Selective morality

Sir, – Israel’s legions of foes abroad are quick to castigate our treatment of Palestinian prisoners, most of who are incarcerated for serious offenses relating to security.

Many of those released over the years have – within months of their release – become active again in their murderous activities.

What do these critics with selective morality have to say about Hamas executing two Palestinians allegedly found guilty for spying for Israel (“Hamas executes two by hanging over ‘collaboration’ with Israel,” June 23)? There was no right of review by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, since Hamas does not recognize Abbas as having authority in Gaza.

This barbaric “execution” of justice influenced by considerations of nation or race by the highest levels of Gazan government is so much worse than the old apartheid South Africa, that used to hang blacks murdering whites but never the other way around.

Hamas is not only following in the worst ways the old South African apartheid regime, but finetuning it – Gaza style.

DAVID E. KAPLAN
Kfar Saba

Nothing new

Sir, – In regard to The Jerusalem Post article “The nation, religion and state – what’s new?” by Joel H. Golovensky (Comment and Features, June 23) – there really is nothing that’s new on this subject! Our ancient Jewish culture is an intertwining of nationality, religion and now (thankfully) state. Each one of these entities is dependent upon the other. Can nationality really be defined without the state? Can the state be characterized as Jewish without religion and nationality? And though the religion was practiced for two millennia without the state or clearly defined nationality, was it really as authentic as it should, or could be? Only time, patience, and brotherly love will eventually give us the answers.

HAIM M. LERNER
Ganei Tikva

Tennis temerity

Sir, – In regard to “An Israeli-less main draw at Wimbledon,” (Sports, June 21) – it is difficult to understand why Israel, with such wonderful tennis centers and facilities all around the country set up by Dr. Ian Froman (himself a former Davis Cup competitor from South Africa) is not producing some world-class tennis stars so that we do not have to such a headline.

There is, however, a underlying reason which is unlikely to change, and that is the strong resistance of Jewish parents to children dedicating themselves to a life career in tennis from a very young age. There is some justification for the parents’ concern.

The major reason is the need to make all school and higher learning studies secondary to tennis training.

Tennis, like all sports, has become highly professional, requiring outstanding physical and mental excellence and prowess and spending the majority of the tennis player’s time overseas.

If we as a country really want to succeed in sport internationally, our government should find ways to compensate those who take great risks to do so.

If such a “safety net” did exist, parents might be prepared to consider. Failing that, we will continue to drop out of the international sport of tennis.

DAVID GOSHEN
Kiryat Ono

Cheap and green

Sir, – If ever an Israeli entrepreneur received massive support from investors, government and even the president it is Shai Agassi (“Agassi: Green future inevitable – it’s cheaper,” June 20).

It ill behooves him to imply a conspiracy of “today’s interests” as a justification for the failure of Better Place. If Agassi is so much convinced of his “green tomorrow,” let him buy Better Place now – at a small fraction of the original huge investment – and prove his point. In the process he will be providing employment for loyal workers and protecting the interest of the customers who had faith in him and bought the electric cars he so much believes in.

ALFRED INSELBERG
Ra’anana

Dual decisions?


Sir, – Gershon Baskin’s latest article is headed “Decision-making time” (Encountering Peace, Comment and Features, June 20).

Wow, I thought to my surprise – I agree with Mr. Baskin! Reading further, however, I kept looking for a possible decision, give, gesture, anything from the side of the Palestinians.

Nada. The whole article jumpstarts (without negotiations) to what Israel is obliged to do.

“Decision-making time” is up the proverbial brick wall. So it’s up to the peace-loving leader of the Palestinians: Decide to loudly proclaim Israel is a Jewish State.

Decide to stop emphatically insisting on the return of all refugees. Decide to refrain from the ridiculous request that all terrorists should be released from Israeli prisons. Decide to swallow the fact that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people.

Unless and until these difficult decisions have come to pass, only unilateral action on the part of Israel will dent the status quo.

Somehow I think most of the world won’t pat us on our back for our outrageous temerity!

NAOMI FEINSTEIN
Nordiya

A place to start

Sir, – Whatever the shortfalls of gatherings such as the G8 or G20, however shackled by vested interests they may be, we need them.

Conflicts and economies are internationalized.

The discord at the G8 over the increasingly complex conflict in Syria questions our ability to continue to shape the future of the Middle East (“Putin torpedoes G8 nations’ efforts to push out Assad,” June 19).

It was all sadly redolent of the Cold War. Waning power does not mean abandoning our responsibilities but can tit-for-tat arming bring peace? There is no military solution to Syria; Afghanistan and Iraq should have taught us that lasting peace cannot be imposed by force. Wellorchestrated and persistent diplomacy, multilateral agreements, equity of rights, UN peacekeeping with teeth and economic development are our best hope.

Lacking at the G8 was recognition that resolution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict remains core to regional stability. Former US president Bill Clinton rightly describes the conflict as a microcosm of the challenges facing the whole world. As long as the United States and Europe are seen as complicit with Israel, we will continue to have enemies across the Middle East and Israel’s subjugation of the Palestinians will fuel anti-Semitism.

The final communique of the G8 failed to mention Israel is occupying Palestinian land. The duty of the international community should be to adopt diplomatic means to force Israel to abide by international resolutions. If we want to get something right in the Middle East, resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be a very good place to start.

KATE THICK
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK

Fortifying food

Sir, – Recently, Health Minister Yael German discussed the possibility of fortifying milk and white cheeses with vitamin D, flour with folic acid, and salt with iodine (“German doesn’t rule out fortifying food with nutrients to improve health,” June 17).

Deficiencies in these nutrients are unfortunately common, and adding them to these foods, as is done in some other countries, would help improve the population’s health. This might be a good effort to help mitigate preventable diseases, but like many other nutritional and medical interventions, it will in no way cure the problem. In this case, a good part of the problem is the substandard food that comprises the Western diet, and a good deal of the Israeli diet.

Processed foods, like white flour, white rice, white sugar, and table salt were once whole foods but were robbed of their nutrients in the manufacturing process.

Attempts to add a few vitamins back into these foods in no way replaces all the nutrients that were lost.

I would suggest that German also consider promoting whole foods, including those that naturally contain iodine, vitamin D, folate, and all the other nutrients we are lacking.

CARYN LIPSON
Rehovot

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