Sir, – With regard to “World mourns death of anti-apartheid
hero Mandela” (December 8), in April 2000, Nelson Mandela addressed a special
meeting of the Board of Deputies of British Jews in London. He devoted part of
his speech to the hopes for peace in the Middle East.
After referring to
recent meetings with various national leaders, Mandela declared that in his
opinion, Israel should cede territories gained in the Six Day War, but that
equally and crucially, Israel could not be expected to withdraw from the
territories it legitimately conquered when the Arabs wanted to wipe it off the
Therefore, the Arab states must make a clear and unequivocal
declaration that they recognize the existence of the State of Israel within
secure boundaries, and must establish diplomatic relations that reflect real
peace, not a cold peace.
Mandela could see that it was unreasonable for
Israel to leave territory without realistic guarantees.
understood that the whole Arab world was involved, and it was not what is too
often described as the “Israeli-Palestinian dispute.”
He looked forward
to a time when Israel would “play an important role in transforming the
economies of the Middle East,” and “use its skills for the entire
RONA L. HART
Sir, – Not to be outdone with all the
accolades for Nelson Mandela, during the years after Mandela’s release, my
pharmacist husband, Bernard, held the fort in the Johannesburg city center for a
cousin named Basil.
One day, Bernie found himself face-to-face with the
man, who had come in solo to pay his account.
Mandela held out a wad of
notes and said, “Good morning, please take what I owe Basil.”
counted out some notes and started writing the receipt.
it off, saying, “Don’t worry. I trust you.” And off he went, smiling at all on
his way out.
So be it. A blessed memory.
Sir, – US President Barack Obama’s appearance on TV with US-Israeli
media tycoon Haim Saban (“Obama: Diplomacy better than military action with
Iran,” December 8) added nothing new to enlighten my mind.
One of the
most important questions that should have been put to Obama was: Why did not the
Palestinians claim for the land or their independence before the 1967 Six Day
War? We all know they would have been butchered by the ruling Jordanians
(similar to what we witness in practically all Muslim countries), and that the
world would have been silent.
Taking in children
The legislation on foster care in Israel (“Knesset passes bill regulating foster
care system in Israel,” December 8) is a welcome change to a system that, while
well intentioned and staffed with amazing people, needs some fixing. The
additional value of this bill lies in raising awareness of the need for foster
parents who will continue to open their home to the many children who need
support and love.
As parents of both biological and foster children, we
have been blessed with the love and warmth that each brings to a home. While it
has not always been easy (and working with the system can be frustrating at
times), the rewards clearly outweigh any bumps along the way.
encourage anyone with the ability to be a foster parent to take advantage of the
resources they can offer to those who are less fortunate. As is always the case
with love, it is a gift in which you get so much more then what you are giving,
and yet what you give is so precious.
LISA and YISRAEL ZEITCHIK
Honesty in quotes
Sir, – It is most lamentable that Thomas L.
Friedman and The New York Times, for which he is the Middle East sage/poster
boy, cannot avoid anti-Israel vitriol even in a column that otherwise provides
objectivity and good sense. I refer to “The other Arab awakening” (Comment &
Features, December 8), in which he avers that the winds of evolution – as
opposed to revolution – are blowing in countries such as Saudi Arabia and
various other Gulf states.
In it Friedman alludes to leaders who are
trying to be judged by how they help their citizenry rather than how they
Resist? What, is Israel waging aggressive war against
the Gulf? Is it undermining Saudi Arabia? Is it hanging Arabs in public squares?
Would not the word “vilifying” or “hating” have been more accurate? Or, at the
very least, could not Friedman or the Times have exercised basic intellectual
honesty by putting resist in quotes? JAC FRIEDGUT Jerusalem We’re your neighbors
Sir, – Reader Jonathan Danilowitz (“Louts and noise,” Letters, December 8) must
not realize that 41 percent of Tel Aviv’s residents are under 30. Many of us pay
municipal taxes, just as he does, and deserve services that cater to our
My wife and I, along with our friends, live in the center
of Tel Aviv because we are interested in night life and culture.
I call it “culture.”
Whether one likes electronic music or not doesn’t
make it a less legitimate form of music.
The idea that the municipality
should care only about the writer’s demographic strikes me as selfish. The event
was on a Friday afternoon, probably out of respect for Shabbat, allowing
religious and secular residents to enjoy the music together and targeting more
than one group in Tel Aviv’s diverse population.
As for noise and mess,
when my wife and I walked to synagogue a few short hours after the party ended,
all of the litter had been cleared. It was the same kind of litter one sees
after any outdoor event, like the Nike Night Run. When I took part in the run
last month, there was loud music and litter everywhere, yet the event seemed to
be universally praised in the press.
Finally, the idea that one can tell
which people are from out of town just by looking at them sounds elitist and
Perhaps my kippa would make Mr. Danilowitz think I’m from
Gush Etzion, although I’m actually his neighbor.
Who’s sorry now?
Sir, – I was impressed by the Norwegian Christian leaders who
are headed here to make amends (“Norwegian group coming to ‘apologize for
Oslo,’” December 4).
Perhaps now the Israeli perpetra tors of the Oslo
Accords will have the moral courage and integrity to acknowledge their
disastrous mistake, apologize to the Israeli public and ask for
Such an apology is long overdue.
Yet I feel sure it
will not happen.
The hubris that characterizes those who were behind Oslo
will not permit them to admit they were mistaken and that their actions were
detrimental to the State of Israel and its citizens.
Sir, – What Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is doing in his ongoing
Iranian fixation is actually a very smart political strategy.
He is using
the same strategy that even US presidents have used when domestic conditions are
not the greatest. He is diverting the public’s attention from very serious
issues, such as the ever-increasing cost of living, unaffordable housing (even
for people earning a decent wage), the economic downturn spearheaded by a
measurable fall in exports, the threat that labor strikes will begin spreading,
continuing strife between the secular and religious, and the wave of gangland
activity, including numerous car bombings.
Netanyahu is actually playing
a smart political game. The question is, how long can the act last before the
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