Sir, - For Tom Hope "the terror organizations... do not represent the government of the Palestinian people. It follows that those organizations do not represent the Palestinians... saying they do... is somewhat similar to saying Kach represents Israel" ("The noise that creates hate," November 29).
The leaders of the Palestinian Authority were among the founders of the PLO. To say that organization is not a terrorist organization is beyond belief. Moreover, the continued popularity of organizations such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Aksa Martyrs Brigades belies the statement that these terror organizations do not represent the Palestinians.
Kach is forbidden by law to be eligible for election to the Knesset, while Hamas, Fatah and other organizations are represented in various official capacities in the PA. Hamas is putting up candidates in the Palestinian elections.
An opinion article must be based upon facts.
Sir, - Tom Hope, deeply troubled by the sonic booms caused by Israeli Air Force overflights of the Gaza Strip, unfortunately has a one-sided view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Did his parents and/or teachers not advise this young man to try and understand the whole situation before making misguided comments?
This high school graduate needs to spend some time living in Sderot, or one of the Negev communities nearby. Only then will he understand that the true danger is not sonic booms but Kassam rockets and mortars, which have already killed Israeli children.
Sir, - It is ironic that the very accurate criticism of unbalanced attacks on Israel by some American Jewish leftists comes from Rabbi David Forman, whose own unbalanced attacks, along with those of such journalists as Haaretz's Gideon Levy and Amira Hass, are so very often cited by the anti-Semitic forces he mentions ("A call for left-wing responsibility," November 29). That these attacks come from Israeli Israel-bashers gives them a cloak of undeserved respectability which makes them far more valuable to anti-Semites than attacks from abroad.
With their voices joining those rabbis and others on the far Right who deny the legitimacy of the Israeli government, Israel hardly needs external critics.
Sir, - "Magen David Adom signs deal with Red Crescent" (November 29) should evoke indignation over our acquiescing in our Star of David emblem being changed to a "crystal." I take umbrage at the lack of local opposition and protest.
The Magen David is our true, historic, elegant and stable symbol. Crystals are adventitious formations - and fragile!
Sir, - Not only is this step an insult to our sovereignty, it is also an insult to the dedicated men and women who have worked proudly with Magen David Adom for so many years. Perhaps we should undergo national therapy to improve our self-image?
MIRIAM VAN BERS
For the record
Sir, - Your partition vote anniversary map was inaccurate, showing Beersheba within the boundaries of the Jewish state ("For the record," November 29). However, the text of UN Resolution 181, Part II, B. The Jewish State indicates that Beersheba was to have been part of the Arab state:
"The Beersheba area comprises the whole of the Beersheba sub-district, including the Negeb and the eastern part of the Gaza sub-district, but excluding the town of Beersheba and those areas described in respect of the Arab State."
An accurate map of the partition plan can be found on page 36 of Sir Martin Gilbert's The Routledge Atlas of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, seventh edition, 2002.
Not quite all
Sir, - Israel has an unenviable record of ingratitude toward those who serve it ("Mahal - never given its due," Letters, November 27).
Mahal volunteers who came to fight in Israel's war of Independence - abandoned and forgotten. SLA fighters who stood with the IDF against Hizbullah in Lebanon - abandoned and forgotten. Simon Wiesenthal during his years of lonely battle against Nazi murderers - abandoned and forgotten. Jonathan Pollard, for his service to Israel - abandoned and forgotten. Gush Katif hothouse owners, who will not now receive financial remuneration as promised - abandoned and forgotten. Zackary Baumel, Yehuda Katz, Zvi Feldman and Ron Arad - abandoned and forgotten.
But there is a bright spot in this gloomy picture. Elhanan Tannenbaum, alleged drug dealer and gun-runner for profit, was not abandoned and forgotten by our kind hearted prime minister.
Blight spot, indeed.
Sir, - In "Champion of the poor?" (November 24) Evelyn Gordon sets forth an erudite and all-encompassing expose of Amir Peretz's portrayal as "a champion of the poor, devotee of the rule of law, and moderate center-leftist." That in spite of advocating the best interests of "elite," well-paid union members, to the detriment of the truly deserving working-class members, Peretz is still depicted as savior of Israel's neediest only proves how successfully his credulous and self-serving supporters in the media and political circles were enlisted in his campaign for the Labor chairmanship.
Peretz was fortunate to run against the egotistical and overly-confident Shimon Peres, blinded by polls predicting his easy victory. It is our fervent hope that an enlightened Israeli electorate will discern the true agenda of those vying for the premiership.
Lakewood, New Jersey
'After me, the deluge'
Sir, - Further to Elie Friedman's "Sharon and the Israeli consensus" (November 23): Not content with giving the Likud a choice between himself and its ideology, on which he was elected; not satisfied with bolting it and forming his own party in order to get rid of everyone who did not think like himself, Ariel Sharon now wants to introduce new laws under which the powers of the prime minister would be further extended. Should he win the forthcoming election this would to all intents and purposes make him formally the dictator he already is in fact.
The huge majority of Israeli Jews do not want a dictatorship. They do not even want a monarchy with limited powers. But they do not understand that Sharon, now in his late seventies, can only be a stopgap - and knows it. He also knows that the Likud he has fragmented will not return to power, and that after his death the country will have a Labor Party government. Nearly all Israeli media are supporting him because they know this, too.
However, the majority of people now blindly following Sharon do not want Labor to succeed him - especially not a Labor Party whose leader enjoys the dictatorial powers Sharon intends to legislate. In such a situation the media would become the enemies of democracy.
Appealing to Sharon is pointless. He has embraced the ideology of French king Louis XV - apr s moi le deluge (after me, the deluge). He does not want to understand that in the Israeli context, that deluge means the victory of Israel's Arab enemies.
Sir, - For people who delight in calling attention to dishonesty prevailing in Israel: I recently lost my keys. Soon after returning home I received a phone call from my local Metro Market informing me that a bunch of keys had been handed in and awaited collection, having been identified as mine. The honesty of the person who went out of his or her way is praiseworthy - and not untypical.
Last days of Jews in America
Sir, - Arye Dworkin's ire at Larry David is understandable but misplaced ("Anything for a laugh," November 27). David fashions his humor from the outrageous, wherever it's directed. Most of us Jews feel free to make fun of ourselves, and David shares that feeling. The inaccuracies in his portrayal of religious Jews are probably a reflection of the sort of Jew David is. He also stereotypes blacks, Muslims, women and anyone else occupying his southern California world.
Dworkin is also not correct in suggesting that gentiles sound the only note of sanity in David's world. Cheryl, David's TV wife, is the "shiksa goddess," in Lenny Bruce's apt term. She is (supposedly) every Jewish man's blonde fantasy. If you listen carefully, David has nothing kind to say about gentiles, particularly those country-club types who prefer to have nothing to do with Jews in general and him in particular.
But there is a problem with this comedian and the liberal Jews he personifies. Unwittingly, David is providing us with a kind of video record not very different from the one Stephen Spielberg has made of survivor testimony. In David's case what we are seeing is a documentation of the last days of Jews in America.
All the problems Dworkin has with David's treatment of the Jews are more or less typical of the problems attending our demise in the US, where we have never stopped exulting in our freedom from the alleged burden of our Jewishness. Here we can do as we please, say what we please, marry whomever we want and unburden ourselves of the whole historical weight of being a despised minority.
Of course Larry David's knowledge of the religious side of his people is thin as a razor; that's what's so funny - and so sad.