The Aussies volley

Sir, – Regarding “Halevy: Israel should not strike Iran without US approval” (August 5), the words coming from both Iran and Israel are increasingly frightening – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his hate-filled rhetoric, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his “make my day, bring ’em on” threats. Israel tries to persuade America to do the dirty work; America struggles to restrain Israel.

Netanyahu proclaims that he is “responsible.” Will he take responsibility for the millions of Israelis (Muslims, Christians and Jews) who will be massacred in the aftermath, the millions of Israelis, Jews and Americans who will be slaughtered world-wide? Will Israel pay restitution for generations to those slaughtered, as Germany still pays restitution for acts done generations ago? Will there be an Israel at all? And will Netanyahu take responsibility when the answer is “no?”

JUDY BAMBERGER
O’Connor, Australia

Sir, – Here in Australia, many uphold the position that Israel is a demonic Middle Eastern superpower largely responsible for much of the world’s woes.

Meanwhile, there are a plethora of countries in the region deemed to be gross violators of human rights that, incredibly, do not attract the ire of these so-called human rights activists.

Israel is the only mature democracy in the Middle East and a champion of the rights of minorities, women and gays.

Incongruously, it is Israel that cops the vitriol and wrath of the Left, even as Syria massacres its own citizens, Iran remains a police state, Saudi Arabia subjugates women and Jordan refuses to grant any sovereignty to the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who languish in makeshift refugee camps.

Why, then, is Israel the whipping boy for the Left?

JOEL FEREN
Melbourne, Australia

Let’s see him

Sir, – While I wholeheartedly agree with your deputy sports editor regarding the achievements of Alex Shatilov on the gymnastics floor, I have to call him to task on his dismissal of synchronized swimming (“Dreaming of a gymnast’s medal,” Allon Sinai’s London Diary, August 5). He is simply displaying his ignorance.

May I draw Sinai’s attention to another piece in the same issue of the Post (“Let the games begin,” Travel Trends), where it is written: “Synchronized swimming demands advanced water skills and requires great strength, endurance, flexibility, grace, artistry and precise timing, as well as exceptional breath control when upside down in the water.”

I shall take a cue from the famous lady who, when complaining about glib talkers who had criticized David Beckham for being inarticulate in interviews, challenged those same glib talkers to stand in a goal and try to save one of his free kicks: I challenge Sinai to spend 30 seconds upside-down in the water without touching the bottom of the pool, all the time twirling his body 360 degrees with his toes continuously pointed, totally synchronized with the other members of his team and the music, and then come up smiling!

ELLIE MORRIS
Asseret

Sir, – Blinded by striving for an Olympic moment of silence to memorialize the 11 Israeli athletes slaughtered 40 years ago at the games in Munich, we completely ignored the fact that this year’s Olympics began on Shabbat.

Our athletes participated on Shabbat, and also on Tisha Be’Av. We Jews should be ashamed! How can we expect to win any medals at all? Are we so removed from the word of God that we can justify any kind of desecration of our faith? Let’s all pay more attention to what is expected of us!

FEYGEH SARAH FRIEDMAN
Betar Illit

Futile gestures

Sir, – I’m constantly surprised at Jews who are surprised that the Palestinians continue to turn against us in spite of all our gestures of goodwill (“‘Anger’ in Jerusalem over PA’s failure to reciprocate goodwill measures,” August 3).

We return terrorists, both alive and dead. We negotiate on developing the Gaza gas field.

We recently signed an economic accord with the Palestinian Authority. We advanced the PA some NIS 180 million of tax money so salaries could be paid. And these are only a few of the many goodwill gestures we’ve made.

In return we get Arabs praising terrorists who have been set free, freed terrorists returning to their terrorist activities, Israel-bashing, and now, once again, talk of the Palestinian Authority’s seeking UN membership.

We cannot buy national pride with goodwill gestures, money or even 80 percent of our land.

The Palestinians feel all of Israel is theirs and won’t settle for one inch less. Why can’t we recognize this and realize this is one enemy we can’t turn into a friend? Where is our national pride, self-preservation and common sense?

BARBARA GINSBERG
Ma’aleh Adumim

An MK’s motivation

Sir, – The list of MK Haneen Zoabi’s “accomplishments” in your August 2 editorial (“Zoabi’s incitement”) mentions her dehumanization of Israeli terror victims and her lies aimed at disparaging the State of Israel.

What is her motivation for doing this? Is it to distract from the fact that she is more hungry for power and world-wide attention than she is for working hard for the benefit of her constituency? Her behavior is consistent with the Arab world’s attitude of blaming Israel for its ills rather than facing up to the responsibility for solving its own problems.

Or, perhaps Zoabi is a puppet doing the bidding of Hamas and the PA, which want to destroy Israel. Perpetrators of tyranny can be very fickle. When Zoabi loses her usefulness maybe they’ll hoist her on her own petard by accusing her of collaborating with Israel.

In the Arab world, the tolerance and forbearance shown in your editorial are viewed as weakness and will incite more bullying behavior.

ELISHEVA BORENSON
Jerusalem

Toughen up on AIDS

Sir, – The 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC, which wrapped up on July 27, ended on a perceived note of success.

Success, yes, in the enormous gains in decreasing morbidity and mortality from AIDS through education, scientific excellence and innovation in new drug treatments. Still, there has been enormous failure by not implementing public health measures that, in concert with existing methodologies, would begin the road to eliminating this, the greatest plague to humankind in the past 100 years.

The way to complete the task of eliminating AIDS in Israel is to institute mandatory routine testing, tracing and treatment for all HIV-infected patients, something the country has failed to do for decades. Cuba has done it and is the paradigm for AIDS control in the Western hemisphere.

In addition, the recent incursion of thousands of illegal immigrants into Israel has raised the stakes for the spread of AIDS.

At least 20 percent of HIV-infected patients in Israel are unaware of their infection, and these patients continue to pass on their infection to others.

Mandatory testing and tracing for AIDS would remove this threat, but it has been politically unacceptable.

The Israeli Ministry of Health has the opportunity to prolong uncountable numbers of lives and protect countless others.

Israel should choose to lead – and leave behind its ineffective public health policy.

SANFORD F. KUVIN
Palm Beach, Florida

The writer is a physician and founder and international chair of the Sanford Kuvin Center for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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