Sir, – In view of “German event with Iran envoy ‘legitimizes
evil’” (April 15), I am contacting you to voice my concern.
at the event obviously included – among other guests – Iran’s ambassador to the
Federal Republic of Germany. It has not yet been decided whether there will be
any financial support for the event from the Federal Ministry for Economic
Cooperation and Development (BMZ). BMZ support would require ensuring that a
range of views and perspectives are presented in a balanced way without insults
The participation of the Iranian ambassador, who is formally
accredited in the Federal Republic of Germany, is not at odds with that in
principle – provided the ambassador’s views are not allowed to stand
After your article appeared we received another question on
the matter from your Berlin correspondent that appeared to be framed in such a
way as to prejudge the situation, implying that I and the staff at my ministry
wish to offer the Iranian regime a platform from which to stir up hatred against
I categorically reject such insinuations.
accusation is for me particularly hurtful. For many years I have been a close
political friend and ally of Israel, and for over 10 years I have been vice
president of the German- Israeli Association. Our development cooperation with
the Palestinian Authority contributes actively and directly to Israel’s security
as well. You can rest assured that I will never do anything that might
jeopardize Israel’s security.
The German government’s stance regarding
the Iran dossier is clear and well known. I personally share it
absolutely and with the deepest conviction.
I want to be sure that you
are also aware of this.DIRK NIEBEL
The writer is federal minister
for economic cooperation and development
Sir, – We have a finance
minister who knows nothing at all about the complicated economics of running a
modern economy (“Lapid reportedly weighing deficit target increase,” April
On one hand we are told that Israel’s economy is very sound, buoyed
by the gift of huge natural gas deposits that will make Israel energy
independent. We also witness the fact that the shekel is presently one of the
strongest currencies in the world – so strong, in fact, that exporters are
really hurting. At the same time there is no check on prices, and as usual the
Israeli public is being ripped off by increases that have little or no
If the newly found wealth of gas has any meaning, then
pass this advantage now to every citizen.
Reduce electricity prices and
adjust the shekel now.
Future profits are assured and adjustments can be
made. Let us remove from the discussion anything about gas exports and give
future generations the knowledge that for the foreseeable future Israel will be
energy independent. By the time the gas is been used up there will be other
forms of energy, such as hydrogen based fuels.
The Israel economy is at a
crossroads and it needs a very experienced finance minister to steer it in the
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu should immediately
appoint a new finance minister with proven credentials or call another general
election and allow the public to think again, this time more deeply, as to whom
they would wish to represent them.
If nothing is done we are on an
economic course of self-destruction.
I do not think the man in the street
knows what is about to hit him.EDGAR ASHER
Petah Tikva Their own fault
Sir, – In “Debating 1948: Toward reconciliation” (Think About It, April 15),
Susan Hattis Rolef asks how we (presumably Jews and Arabs) can proceed toward a
process of reconciliation from a point where the Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe
or disaster, relating to the Arab defeat and large-scale exodus from Palestine
in 1948) is generally rejected by most Israeli Jews. The Nakba, she states, is
part of the Arab narrative and we should respect it in order to reach
The trouble is that the catastrophe that befell the local
Arabs was what they themselves had intended to be done to the local Jews.
Indeed, had they succeeded, it is likely that very few Jews would have survived
to become refugees. The Nakba – and much of the Arab narrative, in fact – has
become a cynical, deceitful inversion of what should have been the fate of the
Jews, but with far more dreadful implications.
National narratives are
based not on scrupulous attention to what really happened but to a certain
extent of untruthfulness.
So it’s a non sequitur to hope, as Rolef
suggests, that reconciliation can come from adhering to narratives, because the
only way there can ever be reconciliation is by following all the principles of
It is also interesting to note Rolef’s description of
repeated Arab aims to destroy Israel as “Arab plans to prevent the establishment
of the Jewish state....” She is a marvelously erudite writer but would do well
to realize that euphemisms and the selective omission of relevant facts detract
from the quality of any writer’s work.
Jerusalem Time to be
Sir, – Another Holocaust Remembrance Day, another Remembrance Day for
precious family members, dead and gone because of our enemies.
indeed honor them by being trapped in the agenda of the international community?
It is time for Israel to again be historically bold. We need to tell the
Palestinian Authority, the Obama administration and the Europeans that it is
time for the PA to prove it wants peace and an end to the conflict – because we
know that it does not.
There is ample documentation that ever since the
Oslo Accords the Palestinians have consistently preached hatred and war toward
us, and the international community has consistently pressured us to continue
seeking an end to the conflict. It is time to dry our tears and speak and act
with bold determination in honor of our family members who have been taken from
Yes to life, no to this cynical lie.DAVID ROTENBERG
Jerusalem Lots to forget
Sir, – One reason I love reading Sarah Honig’s Another Tack
columns is that I learn new stuff. Her latest (“Amusing ourselves to death,”
April 12) was no exception.
It turns out that a few years back, Shimon
Peres said that he doesn’t like to think about the past: “Look to the future,
forget about the past... I believe that to imagine is more important than to
remember.” Well, imagination and hope for the future is all well and good, but
to actively ignore the past – particularly for a Jew with nearly 6,000 years of
history behind him – is absolutely mind-boggling and stands in stark contrast to
one of the most famous (not to mention widely-accepted) philosophical maxims of
our times: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat
Indeed, Peres’s statement may even surpass Ehud Olmert’s “We are
tired of winning” on the list of Dumbest Things Ever Said by Israeli
Politicians! I’ve always wondered why Peres has so assiduously pursued a
mirage-like peace with the Palestinians. Now I know why. It’s not that he’s
incapable of learning from his mistakes, he just doesn’t want
to.MENACHEM G. JERENBERG
Beit Shemesh CLARIFICATION
In “Remembering a
time when the whole country celebrated Independence Day” (Comment &
Features, April 17), the section quoting the Iyar 4, 1951, Hamodia
should end with “for whose sake of the state was established.”
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