Quoting a recent book by Dennis Ross (“The West’s wrongheaded analysis perpetuates the conflict,” December 15), Eric Mandel notes that Ross bases his proposed solution to our conflict with the Palestinians on a false political narrative that the armistice lines are an international border and that the Arab desires end at the Green Line.
In his book The Missing Peace
, Ross reports that at the Wye Conference he told president Bill Clinton regarding Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard: “If you want my advice I would not release him now. It would be a huge payoff for [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu; but you don’t have many like this in your pocket.”
In a footnote on the same page, he asserts he was in favor of his release, believing that Pollard had received a harsher sentence than others who had committed similar crimes. “I preferred not tying his release to any agreement, but if that is what we were going to do, I favored saving it for permanent status.”
Ross unapologetically admits that he felt that Pollard’s punishment was unjustifiably excessive but he wanted his release to be used as a diplomatic tool. Pollard paid for Ross’s advice with another 17 years in prison.
Ross’s primary experience that purportedly classifies him as an expert in this area of the world is almost two decades of abject failure to assist in the resolution of the century-long Arab refusal to accept any form of Jewish sovereignty in our historic homeland.
Ross’s proposed solutions to our problems should be neither criticized nor praised.
They should simply be ignored.
Nobody can accuse The Jerusalem Post of suppressing alternative opinions, no matter how inane. In discussing honor killings (“The murder of women in Arab society – a national emergency,” December 15), Rawnak Natour informs us quite authoritatively that “the government must bear responsibility for the fact that most of the murderers are themselves victims of ongoing oppression on the part of the establishment, and live in difficult economic and social circumstances.
The government is also responsible for the fact that the unnecessary occupation has caused bloodshed to become a routine and everyday occurrence for Israel’s Arab community.”
And I had thought for so many years that honor killings were endemic to Arab society and predate the Six Day War, the existence of Israel and even the existence of Zionism.
One learns something new every day.
Rawnak Natour maintains that there is opposition to violence against Arab women within Arab society, and that, among other things, this opposition declares there is not one iota of honor in the crimes they justify with the claim of defending family honor.
The message Natour conveys is convincing: More Arab- and Jewish-Israelis should unite for strength in publicizing this trend toward violence toward women, and the ways to combat it.
She seems to be unaware that the problem of “honor killings” exists in Arab society – not just in Israel. Some women will kill their own daughters if it is perceived that the girl dishonored the family. The government acts against this practice when it can, often prevented by a sort of Arab omertà of silence, and often confronted by angry mobs of men united to prevent interference in their code of honor.
However, a most important point of the article is buried deep within it. The number of shelters for battered women in Israel are 14, with only two of them in the Arab sector.
Though statistics show that on the average half the women who are murdered are Arabs, only 14 percent of those treated in centers for violence prevention are Arab women. No matter what the reasons, this is a shameful disproportion.
Budgets need to be reworked and funds distributed more fairly, not just for the shelters but for the social workers who can offer some relief and solutions..
This is a good place to start making changes. Of course, prevention of the violence is of paramount importance, but the nature of these “family honor” crimes has to be cured from within itself. Meanwhile the victims should be compassionately dealt with.
Jerusalem Knesset’s image
As I read the story on the Knesset (“Knesset begins campaign to improve image,” December 12), I suggest it first tries to improve the image of the country.
I have just returned from the World Photo Exhibition at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv. The photos in the Israel section were superb but were almost all negative images of Israel or propaganda images of the world media against Israel, which were reinforced by the museum’s guide.
It is quite unbelievable that a museum in Israel dedicated to inform about the land of Israel chose to exhibit such images at this time to support worldwide negativity against the Jewish state.
Before spending our money on an advertising campaign to improve the Knesset’s image, a fraction of that amount would better be spent on a behavior modification therapist to help our members of Knesset learn how to act, speak and treat each other with dignity and respect.
Jerusalem Conservative praise
I would like to respond to the latest trend of bashing the Conservative movement in the Letters section.
Although I do not agree with Education and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett’s political views, I have enormous respect and admiration for his vision and lesson in tolerance by visiting the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan (“Lau criticizes Bennett for visit to Conservative school in US,” December 10).
The inappropriate reactions from Chief Rabbi David Lau and the tone of recent readers letters show total ignorance of the Masorti movement and of the moral values of its congregants.
Having been brought up in a London United Synagogue (Orthodox) where my parents were founder members, I was disappointed when making aliya to find that the Orthodox synagogues in Israel did not provide any spiritual experience in their prayer services or any community networking in their activities.
Therefore for 40 years we have been members of the Moriah Masorti Congregation in Haifa where the prayer services are identical to those we experienced in England. Shabbat is strictly observed within the synagogue and only kosher food is served at functions.
Apart from the many social services provided by the community, there is a high moral and ethical code of behavior.
Compare that with the criminal record of some of our Orthodox establishment including a former chief rabbi, a former mayor of Jerusalem and a former president who refused to attend a Conservative service, who have gone through the revolving door of the criminal justice system.