September 20: They'll be back

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September 19, 2006 22:13

Here, among the many horrors of our proportional list system, the voter's judgment is a useless, token slap on the political wrist.




letters to the editor 88

letters to the editor 88. (photo credit: )

They'll be back Sir, - Anshel Pfeffer's truism, "elected politicians… will be judged by the voters," does not mean in Israel what it means in real democracies, in which regional representatives risk electoral rejection for incompetence, corruption or lack of vision ("Lots of mistakes in war, but how deep should we probe," September 19). Where voters directly choose their politicians, ultimately every election is the people's chance to judge themselves, to correct earlier electoral choices as politicians prove themselves unworthy. Israeli "democracy" does not let voters judge their leaders. Here, among the many horrors of our proportional list system, the voter's judgment is a useless, token slap on the political wrist. Even if Kadima and Labor lost half their seats in an election, only the bottom members of their lists, who had nothing to do with the Lebanon fiasco, would lose out. The top people would remain, under pressure perhaps from self-serving leadership contenders, "humbled" and promising to "learn the lessons" and do better to "deserve" the people's trust, while still wielding power on behalf of their party. Most of the current cabinet would return to the next coalition to fight for a share of the graft, which is all the Israeli voter cynically expects of any faction. BARUCH SIROTA Jerusalem Don't forget the donor Sir, - The letter "Organ transplants" (September 19), which used the expression "the horror of lack of organs for transplant" reminded me of the TV program in which they showed a police station and found satisfaction in the fact that more people were signing organ donor cards when they got their driving license. However, the report continued, unfortunately, more people are buckling up their seat belts and not dying in car accidents, and less organs are thus available. What are we coming to? The fact that hearts, lungs, livers and kidneys can be replaced should not allow us to forget that these organs do not grow on trees. They are taken from people who have to die to donate them (except the kidney, which is one of two). And I fear the implication of the word "horror" - that more attention should be paid to the recipient than to the life of the donor. God gave us the rights to our own hearts, kidneys, livers and lungs, not to the organs of our fellow human beings. JACOB CHINITZ Jerusalem Fair coverage Sir, - In response to Golda Zafer-Smith's letter ("English news," September 19) concerning her complaint on the biased news coverage of CNN and the BBC she viewed while here on her recent trip, it's a pity that she did not know that Fox News is also available in Israel and has been for several years. English speakers visiting or residing in Israel can truly receive fair and balanced news reports concerning Israel. I wouldn't think of going elsewhere for my news on the Middle East. COOKIE SCHWAEBER-ISSAN Gizo Remember Darfur Sir, - There is a genocide taking place in Darfur that few Israelis know about. This genocide in the Western Region of Sudan is in fact related to us. Besides the promise of "Never Again," the same groups that threaten Israel are the ones that are letting this genocide occur. The same countries that are letting Iran develop its own nuclear weapons for genocide against Israel are letting genocide of Darfur's blacks take place. On Sunday there was a rally for Darfur in Jerusalem as part of the Global Day for Darfur. The turn out of only 200 people shows how much more we as a nation need to show that we care about other people, for if we don't care for other people in distress, who will care for us? The Diaspora is way ahead of us on this issue. The command "Lo ta'amod al dam re'acha" - Don't stand by while your brother's blood is being spilled - applies equally to non-Jews as well as Jews. It is time in Israel that we remember that we share the planet with people. We must not be silent after 400,000 people have already been killed. SERAPHYA BERRIN Founder, Talmidim Against Genocide Alon Shvut Ill-advised Sir, - Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar's willingness to criticize the pope's remarks, while being quite reluctant to denounce Muslim violence against churches in the Holy Land, is most unfortunate ("Palestinians attack 2 more churches," September 18). He ill-advisedly defines the conflict between the Moslems and a large part of the Western world as "a struggle between peoples" with no apparent connection to religious hostility. He thus completely ignores the reality of every terrorist attack, which is performed in the name of Allah and directed at destroying the infidels. Both Rabbi Menahem Froman and Amar suffer from a shameful naivete when they choose to remain oblivious to the sermons delivered in the mosques and the religious education offered in the madrassas that preach violence in the name of religion. ZEV CHAMUDOT Petah Tikva More on the pope Sir, - The violent reactions in many parts of the Islamic world to the recent speech by Pope Benedict XVI justified one of the very fears expressed in that address. They showed the link for many Islamists between religion and violence, their refusal to respond to criticism with rational arguments, but only with demonstrations, threats and actual violence. Today, the West often links genuine religious expression with peace and tolerance. Today, most Muslims identify genuine religion with submission (Islam) to the commands of the Koran. They are proud of their spectacular military expansion across continents, especially in the decades after the prophet's death. This is seen as a sign of God's blessing. I believe it is time for Muslims to answer some hard questions. JOSH ANDOVER London, Ontario Sir, - The most remarkable aspect of the entire Pope-Muslim fracas is the fact that neither the ayatollahs, nor Ken Livingstone, nor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, nor The Guardian, nor Saeb Erekat, nor George Galloway, nor Osama bin Laden, nor The Independent, nor Hanan Ashrawi, nor the BBC, nor Kofi Annan, nor Hassan Nasrallah, nor Amnesty International nor the rest of the State of Israel Fan Club have seen fit to pin the blame for the uproar on either Israel, the Jews or the "occupation." This must surely constitute some kind of a record. ELLIOT KRETZMER Kfar Saba Sir, - The pope shouldn't have made such a mistake. We are living in the 21st century - we want peace in the world; we want democracy; we want freedom. By his words, the pope only succeed in causing more problems. The issue with the Islamic world is already big, and he just made it bigger. I thought he would help narrow the huge abyss between Islam and the other religions. He should think twice the next time he speaks about Islam. LAVINIA OPREA Constanta, Romania Fairer to women Sir, - Women who pray at the Kotel (Western Wall) are congested into about one-fifth the area along the Wall (already made smaller by the new bridge to the Mugrabi Gate), while men have about four-fifths of the plaza and can pray in comfort. Why not allocate half the Kotel to women and half to men - that would be much fairer. DAVID ZOHAR Jerusalem Thank you, Mr. President Sir, - I think it is critical that every one of us who cares at all about the fate of Israel privately and publicly demonstrates his or her gratitude to US President George W. Bush for his ongoing steadfast support. Given the minimal support from the US Jewish community in his two presidential campaigns, and the entreaties of most other world leaders, much of the mainstream American media and some in his own administration to be more "even-handed," it is admirable that he has remained our greatest friend and ally on the international scene. At this critical moment in our history, a more even-handed approach by the US could be potentially fatal to Israel. Having worked in American politics for four decades before making aliya four years ago, I have found it axiomatic that those who fail to support those who support their cause eventually find themselves with few political supporters. BOB SCHLESINGER Netanya Act against Iran Sir, - Israel is committing suicide by not preventing the Iranian regime from causing great harm to Jews. It may not be too late yet, but Israelis support appeasing, weak and cowardly politicians when they should all be on the streets demanding strong action against the Iranian regime. It would certainly be dangerous, but it would change the whole situation in the Middle East, which is getting more and more dangerous because of Israel's appeasing attitude. Israel has to choose right now: the present deadly attitude of passive suicide, appeasing declared enemies, or strong action with courage, taking necessary risks. Who will take action first? That is a vital question. AURELIE SIMONET Geneva No dogs wanted Sir, - Your correspondent Adrian Ioinovici criticizes Jerusalem hotels for not accepting dogs (Letters, September19). I am sure that many would agree with me that we would not be prepared to sleep in a hotel room which had previously been occupied by a dog, for obvious reasons, not the least of which is that the mattress might now be occupied by fleas. Fussy travelers like me will not accept a room which had previously been occupied by a smoker, where it is only the smell of tobacco which we dislike. The possible discomfort of sleeping on a bed previously slept on by a canine would be worse. Would your correspondent please inform us of the name of the Saint Moritz hotel which willingly accepts dogs in the room, so that we can be sure to avoid reserving accommodation there. MYRA ZION Tel Mond


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