letters good 88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sir, - Prime minister Rabin was forced to resign because his wife was found to have held an illegal foreign bank account. Now we have a prime minister whose son and close political associate is to plead guilty to financial corruption ("MK Omri Sharon to plead guilty in corruption case," November 15).
How can our society tolerate Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's continuation in public office?
Sir, - It is possible to condemn the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and yet maintain perspective ("Rabin remembered," November 15). For over a week now, the public has been treated to hero worship and mythology regarding Rabin. Several years following Rabin's death, Yuval Steinitz, once a Rabin supporter, offered this comment: "We helped Arafat set up a militia in the territories, and now he is using it against us. I worked to get Rabin elected in 1992 and I celebrated his election. But the truth is that he was the worst prime minister we have had in decades, and he is to blame first and foremost for the present crisis. It's a direct result of Oslo."
Ramat Beit Shemesh
Sir, - I'm afraid that Rabin's memorial day has lost its meaning. As a ninth-grader, all I'm taught in school is about Rabin's legacy of peace. What peace may I ask? The peace that included giving the Palestinians weapons and autonomy which resulted in the intifada?
Students are taught that right-wing movements are undemocratic, but what about leftists who protest the security fence by attacking soldiers?
However, if students dare raise these issues, teachers jump at them.
Why has Rabin become such a sacred cow?
Sir, - I suggest that in the future a more meaningful memorial day be held which includes all pillars of the State of Israel: Yitzhak Rabin, David Ben-Gurion, Chaim Weizmann and Menachem Begin. Rather than make unseemly political hay with pop music and Oslo promotion, a memorial day should embrace all sections of society and serve to unite rather than divide.
Sir, - The opening of the Rabin Center must have been a gala event attended by a select group of VIPs. But tens of thousands of others could have been home hours earlier if police and organizers had done the following:
â€¢ Published clear maps explaining which major thoroughfares in northern Tel Aviv were going to be closed;
â€¢ stationed policemen (not simply sitting in their cars) at key intersections to keep traffic moving - particularly where traffic lights had no meaning since traffic from certain directions was blocked;
â€¢ scheduled events like this at a time other than rush hour.
Virtually all drivers showed great restraint but our public officials and party planners showed little respect for thousands of Gush Dan residents.
STEPHEN J. KOHN
Sir, - It was definitely no fun to be in transit on any road leaving Tel Aviv on Tuesday. The traffic created by the opening ceremony for the new Rabin Center on Sderot Rokah made what is usually a one-hour trip home into a three-hour trial.
Special bus lanes could have been instituted. Public announcements could have been made in advance urging citizens to use public transportation for the day or urging carpooling.
Also, bus drivers could have been coached a bit more in civic duty. My bus was packed with passengers. Rather than letting passengers off when requested, the driver kept us unwillingly captive even though the traffic was motionless.
What kind of compromise?
Sir, - Condoleezza Rice is here to impose an agreement on Israel that will see its security compromised ("Rice delays departure to iron out deal," November 15). She is doing this because the Palestinians want full control of border crossings. The United States is not acting in Israel's best interest. Friends don't allow friends to compromise their security.
Sir, - So, Condoleezza Rice wants Israel to agree that the PA can build a sea port for Gaza. With such a port, what is to stop the smuggling of weapons to supply Islamic Jihad and Hamas?
In addition she wants Israel to allow PA trucks to drive through Israel to the West Bank and Israel to discontinue building in the West Bank.
Why doesn't she just ask Israel to move out, and hand everything over to the PA?
Sir, - All credit to former president Bill Clinton for his homespun honesty, when he gave disengagement a more accurate title: "The Gaza gamble" ("Clinton: Unilateralism not the answer," November 13).
Clinton was concerned that the winners of the gamble, the Palestinians, make good use of the valuable prize, and so called on the Jews of the Diaspora to give a hand - and money - to ensure a successful outcome.
Israelis, however, should not be involved because, Clinton said, "they need time to sort their political situation." How true, how true.
MIRIAM L. GAVARIN
Sir, - I was disturbed by both the title and content of the article "PM adviser: Right in danger of losing support for Jordan Valley," (November 14). If the Jordan Valley is indeed of strategic value as Lior Chorev, one of Sharon's strategic advisers, claims, then its loss should be of concern not only to one segment of the populace but to all Israelis. The preservation of strategic assets should, by definition, be the paramount concern of the prime minister and of those who are responsible for the well-being and safety of our citizens.
Unfortunately, there is the malodor of a trial balloon that emanates from Chorev's words; all of us should be on the alert for more of Prime Minister Sharon's unilateral decisions.
Missing the mark
Sir, - While it is desirable to "love thy neighbor as thyself," what if that neighbor wishes to kill you? This is where David Forman misses the mark ("Let's not turn to anti-Arab racism," November 15).
Should the day come when Islamists hold out a hand of genuine friendship to Jews, I will be at the forefront of those wishing to take it. But while they are determined to kill us, call me racist, but I will have nothing in my heart but hatred for this evil.
Sir, - Yoram Peri divided the country in the wrong way ("The metro-retro divide," November 15). It isn't a matter of "humanitarian and universalistic principles" versus "those who believe that Israel is inherently different and separate."
Rather, as with many on the Left, Peri tends to avoid an obvious fact: Israel is at war with a people that denies its very legitimacy as a nation. It's as if all we have to do is give back all of Judea and Samaria and then Jews and Arabs will coexist in peace.
Peri may be right as to ultimate ends but in the meantime the undeniable fact of being confronted with intractable hostility dictates that ours is not a cultural war, but a national security issue, which the Left seems to want to sweep under the carpet.
On coming home
Sir, - As a British Jew who has indeed purchased a property in Israel, and who plans to make aliya, I am delighted to see that more British Jews are considering moving to Israel ("More Brits mulling aliya," November 15).
I am disturbed that this rise in olim is due to rising anti-Semitism. Although it is true that there has been an increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the UK, and there is no doubt that the current political climate is of concern to the Jewish community, it is important to remember that bombs in London, and Islamist threats to the Queen should be of concern to all British residents, not just Jews.
Moreover, there are many more reasons why we choose aliya: Love for Israel, Jewish identity or Zionist ideology. We don't only come when things get tough. We believe Israel is home, and you should never need an excuse to come home.
Sir, - It was unsurprising to read that so many Israelis are insensitive towards other people ("Survey shows patronizing attitude toward Israel's disabled," November 15). The disengagement has already shown that average Israelis didn't care about fellow citizens without disabilities, so this comes as no shock.
The claim that "Israelis always help in a time of need" is baseless. What about the rest of the time? What happened to commonplace graciousness?
About 'D' struggle
Sir, - As an American-born immigrant registered in the Labor Party, I find nothing wrong with Amir Peretz rating a low mark in English ("Peretz gets a D in English," November 15). After all, his meeting with Bill Clinton took place in Jerusalem, not Oxford.
In future conversations with foreigners, Peretz - if he feels so inclined - can always ask the Foreign Ministry for a translator to stand at his side. Better yet, let him stick to Hebrew rather than struggle with English as do other Israeli politicians who talk about "de piss process."
Kibbutz Tirat Zvi
In the flesh
Sir, - I'm sorry to say that two fleshy photos on the back page of your November 14 issue were much too revealing ("Full-body contact"), at least for public display in Jerusalem.
I was innocently reading my raised paper on the bus when someone asked me, in a friendly manner, to lower it. I then understood that I had offended at least one person and embarrassed myself and the newspaper, in his view.
Please don't print such stuff again. Anyone who wants to see such photos really doesn't need a newspaper to do so these days.
MOSHE-MORDECHAI VAN ZUIDEN