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Oracle he is not
Sir, - If we view Ehud Olmert and Yossi Beilin as oracles, then Israel is in deep trouble. Instead of concentrating on the security and future well-being of the Jewish state, these two so-called experts, with their pro-Arab views, have placed the future and the very existence of Israel in peril ("Olmert as Oracle," Editorial, November 12).
We can only be grateful that an election is forthcoming in Israel that will sidetrack the Olmert peace process. Hopefully, the Israeli electorate will voice its disapproval of these men's views.
Silver Spring, Maryland
Sir, - Ehud Olmert's radical speech this past week that embraced the idea of an Israeli withdrawal to the 1949 armistice lines, "with minor corrections," would appear to be in direct contradiction to Kadima's purported claim to be a centrist party.
With Mahmoud Abbas, acting as the putative "moderate" Palestinian negotiator, meanwhile advocating the path of "shahids," what is the potential that an agreement ensuring Palestinian independence and Israeli security could become a reality?
In his final weeks in power, Olmert appears determined to roil the political landscape and burnish his reputation with a world ever-ready to empathize with the highly suspect Palestinian grievances, all in a vain attempt to "repair" his tainted legacy. His transparent self-serving ambitions must be thwarted.
Lakewood, New Jersey
Sir, - The Jerusalem Post has spent, in my opinion, the past four years shilling for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, even as he mismanaged the Second Lebanon War and engaged in every sort of corruption, but only now that he is on his way out has it become okay to begin deriding him. Why? Because the newspaper sees Olmert as an anchor on the leg of Livni as she runs to replace him? Sorry, but Olmert's record is Kadima's record, of which Livni has been a major contributor. Simply being an "honest Olmert" shouldn't be good enough for the Israeli people.
As for Olmert himself, on behalf of millions of readers everywhere, I urge the Post and all the rest of the media to stop reporting on him, and certainly to stop publishing his picture, so he can go on to where he belongs: the waste bin of history.
Keep it clean
Sir, - Since all of the candidates "promised" to clean up the city, the winner should pass a law against all the campaign signs which just make a mess of our cities and fill up our landfills with tons of plastic signs ("Barkat Promises to be mayor of all J'lem residents," November 13). Not to mention the fact that candidates think plastering the street corners with their lame slogans in the first place is going to gain them votes. It just shows how little they think of the intellectual level of voters.
Sir, - Camille Paglia's Op-Ed piece, "Yes, I still like Sarah Palin!" (November 13) would make more sense if she actually mentioned three major additional points.
First of all, it was the Republicans, far more than the Democrats, who attacked sweet Sarah. Second, the abortion debate was hardly mentioned in regards to her, and third, Palin's experience can best be summed up by noting that some people have 10 years of experience, while others have one year's experience 10 years in a row.
It's the wisdom and judgment that come from experience, not the experience itself.
RICHARD L. CURWIN
Will serve for food
Sir, - Sam Ser's article "Neither flour nor Torah" (Op-ed, November 12) completely ignores one of the main reasons that haredi Israelis find themselves outside the work force - and that is conscription into the IDF. This also explains the key difference between the typical haredi American and his Israeli counterpart. American haredim often work and even obtain higher degrees, but in Israel, those goals are not consistent with the army waiver which applies to those studying full-time in Yeshiva.
The haredi boycott of army service is still the biggest source of resentment by the secular and national religious. This issue will need to be resolved, though I can much sooner see the army relenting than the haredi leaders risking the exposure of their followers to the outside world. So far, the haredi leaders have been strongly against the Nahal haredi units, which allow for haredi service with religious insulation. Something will need to change to prevent the bankruptcy of the Israeli haredi sector. Time will tell.
Sir, - Michael Freund's article on Britain's "occupied territories" brought to light once again that anti-Semitism is alive and well in Britain ("Fundamentally Freund: Britain's Occupied Territories," November 12). The days of the British Empire when "Britannia ruled the Waves" are long gone, but with its remaining "possessions," Britannia waives the rules. The words "Perfidious Albion" are entirely appropriate.
Don't forget those...
Sir, - Concerning "A litany of World War Two saints" (Op-Ed, November 4): Why has Francisco Franco, who saved the lives and property of some 50,000 Sephardi Jews, been forgotten by Israel? Not in the same league, but what about Trujillo of the Dominican Republic who saved a few thousand Jews, and who also seems to have been forgotten?
And as to Pope Pius XII, whatever his faults, he saved possibly hundreds of thousands of Jews in that awful era. Note that he did not have the bomber that could have destroyed the railroads to the death camps. Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt all had such bombers.
...that are indeed pious
Sir, - It was a shame to read the published letter of Mr. Dean Macabee about Pope Pius XII in which he had the audacity to accuse him of concurring with Nazi ideology and the murder of six million Jews ("Still seeing guilt," Letters, November 13).
The defamation of Pius began only in 1963 when playwright Rolf Hochhuth staged his venomous anti-Catholic play The Deputy. Before that, it was common knowledge that Pius was a brave pope who rescued many Jews during the Holocaust by supplying them with certificates of baptism and hiding them in monasteries.
During the war, Pius gave instructions to all the papal nuncios in occupied Europe to open the gates of the monasteries and convents to every persecuted Jew. Hundreds of Jews were even hiding at the Vatican compound itself, and also at the pope's summer residence.
Even Jewish leaders like Golda Meir and Nahum Goldmann acknowledged that he was a friend of the Jews.
Jews do appreciate people who are doers and not talkers. Pius was just that, and there are many documents and testimonies to prove that is so, which are, regretfully, ignored by the hostile media.