letters to the editor 88.
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Sir, - Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh should be saluted, not chided, for his comments about the fundamentalist threat to the Hashemite throne. This is in the tradition of previous occasions when Israel foiled plots to murder Abdullah's father. The crisis facing Jordan is no less serious than the underlying threat to the State of Israel, created by the emboldening of Islamic terror through retreat and appeasement.
Naveh and more like him should be warning the Israeli government. Israel has more to lose than just a throne ("Jordan threatens to cut back ties after Naveh warns king," February 23).
Sir, - I don't understand the controversy over General Naveh's statement that Jordan's government could be toppled by Islamic fundamentalists. While it may not happen tomorrow, it must must be considered a possibility five years from now.
Looking at the history of the the region, no one thought 30 years ago that the Shah of Iran would be toppled, as he was bringing a Western-style society to Iran. But it happened. Now, with Iran ruled by Islamic fundamentalists, Hamas is talking about imposing Islamic religious law on Palestinian society ("Hamas deputy proposes law for women to cover heads," February 23). Another potential Islamic fundamentalist state.
After the Americans and British pull out of Iraq, which is likely to occur before 2009, there is a high probability that an Islamic fundamentalist state will be formed there too.
So why not Jordan, especially if surrounded by Islamic fundamentalist states?
Terror and terrible
Sir, - What a horrible scenario: "Terror - it's Netanyahu's and Likud's only hope for victory, maybe even for political survival." Larry Derfner sounds a real warning to those who are as yet undecided about which party to support in the upcoming elections ("Smear and fear," February 23). While the idea that a new wave of terror could be the key to success for Likud, it seems too far-fetched to actually occur. Still, we cannot count out such a possibility. I sincerely hope no one will allow Bibi to scare them into voting for Likud. Almost anything would be better than that! Please, Larry, say you didn't mean it!
Sir, - There has been imminent danger to the people of Ashkelon, who live next to vulnerable oil, gas, chemical and electric power installations, from some of the hundreds of Kassam rockets fired from the evacuated Gaza strip ("Kassams at Ashkelon pose 'disaster' threat," February 17). This threat can only be removed by the retaking of the northern section of the Strip, thereby distancing the rocket launchers from Ashkelon.
Show me one independent state in the world that would not take immediate military action to decrease such ominous danger to its citizens. Will Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert continue to procrastinate until a major disaster occurs in Ashkelon?
Don't stretch our luck too far.
Sir, - Your editorial speaks of a grave disaster if a Kassam rocket were to land in sensitive areas in Ashkelon ("Prevent disaster," February 19). What is not mentioned is the connection between the disengagement last summer and this present danger.
Had there been no disengagement, the terrorists could not launch their Kassams from the northern tip of Gaza where they are in range of the sensitive Ashkelon industrial zone.
Had there been no disengagement, it is likely that Hamas would not be in power. Palestinian polls show that a majority of the population believes that Hamas and the other terrorist groups drove Israel out of Gaza. This obviously helped Hamas achieve its strong electoral result.
Had there been no disengagement, the large quantities of armaments and terrorists freely crossing the Egyptian border would be reduced considerably.
The "architects of the disengagement" are acting as if none of this is their doing. Instead of apologizing to the Israeli people, they are busy planning additional disengagements.
Sir, - Every day we hear news of Kassam rockets being fired into the Negev or Ashkelon, and warnings it won't be long until Kfar Saba, Jerusalem and the rest of the country is within range.
As a British citizen who made aliya in the early 1980s, I must say how proud I am to be from a country that sent its troops around the world to defend the Falkland Islands, whose principal population was, dare I say, sheep, along with a small human population.
How can any Israeli be proud when Israel doesn't engage in the most basic right of all countries: protecting its civilians?
Peril for Persian Jews?
Sir, - As governments in the West consider strategies for dealing with Iran's nuclear program, a question must be asked: If the US (or Israel) were to strike Iran militarily in an attempt to destroy Iranian nuclear reactors, what would be the fate of the 30,000 Jews who live there ("US sounding out Georgia for aid in strike against Iran," February 20)?
An attack against Iran would set the Muslim world ablaze. Jews living in Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and other countries would become targets of angry crowds.
Increasingly, I am seeing calls for Jews to leave Iran. Yet, I suggest that Jewish organizations supporting such actions recognize that the Islamic seat of power in Teheran may see calls for Iranian Jews to emigrate as offensive. This could jeopardize the peaceful status of the Jews of Iran.
Int'l Sephardic Leadership Council
Sir, - A. Weinberg thinks hesder army units should be integrated into regular army units to foster a more "egalitarian outlook." He believes the present situation promotes segregation ("Hesder should go," Letters, February 23). Clearly, he is of an open, liberal mind.
Would he, then, condone religious discrimination? For example, my son's religious rights are violated if he is forced into an environment where there is mingling between the sexes, female entertainers or foul-mouthed comedians.
If the army unites the troops but maintains an uplifting moral environment, then my son would be happy to be among any group of soldiers where he can find a minyan three times a day.
Sir, - I've read David Irving's book and he is clearly an anti-Semite whose views I loathe. But I can't justify putting him in prison for hate speech ("Jailing Irving," February 22). Today an Austrian court finds Irving's views objectionable; tomorrow, a US court might find my letter to the editor objectionable and send me to jail. It is a slippery slope.
Sir, - Holocaust deniers are undoubtedly anti-Semitic and ignore history in order to promulgate hate. Unfortunately, too often Israel and Jews help them by continuing another type of denial. Yes, 6 million of us died in an attempt to wipe us out. That, however, doesn't negate the fact that we were only half of the victims. An estimated 12-13 million people died in the camps. The Nazis also created official "Final Solution" documents for homosexuals, and killed gypsies, blacks, political prisoners and anyone else that didn't fit into the Nazi world.
Yes, the Holocaust hit us hardest, but as long as we try to monopolize what happened, we continue to support the one thing the deniers claim that is true: Jews have hijacked what happened for political reasons.
Only when we can put our tragedy in the full context of the 13 million does what happened become about remembering that anyone can be a victim, and not about us remaining in permanent victimhood.
Burying the issue
Sir, - Re "ADL: Stop building tolerance museum over Muslim graves," (February 20). In Israel, once digging begins on construction projects, it is not uncommon to find human bones in places that were not designated as burial grounds. If bones are found, the law requires that building contractors notify the appropriate authorities. The authorities then determine the religious background of the remains and a proper religious reinterment follows. The Simon Wiesenthal Center fully complied with these rules.
But under international pressure, the issue evolved into to a cause celebre. Why? Could it be that the Wiesenthal Center's work on the Holocaust is the target of delegitimation at a time when worldwide Holocaust-denial seems so chic - and aims directly at impacting the very legitimacy of Jews living in the Land of Israel?
Where was world pressure when a hotel was built on top of the ancient Mount of Olives Jewish cemetery in east Jerusalem while it was under non-Jewish rule in the 1960s? At that time the tractors mercilessly plowed through the clearly marked Jewish graves.
RICHARD A. MACALES
Sir, - Not long ago, I observed that the movie Munich, produced by Steven Spielberg, represents the ultimate in moral equivalency, equating the "human interest" story of PLO murderers with the human interest of the unarmed Israeli athletes whom they murdered.
I had relied on reviews of the film from well-meaning friends of Israel abroad, and only now do I realize that their perception of what passes for distortion of reality in Israel is far different from the reality that we live here.
Having now seen the movie, I can attest to the fact that there is no moral equivalency whatsoever, and I owe Mr. Spielberg a public apology.
Munich portrays every PLO member as uncompromising in his zeal to destroy Israel and to justify the murder of anyone who gets in the way of that goal.
No moral equivalency there.
Israel Resource News Agency