time and survive their attempt at destroying us, then, perhaps, one day they might come to their senses. That is the sad legacy.

Betzalel "Bitzy" N. Eichenbaum

JCC in Jeopardy

This letter is being written with anger and frustration that the second-largest Jewish community in the United States, the once-vibrant Jewish community of greater Los Angeles, can no longer afford, support and even acknowledge the importance of having a meeting place for ideas, fitness and companionship ("Federation Files for Permit to Demolish Pool at New JCC at Milken," May 4).
The West Valley JCC pool and swim center represented all these positive aspects of Jewish life and life itself.

About to be gone are not just the memories past, but what about the ones never to be formed? Companionship, swimming, walking, exercising and friendships drowned in avarice. It is beyond belief that no one (group) has come forward to save it.

Yes, I shed a tear for our past, but more so for our future generations who will never feel the spirit that has died.

How did this happen?

Don Goodman

There's a dispute going on between The JCC at Milken and The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. I've heard so many different stories about what's going on that my head is spinning. And who knows what the situation will be when you read this?

But that doesn't matter. Once the Federation permanently closed the swimming pool (one of the JCC's biggest senior attractions) without any open disclosure to the JCC members -- we had to read about it in The Jewish Journal -- the die was cast; that's "die" as in "death."

No matter how the current dispute is settled, our JCC can never be the same.
I don't know how you say Kaddish for a JCC. But something must be said for the JCC we knew. And whatever it is, as with the Kaddish we say for the departed, you're left with a lump in your throat, an anger in your gut, an ache in your heart, and a hole in your life.

I am appealing to all to attend a special town hall meeting on Sunday, June 10, 2 p.m. at the JCC, 22622 Vanowen St., West Hills, to review and consider the future of our JCC.

Saul H. Jacobs
West Hills

Suicide Bombing Support

The results of the Pew poll are chilling but not surprising ("Poll Finds Some U.S. Muslims Support Suicide Bombing," June 1).

In the article, the Pakistani Muslim Billoo admits that the 25 percent figure of American Muslim youth who support suicide bombings is probably closer to 60 percent to 65 percent! Yet The Jewish Journal titles the article "Some" Muslims support suicide bombings.

We want the facts, not Novocain. No amount of delusional, wishful thinking from The Journal staff will change the ugly reality that faces the Western world. It faced Israel many years ago, but no one would listen.

Richard Friedman
Los Angeles

Brad A. Greenberg's headline is somewhat and somehow misleading.

More than one out of four (26 percent) can no way be considered as "some" by somebody or anybody. I challenge your staff writer's professional journalism inserting his own editorial comment, "Overall however, the survey of 1,050 Muslims was encouraging." This followed the quote of Daniel Pipes: "These sentiments are seething, and at any time might erupt."

My math warns me that more than 600,000 U.S. Muslims support suicide bombing. And according to Ahmed Billoo, three out of five of his generation "just think it is something that Islam justifies."

Moshe Brodetzky

Weaponized Evangelism

"Weaponized Evangelism" describes Christian evangelicals at the Air Force Academy and speculates that similar proselytizing occurs equally in all branches of service (May 18). Our experience with the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Marine Corps was quite different.

Two years ago, we were in Annapolis for the dedication of the Commodore Uriah P. Levy Jewish Chapel and Center built on the grounds of the academy. There is a 350-seat chapel, meeting and study rooms and classrooms that all 4,000 midshipmen will use for the study of moral character and religious tolerance.

The religious tolerance program began in 1998, during our son's plebe summer, when the Class of 2002 studied the Holocaust as part of its ethics curriculum. They also toured the [United States] Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Quite the opposite of the "Weaponized Evangelism" that you describe.
Granted, it is never easy being in the minority. Of the 16 million active duty who served in World War II, an estimated 550,000 were Jewish. Of the 4,000 midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy, there are around 100 Jews.

Of the 300 families in our synagogue, our son was the only kid at a service academy, and later, the only one on active duty.

When he was admitted for cancer treatment at the National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda, Md., we knew that military chaplains render pastoral care to servicemen and women from many different faith backgrounds. On deployment, in battle or at a given moment in the hospital, there may not be an available chaplain from the serviceman or woman's own faith. All chaplains must be able to pray with and respect people of different faith backgrounds.

We experienced this first hand at Bethesda in 2002 and 2003. No evangelism -- just total support and respect. In fact, the only evangelism I personally experienced was back at home. Shortly before Andrew's death (and even after), we received unsolicited opinions about the military, sometimes from the bimah, sometimes not. Evangelism? Maybe.
Like Eshman points out, it's not easy being in the minority. With faith in God, all things are possible.

Anita Susan Brenner
via e-mail

Holocaust Museum

Michael Berenbaum's misleading letter responding to your article quoting the complaints of outraged survivors ("Survivors Blast Holocaust Museum Over Archive Access Restrictions," May 18) about the Holocaust Museum's refusal to permit ... electronic access to the Bad Arolsen documents is a typical museum tactic to discredit anyone who does not repeat its party line (Letters, June 1).

First, Berenbaum claims reporter Edwin Black is on a "one-man crusade" for reasons known to him alone to deprive the museum of "these archives." That is just silly.

Your article quoted numerous officials from numerous Holocaust and second-generation organizations from Los Angeles, New York to Florida. Don't their voices count?

That is hardly a "one-man crusade." Survivors don't want to deprive the museum of the Bad Arolsen documents unless the museum insists on depriving them of immediate Internet access. But letters such as Berenbaum's are typical of the museum's war against survivors who criticize or those who report their criticisms.

Secondly, Berenbaum has ignored the repeated museum statements that it will not permit Internet access. The museum and their spokesmen should stop flaunting their credentials and instead check their facts and recognize the rights of survivors to access their own files immediately where they live.

Allyson Rowen Taylor
Valley Glen

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