Displaced Yazidis arrive at a camp near the Syria-Iraq border, August 9, 2014
Displaced Iraqis from the Yazidi community arrive at a camp near the Syria-Iraq border, August 9, 2014. Photo by AP
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Why isn’t Israel helping the Kurds and Yazidis?

It is good that the United States of America is attacking Islamic State extremists in Iraq, helping the Kurds defend themselves and hopefully saving the Yazidis from genocide. Israel is close, but where are the Israeli bombers and drones that could help the desperate people in Iraq and Syria? As a Jew, I ask what is Jewish morality? Is it just do whatever is advantageous for Jews at the moment and never mind anyone else in dire need?
Steven Ross
New York

Tikkun Olam begins at home

I was shocked to read that Education Minister Shay Piron has directed educators to spend the first week of the new school year addressing the issue of racism and tolerance of “the other.” His motivational aims are unclear. If he is stressing the wonderful outpouring of national unity during this terrible crisis, that’s laudable. Education must always address here and now issues. The most pressing issue is helping children understand what has been happening this past month.

They should be presented with the facts of over 10 years of “tolerating” rockets and mortar shells aimed at our civilian population. We should also teach about the unusual moral approach of the Israel Defense Forces during Operation Protective Edge. In addition, children should know that their country spent hundreds of millions of shekels to protect them and their families, employing the Iron Dome anti-missile system. At the same time, the enemy received humanitarian aid from us that included building materials, electricity and food, and used most of these resources to dig deep underground tunnels into Israel’s southern communities to kill Israeli civilians or abduct Israeli soldiers.

We may feel sorry for civilian casualties in Gaza but in no way should we apologize for having the military capability to neutralize rockets aimed at our civilians.

We trust that Piron’s values approach to kick off the school year will stress national unity, tolerance and anti-racism and will focus on tolerance toward Ethiopian, Cochin (Indian), Russian, American and French immigrants who have recently arrived in our midst. It’s not too late to clarify Piron’s intentions. Tikkun Olam begins at home!
Josh and Blossom Wiesen
Haifa

Negotiate now to prevent next Gaza war

Instead of carrying out a proactive vision for peace, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu makes it very clear that “mowing the lawn” every few years — in which innocent civilians, including many children, are killed — is an acceptable foreign policy.

His reactive military nightmare could have been avoided three weeks ago, by setting up negotiations to work on the much more difficult root problems — for example, easing the restrictions on the blockade and the borders with Egypt and Israel. Not perfect, but a start.

Accepting the inevitable continuing loss of innocent life is not only terrible foreign policy, but also an unforgivable sin. And are the lives of Israeli soldiers also so expendable that Israel’s rites of mourning become a routine matter?

Mr. Netanyahu has once again sacrificed innocent lives and his own soldiers for nothing. If he does not negotiate, the 2016 Gaza war will be here soon.
Laura Stein
Forest Hills, New York