Ulpana pays the tab

Sir, – It didn’t take long to see who would pay the price for the entrance of Kadima into the coalition (“Netanyahu authorizes 851 new homes after blocking outpost bill,” June 7). It is the 30 families of Ulpana.

Surely a solution could have been found within the law given a little effort and creativity. Even the pro-settlement-freeze advocates did not expect a Bibi-led government to remove people who have been in their homes for over a decade.

It is ironic that one of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s justifications for his decision was the impact on world opinion, for he does not seem concerned about world opinion regarding his decision to build 851 additional units in compensation.

Talk is cheap. There will be many days to wait before we actually see any of these promised homes. Meanwhile, 30 families have to start packing.

S. WEINREB
Ra’anana

Sir, – Prime Minister Netanyahu finally and conclusively shows that he has no conscience and no memories of his father, his past positions, his own promises or the Likud party platform. He blatantly ignores the realities of the Muslim world, the propagandized, so-called liberal West, and cannot admit there is no peace partner.

He should be fired by the Likud or the Likud should be abandoned for Habayit Hayehudi.

BARRY WEISS
Jerusalem

Sir, – Israel has been proudly presenting itself as being both Jewish and democratic. About the former some might raise questions. About the latter, it is quite obvious. Israel is not democratic.

As long as party discipline, backed up with blatant threats, is imposed upon our representatives in the Knesset, we cannot call ourselves a democracy. Just think back to the days of Stalin, Ceausescu, etc.

This might be a good starting point for a committee to change the method of government in this country.

HOWARD BURG
Netanya

Sir, – The Ulpana controversy points out the fallacy of numbers.

Here we sit, with a mammoth government ruling with 94 mandates, yet it’s stymied by partisanship.

A government, in order to govern effectively, must possess consensus or unity, and this can only be achieved by a willingness of divergent opinions and factions to compromise. This is applicable not only to coalitiontype governments, but to noncoalitions as well, where individual members, albeit of the same party, are entitled to different opinions on the same subject.

The lack of willingness to compromise in order to achieve what’s in the best interests of the country will always trump numerical majorities. Let this be a wake-up call for both Prime Minister Netanyahu’s abilities as a leader, as well as for Israeli democracy

RICHARD JACOBS
Haifa

Slapped wrist

Sir, – The sentence passed down on one of former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s closest aides is unbelievable (“Court gives Shula Zaken 4 months community service,” June 7).

How are people, especially youth, supposed to learn that crime does not pay? What kind of debt to society will Zaken be paying for her fraud and breach of trust? The judge’s statement that her position as Olmert’s bureau chief was really only that of secretary is totally irrelevant and ludicrous.

Zaken was given a slap on the wrist while our society was stabbed in the back.

NACHAMA KANNER
Rehovot

Wise guy?

Sir, – Despite his reputation as the smartest guy in the room, Alan Dershowitz (“Dershowitz: Offer Palestinians ‘absolute’ building freeze,” June 7) shows his lack of understanding regarding Israel’s place in the Middle East. An absolute freeze on Jewish construction as a way of testing the Palestinians’ seriousness to negotiate is myopic and undercuts Israel’s legitimacy.

The presence of one Jewish home in Judea and Samaria is too many for the Palestinians. In fact, the Arabs make it perfectly clear that all of Israel is illegitimate in their eyes.

STEVE KRAMER
Alfei Menashe

Sir, – Alan Dershowitz’s suggestions, including a settlement freeze, were, thank God, turned down by a “senior Israeli official” because of the natural growth needs in settlements.So instead of leaving the matter alone, Dershowitz, this “defender” of Israel, wrote his suggestions in The Wall Street Journal.

Is this man friend or foe? My grandma had a saying: “God watch my friends, I’ll watch my enemies.”

BARBARA GINSBERG
Ma’aleh Adumim

Wagner and us

Sir, – The June 7 Post featured letters covering Bishop Desmond Tutu’s innate and irrational anti- Semitism (“Take on Tutu”), as well as a plea to use monies spent on a privately-funded Wagner concert for more publicspirited causes (“Wagner waste”).

I mention Tutu’s depraved attitude because, like him, the post- Holocaust loathing of Richard Wagner and, by extension, his music, has occupied the souls of so many Israelis, even extending to our highest courts, that the very name as well as the music is officially excoriated here.

We all admire the works of great artists, painters and sculptors from the time of the Renaissance onward without considering too closely their peccadilloes – adultery, theft, sexual perversions, rape and even murder. But the crimes of those who were lovers of Wagner are so fresh in our minds that many of us are unable to separate the music from the composer, and thus we reject both.

Wagner’s music is to many the apotheosis of the Romantic period and is said to reach those parts other composers dared not approach. No doubt a day will come when a more proportionate attitude will exist in relation to this unpleasant example of humankind’s music, but until that day arrives we do not need to be lectured about how we spend our own money.

STANLEY COHEN
Jerusalem

Losing sleep

Sir, – Regarding Judy Montagu’s “White nights” (In My Own Write, June 6), Lady Macbeth remarks to Macbeth, “You lack the season of all natures, sleep.” But then, Macbeth had a lot on his mind, having just murdered Duncan, whose death is characterized as follows: “After life’s fitful fever he sleeps well.”

Sleep cannot be ordained, as the examples in this perceptive article demonstrate. Nor is insomnia inseparable from the mind’s activity, which is often reflected in dreams.

It is received wisdom that sleep before midnight is more beneficial, but all of us want to exploit our waking hours to the full and not, as it were, wasting valuable time sleeping. I suppose as a retiree I am able to be less concerned about my sleep patterns and can catnap during the day.

Winston Churchill’s sleep regime was eccentric – no doubt aided by liberal doses of alcohol – but he functioned magnificently.

So the jury must still be out on a solution to the issues so eloquently posed in this article, and we must, inconclusively, leave it at that.

RAYMOND CANNON
Netanya

Pinsker orphans

Sir, – In the 1920s a group of children from three orphanages in Pinsk were settled at Kfar Yeladim in Palestine. Forty-four of them went on to South Africa, and a further 53 were sent to Britain for adoption by the Pinsker Orphans Relief Fund of London.

I am compiling a book on these orphans and appeal to their descendants make contact with me at sedsand@iinet.net.au to share the life stories of their parents or grandparents.

DAVID SOLLY SANDLER
Wanneroo, Australia

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