Sir, I was both offended and pleased by Larry Derfner's "Park, drive, man, woman" (September 22) pleased that women are not killers and do not get a thrill out of overtaking and driving dangerously, and offended by the accusations that women are less skilled at driving and that "they're not the ones who should be doing the parallel parking." Neither of these accusations apply to me.
Sir, Larry Derfner claims that women cannot parallel park. So I challenge him to a parallel parking contest. The winner donates NIS 100 to the Metuna road safety people.
Larry Derfner responds:
Any time, any place, lady.
That ol' familiar feeling
Sir, Barry Newman's "Driver, hang up that cell phone" (September 21) highlights the paradox faced by drivers: On the one hand, moving along in one's trusty car feels as familiar and comfortable as relaxing in an old pair of slippers; on the other, danger lurks at every moment. It is the former that makes drivers think they can chat safely on their cell phones while driving; the latter that makes it imperative they be discouraged from doing so.
Why the Left will go on losing
Sir, Amnon Rubinstein writes: "There is no doubt that the primary reason [for the Left's collapse] is the general disappointment with the Oslo process and with the terrorist reaction of the Palestinians to compromises offered by Israel. The press termed the casualties of this terror "victims of peace," but the public at large rightly shunned this unfortunate phrase."
Mr. Rubinstein doesn't want to come out and say it, but the truth is that the public rightly sees Oslo as a failure, and that is why the Left is virtually unelectable today.
Could it be that Oslo was a failure not only because of Yasser Arafat but because it was just plain wrong? Mr. Rubinstein doesn't want to say so, but that's how the public perceives it.
And judging from the first period after the so-called disengagement, that also was a colossal mistake. The problem with the Israeli Left, including Mr. Rubinstein, is that it is incapable of admitting mistakes. That's why it will continue to lose electoral representation.
Sir, The sooner the Palestinians realize that once they have laid down their arms, stopped inciting hatred in their schools, recognized the Jewish State of Israel as a fact and started to live in peace with the Israelis the sooner they will have a state of their own. And by working as good neighbors, with the help they get from Israel, they will turn their state into a wonderland, with milk and honey and employment all round.
CHRIS VAN NIEKERK
Sir, Defending herself against the "hedonistic" label, Betsy Winer argues that she has a right to her leisure time ("Speaking up for Tel-Avivians," Letters, September 21). Given the myriad of important causes in Israel a defense against hedonism could include personal stories of volunteerism, defending the land of Israel or dedicating oneself to whatever needs to be done. Working at a job that gives her enough money to enjoy leisure time means this reader is financially responsible for herself, but not necessarily thoughtful of others.
It is precisely because of this narrow world view that those concerned about Israel's survival tend to have negative opinions of Tel-Avivians.
Ariel Sharon chose to give away Gaza, but the Israeli Gazan communities were legal, as Max Singer pointed out on these pages recently. While Ms. Winer asserts that Tel Aviv is "legal territory," if she were able to see beyond her self-satisfied world view she might be concerned that the Palestinian Authority is insisting on the right of return to her city, and that it is wont to describe Tel Aviv as the City of Jaffa surrounded by the Arab villages of Somel, Jamasin and Sheikh Munis.
No doubt there are selfless, dedicated Israeli citizens in Tel Aviv; your reader just failed to defend them.
Come and see
Sir, "Never safer" (Letters, September 21) about Israel's current situation made me think. Randy Olson is welcome to come and visit Israel, talk to whomever he feels like, look at all the places he is interested in and then possibly change his mind. Remote-control opinions such as calling the settlers' behavior "pathetic" is not really fair.
Charity begins at home
Sir, It pained me to read David Horovitz's September 9 column "Fighting the flood" on the "outpouring of goodwill and practical assistance" for the Jewish community of New Orleans from Jews across America and around the world, including Israel. In a sad coincidence, the 9,000 displaced Jews of New Orleans closely approximate the number of their homeless brethren from Gush Katif. But this is where the similarity ends.
Why is our own government ready to dispatch "equipment, supplies and medical assistance, including specialists in trauma" to the US when volunteers here in Israel are scrambling to provide diapers, toothbrushes, bottled water and countless other necessities to our own local refugees scattered in dozens of temporary dumping grounds? And why is the only trauma counselling being provided by volunteer professionals on their own time?
This was no hurricane. There was plenty of time to mobilize beforehand and put alternative housing in place. And there is no shortage of need, here and now, for solutions to assuage the pain of our own, homegrown, tragedy.
Sir, As a Jew from the New Orleans area who has just lost his house, synagogue and much more, I would like to ask all Jews to remember that now is the time to reach out and help the New Orleans community in any way they can.
(formerly) New Orleans
But they're suffering now
Sir, Re "Cancer Research Fund allocates nearly $2m. to local scientists" (September 21): What about the sick cancer victims in our hospitals? There seems to be no money for help there. The nurses are overworked and cannot give comfort. The oncology unit does not have time to visit them. The floor doctors try to help with the effects of chemo, but for the most part can do nothing. Mostly these people are shuttled from room to room. If they are lucky they get moved out of the hospital just before they die. In this way they have some hours of peace and the hospital one less death to record.
Who will pick up Wiesenthal's torch?
Sir, Last week the world lost one of its greatest humanitarians, Simon Wiesenthal, who for six decades was at the forefront of the effort to bring to trial the Nazi perpetrators of crimes committed against Jews during the Holocaust ("His legacy is justice," September 21). Wiesenthal's tireless pursuit of justice made him singlehandedly responsible for the tracking and arrests of over 1,100 Nazi war criminals.
As time progresses the world is losing more and more survivors of humanity's darkest period. The memory of the Holocaust that claimed the lives of six million Jewish souls is still ingrained in the survivors' everyday thoughts, yet their stories fade into history with their passing. Wiesenthal's relentless work has helped bring some form of justice to survivors and, most importantly, to the victims who never had a chance to make it out of the ghettos, concentration camps and gas chambers.
One can only hope that more people will be inspired to pick up where Wiesenthal left off, and that the survivors of genocide in our lifetime such as Cambodians, Rwandans and Bosnians will have their own Simon Wiesenthals to fight in their name.
Sir, The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation extends its sympathy on the death of Simon Wiesenthal, whose deeds have been an inspiration to many of us who dedicate our lives to educating the world about the Holocaust. We know that remembering the past is the only way to build a future.
Mr. Wiesenthal played a role in the quest to discover the fate of Raoul Wallenberg, whose whereabouts remain unknown 60 years after he was captured by the Soviet army after having saved tens of thousands in Hungary during the Holocaust. Continuing the important work of Mr. Wiesenthal and many others we will keep on working until Wallenberg is brought home. One of our latest initiatives is the "100,000 names for 100,000 lives" campaign, whose aim is to gather one name for each person saved by Wallenberg and present a petition to President Putin and Kofi Annan asking them to help us find Wallenberg.
Committed to continuing to remind the world about those who were a ray of hope in the dark period of the Holocaust, we are convinced Mr. Wiesenthal's legacy will live on.
Int'l Raoul Wallenberg Foundation
Horse of a different color
Sir, Good for the Yusufali Trojan horse! ("Islamic computer virus acts as morality police," September 22). Now that it is successfully blocking porn sites from the avid eyes of porn-seekers, especially impressionable teens, perhaps it will branch out and begin blocking those obscene sites that call for the murder of innocent people, Jews and others.
How refreshing it would be if instead of reading the words "Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!" the would-be jihadi had pop up on his screen: "Yusufali: Know, therefore that there is no god but Allah, and ask forgiveness for thy fault, and for the men and women who believe: for Allah knows how ye move about and how ye dwell in your homes."
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