Sir, – The whole disgusting episode of charges and
counter-charges between Minister of Defense Ehud Barak and former chief of staff
Gabi Ashkenazi should be investigated (“Barak accuses Ashkenazi of bribery as
A-G mulls criminal probe into Harpaz affair,” May 7).
It is not only
personal; it has to do with the functioning of the Ministry of Defense and its
relationship with the IDF. It has to do with military options and controls, and
with civilian authority. The charges involved, more than involving a mere
appointment, has to do with the way future wars will be planned and
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein should reopen the
investigation now and lay this ugly matter to rest. The Defense Ministry must
clean house, and the lowliest soldier must feel confident in the commanding
Sir, – It’s about time
that MK Haneen Zoabi stopped brainwashing herself and took stock of her
surroundings (“Danon: Zoabi should be disqualified from next Knesset,” May
If she so much as protested, as she does here, in Syria, she would be
taken away with other demonstrators and shot. She could try her luck
demonstrating for women’s rights in Iran or Saudi Arabia and see how far she
My advice to Zoabi is to look around and appreciate the democracy
she is living in. Of course, she could be told of what the British did to Lord
Haw-Haw (William Joyce) at the end of WWII.
Sir, – Faina Kirschenbaum writes about the dates of May 8 and 9,
which commemorate the Allies’ victory over the Nazis and the signing of the
surrender (“Israel needs its own ‘Home Front,’” Comment & Features, May 7).
She states “The Allied victory is an important event to remember, not just to
commemorate the end of the Holocaust, but also to celebrate and give thanks to
the soldiers who rid the world of the Nazi evil.”
This statement is not
World War II did, officially, end with Germany surrendering on
May 9, 1945, but the Holocaust did not end then. There were pogroms and other
organized killings of Jews after this date. This means the Holocaust, as an
organized action to kill Jews, continued after the war ended.
the terms “WWII” and “Holocaust” as if they were the same. The two went in
tandem for a good part of the time, but they did not start or end on identical
dates. This has been pointed out in many analyses of that period.
Sir, – The exodus of Arab Christians
from the Middle East (with the exception of Israel) is due to the reasons David
Parsons points out (“The real root of the Christian exodus,” Comment &
Opinion, May 7). However, what I find exceedingly troubling is the reference to
Bob Simon’s 60 Minutes interview with the well-known anti-Israel Palestinian,
Rev. Mitri Raheb, in which Raheb claimed that the Israeli occupation of the West
Bank was the primary cause of this exodus.
Nothing could be farther from
the truth, and both Simon and the brass at CBS News know this.
highlights an irresponsibility on the part of some news media that causes
irreparable damage not only to Israel’s image, but to the very foundations of a
free press, is one of the basic pillars of a democracy. This kind of reporting
is rampant these days and is inexcusable on the part of CBS News, whose
reputation used to be impeccable.
HAIM M. LERNER
Sir, – For reasons known only to himself, reader James Adler (“In
their shoes,” Letters, May 7) once again skips over important
These include the wars against us by and for the Palestinians,
which were of their making.
That 19 percent of land he mentions (if that
is a true figure) is the result of their aggression, not our
Because we have a strong sense of self-preservation, as a result
of these wars we moved into positions strong enough to assure it will not be
easy to attack us again. Some of the areas we acquired we returned, some we will
We glorify life in our country and don’t promise paradise to
suicidal fame-seekers. We seek to achieve a country where there is dignity,
peace and security for all.
Sir, – Regarding “Price of tomatoes to reach NIS 16 per kg.” (Business &
Finance, May 7), can someone please explain why, in a country that is one of the
leaders in medical research and technology, sells advanced military equipment
around the world and exports agricultural produce in vast quantities, it is not
possible to organize a steady supply of tomatoes, a staple in the Israeli diet?
The “reason” given is the lack of foreign workers. Surely, if we need
able-bodied laborers capable of working outside in the heat, then the many
Sudanese and other Africans flooding into the country could be given
Sir, – Reader Chayim Seiden’s letter
(“Raison d’etre,” May 7) suggesting agricultural training for African migrants
is most constructive.
Jay Bushinsky’s plea for a more enlightened policy
regarding these people (“A federated state for Israelis and Palestinians,”
Observations, May 4) could, I believe be of much benefit to Israel with regard
to its relationship with African countries.
I have been thinking along
the same lines. It seems to me that educational facilities in Israel could be
made available to migrants. For example, teaching them technical trades of value
in agriculture and construction, and, for those with capability,
university-level professions, would facilitate their return home, where their
new skills would be appreciated.
Indeed, such a program could be
coordinated with their home countries or with other states in the region so that
their orderly return to the African continent could be organized.
people have undergone many risks and hardships in order to reach Israel, where
they had hoped to better their lives.
Such a program could change them
from being dispossessed to employable, and make the goodwill ambassadors for
I believe that such a far-sighted program could find financial
support among international agencies. It would be win-win situation and in
accord with Jewish values.
Losing their religion
Sir, – Your April 29 editorial “Replacing Tal” misses the point.
an underlying assumption that by refusing to participate in military service,
haredim are shirking their obligations and relying on others to protect them.
This is not only incorrect, it promotes an antagonism against haredim that
sometimes borders on racism.
To put it plainly, the vast majority of
haredim are afraid not of losing their lives during military service, but of
losing their religion.
Whether they are right or wrong, haredim feel that
military service is regarded by many in positions of authority as an opportunity
to water down the yiddishkeit of the haredim who serve. How else can they
explain the attitude of those who must obey trivial rules that offend their
beliefs? Your suggestion of economic incentives will not work. Haredim are
prepared to accept comparative poverty to protect their way of life. This will
continue at least until they are shown that the IDF no longer tolerates those
who trample on their beliefs.