To the editor: If only Rabbi Sharon Brous had truly shown her daughter the “other side” of Israel, something she claims to have done on a recent trip there.
If only she had exposed her to the Palestinian leaders who teach their schoolchildren to hate and kill; who preach that the entire land of Israel belongs to them; who divert humanitarian aid to building terror tunnels meant for smuggling weapons; who use their own people as human shields; who choose the path of violence over the promise of peace.
Why does that small Jewish community in the West Bank city of Hebron need protection anyway? If the demographics were reversed, there would be no need for protection — because, as Brous failed to show her daughter, the Jewish people and government of Israel always seek peace.
Lynn Rohatiner, Los Angeles
To the editor: Brous’ experience with her daughter was certainly dramatic. She spoke to an extremist “settler” who praised the murder of Arabs by Baruch Goldstein 24 years ago.
But almost all Israelis rejected Goldstein’s act, which was condemned by all parties, right and left, in Israeli politics, and is completely unrepresentative of any normative position across the Israeli political divide.
Perhaps Brous’ daughter would have learned a more practical lesson by speaking to members of the official “moderate” Palestinian governing body, the Palestinian Authority, which has named town squares after terrorists and pays stipends to the families of “martyrs.”
Jeff Kandel, Los Angeles
To the editor: While I applaud Brous’ nuanced commentary on the deleterious consequences of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territory, I’m not satisfied that her expressions of concern regarding Israel’s dubious conduct go far enough in condemning the apartheid practices of the current government.
Certainly it is important to acknowledge the suffering of the Palestinians under the right-wing Israeli government and the extremist settlers’ movement that continues, in violation of international law, to expropriate Palestinian land. But that is only a first step.
What’s missing from Brous’ commentary is a full-throated commitment to actually oppose this unrelenting and, regrettably, escalating oppression of the Palestinian people.
Indeed, a statement unequivocally condemning the occupation and calling for its immediate end would have been a welcome addition to the rabbi’s otherwise thoughtful remarks.
Andrew Spathis, Los Angeles
To the editor: Brous’ desire for her daughter to see the other side should also include a full understanding of the circumstances that have led to the situation in Hebron.
First and foremost, Hebron is the most holy city in Judaism with the exception of Jerusalem. The rabbi briefly mentions the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, where Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah and Rebecca, the patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish people, are buried.
Unfortunately, Jewish access to this site is restricted. So, in spite of its significance to Judasim, Jewish prayer rights are limited.
In addition, the rabbi glances over the 1929 massacre of at least 67 Jews that occurred in Hebron by Arabs, who also destroyed Jewish places of worship and property. Ultimately, all of the Jewish residents of Hebron were forced to leave, thus providing an early example of ethnic cleansing by the Arabs.
It was only with the liberation of Hebron in 1967 by Israeli forces that Jews were once again able to live there.
Lewis Polin, Laguna Woods
To the editor: Thanks to the Los Angeles Times for running this piece. I truly believe that honesty about Palestinian suffering will do much more for Israel’s prosperity than hiding it.
Lyla Fadali, Los Angeles