It’s still Syria
With regard to “White House tells Congress to deter Iran with
Syria vote” (September 2), US President Barack Obama unfortunately has fallen
victim to his own naive incompetence.
His careless or thoughtless threat
concerning Bashar Assad’s use of poison gas has backfired.
His bluff has
been called. It is now clear to both his enemies and his diminishing circle of
friends that his words are not worth the teleprompter they are written
It matters not whether Obama now backs off completely by allowing
Congress to overrule him, or whether he fires a few symbolic missiles at
inconsequential targets. Either way we know – and, what’s more important, Iran’s
rulers know – that Assad can carry on with impunity.
I only hope that our
government has drawn the appropriate conclusion, namely that when the chips are
down we can rely only on ourselves.STEPHEN COHEN
Sir, – I
always believed that if somebody attacks you on the street you have choices:
surrender; try to escape; yell for help; or fight. If you fight, fight to win.
Not doing so makes no sense.
US President Barack Obama decided to fight
but not to win.
All the unfriendly countries of the world now know the US
is a paper tiger.JOSEPH M. SCHWARCZ
Sir, – Although the US
Constitution gives the president wide powers for framing foreign policy and
initiating military actions, President Barack Obama’s decision to involve
Congress in a decision to attack Syria could have definite benefits (“Obama’s
Strategy,” September 1). In the case of Israel and the Palestinians, we can hope
Obama asks for congressional approval before he tries to construct, or inveigle,
a peace agreement.
Congress has consistently shown itself to be much more
pro-Israel than either the White House or the State Department by overwhelmingly
passing resolutions that call on the US to deepen economic and security
assistance to Israel; support Israel’s right to self-defense, including a
military strike against Iran; and move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to
It’s safe to say that Congress would never have pressured
Israel to release convicted terrorists just to bring Palestinian negotiators to
the table. Can we imagine it calling on Jews to stop building housing anywhere
in the Land of Israel? We in Israel can only benefit if Obama continues to
involve Congress in his foreign policy decisions.DOUG GREENER
Time to leave
Sir, – I found “Why I’m leaving Israel” (Comment & Features,
September 2) extremely grating.
“So what’s an Anglo to do once they’ve
hit their English plateau?” the writer, Adina Siperman, asks after complaining
that business and negotiations are conducted in Hebrew.
How’s this for a
novel idea: learn the language. It is not unreasonable to expect that businesses
and workplaces will use the country’s native tongue? Also, she says she’s going
back to Toronto, where it will be possible to better support a family life. Ms.
Siperman, look around.
Do you really think this country doesn’t support
family life? Rather than blaming your failed aliya on structural problems here,
perhaps you should look inward.PERCHIYA GANZ
Sir, – It’s funny
that Adina Siperman doesn’t seem to remember what the factors were that brought
her here. She said she wanted an adventure and a mate, but I suspect she also
wanted the experience of being part of the Jewish homeland – just like the rest
of us who left wealthier and more developed nations where life clearly offered
more financial opportunity.
As an American immigrant I’d like to let her
know that some of us have not “hit the glass ceiling.”
Although I came
here in my 40s, I found a spouse, albeit one who does not speak English, so my
Hebrew after 20 years is nearly mother-tongue level and I manage an Israeli
school where only Hebrew is spoken.
I am not alone. Many Anglos have
worked hard to master Hebrew well enough to become integral parts of the Israeli
I almost never speak English here, and that is as it should
It’s not the language of the country.
If Siperman had
persevered, she, too, could have become proficient in Hebrew. It’s possible this
proficiency would have allowed her to realize the rest of her aspirations of
home, career and the many other wonderful advantages found in this amazing and
wonderful land! COOKIE SCHWAEBER-ISSAN
Sir, – I would suggest that Adina
Siperman and her husband check the real estate prices in Toronto before running
The mortgage qualification process has become a lot tougher, and
$650,000 will buy you nothing in a good Jewish neighborhood.M. LEVENTHAL
Jerusalem Not so bad
Sir, – I want to point out a couple of major inaccuracies
in “Primary problems” (Editorial, September 1).
You write: “The state
comptroller has leveled fines on no fewer than 50 MKs for assorted infractions
of party primary regulations.”
In actuality, fines were leveled on 50
Knesset candidates, not MKs.
Only three parties had open primaries – the
Likud, Labor and Bayit Yehudi – accounting for 43 MKs who were elected to the
party list in primaries that were open to all members.
You also write:
“Left and Right, no party emerged unscathed, though proportionally the worst
offender was Bayit Yehudi; seven of its 12 MKS were censured.”
Bayit Yehudi MKs were fined (party leader Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked, Yoni
Chetboun and Shuli Muallem).
The other three are not MKs.
situation is not as bad as the editorial represents.
I am very proud to
have run one of the cleanest primary campaigns for candidate Jeremy Gimpel, and
am glad that those who broke the law were fined. It is important to paint an
accurate picture with the real numbers.
The primary system might have its
flaws, but it is important that Israeli citizens have a chance to choose their
Mevaseret Zion The writer was Bayit
Yehudi’s English-language campaign manager and campaign manager for candidate
Jeremy Gimpel Under our noses
Sir, – With regard to Tehran’s drive to become a
nuclear power, we should not expect the Iranians to detonate a nuclear
explosion, even if only for testing purposes, as soon as their centrifuges have
separated and concentrated the necessary quantity of uranium 235.
event could not be concealed. If conducted underground it would be immediately
detected by seismic stations located around the planet.
could also quantify the power and pinpoint the precise location. If the
explosion is conducted in the atmosphere, the radioactive debris could be easily
collected and analyzed to reveal amazing details about the material
I personally witnessed close-up these analytical techniques
during the late 1940s, when the Americans and the Soviets monitored each other’s
military nuclear progress.
The Iranians will likely store that first bomb
and keep their centrifuges spinning to create a second one, then a third and a
fourth and so on, amassing a mighty nuclear arsenal under our noses.JACK
Jerusalem The writer is a physicist who confined his early professional
experience to the development of industrial applications of radioisotopes,
byproducts of the nuclear age.