January 9: Here at home
Why could not IDE America, an Israeli firm, enhance its desalination capabilities in our country so as to make us water-independent?
Sir, – We have been blessed with heavy rains, which hopefully will
raise our reservoirs a bit. But Israelis, as they nevertheless see the high
prices they are charged for water, will wonder: Why could not IDE America, an
Israeli firm, enhance its desalination capabilities in our country so as to make
us water-independent (“Israeli firm will design San Diego-area desalination
plant – biggest in hemisphere,” January 7)? Considering Israel’s nuclear
capabilities, atomic-powered desalination might accomplish this.
Sir, – A remarkable show of unity – from MKs
Zehava Gal-On to Michael Ben-Ari – was exhibited when parties from across the
political spectrum wrote a joint letter to the president (“Parties unite in
Pollard letter for Peres,” January 7). However, not all joined.
Henin’s Hadash (Communist) Party did not sign. It was a clear demonstration of
anti-Israel fervor. After all Pollard, spied against America, which has always
been the Communists’ bete noir.
The party’s long standing anti- American
policy was insufficient to prevent Henin and his fellow apparatchiks from
disassociating themselves from a plea to save the life of a Jew. Can there be
any doubt that this is due to anti-Israel hatred? I am disgusted.
Sir, – Up till now I’ve usually enjoyed
reading Isi Leibler’s columns. But his advice to Bayit Yehudi to tone down the
rhetoric and be a sporting prop for Binyamin Netanyahu’s premiership (“Bayit
Yehudi: Don’t blow this opportunity,” Candidly Speaking, January 7) is an insult
to everyone’s intelligence.
Leibler seems to intimate that Bayit Yehudi
leader Naftali Bennett is at best a junior partner who had better learn to play
by the the rules of the big boys, which means adhere to the so-called
That means the pro-settlement party should become a
cooperative partner in the destruction of settlements. (What’s that sound I
hear? It’s not bulldozers. It’s Bibi back-pedalling on his E-1 plans.) I’m tired
of Bibi and the Likud claiming they’re the only hope for the Right. They do
exactly the same as Labor but with a bit more blue-and-white fanfare during the
Leibler should ratchet down his condescending tone.
Bayit Yehudi is a breath of fresh air.
Sir, – The
media have made it sound as though Bayit Yehudi’s only interest is the question
of borders and rabbinical authority.
Not true. A glance at its platform
shows concern for equal opportunity and the closing of social gaps, the
strengthening of religious-Zionist educational institutions, judicial balance, a
free economy that is also compassionate, proper treatment of the Arab minority,
Nowhere in this list is a statement that it will bow to a
rabbinical body in deciding how it votes in the Knesset. Its predecessor, the
Mafdal, often consulted with rabbinical figures on legislation relating to
religion and state – but the final decision was taken by its MKs and
As for the matter of borders, Naftali Bennett’s booklet on
practical ways of coping with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is called a
plan-in-the-making, a draft that asks readers to peruse it and pass on their
reactions, which will allow for democratic discussion – and even changes –
before final decisions.
A rousing well-done to Ben Caspit and Jeff Barak on their columns in your
January 7 Comment & Features section (“The Israeli initiative” and
“Netanyahu’s damaging policies,” respectively). Both show beyond a doubt the
complete wrong-headedness of the current Netanyahu/Likud policies.
fresh breeze is blowing – coming from the three anti- Netanyahu parties. Only
the emergence of “another way,” the joining of the three in opposition to Bibi
and the Likud will save Israel from further disaster.
Let us hope that
Shelly Yacimovich, Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid will work together to oust Bibi’s
Likud and get some real thought into our government.
Not Abbas, either
Sir, – In “Netanyahu’s damaging policies,” Jeff Barak
quotes President Shimon Peres in his curious attack on Prime Minister Netanyahu
when Peres said, speaking of Mahmoud Abbas, that “there is currently no other
Arab leader who is saying he is in favor of peace, against terror, in favor of a
demilitarized state, and of... the Palestinian consensual right of
And that, as the Bard said, is the rub. It is the fact that
there is no other Arab leader – and perhaps this also includes Abbas – who does
say that, and this is what makes Netanyahu reluctant to make unilateral
concessions, knowing that we will get nothing in exchange except more
Abbas will not be here forever. Who will take his place?
We are seeing before our eyes the changes in the Arab world, none of them
benefiting the Arab man and woman in the street, and certainly not
Instead of putting the case for more outreach to the Arabs, Barak
strengthens the case for hesitation. It is the Arab population, not only its
leaders, who are the ones that must make peace work, and so far we have not seen
In poll after poll, the majority of Israeli citizens have expressed
a desire for peace through a two-state solution.
At the same time, every
poll in an Arab country has been overwhelmingly against any accommodation with
Israel as a Jewish state. Time after time, Arabs who have been interviewed have
expressed their objection to an Israeli state in any shape or
Partner, not beggar
Sir, – The US may
have “good intentions with bad results,” report Corinne Sauer and Robert Sauer
(“The case for ending US military aid to the Mideast,” Comment & Features,
Its aid fuels an arms race “that threatens to spiral out of
They add that for every dollar in US aid received by Egypt,
Israel must spend “between $1.60 and $2.10 to maintain its qualitative military
The Sauers add that “while significant funds came from the US for
[the Iron Dome missile defense] project, it was far more of a mutually
beneficial business collaboration/investment between America and Israel than a
This article proves that Israel should act like the partner it
is with the US, and not like a beggar with his hand out. If we do not receive
money, we are not beholden to take risks that are suicidal.
Wrong on Ireland
Sir, – At the end of his preview of
Ireland’s 2013 EU presidency (“Ireland’s takeover of EU presidency bad news from
Israel’s perspective,” January 2), Herb Keinon wrote that Eamon Gilmore,
Ireland’s deputy prime minister and foreign minister, was “reportedly” one of
four EU ministers who had argued against including a statement condemning
Hamas’s advocacy of the eradication of Israel in the EU Foreign Affairs
Conclusions of December 2012.
The report was wrong and had no basis in
Ireland fully subscribes to the EU Council Conclusions, which
include the condemnation of Hamas’s call for the eradication of Israel, in line
with its long-standing policy of support for the two-state solution to the
The writer is
Ireland’s ambassador to Israel