Sir, – A stream of important officials is coming to warn Israel
that any military action it might take against Iran would destabilize the Middle
East (“Top White House official arrives for talks on Iran,” February
I can hardly see that the Middle East is presently stabilized. It is
so volatile, and the West refuses to open its eyes. This is cowardly beyond
The United States under President Barack Obama is not the
leader of the free world at all. It has become part of the cowardly pack that
refuses to do battle for freedom and democracy.
Perhaps the leaders of
the US and what is left of the West should read John Donne’s Devotions upon
Emergent Occasions: “...never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for
Jerusalem Crack the book
Sir, – While EU foreign
policy chief Catherine Ashton calls on Israel to “preserve” the health of Khader
Adnan, an Islamic Jihad hunger striker who has been admitted to Safed’s Rebecca
Sieff Hospital (“Ashton calls on Israel to save Palestinian on hunger strike,”
February 19), her silence seems to tolerate the recent upsurge of Gaza rocket
attacks on Israel’s civilian population.
Ashton desperately needs to
reread the EU book on proportionality.
Sir, – Your editorial “The Iron Dome” (February 19) completely misses
the point, that many of our larger population areas can very effectively be
protected by Iron Dome. Of course, there is never a 100-percent guarantee, but
75% is a very high degree of protection indeed.
As is usual, it appears
that the periphery (as long as it is not Tel Aviv or Jerusalem) is not of utmost
importance to the editorial writer, who does not have to live through the
constant trauma of alarms and missiles strikes.
While it may be necessary
to cut the expenditures of most government ministries, it must not be forgotten
that we are fighting an existential war against very large enemy forces with
enormous financial and other resources available to them.
kowtowing to the demands of the haredim, who do not work or contribute to the
national economy, or increasing the salaries of our members of Knesset, the
needs of the IDF must be sacrosanct and not made subject to the whims and
self-interests of the prime minister and his cronies in a ridiculously
Sir, – Your editorial correctly
discusses the high cost of the Iron Dome anti-missile system, given its relative
ineffectiveness in defending against the crude rockets and missiles Israel faces
from Gaza’s Palestinian terrorists.
You imply that Iron Dome could be
canceled without seriously affecting Israel’s defense posture in order to help
finance the higher social spending demanded by the Israeli public.
agree that this is an idea worth considering.
I would also suggest that
the IDF and Defense Ministry consider saving both money and manpower by
eliminating what is laughingly referred to as army radio (“The future of army
radio,” Media Comment February 9).
Army radio serves no military purpose
whatsoever and has not for decades. It is largely staffed by non-military
personnel, most if not all of whom are on the political Left in the extreme and
miss no chance to express their opinions to all and sundry.
It is hard
for me to understand why this station still exists. Certainly, there are enough
private and public Israeli radio outlets to satisfy both civilian and military
listeners of every political persuasion.
Sir, – Yisrael Medad and Eli Pollak are to be commended for
their informative and well researched report on the composure and staffing of
the IDF’s radio station (“The future of army radio,” Media Comment, February
One the cornerstones of a democracy is that it should be completely
apolitical. One would presume that the radio station, being part of the army,
would also be apolitical. But as an element of the media in Israel, where even
the weather is a subject for political discourse, this might be too much to
expect. At least it should be completely balanced.
In addition, any
publicly held corporation is required to have transparency, including the
compensation given to its highest-paid employees. How much more so that should
this be required of an entity that is completely funded by the
Perhaps under army radio’s new management, this will be
Rehovot A great sport
Sir, – Many thanks to
reader H. Messinger for highlighting weekly hockey in Israel (“Holy
hockey,” Letters, February 19). As a regular of the games for over two years,
I’d like to add some points the writer missed.
We are far more than
“Jerusalem, Ra’anana and Efrat,” and we are hardly limited to olim. Our tireless
volunteer coordinator and head of the Israel Recreational Hockey Association
(IRHA), Danny Spodek, and his wonderful wife, Ornat, come from Zichron
Our world-class player/photographer Nimrod Gluckman drives in
from Netanya. Native-born Israelis Ziv and Gal drive from Tel Aviv, a mixed
Canadian-American group comes from Ginot Shomron, and the largest regular group
of all is from my city, Modi’in.
Many of us bring our children several
times a year to clinics and kids’ games. Our oldest player is in his 60s. Our
youngest regular in his early teens. They’re much younger than that in the kids’
Sports can unite people across ages, religions and
The annual IRHA tournament has led to hasbara (public
diplomacy) far beyond anything the Foreign Ministry has done, with excellent
pieces on both YouTube and CTV in Canada, as well as on US and European news
Hockey is fun, healthy, fast-paced, uniting and great for all of
us. All of Israel stands to benefit from investments in accessible hockey
facilities in the center of the country.
Sir, – I was taken aback by Shmuley Boteach’s decision to seek the
Republican nomination for Congress from his home district in New Jersey (“Why I
want to be the values-voice in the US Congress,” No Holds Barred, February 7).
He writes: “Separation of church and state is key in our nation. But that means
not imposing a religious creed on any citizen.....”
criticized many things in his columns in your newspaper, but he has never once
lifted his voice to protest the government-tolerated discrimination against
Conservative and Reform Jews in Israel that is led by the religious services
minister, the interior minister, the minister of construction and housing, the
Chief Rabbinate and municipal religious councils. These people and bodies have
publicly declared that non-Orthodox Jews are “inauthentic” Jews and have refused
to recognize marriages, divorces and conversions performed by non-Orthodox
What’s more, the leaders of the country’s modern-Orthodox sector
have never publicly denounced this blatant abuse of freedom of religion promised
in Israel’s Declaration of Independence.
Some time ago I wrote to Rabbi
Boteach urging him to condemn this discrimination. I have not received a
I ask again: Why the double standard? Freedom of religion is okay
for America, but not for Israel?