letters to the editor 88.
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The Big Squeeze
Sir, - The Jerusalem Post has decided on the word "convergence" to translate the Hebrew hitkansut, the new term bandied about by media and politicians to describe Ehud Olmert's regurgitated disengagement plan ("Olmert's obligations," Editorial, March 30).
Converging is defined as moving toward union or uniformity; coming together to unite in a common interest or focus and tending to merge.
Now if Israel and Jordan reunited territorially, as they were prior to the September 1923 British decision to partition the original Mandatory area, I could understand the word's use. However, what is being planned is to yield up more of the Jewish national home and aid in the creation of a third political entity in what was once a single geopolitical unit.
Mr. Olmert is really suggesting that Israel turn in to itself by reducing the land mass it controls and surrendering it to a foreign power. Perhaps, then, "self-reduction" or even "diminution" is the word?
Doesn't stability need ideology?
Sir, - Meir Sheetrit said Kadima's uniqueness was that it had no ideology and looked only to the future ("Of ideology and incompetence," Caroline B. Glick, March 28).
My understanding is different: Ideology is what guides you as you move into the future. It guides you in choosing what is important, and among possibilities of action for what is deemed important.
But I suppose Sheetrit's statement reflected what some Israelis want to hear. We seem to focus more and more on specific issues, then choose whichever candidate agrees most with how we see that particular issue.
But this form of choosing and governing lacks stability and longevity. The two parties with an ideology in their history continue to exist long after single-issue parties have come and gone.
In the course of one government there are multitudes of issues of critical importance. Wouldn't it suit our country better to vote for representatives of the ideology we want to guide the many governmental decisions, rather than opting for something that sways to whatever wind is blowing?
Sir, - In the first election after World War II the British voted Winston Churchill out of office. Now, after Binyamin Netanyahu won the complicated economic war, we trounce him at the polls.
What else is new?
Sir, - Daniel Doron blames the media for not treating Binyamin Netanyahu objectively, as against their support for Olmert and Kadima ("The media's to blame," March 30). But it is unjust to put all the blame for the Likud's demise on Bibi's shoulders - and I am far from being a Likud supporter.
The Likud rebels bear a greater responsibility, being mostly second-rate politicians who were incapable of reading the writing on the wall. The public was fed up with them and their policy.
Now the apparatchiks are trying to oust Bibi ("MKs conspire against Netanyahu," March 30). If if he goes, he should choose the timing and leave them to pick up the pieces.
The best would be to name him ambassador to the US, where his talents would be put to good use.
Bob's your uncle...
Sir, - I found the democratic process in Israel lacking, to say the least. Apparently, the country gets what it deserves. The question is, do our children deserve what it gives them?
My son, Yitzchak, 7, wanted to know who I was voting for, so I told him: Sponge-Bob SquarePants. He said, "Really?" to which I replied that there was no one else to vote for.
That was on election day. The day after he asked me, "Did he win?! Yay!!!"
Kids need to understand the world. Seeing the results of this election, I think I should have voted for Sponge-Bob SquarePants.
...a crying shame
Sir, - The smiling faces of the TV presenters last Tuesday evening in no way reflected the apathy of the "man in the street" on what was possibly our most crucial election of all time. We joined the band of "happy shoppers" in the supermarket after casting our votes and noticed that our car was the only one with a party sticker.
I asked the young pregnant woman at the checkout if she had already voted and almost wept when she said there was no point. I attempted to explain why she owed it to herself but doubt if I succeeded.
As I left, I heard an interview over the radio in which a family near Kiryat Shmona having a barbecue said: "The mangal is much more important than the election!"
We hardly need enemies to bring us down. I feel ashamed.
Sir, - It was incredibly pathetic that as of 6 p.m. on election day, only 47% of those eligible to vote had done so. As one of my 15-year-old classmates said: "If they don't vote, they can't complain that they don't get what they want!"
No so low
Sir, - It will be a great day when 63% is considered a "low" voter turnout in the United States! ("Voter turnout 63.2%, lowest ever for Knesset," March 29).
Sir, - If the country persists in making voting day a holiday I can foresee the day when the more mobile, less ideological voters abandon ship entirely. Coming next: a PM from the Pensioners Party. Oldsters and prisoners are the ones likely to stay home and vote. Clearly, it is convenient to be "apathetic" when the alternative is skipping the picnic or trip to the beach.
Canadians get a four-hour block of time off. Keeping voters in their constituencies seems like the minimum of good sense.
Show your mettle
"Katyusha rocket fired into Israel from Gaza" (March 29), and more are promised. The army said the attack was a clear escalation on the Gaza front. Isn't this the time for "iron-fist" Olmert to show his mettle - such as an ultimatum that if the rocket attacks do not stop, Israel will cease to supply water, electricity and fuel to the Palestinians?
'Marshall Plan' for the PA
Sir, - Daniel Pipes appears to be proposing a victory involving the complete destruction of the Palestinian Authority ("Try victory," March 29). But what if all major donors to the PA - the US, EU, wealthy Arab countries and numerous other generous donors - undertook in advance to make the PA economy viable by introducing a "Marshall Plan" and being actively involved in executing it?
Today the main lucrative businesses in the PA are warmongering - externally against Israel, or internally against businesses, bodies, groups or individuals to extract money and favors.
Law and order is nonexistent and corruption is rife.
I would prefer the "Marshall Plan" first in the hope that after the creation of a viable economy the Palestinians would be loath to lose it and prefer to discuss a settlement.
Today they cannot imagine what life without corruption and warmongering is all about.
Apologetic approach cannot convince...
Sir, - David Forman argues that liberal Jews must convince their Christian counterparts to show "balance" on Israel and not advocate hostile policies like divestment, but displays the apologetic approach to issues that is unlikely to convince anyone ("Getting beyond name-calling," March 29).
Far from defending legitimate Israeli counterterrorism measures and the right of Jews to live in the historical land of Israel, Forman says that liberal Christians and Jews are "on the same page" regarding "Israel's actions in the territories." His sole argument against the hostile, Israel-baiting attempts to divest from companies that do business with Israel seems to be that it "would most likely redound negatively on Palestinians." That it might redound badly on Israelis does not seem to have occurred to him.
If Forman wants to make a case for liberal Christians to support Israel it should be based on an unapologetic affirmation of Israel's right to self-defense and on a principled rejection of attempts to hamper Israel's democratically elected government in defending its citizens. It will also be necessary to make the case that Israel owes nothing in law or morality to a genocidally inclined Hamas regime and is therefore not obliged to fund the Palestinians, who brought it to power, and thereby insulate them from the consequences of their own choices.
MORTON A. KLEIN
Zionist Organization of America
...so change the company you keep
Sir, - David Forman grapples with the problem of overcoming differences between Jewish and Protestant liberals. Apparently there is broad agreement on social issues, but when it comes to matters of life and death such as the existential threat from Islamo-fascism, Forman wants Jewish liberals to educate their Protestant counterparts.
Wouldn't it be easier, and less stressful, for Jewish liberals to hang out with Christian conservatives and simply try to change their thinking on less important social issues?
Since Christians are also targeted by the same goons, at least one can say that the conservatives know who their friends, and enemies, are.
Sir, - Compliments to Greer Fay Cashman for "To save the children" (March 19). Hopefully the authorities will seriously consider her suggestion to rechannel child welfare payments and provide a unique opportunity for many children when they reach 21.