Sir, – Your article “Lack of funds to supply gas masks to all may mean having to buy your own” (August 4) is certainly cause for alarm. But with each kit costing NIS 500, I can understand why the government is being frugal. No doubt the funds available will have greater long-term value if used on infrastructure, satellites, etc.; these types of items will continue to be useful, even if no one happens to be “at home.”
I also want to point out that Amazon.com has new Israeli gas masks selling for $39.95, the equivalent of approximately NIS 150, and some sites claim they have top-of-the-line Israeli masks for only $19.95, with additional group discounts. While it may sound like a case of “coals to Newcastle,” I would suggest that our exalted Defense Ministry check the Web and see whether it can handle the costs for a couple of million. I’m sure with an order like that, the Israeli gas mask industry will work overtime, which will certainly benefit the country.
Oh, and some of the Web sites include free shipping.
YAACOV PETERSEIL Jerusalem
Sir, – Do the math. Each gas mask costs NIS 500 shekel. If Ehud Barak were to spend only $150, and not $300, per night for each of 10 rooms for himself and his entourage in a foreign hotel on an average of once a month, it would translate to about 400 additional gas masks that could be distributed at no charge to poor Israelis.
That might help alleviate the “budgetary situation.”
URI HIRSCH Netanya Rockets ‘pro-peace’
Sir, – In “One Jordanian killed as rocket barrage targets Eilat and Aqaba” (August 3), Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, claim the rockets were an attempt to “thwart the peace process.” But it’s just the opposite.
Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon, Gaza and parts of Judea and Samaria under fire furthered the so-called “peace process” by abandoning territory to our Arab neighbors. Those who launch the rockets are hopeful that Israel will continue this process of land for peace.
Israel should seek a true peace, one that involves eliminating enemy capabilities to attack its civilian population instead of rewarding them with more concessions.
JOSH HASTEN Jerusalem Two-way street
Sir, – On August 3, the Post reported that Israel had agreed to take part in a UN flotilla investigation (“Israel hopes UN flotilla panel will reduce tensions with Turkey”) and had facilitated the mass transfer of supplies for Gazans (“Israel allows 250 trucks into Gaza”).
It seems like every week Israel gives concessions to the PA, the UN and others. When will we see the Palestinians making concessions? How about even one?
Why do we have to make all the concessions, with none required from the other side?
HANNAH SONDHELM Jerusalem Even 400 is too many
Sir, – As your August 3 editorial states, the decision of the cabinet to deport 400 children of “illegal” immigrants, and to allow 800 others to stay, was indeed unfortunate (“Handling the immigration challenge”). Was the decision an effort to quiet Shas, which wanted to deport all the children, or a last-minute decision to prove that Jews still have hearts?
As has been stated by many readers in the past, Jews simply do not deport innocent children!
If allowed to remain, most of these unfortunates would undoubtedly prove to be good Israeli citizens, with most of them ready to serve in Israel’s armed forces. We can only hope that the full Knesset will overturn this bad decision and allow all the children to stay – as good Israeli citizens.
Just give them a chance!
LEONARD ZURAKOV Netanya Non-reality check
Sir, – By complaining how badly Israel is viewed by the rest of the world, Jeff Barak (“Not so fast,” Reality check, August 2) is showing his ghetto mentality. How does he know what is in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s mind, after all the PM’s been saying for months now that direct talks leading to a two-state solution are the only way to go?
Equally puzzling are Barak’s remarks about British Prime Minister David Cameron, whose statement that Gaza must not become a prison camp should have been addressed to Hamas (or Egypt, for that matter). Barak’s congratulations to the Cameron government for rescinding the law on universal jurisdiction were also premature. Talking about it is one thing; doing something is another.
Barak should know that cringing in the face of criticism and trying to ingratiate one’s self in world forums is counterproductive. We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.
ISIDORE SOLOMONS Beit Shemesh Press unfair to PM
Sir, – Gil Hoffman’s article “The press against Netanyahu – again” (July 30) illustrates a bit of the unfairness that Netanyahu has to deal with. Of course, the press is supposed to be the “watchdog” in a democratic society, but that doesn’t give its members the license to act like a pit bull and attack all the time, even though they obviously loathe Netanyahu and his family.
Maybe the prime minister was quietly harboring a bit of hope for the helicopter crew when he went on with his son’s birthday party. Maybe not all the pilots had died. Reports are only reports until the evidence is in. The day after the private birthday party was when the catastrophic news was verified.
It was also the day of the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem, which nobody cancelled. A very public parade in support of forbidden sexual activities was held before the pilots’ bodies were even identified. While the army completed its hideous task of gathering the remains, a celebration was in progress in the streets of Jerusalem.
Why was the press so silent about this? I guess it just depends on whose ox has been gored.
THELMA JACOBSON Petah Tikva Still enthusiastic
Jerusalem’s Hebrew University was the scene of an extraordinary event
last week. A 50-year reunion was held by members of the Student Zionist
Organization (SZO), a North American offshoot of Hillel in the 1950s and
Now greying, but as idealistic as they were in their
youth, the participants, some of whom had been out of touch since their
campus days, greeted and kvelled with each other. After some photo
sharing and the muchappreciated songs and dances, some serious
observations and conclusions were reached.
As Theodor Herzl and
Louis Brandeis discovered about themselves, Zionism was the “Sabbath of
their lives.” As these SZO students came to learn, a Zionist was a
person who not only loved the Land of Israel, but could open himself up
and allow Israel to change him.
SZO never grew to more than about
2,500 members during the 10 years of its existence, but the quality of
its membership was impressive. Looking at the bios in the reunion
booklet, one cannot but be stunned at the accomplishments and
Of the approximately 100 who made aliya, their
offspring now number more than 500. Many served with distinction in the
IDF, and some paid the ultimate price.
Lurking in the background
was a recent accusation that when Americans come to Israel they check
either their Zionism or their progressivism at the door. These SZO grads
gave their answer 50 years ago, and gave it again this week.
The participants at a recent event held at Ma’ale Hahamisha by the
Orthodox Union (August 2) were taking part in the organization’s NCSY
program, and not as noted.