Sir, – I was outraged to read of the meeting and reception given to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (“S. African Jewish leaders fete Abbas in Pretoria,” November 28). When Jews joined with Stalin and his cohorts he called them his useful idiots. The South African Jewish Board of Deputies has now joined the club of useful idiots.
We who live in Israel know that Abbas is simply Arafat dressed in a suit. Five additional families have just risen from mourning their dead as a direct result of Abbas’s instigation and demonization of Israel and the Jewish people.
By giving aid and comfort and a sense of legitimacy to our sworn enemy, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies has brought shame upon a community that I always admired and praised.
Ramat Beit Shemesh A privilege
Sir – Edward Flaschner’s letter to the editor “Our state,” (Letters, Frontlines, November 28), begins with the words: “In 2005, I left my comfortable home and practice in New York to move to Israel.” He then proceeds to lodge a complaint about the functioning of the State of Israel.
Even though I may agree with much of his point of view, as an Israeli (and an oleh), I find his opening words most offensive.
What is the writer trying to say? That he is some kind of hero who should be afforded special rights because he left his “comfortable home” and made such a large sacrifice in moving to Israel? That this country owes him a special debt of gratitude for him forfeiting his privileges of living in the USA only to suffer in Israel? Is he threatening that he will return to his “comfortable home” if Israel does not behave according to his expectations? As immigrants, we should feel free to complain about Israel as full and active citizens of this country, without the perspective that Israel owes us a special debt of gratitude for our “great sacrifice” of making aliya.
After all, the act of aliya should be considered a privilege by the oleh, and not be arrogantly used as a position from where we can threaten the country with our continued presence here.
Zichron Ya’acov Smart reuse
Sir, – In the November 27 Jerusalem Post, I read that the bill to ban free plastic bags will be shelved (“Bill banning free plastic bags to be shelved”).
Instead of charging people for the bags, why not reward the shoppers who bring their own reusable bags to the supermarket? In one supermarket I visited in the US, shoppers were rewarded 25 cents for each reusable bag they filled, and the money was deducted from their total bill. I believe that such a system could work here as well, with perhaps 40 agorot per bag rewarded to the customer.
Karmiel Rights and respect
Sir, – I wish to respond to the editorial published on November 27, entitled “Respect, please!” The editorial is correct in pointing out the danger to Israel as a coherent society should Israel’s Declaration of Independence, which does not mention democracy as a value, be misused by those who wish to subordinate the “democratic” to the “national” component of Israel as both a Jewish and democratic state.
However, it is wrong in accusing Ben-Gurion of hastily introducing into that declaration “assorted fundamental individual freedoms in the light of the vision of the prophets of Israel.”
To the contrary, every word is well thought out, just as the word “democracy” is deliberately left out. Ben-Gurion was aware of the vagaries of the democratic process and how opinions change. The Jewish State voted into recognition by the United Nations on November 29, 1947, would never pass in today’s temporal space.
Concerning the right to fundamental individual freedoms “in the light of the vision of the Prophets of Israel,” Ben-Gurion is alluding to the basic tenet upon which all prophecy for a harmonious society is predicated – namely “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” The ethic of love is generosity.
If Israel wishes to survive only as a Jewish state, she has the Law of Return for that, but if she wishes to survive also as a democratic state, it is imperative that she demonstrate in clear and concrete terms a greater generosity towards all those who are not Jewish but are willing to create with us a harmonious society.
Sir, – I read with great interest your headline “68% of Israeli Arabs oppose recent wave of terrorism – poll” (November 25). The article opened with “An overwhelming majority of 68%...”
I wonder how the article would have been viewed had the headline said “32% of Israeli Arabs do not oppose the recent wave of terrorism.”
In a government election, 68% versus 32% is an overwhelming majority. But if 32% agree or don’t object to the murder of innocent Jews it is not only bad but it is dangerous, and not to be taken lightly. Any time Arabs want full equality in all areas of Israel all they have to do is not kill us.
I imagine if a poll was taken with the same question in reverse posed to Jews the answer would be 100% or at least 95%.
Even though 5% is bad, 32% is ghastly. Next time try to get the headline right.
Sir, – If the Statnet poll commissioned by Channel 10 was intended to reassure us that things are not so bad, the results have had the opposite effect.
Since the poll found that 68% of Israeli Arabs oppose the recent wave of terrorism, it means that 32% favor the latest wave of Arab terrorism. If we assume that 75% of the Israeli Arabs that favor terrorism are either too young or too old, or are not inclined to actually take part in a terror attack, this leaves about 8% of Israeli Arabs that are potential terrorists.
It is also probable that the Arabs from Judea and Samaria are even more likely to perform terrorist acts. If we combine both the Israeli Arabs and the Judea and Samarian Arabs, which, in total, number approximately 3 million people, and take 8% of them as potential terrorists, we are likely to have about 240,000 potential terrorists living in the vicinity of the Jewish Israeli population.
This does not reassure me at all, and I don’t consider myself to be a racist.
Petah Tikva Tragic mistake
Sir, – The world is tragically mistaken in imagining that the establishment of an independent “Palestinian” state alongside Israel will bring lasting peace and security to the region. We have only to examine the stormy relations between Pakistan and India and between the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots to strip ourselves of this illusion.
A people who is brought up to hate a neighbor with all its mind, all its heart and all its soul will never want to conclude peace with that state, but will continue to be fanatically determined to destroy it.