A government derailed?
Regarding “Shabbat construction crisis causes transport chaos, political turmoil” (September 4), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a terrible mistake by caving in, again, to the ultra-Orthodox rather than backing Transportation Minister Israel Katz, a fellow member of the Likud. He is making it very hard for me and thousands of others in the Likud’s “silent majority” to continue to support the party.
Netanyahu needs some backbone and must say no to the haredim. Let them decide if they really want to leave the coalition.
If new elections are the answer, I am sure the Likud’s silent majority will increase it to 40 or more mandates, and then Netanyahu will be able to form the next coalition without them.MURRAY JOSEPH
With all due respect to Transportation Minister Israel Katz, he should be fired before he raises the speed limit again and causes more traffic fatalities.
JerusalemA government derailed?
With regard to “Turkey pushes west in offensive against ISIS in Syria” (September 4), you really have to love Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s double standard. He is quoted as saying: “Nobody can expect us to allow a terrorist corridor on our southern border.” This is the same man who demands that Israel relinquish its naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Humanitarian aid can and does enter Gaza after being checked by Israeli authorities at Ashdod Port.
The naval blockade prevents rockets, assault rifles and all other kinds of offensive weaponry from flowing freely to the terrorists on our southern border.
Let’s make a deal, Mr. President.
Israel will not supply weapons to the terrorists on your southern border, and you don’t go around telling us how to prevent Iran from supplying weapons to the Hamas terrorists on our southern border.
Even if your editorial on Sweden (“Straight talk,” September 4) included dramatic facts about its anti-Semitic trends and wartime relations with Nazi Germany, it would be fair to also mention that Sweden, in October 1943, received 7,000 Danish Jews as refugees.
Also, Danish resistance fighters found shelter in Sweden.
As one of the Danish Jews welcomed by three police officers on the Swedish coast after a dramatic four-hour escape over the waves in the dark October night, I would appreciate this balance in your paper.ROBERT BACHMANN
Ra’anana Punctuation in speech
Regarding “How I learned to be a preacher” (Comment & Features, September 4), Raymond Apple is so right when he says that many rabbis “don’t stop for breath, you never know where one word ends and the next begins.”
I recall officiating at a wedding ceremony where the rabbi addressed the couple. He turned to the bridegroom and seemed to say: “Your father is dead, thank God. Your mother is still alive.”MICHAEL PLASKOW
The writer is emeritus minister at Woodside Park Synagogue in London.Age discrimination
The age discrimination that reader Charlie Herman points to (“Hire us instead!” Letters, September 4) is, unfortunately, alive and well in other sectors besides engineering and hi-tech.
As a teacher, I was asked my age in a number of job interviews.
I did the following: • I pointed to my CV and directed the conversation to some of the more interesting and important aspects of my experience, evading the question altogether.
• I removed dates from my CV, especially graduation dates. I also removed any work experience from more than 20 years in the past.
• I artfully applied makeup and chose a more youthful look for interviews. I made sure that my hair was freshly dyed, and the roots well covered.
• I smiled and made sure I was dynamic and energetic.
Given the complaints about the shortage of qualified English teachers, and given that I am a native English speaker as well as a trained teacher, you would think I might not have to stoop to tactics designed to deflect from my age.
Jerusalem Predicting Obama
In “Unlikely to be the ‘end of the world’” (Frontlines, August 19), Herb Keinon speculates as to the various approaches US President Barack Obama still might take concerning the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process, but makes no mention of steps taken by Bill Clinton.
In December 2000, as his presidency was drawing to a close, Clinton was actively involved in trying achieve a final deal between then-PA president Yasser Arafat and then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak. On December 23, he laid out parameters and ideas on all remaining significant issues, including territory, security, Jerusalem and refugees, placing the prestige of his office behind the endeavor. We all know his effort failed because Arafat lacked the courage to make peace or, worse, was never willing to make a deal.
Although Clinton’s parameters, by their terms, expired when he left office, they remain a presidential statement of policy.
Obama, with the full support of Israel, should restate these parameters. Israel should accompany this with the announcement of a temporary settlement freeze, thereby demonstrating to the world once and for all its desire for peace based on a twostate solution. It has nothing to lose, as the Palestinians will insist on the so-called right of return, which is the equivalent of ending Israel as a Jewish state.
Whatever Obama does, he will make a decision after a full discussion with Middle East experts.
Whether one agrees with him or not, he will act in what he believes to be the best interests of the US and Israel.
HAROLD J. SMITH
White Plains, New YorkTake time to listen
Thirty-seven years ago, when I made aliya from England at the wonderful age of 22, I was full of hope. Now, there’s less. Much less.
I have no intention of bemoaning what we’ve lost or failed to achieve. I’m not going to cry over the spilled milk and honey that has seeped through the cracks in our scorched and “oh so holy” soil. This is not a letter to wail or lay blame.
After almost 40 years in Israel, I believe I have reached some kind of insight, possibly even enlightenment – or maybe simply a better understanding, albeit tainted by an increasingly overwhelming and uncontrollable wave of desperation and frustration – that we may have lost our way and once again are wandering in the desert.
I respectfully propose that we just stop for a second and take stock. Now would be a good time to remember the word “listen.”
The more we listen, the more we understand. The more we listen, the more we respect.
The more we listen, the more we’ll be respected.
Without any attempt to be patronizing, I would like to humbly suggest a number of ways that might be useful for improving our speaking culture (we have nothing to lose): Smile more. Let other people say their piece before cutting them off without as much as an “excuse me.” Before bursting in, breathe. Count to 15. Then listen.
Listen to peers even if you disagree.
Listen to peers even if you have no interest in any opinions other than your own. Listen to peers even when there’s no mutual respect. Listen. Listen.
Who knows? Perhaps we’ll realize that others have something to say, too.HOWARD BURNS