Set an example!
Sir, – Bashar Assad’s butchering of his own citizens represents
a challenge to Israel to define its role to the peoples of the region (“Syrian
forces storm town near Turkey,” June 19).
Israel should be in the lead
condemning Assad’s massacres as crimes against humanity, yet its officials have
been strangely silent. The fact that the US has been slow and tepid in its own
response should not be the basis of our policy.
Israel should be setting
the agenda, not responding to it. It should let the peoples in the region know
that we stand for core values that start with respect for human life, which
means respect for the rights to freedom of speech, assembly, worship and
religion for all.
It is true that we do not know what will come after
Assad, but at the very minimum calling for him to be tried for his butchery will
gain us the respect of those groups in Syria now rebelling against
And as a medical doctor, I call upon the British Medical Association
to strip Assad of his license to practice ophthalmology in the UK, if he still
has one.ELIHU D. RICHTER
Jerusalem The writer is head of the Genocide
Prevention Program at Hebrew University-Hadassah Changing the rules
Regarding “‘The whole of the French community is in mourning’” (June 19), this
shocking tragedy should be used to bring to an end a very dangerous practice of
allowing a commercial enterprise to open its doors for business before it
complies with all safety regulations and receives a valid business
In most Western countries, such a practice is not
The reason for the lax enforcement here is most probably
rooted in the desire by local authorities to obtain payment of municipal taxes
even though a business might not have a valid license.
that goes against the public interest is the failure of successive governments
to require that entire buildings be insured by the house committee, thus
benefiting all owners with a sharply reduced premium and placing responsibility
on one insurance company. This also would remove the need for drawn out
negotiations and litigation among numerous insurance companies, agents, owners
and tenants.DAVID GOSHEN
Kiryat Ono Amir and Marwan
Sir, – Once again a
prediction of mine has come to fruition. I stated in a recent letter to the Post
that Amir Peretz should be the front-runner in the Labor Party leadership race.
Sure enough, you state that, along with being a regular visitor to Marwan
Barghouti, Peretz has managed to bring in the largest number of new party
members (“Peretz admits to visiting Barghouti, June 19).
It is my belief
that with Peretz’s help, Labor is on the way back. And his friendship with
Barghouti (if that is what it is) could go a long way toward bringing Jews and
Palestinians together for the good of both groups, and certainly for the future
good of the Israel-Palestine connection.LEONARD ZURAKOV
Marwan Barghouti is in jail for a reason. He is a murderer, not a political
prisoner. Why would anybody at all consider him a partner? Amir Peretz is free
to choose his friends, but he dare not foist this murderer upon
Peretz believes that the Palestinian leadership is prepared to make
compromises. It would be interesting to learn which compromises they are
prepared to make.MARCELLA WACHTEL
Jerusalem Shame on Obama
Sir, – One of
the most shocking and disgusting acts ever perpetrated by an American president
was committed recently by Barak Obama when Jonathan Pollard, a prisoner for 25
years, was refused permission to see his dying father – even in shackles
(“Jonathan Pollard’s father dies at 95,” June 19).
One can only shake his
head in incredulous disbelief at this inhumane act. No caring or compassionate
person will forgive you, Mr. President. Shame on you! URI MILUNSKY
– Jonathan Pollard has already been incarcerated for over a quarter of a
century. This is unprecedented and unconscionable for any parallel
Pardons have been sought and often obtained for murderers and
their ilk on the premise that they have reformed. Regretfully, not so for
Pollard. What a travesty of justice.
Now, to add a terrible insult to
this injury, the White House refused to allow him to visit his dying father. How
can President Obama sleep at night? NAOMI FEINSTEIN
Sir, – MK Aryeh
Eldad (National Union) sent a condolence letter to Jonathan Pollard saying “The
people of Israel will never forgive Obama for his cruelty in not taking action
to free you from jail to visit your father.”
Not much chance of that, I
would say, as the people of Israel have shown only too often that their memories
Prime Minister Netanyahu should take note and remember how he
gave in to Obama’s demands to free terrorists that had murdered our people, how
he endangered his own people in order to make life easier for our
Netanyahu should take note that this is the man he depends on
for our security.EDITH OGNALL
Netanya The glass half-full
Sir, – Ziva
Mekonen-Dego is quoted in “Young Sabras becoming less supportive of Aliya” (June
15) as being of the opinion that students of Ethiopian origin are made to feel
like outcasts by the education system.
The AMIT educational network’s
educators try their hardest to believe in every immigrant student.
invest everything, with all their hearts, until every Ethiopian- born boy or
girl feels at home in school, becomes part of society and experiences success.
Thank God we see good results.
A few examples can put things in
Hadass Melda, a graduate of the AMIT ulpana in Beersheba and
daughter of a family of Ethiopian immigrants, recently graduated from medical
In 2010, all immigrant students at the AMIT ulpana in Haifa
completed their matriculation exams successfully, as did those studying at the
AMIT Nogah ulpana in Beit Shemesh. One of the members of the AMIT spiritual-
educational committee is Kess Samai Alias, a young cleric from Rishon Lezion who
helps us improve the way we connect with immigrant students.
We are aware
of the difficulties and bumps along the road, but it is important to see the
full half of the glass.SHMULIK KLEIN
Petah Tikva The writer is spokesman
for AMIT A better way
Sir, – Mark L. Levinson’s letter (“Better democracy?,”
June 14) missed the point.
First, constituency elections elsewhere have
proven to be superior to our disastrous system.
It is not true that
voters are “forced” to vote for a party they do not like. There have been
innumerable cases (in the US, at least) in which voters have crossed party lines
to vote for an individual deemed better than their favored party’s hack. That is
“All politics is local,” someone once said, and with a
constituency system, should your representative fail to deliver on his promises,
you can dump him for someone else while still voting for your favored party at
the national level.
No matter how much one might despise a party, the
bulk of what’s important is not dependent upon who is in power. Reducing choice
may actually be beneficial, particularly when you can present a menu of apples,
oranges and tomatoes while eliminating the Bamba, potato crisps, ipecac, castor
oil and arsenic.TREVOR DAVIS