Sir, - I awoke early Sunday morning and met my newspaper delivery man for the first time - at 5:15 a.m. As I read through the letters section I was saddened once again to see the murder of Jews and Israelis being equated with the death of Arab attackers. The letter (March 19), from Toronto, was headed "What good is all this killing?" The answer is: No good.
But in Toronto, when someone gets caught or even killed while trying to murder a Canadian citizen, the country is not condemned for protecting its people.
Close UNWRA down
Sir, - I am writing to agree with Jonathan Tobin's "Pull the plug on UNWRA" (March 19). What exactly is "humanitarian aid"? Aid is fungible and can easily be transferred to other purposes than those for which it was intended, without detection.
Aid funneled through UNWRA is also used for the indoctrination of children in anti-Israel polemic; for the glorification of "martyrs," and for the support of terrorist training in Gaza camps for "operations" against Israeli civilians. The Palestinians get aid - in amount and time period - far beyond any other group in the world.
UNWRA, supported principally by Western countries that Hamas and most Palestinians bitterly oppose, should more accurately be named "The UN Palestinian Struggle Support Organization." Why shouldn't the Muslim countries support their Palestinian brothers with aid if they support their aims and their tactics?
Stop all aid to UNWRA and close it down, and then the Israel-Palestine conflict might have a chance of peaceful resolution.
Voting from afar
Sir, - "For an absentee ballot" (Editorial, March 17) neglected to mention that the percentage of Israelis who vote in American elections constitutes such a small, insignificant number of the electorate that it cannot be compared with the Israelis abroad who might be allowed to vote in Israeli elections.
Moreover, Americans who vote in their elections also file income tax returns in the United States. Is it supposed that Israelis abroad will declare their foreign incomes and pay taxes to Israel based on them?
DR. L. BLASS
Sir, - We are going to see JEST do Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore on Tuesday. There is a nice reference in it to our major parties. Sir Joseph sings: "I always voted at my party's call and never thought of thinking for myself at all. I thought so little they rewarded me by making me the Ruler of the Queen's Navee."
Sir, - It is not only Israeli children who are being hurt by our school system. Many young couples with children would come to Israel to live if it weren't for the shoddy educational system. Its bad reputation has ramifications all over the world ("Flunking PISA," Editorial, March 16).
I have talked to many young families who would love to move here, but are staying put after receiving bad reports from those who came here and decided to go back to their place of origin because of teachers who were impatient with their children's adjustment to the language, and the blind eye turned to the abuse of new students by Israeli ones.
Sir, - With regard to "Realizing the Ethiopian aliya's potential" by Yechezkel Stelzer and Ricki Lieberman (March 15), all Israeli voters should be interested in Atid Echad, and in making Avraham Neguise's dream come true - that Ethiopian Israeli children will fill Israel's universities, and not its jails.
Sir, - I fully support our forces surrounding the prison in Jericho and making sure the prisoners didn't escape ("Jericho's walls come tumbling down," March 15). I am very upset, though, that prisoners and PA officials were stripped down to their underwear and photographed. Our history demands that we never take the nakedness of other human beings lightly.
I have been informed that the stripping was necessary to ensure no one was armed or booby-trapped, but I think it could have been handled differently. At the very least the prisoners could have been taken somewhere and checked, then released for the cameras with their clothes on.
Sir, - The IDF's courageous action in capturing the accused murderers of MK Rehavam Ze'evi, of blessed memory, is to be applauded both for its successful accomplishment and as a warning to the Hamas-led government that Israel will not tolerate a "revolving-door" policy in which prisoners under Palestinian Authority jurisdiction are freed.
Yet, in good conscience, one cannot ignore the blatant fact that successive Israeli governments have released numerous Arab terrorists from prison, and that more than a few of them have gone on to commit additional murders.
While Ze'evi's murder shocked the nation, leading to the demand that those who perpetrated this heinous act must be punished to the full extend of the law, many bereaved Israeli families of terror victims are made to bear a "double-jeopardy" grief - first losing their loved ones, then seeing the terrorists responsible for the crime given their liberty.
Not in vain does Torah Judaism admonish our leaders that justice should be meted out equally for every Jew regardless of status.
Victims of Arab Terror Int'l
Grateful to Olmert, but voting for Bibi
Sir, - Since last Wednesday hundreds of newspaper column inches have been filled with stories about the raid on the Jericho jail, most specifically pointing out that the murderers and planners of Rehavam Ze'evi's murder were not going to escape punishment. A secondary theme, communicated over and over, was how this action would play out vis-a-vis the elections, and how it would help Ehud Olmert, showing him to be tough, in command and capable, and proving that he is indeed prime ministerial material.
However, other than an obscure, one-time quote that I saw, what wasn't mentioned over and over again was the best punch line yet in this campaign season: Yiftah-Palmah Ze'evi's statement that although he was very grateful to Olmert, he would be voting for Binyamin Netanyahu and the Likud.
"My vote," he said, "has to go with whoever has the most experience, and out of all the candidates that name is Bibi" ("Ze'evi's son: Sharon honored his promise," March 15, 2006).
Armchair warriors sit snug at home
Sir, - Re those battalions of armchair warriors securely situated thousands of miles away from Israel, who send in comments that clog the talkback pages suggesting, even demanding, extreme action by the IDF against all and sundry: If they were to simply come to Israel and don the uniform, all of Israel's current military problems would be solved.
It's pathetic to sit safely far away and demand that Israel's army carry out your battle plans.
Gorokan, New South Wales
Sir, - Re "Hitler's paintings in Haifa gallery spark outrage" (March 15): Exhibition curator Yaacov Chefetz called them "stupid kitsch," so I went to the Internet to check the paintings out. I'm not a connoisseur of art but want to say that I liked a lot of the work I saw, such as city scenes and landscapes in great colors.
Hitler, of course, has not just been called a mediocre painter but also, and often, crazy and a monster. The truth is, though, that his crimes stemmed from deficiencies in no area except goodness. He went into evil - but that can mesh with being talented, sane, brilliant and even human. That's how bad evil is.
My grandfather was a painter. He set himself high standards, first of all morally. Dissatisfied with the quality of his work he turned to house-painting, until he was transported to Auschwitz, where he was murdered, like my three other grandparents, whom I never knew as a result.
Hitler aspired to be a painter, but people didn't like his stuff enough, which embittered him. He apparently also didn't have much success as a house-painter and found solace in murdering my grandfather and millions of others. I'm grateful I came from one painter, and not the other.
Sir, - A South African newspaper reported on an Israeli student dressing up as Hitler for Purim. Hitler is never funny. That reveler's prize should be cleaning the toilets at Yad Vashem.
DAVID ELIEZER SHAPIRO
Spoof or serious?
Sir, - Just a thought about the letters that ran last Tuesday in "Not Necessarily The Jerusalem Post." While clearly done in the spirit of Purim, each contained its own sharp truth, to wit: We think we are tolerant, when really we scorn opinions that differ from ours; we are often ridiculously self-important, etc. etc. Conclusion: Funny can be very, very serious.
One question: Who were the people behind the pen names?
The Letters Editor responds: Your comment about sharp truths calls to mind a quotation from the English writer Mary Wortley Montagu (no relation): "Satire should, like a polished razor keen / Wound with a touch that's scarcely felt or seen."
The Purim letters were devised by Yonatan Silver, Shirley Zauer and Gershom Gale.
Right and left
Sir, - The letter from Mark Smilowitz on the difficulty of finding a suitable mate reminded me that he/she who thinks that no girl/man is good enough for him/her may be right - but may also be left! ("Picking a mate," March 19).