Misrepresenting the reality in Gaza
I feel compelled to respond to a recent letter writer (“Let’s not mince words about Gaza ‘massacre,’” May 24). Like him, I too want to set the record straight.
When tens of thousands of people who seek your destruction storm your border and an army acts to defend its citizens, and fatalities or injury results, this is not a massacre. This is self-defense, plain and simple. In fact, the number of those killed in Gaza was extremely small, considering what Hamas had the so-called “protesters” do.
Additionally, many who were shot were identified as known terrorists who should not be called “protesters.” Hamas even used women and children as human shields.
Furthermore, those massing on the Gaza border were not protesting the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Every year on the anniversary of Israel’s independence, Palestinians stage a day of rage to mark the “Nakba,” the catastrophe they call the creation of a Jewish state.
The letter writer professes to be a long-time supporter of Israel and a good Jew who had a Bar Mitzvah. But his words tell a whole different story. Somewhere along the line he became an apologist for our Arab neighbors, displaying a total disregard for reality.
We should be proud of Israeli response
Before rending our garments and saying Kaddish for Gazans who died trying to storm the Israeli border, it might be useful to remember this as the latest manifestation of something Jews have been forced to deal with for millennia (“Let’s not mince words about Gaza ‘massacre,’” May 24).
For centuries, the numerically superior surrounding populations always had an emotional and high-minded reason for attacking the local Jewish community. For the early church it was “they killed our Lord.” For some medieval men it was “they poisoned the wells”; for others it was “they kill children to make matzah.”
For the Nazis it was “they pollute our race.” Now, for the jihadis, it is “they’re stealing our land.” Every group claimed the Jews were collectively guilty. No individual Jew could claim innocence.
At the Gaza border we see mobs slinging rocks, throwing Molotov cocktails, burning tires and launching fire kites. They carry meat cleavers and butcher knives. The stated aim of Hamas, which runs their government, is the destruction of the State of Israel. Should, God forbid, they breach the border, we would witness a modern-day pogrom.
But unlike centuries past, when the Cossacks ravaged the unprotected shtetl or the Nazis decimated the defenseless ghetto, Jews are free to arm and protect themselves. The soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces do this with precision and restraint. Out of the thousands of Gazans streaming towards the Israeli border, instigators were picked out. Sixty Gazans were felled. Out of that number 52 were Hamas regulars dressed as civilians. That speaks of a highly disciplined defense.
When I see young citizen soldiers of the IDF repulse a mob bent on mayhem and do so without resorting to indiscriminate killing, I, too, weep. But I weep with pride.
Account of blessing not quite accurate
I have great respect for Rabbi Tamara Miller, and enjoyed her D’var Torah about Birkat Kohanim (“Stop, don’t look, and listen,” May 24). But one statement is incorrect.
She states that “the chazzan call[s] out ‘kohanim’ after each verse.” I have witnessed the kohanim blessing the congregation hundreds of times — mostly in Orthodox shuls — and never heard this. The chazzan calls out “kohanim” before the kohanim do their initial blessing, after which they turn to bless the congregation. The chazzan says each word quietly, and the kohanim repeat it. At the end of each blessing the congregation responds, “amen.” At no time after the initial “kohanim” is it repeated.