March 14: Obama is coming
I welcome US President Barack Obama to Israel, even though as an American citizen I did not vote for him.
Letters Photo: REUTERS/Handout
Obama is coming
Sir, – The detailed analysis of the upcoming visit by US
President Barack Obama (“Obama’s itinerary: The deep significance of each step,”
March 13) does not mention the poor timing of the visit, coming so close to
It appears that Obama’s advisers ignored the impact of the
visit on the citizens of Jerusalem at this particular time of the year. Whole
swaths of city streets will be closed off for three days and public transport
curtailed. This is what happened on previous presidential visits.
meticulously prepare for this most important and significant holiday, one is
surprised that US Jewish leaders failed to convey the unacceptable disruption to
the president last week.
Passover is like no other holiday experienced by
any other people in the world.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the
government, if they had any pride and selfrespect, should have advised the
president that while a visit was welcome, the timing was totally
The planning was obviously with the acquiescence of the
ultra-religious parties in the former coalition, who now feel the pain of being
excluded from the next government. If they were true to what they claim to
represent, they would have stood up and publically denounced the poor
Moreover, Netanyahu has shown weakness in accepting the visit at
this time and has failed to recognize that when previous incumbents had said no
to the US administration on matters of faith and principle, they were truly
COLIN L. LECI
Sir, – I welcome US President Barack
Obama to Israel, even though as an American citizen I did not vote for
The United States is forever asking Israel to make gestures toward
the Palestinians, and in effect to the US. I suggest it is about time that the
US made a gesture toward Israel.
The most meaningful gesture would be the
release of Jonathan Pollard after 27 years in prison, a gross miscarriage of
justice. It would be welcome if Obama announced during his trip that he will
Judy and noise Sir, – Listen to Judy
Montagu and cut that deafening music at the weddings (“Let the music play,” In
My Own Write, March 13).
Montagu suggests: “At religious weddings, decide
on 10- 15 minutes of joyful (loud) ‘mitzva dancing’ immediately after the huppa
– and no more at that time.... Continue with background music during the entire
meal, enabling guests to relax, enjoy the food and music and talk to friends and
relatives they may not have seen in years.”
Then, “Let the band or DJ
finally turn up the volume to their hearts’ content for those guests who adore
loud music and want to dance until they drop. The rest of us can leave quite
happily at this point, knowing we have participated in all the important parts
of the celebration – and suffered not at all.”
What a great idea!
Sir, – For many years now I have attended only those weddings
held outdoors, at hotels (where the management doesn’t want other guests to be
disturbed) or where the band and dancing are in a separate room from the dining
hall. I find the noise too painful.
Someone suggested that I wear
earplugs, but then I wouldn’t be able to converse with others, so what’s the
Sir, – Judy Montagu wrote a very good article. I
want to make two additional suggestions, which worked out well at our son’s
wedding many years ago.
First of all, pick out one person and introduce
this person to the band leader. Tell the band leader that this person, and only
this person, will tell him when the music is too loud; otherwise, different
people will come up to the band leader with different comments.
tell the band leader that if he doesn’t tone down the music when asked to do so
by this person, he won’t get paid.
You’ll see how quickly the band leader
It’s time people have soft background music during the
dinner so that people at the tables can converse with each other.
Sir, – With Judy Montagu’s beautiful prose, she puts into
words exactly how I am feeling.
I am blessed with a very nice, big family
and many friends.
Therefore I suffer through countless weddings and
usually leave during the first “mitzva dancing.”
I have nothing to add
except that my late aunt had the same idea as SingleDad!
Sir, – I heartily agree with Judy Montagu.
We are inundated with unwanted
loud noises here in Israel and it’s a wonder that more of us don’t suffer
hearing loss. Why do we need “background” music in malls, stores and other
public places? And why must Israelis shout to one another when they are standing
in close proximity? The blaring of horns even before a light turns green; the
garbage trucks that wake us from our sleep in the wee hours; the people using
their cellphones incessantly, speaking as if those at the other end need to hear
their actual voice rather than through the phone; the loudspeaker at the school
two blocks from my home making announcements to the students; and the
renovations taking place in a nearby apartment. These are only a few examples of
the noise pollution we are subjected to on a daily basis.
Peace may be
hard to achieve, but quiet should be attainable.
Sir, – I was intrigued to read in “Likud Beytenu, Yesh Atid fight
over Education Ministry” (March 12) by reporter Lahav Harkov that Avigdor
Liberman “will become foreign minister after his corruption
Does this mean that Liberman will be eligible to remain in the
Knesset and, in fact, to represent Israel to the world, even if he is found
guilty of corruption? Or is the trial a meaningless formality? Or, perhaps this
incredible statement means the prime minister and various ministers-to-be are
totally confident that Liberman will refute all charges and emerge from a fair
trial as innocent as he was before.
It is true that Liberman, like
everyone else, must be judged innocent unless and until proven guilty. But
surely promising him the Foreign Affairs portfolio unconditionally is taking
this principle a bit far.
Many of us were hoping that some of the
first-time MKs would usher in a new era of frankness and decency in
RONA L. HART
Lahav Harkov responds: I should have
written at the end of that phrase “if he is exonerated.”
scenes Sir, – It was refreshing to read the story about your film critic, Hannah
Brown, bringing up an autistic child (“Raising autism,” Arts &
Entertainment, March 11). I always enjoy her reviews but had no idea of the
story behind the scenes.
What an inspiration for parents everywhere,
especially for those with special-needs children.