Truths to all
Sir, - David Hirsh talks about British Jews "[hitting] their foreheads in exasperation" at targeted assassinations, the death of Rachel Corrie and "Jewish-only" roads ("The smart way to fight British anti-Semitism," November 1).
I would suggest that he is missing the point entirely. Perhaps a smarter way to fight anti-Semitism is to ensure that people know exactly why these things happen. Targeted assassination has proven to be an effective way to reduce terrorism. Some roads have become notoriously dangerous for Israeli motorists and need to be protected, if only temporarily. And the truth in the Rachel Corrie story - I would have thought - is well known to anyone who supports Israel.
May I suggest that David Hirsh expend his energies loudly proclaiming these truths to all.
Sir, - Given all the possible ramifications, why is the Israeli public permitting Prime Minister Sharon to agree to third party monitors at the Rafah border crossing ("Security cabinest likely to approve EU monitors at Rafah", November 1)?
Quartet disengagement envoy James Wolfensohn, who has been facilitating negotiations over this issue is not accountable to any constituency in Israel.
I love my country, but Israel must tell America in no uncertain terms, that the arrangement is unacceptable. No other country would be allowed to guard America's borders. Why would Israel permit it?
As friendly as President Bush has been to Israel, his term will be up in three years. The next president may not advocate for Israel's security, yet Israel will be living with the consequences of enemies opening the gates.
Lathrup Village, Michigan
The 'fair game' is up
Sir, - Prof. Robert Aumann is not "fair game," as the promo at the top of the November 1 edition of The Jerusalem Post states.
One would have hoped that the Left, instead of attacking Prof. Aumann for what are seen as his political opinions, would perhaps consider that this brilliant man might just be right. Rather than listening to the message, they prefer to try to delegitimize the messenger.
Sir, - Along with most Israelis I felt great pride in Robert Aumann's winning the Nobel Prize. I am, however, confused about the intellectual process Prof. Aumann uses while heading a center for the study of Rationality and, at the same time, supporting the untenable Jewish settlement project in Gaza. Prof. Auman makes clear that this support is part and parcel of his rational, scientific thinking.
It would be helpful to know Prof. Aumann's rational explanation of how some 8,000 Jews in Gaza could survive in the long term, surrounded by more than a million hateful Arabs. By what possible rational process should our small Jewish state, with its limited resources, have continued to invest vast sums of money in that enterprise?
I would also be interested in understanding how his rational thinking leads him to believe that the Arab/Muslim world will ever come to accepting us and leaving us to live in peace here?
Coffee with Peres
Sir, - Vice Premier Shimon Peres was quoted as saying that Iran should be expelled from the UN over President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's remarks ("Iranian president: 'Wipe Israel off map,' October 27). Yet, after nearly 1,100 Israeli deaths and thousands more wounded as a result of Palestinian terror attacks, his response is to invite the Palestinians over for coffee and a piece of Israel.
Sir, - Shimon Peres remains firm to his life-long accommodationist approach to the Palestinians. Prime Minister Sharon is on the horns of a dilemma. He cannot live with Peres and he cannot live without him.
Massapequa Park, NY
Sir, - Charles Krauthammer notes that Brent Scowcroft remains "unmoved by the stirrings of democracy movements in the Middle East" ("Brent Scowcroft's realism", October 31). However, President George Bush's Middle East policy of actively promoting democracy is fundamentally unrealistic.
Social cohesion is minimal in most Islamic countries and the teaching of jihad and religious intolerance has fostered a hate-thy-neighbor mentality which undermines any consensual system.
Yet America acts - and asks Israel to act - as if Democratic Arab states are around the corner.
Thus, Israel must keep giving up land to the chimera of a future democratic and peaceful Palestine. In Iraq, American blood and treasure are lavished on a non-country which will either evolve into a Sunni terrorist state or a Shi'ite appendage of Iran if left unattended by foreign forces.
Politics is the art of the possible: Containment of radical Islamic states is possible, democratic reform is problematic.
...or is it?
Sir, - Given the events of the past months in Syria, Iran and Lebanon, I am optimistic about the future of the Middle East. As a Lebanese citizen I am aware that Arab extremism is gaining strength in southern Lebanon due to Syrian and Iranian support of Hizbullah. Their goal is to block democracy in Lebanon.
In order to gave peace a chance between Lebanon and Israel, we must condemn and weaken Syria and Iran so that Hizbullah's weapons supplies are cut off; or at least to the point that Hizbullah members become part of the Lebanese army under the command of the Lebanese government.
Believe me, there are too many Lebanese who seek peace with Israel to let this opportunity go by. We must start to have open dialogue with our neighbor to the south.
Sir, - Where is the world's outrage regarding the reported destruction of Jewish prayer books and bibles at the Machpela Cave in Hebron ("Porush: Left incited Arabs to rip up Bibles", October 31)? Headlines were made by the reported recent desecration of Muslim holy books by American personnel. So where is the coverage when Jewish holy books are involved?
Sir, - Some people are upset about the harsh reception that our soldiers received when they went to evacuate another hilltop ("Security forces evacuate West Bank outposts," October 28). But why be upset only about that? Every Friday, including October 28, Israelis and Arabs give soldiers protecting the security fence a similar rough time; soldiers have been injured in these incidents as well. Why is there little lament for them?
Sir, - The government seems to be out of touch with the needs of its citizens. Increasing the price of bread is a short-sighted decision ("Bread prices going up 6.57%", November 1). The gap between rich and poor in Israel is widening. Benefit cuts are compounded by rising prices for food and heating, which will hit children and the elderly hardest of all this winter. Any compassionate government would be looking to protect its weakest citizens.
While Hazon Yeshaya provides thousands of hot meals every day to those in need, the charity sector cannot be expected to single-handedly take responsibility for Israel's children and elderly.
Founder, Hazon Yeshaya
Salute to security
Sir, - Regarding complaints about the security checks of elderly travelers at Ben-Gurion Airport, including Alan Franklin's "Do you think a kind of 'granny Jihad' is about to start?" (Letters, October 31), these complaints ignore the fact that, yes, anything is possible.
Given the Post's front-page story on October 23 concerning the Palestinian mother who hid a grenade in her own baby's clothes, I would say that assuming all grannies are sweet is as risky as assuming that all mommies are guided only by maternal instincts.
It's time to salute the security staff on the front lines. Would those who complain really feel happier boarding a plane whose passengers have not been thoroughly checked?
Sir, - Alan Franklin and his 61-year-old wife are not alone in experiencing overbearing security treatment.
During our last visit to the US, my then 73-year-old wife and I started our return to Israel from the airport in Albany, New York. Our luggage was taken from us and we were transported in our wheel chairs to an inspection site. There, everything was opened and examined by a soldier.
Later, when boarding began for our flight to New York city, I noticed that my wife was not with me. I looked back and saw that she had been removed from the line for further questioning.
Unfortunately Mr. Franklin, this is the real world we now live in. In Israel we do indeed welcome you. It is the cruelty of our enemies which reduces all of us to this point of suspicion and fear.
Days of Noah
Sir, - Rabbi Shmuley Boteach's article was well written and posed some interesting questions on the state of the world and calamities that are happening ("Religious Americans who hate America," October 27). In my opinion, the calamities are less related to sin and punishment and more related to cleansing and preparation for blessing, as in the days of Noah.
I would like to encourage the people of Israel to take heart, for all these incidents are but signs that "the set time is coming."
Dar es Salaam
Sir, - As a Jew living in the "Bible Belt" of the United States, I say bravo to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. The kind of reasoning he rejects - that the recent Hurricanes in the US are punishment from God for sinfulness - is what I hear too often.
Thank you, rabbi, for pointing out the obvious fallacies in this kind of argument.
D. KYLE BENGEL