Primary outcome

Sir, – In my opinion, the winners of the Likud primary (“Sa’ar, Erdan win Likud top slots two years in a row,” November 27) are Benny Begin, Dan Meridor and Micky Eitan, who represent the traditional liberal wing of the Likud.

After the primary vote this wing no longer exists. It will spare them the responsibility of the extreme actions that might be taken by the radical and irresponsible Likudniks in a future coalition.

The major loser is Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Although he praised the results, he knows both how bad it looks to our friends (regrettably they’re few) and how it will make his job more complicated. The other loser is the country. I don’t envy our Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs.

HENRY WEIL
Jerusalem

Sir, – I’m not at all sure Prime Minister Netanyahu will form the new government in 2013. This is not only due to the results of the Likud primary, but because the new head of Habayit Hayehudi, Naftali Bennett, is trying hard – and seems to be succeeding – in attracting voters to his party. Of course, these will come from the Likud.

Danger: The Likud will be getting smaller!

LYLIANE ALTMANN-BRUNSCHWIG
Jerusalem

Total denial

Sir, – Your editorial “Palestinian reality” (November 26) confirms my belief that the way to achieve peace between us and the Palestinians is certainly not by creating an artificial state between Israel and Jordan.

The thought of allowing Hamas and the PLO to share power, and giving people in Tel Aviv not more that 15 seconds to run for shelter when the rockets are fired from this new state, are totally unacceptable. Only a person in total denial would allow such a state to come into being.

(Besides, Hamas would never sign a treaty that recognizes the existence of the State of Israel.) Our priority at this time should be to bring over US President Barack Obama so he can see for himself why a new mini-state would not be a rational solution.

We must change directions before it is too late.

PAUL BERMAN
Shoham

Reacting with her feet

Sir, – I wish to thank Herb Keinon for highlighting just another of the many advantages of living here in Israel (“Rocket attacks and the rivers of Babylon,” Out There, November 25).

During the Six Day War I was living in London, and the anti- Israel media were just horrendous, especially the BBC. I particularly remember the Russian ambassador to Britain being interviewed by a fiercely pro-Arab interviewer; during the interview the ambassador strongly condemned Israel for attacking Syria without even mentioning the 20 years of Syrian attacks against us.

At this point I turned off the TV and thought to myself that it was time to move to Israel – which I did on September 1, 1967.

JOYCE KAHN
Petah Tikva

The way it is

Sir, – The recent events with Hamas left me very uneasy. It would appear that it thrives on perceived weakness, such as Israel’s concern for the lives of civilians regardless of whether they are Palestinian or Israeli.

The trade of one Israeli soldier for over 1,200 prisoners, including over 400 murderers, is an example of the contempt with which Hamas holds Israel and preys on its perceived weakness.

(Either that or its leaders are great negotiators.) What can Israel do about the threat of having terrorists in control of territory on its borders?

1. The death penalty should be applicable when terrorists murder people in Israel. This would prevent murderers from going free, and might even serve as a deterrent.

2. Israel should make it clear that rocket fire is tantamount to war, and should another war occur there will be no supplying Gaza with any supplies, including medical. There will be no helping “innocent civilians.”

That is because most Gazans are not innocent. They voted for Hamas and must bear the consequences.

3. Israel must make it clear that any further rocket fire will be met with whatever it takes to stop the rockets at a minimum human cost to Israel – regardless of the collateral damage.

If Hamas wants to place rockets near or inside schools, hospitals, hotels and houses, and not build shelters for its citizens, it must bear the consequences.

War is war and unfortunately civilians must sometimes die to end wars more quickly and reduce one’s own casualties.

The destruction of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II in order to save hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians should serve Israel as a good example.

I am not advocating the use of nuclear weapons, but Israel has other means.

When you are fighting an enemy that fears only strength, you must exhibit a willingness to use that strength; otherwise, you are perceived as weak and must bear the consequences.

Israel, regardless of what it does or doesn’t do when attacked, will be perceived as evil by most human rights groups, most Muslims and its usual internal and external enemies.

That’s the way it is. So protect your own citizens, including soldiers. That should be the priority.

Next comes Iran, the really big problem. But your prime minister already knows this.

ALLAN LONN
Hamilton, Ontario

Paying the piper

Sir, – Having defeated the Gaza wing of the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli government should make it pay for its aggression, even though we know the Europeans and Qatar will refill Hamas’s coffers within days.

Throughout history the aggressor, when vanquished, always covered the cost of war and paid for the damages. Yet all we hear is that Pillar of Defense is going to cost Israel over a billion dollars.

The just solution is for our government to deduct, in stages, the cost of the war from the $100 million in taxes it collects for the PA every month, and not from the Israeli public. And while it is doing that, it should collect the NIS 700 million the PA owes to the Israel Electric Corporation.

VELVEL ZEV WEISZ
Jerusalem

Not by chance

Sir, – There has been much controversy over those who try to explain events such as superstorm Sandy and Operation Pillar of Defense by citing the legalization of same-sex marriage or attempts to draft yeshiva students.

Some say that natural disasters are just nature taking its own course. Those same people may see the Six Day War, the First Gulf War or Pillar of Defense as having been politics taking its own course. But others among us see a different dimension.

What may surprise readers is that none other than US president Abraham Lincoln explained the American Civil War as God’s punishment for allowing slavery.

JOSEPH FELD
London

CORRECTIONS

In the article “Report claims iVoteIsrael has ties to Netanyahu ally Ron Lauder” (October 19), it was suggested that the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation had connections to and provided financial support to iVote Israel and One Jerusalem Ltd.

The foundation says this is false. Contrary to what was claimed in the article, the foundation does not maintain an office in Israel, nor does it conduct any programs or activities here.

The photograph placed next to Abraham Katsman’s byline in “‘Israeli-occupied’ no more: New Congress takes a left turn” (Comments & Features, November 27) was incorrect.

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