The threat to build

Sir, – With regard to “J’lem to okay 3,000 new units in response to PA unity gov’t” (June 5), will we now accept that we are on our own and must do what is right for us, and not bow to the wishes of America or anyone else? Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has many times “threatened” to build, but due to what he calls political pressure from Obama it never actually gets off the ground. Our position of building in the Jewish land should not be dependent on what the Palestinian Authority does or does not do.

It is time to let the PA collapse.

We have no obligation to support it and we certainly are under no obligation to hand over to it any part of our land.

I would like to know from Netanyahu exactly what is the difference between PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah organization and Hamas.

Hamas, as we know, is dedicated to our destruction. But surely when Abbas tells us we have no history here, that the “Palestinians” were here long before us, that in his Palestine there will not be even one Jew and that all of Israel must be conquered (as is taught in PA-sponsored schools and media), it means he is dedicated to our destruction.

I submit to the prime minister that it is way past time for him to stand up for the justness of our cause and declare the farcical “peace talks” dead and buried.

EDITH OGNALL
Netanya

Sir, – I find it an appalling breach of principles that the Obama administration has indicated its willingness to deal with a government that includes Hamas (“US to work with new Fatah-Hamas government,” June 3). It is unconscionable and wholly unacceptable.

It is a step too far. Let the EU play that hand – the US must not, and it’s time that someone stood up and said so in every venue available to reasonable people.

Let’s be clear about Hamas, both pre- and post-unification: It has not walked away from its declared intention to destroy the state of Israel. It still has over 12,000 missiles and projectiles.

It falls outside the requirements the Quartet established for legitimization as a valid Palestinian representative, which include recognition of Israel’s right to exist, renunciation of violence and terror, and the endorsement of previous Israeli- Palestinian agreements.

President Obama has stated repeatedly that the United States is Israel’s ally and that this country will support Israel to the hilt. One can hardly say that the US recognition of the Palestinian unity government demonstrates this commitment.

JOEL R. SCHWARTZMAN
Lone Tree, Colorado

Pathetic move


Sir, – If it wasn’t so pathetic, I would have cracked up laughing when I heard US President Barack Obama explaining why he traded five Taliban murderers for one American soldier.

He emphasized how important it was to get Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl back because he wasn’t well, but we never heard what was wrong with him.

I am glad the American people are hostile about the five murderers being traded. It makes me remember the American pressure on us to release murderers.

GERALDINE THEMAL
Kiryat Tivon

Pray for Meriam

Sir, – I had heard about the verdict from Khartoum sentencing Meriam Ibrahim to flogging and hanging, but when I read “Religious intolerance” (Editorial, June 5), I felt the need to express my utter horror and fear that the world will remain silent.

There are so many petitions circulating Internet. Maybe one could circulate from Israel, calling on the world to protest this outrageous sentence. Making her give birth, shackled in chains, and then await 100 lashes before execution by hanging leaves me speechless with horror. Her crime? To cling to her Christian faith.

Her name is Meriam, mine is Miriam. I pray for her.

MIRIAM (MICKEY) BLUMBERG
Jerusalem

No hypocrisy

Sir, – Uri Regev complains about the chief rabbis’ “hypocrisy” when it comes to freedom of religion, the Women of the Wall, non-Orthodox streams, “extremist”Jews and more (“Hypocrisy and self-righteousness?” Comment & Features, June 5).

On the issue of violence against priests I don’t know what is going on in the Chief Rabbinate as I am not privy to the discussions. Yet I am positive that the issue is on their agenda and somehow, not necessarily publicly, something is being done, as this is certainly not the Jewish way.

When it comes to non-Orthodox streams, well, they do have the freedom to hold services in their own places of worship and have seminaries where their own versions of Judaism are taught. Those of us who value both the written and oral laws relish the fact that public institutions must be basically kosher, Shabbat is the national day of rest and issues that affect the Jewish people as a whole (marriage, divorce, etc.) are being done according to real Jewish law.

As for Women of the Wall – and to those who say they are observant yet think they have to be “equal” to men – something is missing in their education or they are too much influenced by outside ideas. There are enough things for women to do inside the “four amot of the law,” and changes are occurring.

As for views toward Christianity, there are laws concerning attitudes toward churches and praying quietly that they not be here in our holy land (especially considering our history with the Church). This is not a sin – although acting on those thoughts is definitely wrong! And all can worship here freely.

I could go on, but the bottom line is the rabbis are not hypocritical.

BATYA BERLINGER
Jerusalem

Listening elsewhere

Sir, – Reader Elisabeth Gitterman (“Yes to IBA News,” Letters, June 5) highlights the poor deal English speakers have been receiving from the Israel Broadcasting Authority for many years.

Back in the 1980s, in addition to a series of daily Voice of Israel radio news broadcasts in English, there was a wonderful half-hour show run by Sara Manobla covering all aspects of the country’s cultural life. It fell victim, as did so much else – including radio drama on the Voice of Israel – to shortsighted funding cuts.

However, there is hope for English speakers who have access to the Internet. The nascent English-language radio station TLV1, broadcasting from Tel Aviv, is on the air daily from 1 to 9 p.m. with a wide range of programs. The station can be found at http://tlv1.fm/ live.

NEVILLE TELLER
Beit Shemesh

Still feeling left out

Sir, – Early in May you were kind enough to publish a letter from me (“Not all are Yanks,” May 8) that said: “We are one of the most cosmopolitan countries on the face of the globe, boasting olim from Japan, New Zealand, Hawaii and the rest of the planet, yet 14 of the questions in your “20 questions” quiz (Arts & Entertainment, May 5) can be answered only by those who either were born in or have an exceptionally high level of knowledge of the United States of America.”

The editor of the Arts & Entertainment pages must have taken my message to heart since there appears another “20 Questions” quiz (“A walk down memory aisle”) on June 5 that only an American (or a certified cinema nerd) would be capable of answering – all 20 of them.

Perhaps in future editions you might reserve a quarter of a column for the remainder of the planet.

STANLEY COHEN
Jerusalem

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