Sir, – How magnanimous of US President Barack Obama to quote the Hebrew meaning of giving freedom to prisoners at his Hanukka celebration with members of the Jewish community. He was talking about Alan Gross, who was released and returned to his family after five years of incarceration in Cuba (“Alan Gross praises Jewish community upon return to US,” December 19).
Yes, it is a great gesture. It is so great that Obama could not find it in his heart to release Jonathan Pollard after so many years and so many health setbacks. What injustice, what hypocrisy.
VICKY SCHER Jerusalem
Sir – Last week US President Barack Obama announced the release of three Cuban spies convicted of compromising American security. The gesture was made to a totalitarian government that obsessively opposes American values and interests, and supports virtually every international terror organization.
Jonathan Pollard violated American law but never posed a threat to American security. Yet despite pleas from a friendly democracy that supports the United States in all ways, Jonathan will now begin his 30th year in prison.
The three Cubans served only 17 years. Perhaps this is yet another example of that “special relationship” that Obama extends to Israel?
STEVE BERGER Ramat Gan
Sir, – President Obama could have a real Hanukka if he were to free Jonathan Pollard, just as the Cubans freed Alan Gross. Who do we have to give him in exchange?
MADALYN SCHAEFFER Jerusalem
No surprise there
Sir, – With regard to “Netanyahu warns ‘spirit of appeasement’ is now blowing through Europe” (December 18), why am I not surprised? The wonderful folks who brought us the ghettos, the Inquisition and the Holocaust now bestow upon us the “benevolent” Hamas.
Stay tuned for the group’s elevation to a peace prize.
ALFRED INSELBERG Ra’anana
Sir, – From your letters to the editor and other commentary it is clear that our people are not giving sufficient credence to the hostility toward Israel and Jews represented by the wave of resolutions throughout Europe supporting the aspirations of the Palestinian Arabs and concomitantly opposing Israel.
We must take this as an indication of the hostility toward Israel in the corridors of power controlled by leftists and pro-Muslim forces throughout Europe. As such, we must discount their influence on the actual situation and take our own steps to foreclose their purpose.
A new Israeli government given a right-wing mandate by the Israeli people should immediately annex Judea and Samaria, excluding the cities controlled by the Palestinian Authority. This will be our response to the unilateral actions of the PA leadership.
The changed situation will outflank the sympathies of the Europeans.
Those who fear that this will cause them to be more anti-Israel need not fear: They are already anti-Israel enough.
JACK S. COHEN Netanya
Sir, – It is time for Israel to wake up from its long, deep sleep and realize that most of Europe, as well as the European Parliament, are recognizing a Palestinian state.
At the same time, we are spending billions in a big fight to elect a new prime minister and have a splinter government without any counter-proposals to offer at the UN – just negative statements and denials of the importance of Europe’s actions.
ISSY HASS Ra’anana
Sir, – The Palestinian resolution, even if modified by France or others, will amount to a declaration of war against the only democratic state in the Middle East, the country of Israel. The United Nations will be guilty if it adopts and gives a time line for the establishment of a Palestinian rogue state.
The 1967 war was waged against Arab nations, and not against Palestinian people. Facts are facts and will remain so for the generations that will come and read history.
In 1967 there were only Arab nations. The Palestinians lived under Arab nations. There was no Palestine! What is going to be done to a legitimate nation like Israel that was voted in by the United Nations is unfathomable.
Every Israeli politician and every citizen of Israel should know this.
We must stand together, from the farthest Left to the farthest Right, and state unequivocally that every citizen in Israel decries this kind of resolution.
BATYA KOENIGSBERG Jerusalem
Sir, – Let Europe go to hell. Wait! It already is going to hell, what with all the Muslims and terror acts occurring there.
URI HIRSCH Netanya
Don’t blame Lehava
Sir, – The headline “Police: Teen with Lehava ties held for beating up teacher in class” (December 18) is eye-catching, but deceiving.
In the article it is written that the teen is suspected of having handed out Lehava fliers. Anyone can walk over to an organization handing out fliers and volunteer to help. But is the teen a member of Lehava? We do not know.
The problem does arise that organizations accept members when they pay their dues. Not many (if any) organizations require a prospective member to take a psychological exam. Unfortunately, people, whether youths or grown-ups, do join even “establishment” groups with problems not known the organization.
Lehava should not be blamed this disturbed teen. The blame lies with the Petah Tikva high school and police, which did not work with the teen’s parents, and with the social workers or psychologists who failed to help him with his anger.
BARBARA GINSBERG Ma’aleh Adumim
Sir, – I agree 100 percent with Eric Mandel (“Can America win a war against radical Islam when it refuses to even identify its enemy?” Comment & Features, December 18).
Political correctness, unless curtailed, will be the death of western civilization. There is no concept of PC in the culture or societies – and certainly not in the Muslim religion – of the Arab Middle East.
Mandel asks: “But is there a moderate Islamism?” I personally think that this is one of the many fallacies out there. There is no moderate Islam. Read the Koran.
The Koran is Islam and Islam is the Koran.
Until America and the rest of the West understand this and take it to heart, we will continue to witness the erosion of western civilization into the darkness of Islam.
NORMAN DEROVAN Ma’aleh Adumim
Sir, – Ben Caspi (“Houston, we have a problem with Bennett,” Comment & Features, December 10) believes that Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett exhibited attributes that horrified American Jews at the recent Saban Form during a one-on-one confrontation with Martin Indyk, the former US ambassador to Israel and now vice president of the Brookings Institution and director of its foreign policy program.
His strongest criticism appears to be that Bennett is the “complete antithesis” of Indyk. To evaluate this fault one should review Indyk’s credentials.
In relation to Jonathan Pollard, Indyk is said to have advised US President Barack Obama to take a Machiavellian approach and disregard the injustice of Pollard’s sentence and health considerations in favor of continuing his incarceration until such time as his release could be traded for significant Israeli concessions.
According to Israeli columnist Nahum Barnea, Indyk was the US official who blamed Israel for the recent failure of the Palestinian-Israel peace talks. And Indyk authorized Brookings’s acceptance of $14.8 million from Qatar, the largest financial supporter of Hamas and terror worldwide.
On the basis of the above, I believe Caspi maligned the American Jewish community when he wrote that it was “horrified” by Bennett’s appearance. The opposite was probably true.
TUVIA MUSKIN Rehovot