All together now

Sir, – Yair Lapid’s “olive branch” to the prime minister (“Lapid sends olive branch to Netanyahu,” February 19) is reminiscent of his victory celebration and Lapid’s rendition of the Beatles song “With a Little Help from My Friends.”

With apologies to Lennon and McCartney, I just hope he did not take a ticket to ride on a magical mystery tour of coalition talks. All the negotiators need to do is put in a hard day’s night of work; look here, there and everywhere for solutions; persuade the haredim that you can’t buy me love and they will have to get used to saying “you never give me your money”; accept the fact that it is a long and winding road to success but that eventually we can work it out.

With some help, all will surely come together.

ELLIE MORRIS
Asseret

Sir, – Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett are both showing the immaturity of political ingenues in their all-or-nothing approach to negotiating with Likud Beytenu.

If they don’t modify this they will prevent the formation of a new government. In the worst case they will bring us to new elections. They are bound to lose half their Knesset seats if it comes to that.

BRUM BERKOVITS
Haifa

Sir, – In discussing the possibility of Labor joining a Likud-led coalition in place of Yesh Atid and Bayit Yehudi, Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich proclaimed that joining the government was not an option because of the wide gap between her views and those of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

But then Yacimovich is quoted as saying: “People say we have to join the government to prevent it from being [so bad].

What are we, contraceptives?” That’s an odd metaphor. To many, conceiving and giving birth is not an event to be avoided at all costs. Yacimovich, the mother of two children, might have found a more appropriate adjective to convey her negative feelings about future political maneuverings.

FRED EHRMAN
Ra’anana

Quid pro quo

Sir, – Shas co-leader Eli Yishai said in the Knesset: “Torah study is what has protected the Jewish world...” (“Bennett visits haredi yeshivot,” February 19). Really? If that is the case then apparently there were not many religious Jews learning in Europe during World War II since there was very little protection for the Jews.

I am modern Orthodox and have nothing against the haredim, but that excuse is just a way for students to avoid their duty while remaining willing to take considerable amounts of money from the government.

If they don’t want to participate, they should not get any money.

HARVEY MATTHEW
Jerusalem

Obama visit

Sir, – President Barack Obama, when he comes to Israel, is to receive the Presidential Medal of Distinction (“Giving and getting,” February 19). He can place it next to another undeserved award, his Nobel Peace Prize.

LEONARD KAHN
Zichron Ya’acov

Sir, – As a daily subscriber to your paper I read almost everyday about President Obama’s upcoming visit to Israel.

I would like to suggest that the date of the visit be changed, and that Obama will come on Purim.

That day seems most appropriate, as the whole visit will make a terrific purimschpiel.

M. SCHAEFFER
Jerusalem

Lost in translation

Sir, – Shmulik Kraus will be dead for a long time, so The Jerusalem Post could have afforded to take another day and find correct translations for the titles of his songs (“Shmulik Kraus: A genius,” February 19).

Kraus wrote a tune called “Zehava the Doll,” which might possibly be referred to in English as “Goldie the Doll,” but certainly not “The Golden Doll,” as stated in the article. And he wrote a tune called “Zemer Nugeh,” meaning “Sad Song” or “Melancholy Song.” It was not “Zamar Noga, and, contrary to your article, means nothing like “Venus Singer.”

MARK L. LEVINSON
Herzliya

Altruistic donors

Sir, – In response to “Organs and statistics” (Comment & Features, February 19) by Robby Berman, I wonder why there was no mention of the many lives saved through altruistic kidney donations. I don’t have access to up-to-date statistics but I am well aware of the dramatic increase of live donors who have donated or are going through the testing process involving transplant surgery in Israeli hospitals.

Having found a wonderful, caring lifesaver for a close family member – both of them residents of this city – through our local English speakers on-line list, I have learned that Beit Shemesh has many such people who came forward and literally gave a new life to someone barely surviving with dialysis due to renal failure.

As a result, donors, recipients and their family members have become volunteer kidney matchmakers and, with use of the Internet, are producing altruistic donors for hundreds of those in need.

RUTH POSNER
Beit Shemesh

The writer is a volunteer for the organ donation groups Adi and Matnat Chaim

No martyrs, these

Sir, – Adam Lankford’s insistence that what drives Islamic “martyrs” are suicide and suicidal tendencies, and not sacrifice (“Exposing false ‘martyrs’ as suicidal,” Comment & Features, February 18), virtually ignores the fact that ultimately, such suicide attackers are little more than cowardly and cold-blooded murderers.

They are the exact opposite of any kind of “martyr,” which is defined by Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary as “a person who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty of witnessing to and refusing to renounce a religion” or “a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle.” Neither definition even hints at the possibility of murdering others being part of martyrdom.

In Judaism, one is obligated to sacrifice his or her own life rather than murder another individual, as opposed to the twisted Islamic version, which measures the greatness of one’s “martyrdom” by how many other human lives are taken along with the perpetrator’s! Perhaps most telling is the fact that Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar is quoted as saying that “suicide is forbidden in Islam,” as opposed to murder, which he doesn’t mention at all.

GERSHON HARRIS
Hatzor Haglilit

Sir, – The fact that suicide bombers are associated with martyrdom is disturbing, not only because, as Adam Lankford points out, many of its perpetrators suffer from depression and are looking for an easy way out, but because their main purpose is the killing of innocent civilians.

They should be referred to as homicide bombers because their incidental death is not the intention of their deed. And I’d argue that once they turn into murderers, their lives are devalued so that we needn’t focus on their personal demise.

It is the ultimate moral perversion to compare a suicide bomber to a soldier who throws himself onto an explosive device to absorb the impact with his own body in order to save comrades.

The former, motivated by hate, strives to kill, while the latter, motivated by love, aims to save lives.

While soldiers of a defensive army like the IDF are sometimes forced to kill, those killings are not the ultimate purpose, but rather a necessary evil to prevent a more devastating evil. In contrast, the homicide bomber seeks out death as the ultimate goal.

SHARON LINDENBAUM
Rehovot

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