I was lucky to be studying in Israel this spring during the country's World Cup qualifying games against Ireland and France (Stars of David, Aug. 29). I will never forget the equalizing goals by Arab-Israeli players Abbas Suan and Walid Badir in the closing minutes of each game, kindling celebrations of remarkable joy, car-honking and dancing in the streets. Grant Wahl, however, so politicized the march to the World Cup, using it as a metaphor for the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict, that he missed the spirit of the Israeli team and its small country. He omitted entirely the star, Yossi Benayoun, a.k.a. Hatikvah (the Hope). There was also no mention of Dudu Awat, the gutsy goalkeeper. I can't imagine that either Suan or Badir, recognized for their modesty, enjoyed being singled out for glory at the expense of their teammates just because they are Arabs on a mainly Jewish team.
Lee Samuel, Atlanta
I am the stereotypical sports-hating wife of a loyal SI reader, but after reading Wahl's beautifully written Stars of David, I found myself weeping over my cereal bowl. Wahl's article showed me what millions of fans, like my husband, must already know--sometimes there's more being played out on the field than just a game. These brave athletes and their young fans may do more to promote peace in Israel than political maneuvers ever could.
Jennifer Healey, Portland
Grant Wahl's story incorrectly claimed that Israeli Arabs don't serve in the military. In fact, while most Israeli Arabs are not conscripted into the military, Israeli Arabs from the Druze community do serve mandatory military terms and many other Israeli Arabs volunteer for service.
Gilead Ini, Boston Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America
Temple of Doom
I would like to congratulate Temple on its ambitious 2005 football schedule (The Cruelest Season, Aug. 29). I am one of many fans who are tired of watching so-called national powers playing East Cupcake U every September to pad their won-lost records for bowl eligibility. If you attend a Temple game, at the very least you will see a quality opponent. Go Owls!
Paul A. Donais, Glastonbury, Conn.
As a Temple alumnus, I'm sorry for the kids who will be humiliated week after week and wish that the administrators who pieced together this travesty could be forced to put on pads and be ground into the turf by massive Miami linemen.