October 19 UpFront: How Israel treats its Arabs

If Israeli Arabs were interested in developing their infrastructure, they would elect representatives who enunciate and work toward this goal.

October 18, 2007 10:47
3 minute read.

letters 88. (photo credit: Courtesy)

How Israel treats its Arabs Sir, - All that is wrong with David Forman's "The coming Third Intifada" (October 12) can be summed up in the accompanying photo: Israeli Arabs carrying the portrait of their elected champion, former MK Azmi Bishara, and Palestinian flags. Bishara and his Knesset colleagues did not run on a program of running water, electricity, telephone lines, sewer systems and access roads. They ran on a program of promoting the political segregation of Israeli Arabs and the political power of the Palestinians, negating Israel, and siding with its enemies. If Israeli Arabs were primarily interested in developing their infrastructure, they would elect representatives who enunciate and work toward this goal. Instead, they have clearly chosen the path of separation and political radicalism. The results should neither surprise us nor make us wallow in guilt. Rabbi Forman attempts to blacken the entire Israeli political system when it is the Arabs themselves who are choosing more and more to use that system in a destructive way. DOUG GREENER Jerusalem Sir, - I cannot understand why 100,000 Israeli Arabs are living without running water. I would have presumed that the whole of Israel - not a third world country - would have running water. Why are the Arabs singled out? They live here, so are entitled to the same amenities as us. What a disgrace. And the world is looking on. JUDY GOLDIN Kiryat Ono Sir, - Our country is growing on the base of a serious injustice, gravely damaging not only to Israel's Arab citizens but to the whole country. If we do not allow Arabs in Israel to live on an equal basis with their Jewish co-citizens, or at least not in the poverty Forman describes, we are not prepared to live in peace with anyone. Jews have learned to make their own justice, and we are teaching our Arab citizens to do the same. Our sons and grandsons will suffer the consequences. MIKHAIL KREUTZBERG Santiago de Chile Sir, - To claim that Israeli Arabs are not treated as human beings is scandalous and provides fodder for self-hating Jews abroad such as Ronnie Kasrils in South Africa and Gerald Kaufman in England. That there are significant deficiencies in the socioeconomic structures of some Arab communities is acknowledged by politicians on both sides of the political spectrum, and endeavors should be made to correct them. But Forman's accusation cannot be accepted. Moreover, his claim that these shortcomings will be responsible for a Third Intifada shows that he cannot see the wood for the trees. His article is accompanied by a photo of Arab supporters of former MK Azmi Bishara, who in Beirut once stated "We don't want [Israel's] democracy. Give us Palestine." As as an April editorial in your On-line Edition observed: "Each of [Bishara's] tirades further serves to stigmatize Israel's Arab citizens as fifth columnists." This is where the risk of a Third Intifada lies. MONTY M. ZION Tel Mond To clarify Sir, - In response to Judy Goldin's "A bit more gratitude" (Letters, October 5), my mother, Celia Goodman, did not say she would cut ties with England (Veterans, September 21). It was Austria she was referring to. She did tell the interviewer that Israel is now her home, and she has no wish to go back to live in England. JUDY HALPERIN Mevaseret Zion Wayward words Sir, - I thoroughly enjoy Liat Collins's way with words ("Almost exactly the same thing," October 12). When I was new here, in the early '50's, a few of us were waiting for a tremp when a car slowly passed us, then sped on its way without stopping. Halfway up an incline he was punished with the "Boom!" of a flat tire. I commented, "A puncture," to which a Yekke standing beside me responded very seriously: "Ze lo pantsher - ze mamash defect!" Sometimes the shoe's on the other foot. The English "super" comes from the Aramaic shufra, and "super-duper" comes from shufra dishufra. I'm still arguing about "sibling" being based on the Hebrew sevel (suffering). SHMUEL SHIMSHONI Hadera Sir, - Liat Collins's kitbeg experience reminded me of the time my grandson turned three and found my pronunciation absolutely hilarious. "Savta," said he, "Lo omrim 'Batman.' Omrim 'Betmen.'" SANDRA MISHALOV Tel Aviv

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