Harper’s visit



Sir, – I would like to extend a hearty welcome and thank you to our dear friend Stephen Harper, prime minister of Canada, who visited us here in Israel. As an expat, I have never been so proud to be Canadian.

Mr. Harper, you boldly stand by Israel and speak the truth.

You support Israel when many condemn it not for instigating, but for retaliating and preemptively stopping more terror by fighting fire with fire. Thank you for standing your moral ground.

I and others tried to attend a welcoming rally near the Knesset on Monday evening, but security apparently had it moved. Just know that we really tried to be there to cheer you on and tell you how proud we are of you for being a man who upholds the only true, just democracy in the Middle East.

You have many friends here in Israel.

BARBARA BROWN



Beit Shemesh



The writer has lived in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa



Sir, – I had the pleasure of attending Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s address to the Knesset.

As an Israeli, I was embarrassed by the behavior of our Knesset members. There were, of course, the two Arab MKs who heckled, interrupted and then rudely walked out during the address.

However, the behavior of the Jewish MKs was not that much better.

Many MK seats were vacant.

Of those who did attend, a good number of lawmakers spent their time texting on smart-phones, waving and signaling to guests in the galleries, and schmoozing with other MKs during the address.

As we develop ties with our Canadian friends, it would be good if we could learn more about consideration and respect, especially when hosting a foreign head of government and staunch friend of Israel.

SHIMON ARBEL



Jerusalem



Sir, – It was so refreshing to read “Welcoming Harper” (Editorial, January 20), as well as Shmuley Boteach’s “The courage of Cory Booker” (No Holds Barred) on the same page. Both Harper and Booker have the courage to go against the crowd and do what they believe is right, not what is “politically correct” or popular.

As the Torah says, “Those who bless Israel shall be blessed.”

Bless you Prime Minister Harper and Sen. Booker!



SUSAN COOPERSMITH



Ma’aleh Adumim



Just name-calling



Sir, – David Newman’s column “What secret does Kerry have in store for us? (Borderline Views, January 21) is devoid of analysis of recent land-for-peace activity in Gaza. Clearly, this policy of a previous administration was an abject failure.

Prof. Newman’s ad hoc attacks on anyone he disagrees with as being a hawk, like Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett, is name-calling without any serious intellectual look at the facts. I would encourage him to be more fair to those whose policies he disagrees with in his future columns.

JONATHAN HULKOWER



Modi’in



Table manners



Sir, – Concerning “A taste of what’s to come” (Arts & Entertainment, January 21), while the judges of Master Chef might do a wonderful job judging the contestants’ food and entertaining us, their table manners leave a lot to be desired.

Could not each judge get a separate plate and cutlery? Could they not sit as they eat, and the cameras not focus on them chewing? This would respect the food, the viewers and the contestants.

BERURIAH ADLER



Jerusalem



Not surprising



Sir, – The item “Renault halts electric-car production” (Business & Finance, January 20) was not a surprise for me, someone who owns three electric cars.

The electric Fluence was too complicated, too heavy and lacked range. Also, the luggage compartment was almost completely taken up by the battery pack.

The idea of changing a battery pack to navigate a small country like Israel is outdated. With my Tesla S, I would be able to drive from Karmiel to Eilat with one charge, which should be enough for a country of Israel’s size.

It is a pity that nobody thinks about alternatives like the Nissan Leaf or the Tesla S, which would be very good working alternatives, especially for Israel.

RON KOK



Lenk, Switzerland



Here or there



Sir, – Unlike reader Susan Katz (“Wrong choir,” Letters, January 19), I have no reservations whatever in praising wholeheartedly Shmuley Boteach’s recent column “Bar mitzva in Judea and Samaria” (No Holds Barred, January 14), in which he tells us of his wonderful and unusual idea to devote his son’s bar mitzva to highlighting Jewish life in Judea and Samaria. I don’t consider it any business of mine or the letter writer’s whether he chooses to make his home in America or Israel.

It is grossly unfair to the rabbi to say he merely “talks the talk” and ought to “walk the walk,” which, the letter writer claims, is only possible through aliya. Even without making aliya, Rabbi Boteach does indeed walk the walk with his clever brainwaves to help popularize our country.

These include his son’s bar mitzva, which might well inspire others to follow suit, and his recent trip to Israel with Dr. Mehmet Oz, a very popular TV personality in America. Oz’s attachment to Israel was said to have been strengthened by the visit, and he doubtless is conveying a message of love for Israel to his huge TV audiences.

Considering that there is no shortage of Israel-bashers among America’s Jews, I myself wouldn’t dream of picking on Rabbi Boteach, one of Israel’s best friends there. On the contrary, with his love for Israel and his unswerving support for the settlers (which is not commonly encountered among celebrities of his caliber), he certainly comes across as a person to be looked up to and greatly admired.

RHONA YEMINI



Givatayim



Sir, – I congratulate Shmuley Boteach on his son’s bar mitzva and commend him for bringing his family to celebrate it in Israel.

Many of our friends and family from overseas have also celebrated life cycle events in Israel, although they are not rich and famous enough for me to copy their style and drop their names every week in The Jerusalem Post.

Until Boteach leaves his luxurious lifestyle in New Jersey and sends his sons (and, yes, his daughters) to the IDF, he is not qualified to judge whether it is worth the danger of stationing soldiers in especially vulnerable areas for the purpose of defending the minority of Israeli Jews who are living there.

I personally was saddened by the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, not for political reasons but because I personally knew of colleagues in the medical professions there who did wonderful work for the benefit of their Arab neighbors, too. I am also critical that many of those who were evicted from their homes are still not fully employed or housed in permanent accommodations.

Boteach admits that these Jews were “sitting ducks,” and indeed they suffered continuously from terrorist atrocities. He adds that they are defended by the IDF, but indeed one of the considerations when withdrawing from Gaza was the terrible casualty rate among our own soldiers.

As the mother of three sons and a daughter who served their full time in the IDF, and now with a granddaughter who is an officer and a grandson ready to begin his service in the summer, I am not willing to listen to the rambling recommendations of Jews from overseas who have not made that final commitment to our land, however much they donate or visit.

WENDY BLUMFIELD



Haifa



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