Olmert reflux

Sir, – With regard to “Hotovely strikes preemptively to stop Olmert from running” (October 11), it would be difficult to picture a prime minister named Ehud Olmert after the coming elections.

The verdict that came from the courts truly leaves one bewildered.

If a man like this, a lawyer, claims he knew nothing about the handling of finances in his own office, how can he be trusted to know what is happening in the nation of Israel? What can happen to our poor government if his trusted advisers and cabinet ministers do not inform him of their doings?

It is very obvious that anyone encouraging Olmert to run for political office is not a friend of his, his family or the people of Israel. We deserve a prime minister who can be trusted to know what is going on.

THELMA SUSSWEIN
Jerusalem

Sir, – Setting aside Ehud Olmert’s numerous unfortunate brushes with the Israeli legal system, the public should bear in mind that this man chose to undergo prostate cancer surgery at New York City’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer clinic rather than in Israel.

If his confidence in our medical institutions was such that he felt it necessary to go abroad, why should we, the Israeli public, have any confidence in him?

DAVID S. ADDLEMAN
Mevaseret Zion

Change the system

Sir, – While Israel is not quite the Titanic, our forthcoming elections will be little more than a shuffling of the deck chairs on a woefully hobbled ship (“Election fever,” Editorial, October 11).

The reason is obvious. Our government – regardless of which wing has the plurality – is essentially a dog wagged by tails called minority coalition partners. Hence, there can never be any coherent policy that drives our ship of state for a period of four months, let alone four years. Ministerial shuffling is a constant, and ongoing blackmail by coalition partners is chronic. Policy, to the degree that there is one, is forever diluted by coalition pressures and concerns.

The solution is obvious: Direct elections with accountability to the electorate. This would effectively turn ours into a two-party system by marginalizing special-interest factions, and enable our government to actually govern and prove its worth.

Sadly, this can happen only if a majority of the sinecures now glued to their Knesset chairs would allow it to happen. Alas, the notion of apparatchiks voluntarily lifting their faces out of the feedbags is not very realistic.

J.J. GROSS
Jerusalem

Stay-at-home kids

Sir, – Regarding “Israeli students increasingly dependent on parents, says survey” (October 10), American students are dependent on their parents, too.

Parents in the US take out second mortgages and pay far-higher tuition fees, even taking into account higher income levels.

One student moved out of his parents’ apartment to move in with his girlfriend and live closer to the university? That is his choice and no one should be expected to pay for that except him. Another student had to work? I know single moms who attend college, work and take care of their kids.

As for the disadvantaged, appropriate financial assistance should be available to them, perhaps work-study programs, as in the US.

No, Israeli students, you are not entitled to move in with your girlfriend and expect me to pay for it. You have to work if you want more stuff, like cars. Grow up and stop whining!

SUSAN ENGOLTZ
Jerusalem

Cannot fathom

Sir, – Your October 10 editorial “Anti-jihad ads” is of an opinion I just cannot fathom, that the response by Rabbis for Human Rights North America is a good way to respond to Pamela Geller, head of the American Freedom Defense Initiative.

Geller’s ad states: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel, defeat jihad.” This is straightforward and no nonsense, whereas the ad by Rabbis for Human Rights (looks mainly like Muslim rights to me) states: “Choose love. Help stop bigotry against our Muslim neighbors.”

The world lives in fear of the Muslims, which is exactly what they intend considering the fact that their end game is to rule the world by caliphate. By giving in to their every perverted sense of injustice we legitimize and excuse those perversions while condemning anyone who has the gumption to stand up to them.

Who can deny that only savages teach their children to hate Jews and strap on bombs so they can die jihadis, happy knowing they also murdered innocent people, perhaps children as young as themselves? Who can deny that only savages blow up airplanes, buses (preferably school buses packed with children), shopping malls, restaurants and anything else their evil, twisted minds can access?

YENTEL JACOBS
Netanya

Myths and lies

Sir, – In his latest Encountering Peace column, which turns out to be about the two-state solution and not poisoned soft drinks (“Zionist fantacide,” October 10), Gershon Baskin writes: “I recognize the myth and the lies.”

If Baskin fails to recognize that nothing in their history or culture renders the Palestinian Arabs so distinct from their Arab neighbors as to require a state of their own, then he does not recognize the myth. And if he does not recognize that more than seeking national rights for themselves, the Palestinian Arab leaders seek to deny rights to Jews and Christians, then he does not recognize the lies.

MARK L. LEVINSON
Herzliya

Sir, – Gershon Baskin writes as if the Palestinians would be happy to accept a two-state solution.

But that is a lie! What does he think they mean by “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free?” He declares as truth the myth that Arabs would accept Jews living in the part of our land that is given to them. Yet that is a lie! Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has stated quite clearly that such a state would be judenrein.

By settling our land, we have not created a “monstrous mess”; we have made the land flourish.

The Right is not marching us “down the road of national suicide.” Saying so is just repeating falsehoods. Indeed, all of us, Right and Left, have created a beautiful country, one whose hospitals have saved many non- Jewish lives, and whose universities have educated many Muslims.

Watch out, Mr. Baskin. They want to get all of us. They want to destroy you, too.

RHEA ISRAEL
Rehovot

Sir, – Gershon Baskin should know better. When was the PLO founded? In 1964. Why did it not then just declare Palestinian independence? There were no settlers or settlements.

The truth is that the Palestinians do not want and never wanted two states for two peoples.

They want 23 Arab States and no Jewish State. That is why their demand is for a Palestinian state on the West Bank and an unlimited right of return in what would be left of Israel.

DAVID WILLIG
Safed

Cycle with care

Sir, – With regard to “Cycling in the city” (October 7), if citizens of Tel Aviv are to be encouraged to take to riding bicycles for city travel in the interests of cleaner air and the improvement of road safety, it is imperative that bike paths are determined at the side of roads and their usage is strictly enforced, with penalties for violations.

There is no logic to caring about road safety while increasing the danger that already exists to pedestrians from cyclists using the sidewalk – more often than not as a speed track.

LEILA CUMBER
London

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