And it’s about time
Sir, – While I feel deeply for the people of Syria and their horrid sufferings at the hands of the Damascus regime (“Dead Syrian boy emerges as symbol for protesters,” June 2), I believe that respect should be given where due.
Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate President Bashar Assad and all the long-suffering generals who have led that nation’s armed forces. Since 1948, with the establishment of the State of Israel and on through the Six Day War, the Yom Kippur War, the First Lebanon War and the attempt to intimidate Jordan, they have finally met an enemy they can defeat.DAVID STAR
Ma’aleh Adumim No mere paranoia
Sir, – In his June 2 column (“Ours not to reason why,” Rattling the
Cage), Larry Derfner, with hindsight, believes that the Israeli public
is too obsessed with security fears.
The last time I counted, we had fought eight wars, two intifadas and
aerial attacks from Iraq. Together they resulted in massive loss of
life, which Derfner does not mention.
More recently we witnessed the useless murder of the following: five
members of the Fogel family, Juliano Mer Khamis, Mary Jean
Gardner,Vittorio Arrigoni, Daniel Viflic, Aviv Morag and Ben Yosef
Maybe the Israeli public has good reason to fear for its safety after all.MATTIAS ROTENBERG
Petah Tikva On the wrong side
Sir, – Mohammad Darawshe (“A word on your Arab citizens,” Comment &
Features, June 2) asks Prime Minister Netanyahu to contrast the newly
passed Nakba Law to the apology recently issued by US President Obama to
the Native American community for violence perpetrated against them
hundreds of years ago.
One key difference between the two political realities lies in the fact
that Israeli Arabs are still seen as an existential threat to the Jewish
state. Take, for instance, the fact that when a Jewish driver
inadvertently makes a wrong turn and finds himself in an Arab
neighborhood, he will likely fear for his life until he can navigate his
way to safety. Possibly, a large majority of Israeli Arabs would never
think to inflict harm on innocent Jews, but too many incidents tell us
that they are a threat.
If Israeli Arabs would show loyalty and commitment to the state, similar
to the Druse, they would find a warm reception in the Jewish community,
even among the Right. There would be a greater willingness to deal with
issues of discrimination. But as long as they insist on aligning
themselves with an enemy that seeks our destruction, Israeli Jews like
me will remain suspicious and unsympathetic.SHARON LINDENBAUM
Rehovot Israelis are everywhere
Sir, – One agrees with Yonatan Silver and Antoinette Haselton (“Scottish
book ban...,” Letters, May 31) that we would hope the Scottish council
members will exclude those writings by Israelis in our bible. But will
they overlook other writers in the book known as the New Testament? That
book is written almost entirely by Israelis, including a tax collector
and a fisherman from the Galilee. Let’s not overlook Paul, who wrote a
great deal of it and described himself as “circumcised the eighth day,
of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the
Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee” (Philippians 3.5).
Aye, he’s pretty kenspeckle – oot w’ him! DAVID SHAW
Jerusalem Misguided ‘intactivists’
Sir, – In your May 27 editorial (“Say no to ‘brit mila’ ban”) you wrote: “Opposition to brit mila dates back to ancient times.
Romans, normally tolerant occupiers, were particularly hostile to the
practice before and after the destruction of the Second Temple....
Defacing the male sexual organ was seen by the pagan Romans as an attack
on the Hellenistic adoration of nature, considered perfect and a
reflection the will of the gods.”
The proposed vote on whether to ban the circumcision of males under the
age of 18 in San Francisco is just another example of the current
revival of neopaganism under the spurious banner of “human rights.” The
essential difference between the Jewish and pagan views of the world is
that we do not see nature as perfect but as something God has purposely
left slightly imperfect in order to give us the opportunity to correct
its faults, to which the Aleinu prayer, which we say three times a day,
This is the concept underlying circumcision because in doing it we
perform God’s command to perfect our bodies as a symbolic first stage in
the perfection of His world. It is this challenge to the pagan
worldview that has inspired the opposition to it throughout the ages,
from the times of the ancient Greeks and Romans to today’s misguided
“intactivists” of San Francisco.MARTIN D. STERN
Salford, UK Not all are impressed
Sir, – How exciting to read in The Jerusalem Post all the exuberant
reports and comments, as well as to witness the enthusiastic response to
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to US legislators.
Yet a careful close-up of the members of Congress who were assembled
that day in the Capitol reveals a simple truth: In five or 10 years,
most of these people will no longer be sitting and applauding in this
The men and women who will were sitting that day in classrooms at
Columbia, Harvard, Yale and Stanford. What kind of welcome would our
prime minister have received there? However much we may like or dislike
those institutions, the future we must speak to is in those classrooms.YORAM GETZLER
Sir, – Since Prime Minister Netanyahu chose to get involved in US
politics by making a misleading speech to Congress and giving fodder to
rabid Republicans, I see no reason for the US to try to influence other
countries regarding their vote on Palestinian statehood.
Does Netanyahu really believe he’s the only tough guy in this game? VITO MANNINA
Sir, – It’s true that Prime Minister Netanyahu is an excellent speaker,
especially in American English. It’s also true that any Israeli prime
minister invited to speak before the US Congress will receive cheers
even if he reads from the telephone book.
The bottom line, however, is that US President Obama said the solution
to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute should be based on the 1967 borders,
with land swaps.
He said this in his first speech, but also before AIPAC, and the
enthusiastic applause given Bibi in Congress won’t change this: Whether
we like it or not, the 1967 borders will now be the internationally
accepted basis for negotiations.
It is worth remembering that we’re not being asked to return to the
exact border. If we want to retain Ma’aleh Adumim, for example, we will
be asked where within the Green Line are we willing to part with a
similar area of land.
If we want, we can begin negotiations on this basis tomorrow morning and finish by September.
But if we wait until September, there will be a decision in the UN that
takes into account the border exactly as it existed before the Six Day
War, without any land swaps – and then our situation will be much worse.
Bibi spoke beautifully. Good for him. But time is working against us. It
will be better from every perspective if we offer an initiative and
gain what we still can. If not, we may be weeping bitterly in another
year over the opportunity we missed.YOSEF GORALI