Letters to the editor: Dec. 30, 2015

Balanced reporting needed

Whatever the merits of the Israeli “Breaking the Silence” group are, coverage in the Jewish Light should be alert to the partisan lobbying efforts to denounce this effort by Israeli veterans as “slandering” Israel’s Defense Forces. Jewish Telegraph Agency’s Ben Sales report in the Light (Dec. 23 edition), unlike JTA’s usual balanced reporting, fails to mention key Israeli supporters.

The Dec. 24 New York Times reports, “ ‘Breaking the Silence strengthens the IDF and its morality,’ Amram Levin, a former commander of the elite Sayeret Matkal unit, wrote in an advertisement that appeared Friday in the liberal Haaretz newspaper, referring to the Israel Defense Forces. A former chief of the Shin Bet security service and a retired major general of the Israeli police then took out similar advertisements.”

While Sales accurately describes the purpose of the group and mentions in passing the support of the left-wing Meretz party, the endorsement of top leaders of the military and Shin Bet, the key security service, is so much more powerful and offers a fairer review.

The media must be held accountable not only for what is covers, but for what it fails to cover. 

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Charles L. Klotzer

University City



Safe, meaningful travels in Israel

We recently returned from a 10 day trip to Israel. While we were there, we were told by our tour guide that the U. S. Department of State had issued a travel warning for anyone planning to travel to Israel. In late November, prior to our trip, the State Department issued a worldwide travel alert. We decided to go ahead with our plans and are grateful we made that decision.

Israel’s economy and success rely heavily on tourism and these types of warnings, though well intended, are harming Israel. Our tour, originally scheduled to include 20 tourists, had only six. Our tour guide, an Israeli native, was incredibly knowledgable, informed and provided us a life-changing trip that will remain with us forever.

As with any travel, we stayed aware of our surroundings and planned our activities accordingly. We felt as safe as we do in any city we have traveled to in the United States, walking to dinner and shopping in the evenings, attending outdoor performances and exploring the neighborhoods.

We would encourage anyone interested in travel to Israel to go and enjoy a breathtaking country with an enormous amount of history, culture and beauty.

Wayne Hoffman and Joy Seltzer