Yishai not at fault
Sir, – We are told in “Why Eli Yishai must not resign” (Terra Incognita, December 8) that “...Yishai had in the past demanded an increase in the fire service budget.”
In Israel, “man proposes, God disposes” has been transformed to “the Knesset proposes, the Ministry of Finance disposes.” No thinking citizen can miss the fact that through the distorted way in which the bureaucratic machinery of the legislature operates, the country is now run by the Treasury.
In the final analysis, the blame for half the country going up in flames can thus be laid at the door of the Ministry of Finance.GERRY MYERS
Sir, – Sadly, Seth Frantzman is right when he points out that the Carmel fire
unleashed indiscriminate recriminations and blame against Interior Minister Eli
Yishai although “[n]ot one solid fact shows Yishai to have been
As Frantzman noted, Yishai was hardly deserving to be picked
out as the fall guy for this horrible tragedy, but it seems to satisfy those
who, rather than seeking the truth, are almost too happy to point an accusing
Isn’t it about time that all those who share genuine concern for
the national well-being make their voices heard? ZEV CHAMUDOT
Petah TikvaSpreading the blame
Sir, – As officials begin the blame game over the tragic
Carmel wildfire, there are many directions they will be pointing. Yet two things
will probably be overlooked.
First and foremost is the lack of proper
parental guidance, as the youth who was in the woods smoking a water pipe either
was not taught the dangers of smoking or succumbed to its
All parents should talk to their children about the
dangers of smoking.
Second, the Ministry of Health has failed miserably
in reducing smoking, let alone in any noticeable educational campaign on its
dangers. We can learn from the US, where laws and policies protect people’s
right to breathe air that’s free of second-hand smoke.
anti-smoking laws exist in Israel, enforcement leaves much to be desired. I
personally have witnessed blatant violations that are actually tolerated where
smoking is supposedly not allowed.
Adopting tougher measures will reduce
smoking, reduce lethal health issues and, yes, help prevent forest
Sir, – The real cause of the forest fire was not teenage smoking.
not underfunded or under-equipped firefighters, or even the refusal to accept
firefighting equipment from non- Jews.
The fire was first reported when
it was still small. More than an hour went by before firefighters showed up at
what was then an out-of-control situation.
Where were those firefighters?MOSHE DAVID
Sir, – Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s reported explanation for the sickening deaths during
the fire on the Carmel – that they were due to Sabbath desecration – recalled
for me Carl Sandberg’s bitter comment on the death of a seamstress in a workshop
fire: It was the hand of God and the lack of fire escapes.D. GLICK
JerusalemProperty and racism
Sir, – Michael Marmur (“The fire is still burning: Racism is spreading,” Comment
& Features, December 8) sarcastically describes the rabbis who forbid the
renting or sale of property to non-Jews as “saintly.” I would call them
despicable. (By the way, I am an observant Jew.) NAOMI KUBITSKY
Sir, – Michael Marmur’s piece about the spread of racism by Orthodox rabbis to
me appears to be a sad excuse to malign Orthodoxy and post a ridiculous argument
that seems to indicate he has no clue as to how both Jews and Judaism have
survived attempts aimed at their annihilation for over 2,000 years.
has the audacity to bring up Mattathias, hero of the story of Hanukka, as well
as the candles lit on the holiday, questioning whether they are “symbols of
bigotry or of boundary maintenance, of hatred or of hope?” If Jews such as
Mattathias and good oldfashioned traditional Judaism did not survive, there
would be no Jewish nation, no State of Israel to be a beacon of light to the
nations. (Yes, even with all of the faults that encompass Israel, we still hold
the higher moral ground when it comes to compassion and helping those in
trouble.) This letter is not a defense of all Orthodox rabbis or of every
utterance they make. Orthodox rabbis are not monolithic. They have differing
opinions as well.
I challenge Marmur to salute those Orthodox rabbis who
in fact are supportive, for example, of soldiers who convert to Judaism via IDF
Then we will see just how high a level of tolerance
he has. He can still repent and apologize for this maligning.BARBARA
Beit ShemeshIt’s the oil, stupid
Sir, – Regarding “City rabbis: Don’t sell or rent property to non- Jews”
(December 8), don’t worry – they will change their minds when it comes time to
sell our hametz next Pessah.DANIEL ABELMAN
Sir, – David Dabscheck (“Et tu, liberal?,” Comment & Features, December 7)
accurately describes the evolution of Israel into a more tolerant and
pluralistic society even as liberals and much of the international community
increasingly demonize it. However, tying liberal disenchantment with Israel to
the relative eclipse of the dominance of European Jewry in Israeli culture
misses the mark.
Certainly, most of those in the international community
who condemn Israel are not European Jews and thus couldn’t care less about the
decline of Ashkenazi influence. And Jewish intellectuals who criticize Israel
say they are mainly concerned with the occupation, an assertion that is
consistent with general liberal outlooks.
The erosion in support for
Israel stems mainly from the failure to provide a significant source of
alternative energy, which means that trillions of dollars continue to accrue for
some of the most retrograde and aggressive regimes on earth, providing them with
enormous political influence in the media and academia, both liberal
The challenge of liberal realists is to help other liberals see
that no amount of slick propaganda can conceal the ugly truth about the
uncompromising nature of global jihad and the need to defend ourselves against
Jericho, VermontLose the platitudes
Sir, – Cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser resisted calls from MKs
from across the political spectrum to change Israel’s approach to gaining
Jonathan Pollard’s release (“Gov’t resists change on Pollard,” December
It is an eternal stain on this country that Pollard has been
How else does one explain that with all the concessions forced
upon us by our supposed friend America, never once has our government made it a
condition to first have Pollard freed. It should be noted that at all times,
Pollard has refused to consider his release in return for the release of
terrorists from Israeli prisons.
This is a man of principle, which is a
heck of a lot more than we can say for our prime minister, who was quoted in the
same issue (“Ann Pollard arrives in Israel”) as saying so hypocritically that
“Israel has a moral obligation” to help the first wife of Jonathan Pollard, and
for our foreign minister, who said “we did the best that we could to help on
this matter because Ann Pollard’s place is in Israel, as is Jonathan
Forget the platitudes, guys. Get the man home