Sir, - When is our government going to ask us to stand collectively for two minutes' silence after a bombing, like other countries, to show the world our pain every time there is a suicide attack? ("Suicide bombing outside Netanya mall kills five," On-Line Edition, December 5).
Fatah's constitution: Destroy Israel
Sir, - Daoud Kuttab writes another piece about the Palestinians while omitting the most crucial facts. In "Birth of the Fatah Party" (December 5) he fails to mention the most critical item about Fatah: Its constitution still officially calls for the destruction of Israel (Article 12).
This is why the PA doesn't really arrest or try terror suspects, or admitted terrorists, block terrorists from using the Rafah crossing, or do much to stop Kassam testing and firing. It is why Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the PA and of Fatah, continues to state he will not disarm terrorists; and why Saeb Erekat, a leading member of Fatah, continues to blame the violence on Israel.
Credit where it's ...er, due
Sir, - "Multiplying Kassams" (Editorial, December 5) states that "Israel's response is confused." Given that the prime minister and two of his chief ministers are politically separated, who is to blame for the confusion?
Specifically, if Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz decides on a harsh response, as suggested in "Mofaz: Resume targeted killings," does the credit (or blame) for this go to him and the Likud, or to Ariel Sharon and Kadima? Alternatively, would the blame (or credit) for restraint belong to Mofaz or the prime minister (and perhaps the US)?
Power to the people!
Sir, - Who to elect, and on what basis? ("Likud MKs look to delay elections," December 4). Citizens must stand up for themselves and take this opportunity to elect in their own interest and not in the interest of the shameful politicians of all parties who are fighting each other like dogs over a bone.
We must vote for the party that gives a positive undertaking to change the electoral system to one that gives each of us real power over our representatives, regardless of current or future party label.
If we elect on that basis we will be heading in the right direction with the possibility that in future elections, we, the citizenry, will hold the whip hand.
Youth and age
Sir, - Instead of illustrating Gil Hoffman's December 2 story with a rocking chair, perhaps the Post should have used a rocking horse to symbolize the dead horse your reporter has been flogging for years about our country's elder statesmen ("Rocking toward a gerontocracy").
They're old. We get it! Tell us something we don't know. Having seen Hoffman on CNN and the BBC, I understand that to him Likud MKs Gila Gamliel (31) and Inbal Gavrieli (30) might also appear old. But that's no reason to make fun of Peres and Sharon.
Gil Hoffman responds: I am 28 years old, and respectful of my elders.
Sir, - Elliot Jager writes that Israelis have placed their trust in "an overweight, 78-year-old autocrat" ("From 'opinion' to mind-set," December 5). If a political leader is to be judged not simply on performance but also on physical appearance and age, perhaps The Jerusalem Post could provide us with similar details about its columnists - weight, height, dress sense, distinguishing marks, baldness or otherwise - so we can decide how much credence to give to their opinions.
Iran's bomb is years away
Sir, - It is misleading to state that "IAEA chairman (sic) Muhammad ElBaradei on Monday confirmed Israel's assessment that Iran is only a few months away from creating an atomic bomb" (On-Line Edition, December 5).
Your article appears to be based on a December 5 report in The Independent, which stated: "Although IAEA officials have said it would take at least two years for Natanz to become fully operational, Mr. ElBaradei believes that once the facility is up, and running, the Iranians could be 'a few months' away from a nuclear weapon."
The "few months away" time-frame is only, as the British paper correctly indicated, once a country has a uranium enrichment or plutonium reprocessing facility "up, and running."
In the case of Natanz, the Iranians are years away from reaching that stage.
MARC VIDRICAIRE Spokesperson IAEA
Sir, - The worlds' leaders bow their heads at Auschwitz. The UN and EU (finally) take umbrage at what Iranian leaders have been saying for years. The slaughter of half of European Jewry is deemed worthy of annual commemoration at the UN. Hizbullah is condemned, by that body, for doing what it has been doing for years. Israel's expulsion of Jews from Gaza is universally applauded. Israel is finally being allowed its turn on the Security Council. A diminished Star of David, confined in a diamond shtetl, is deemed acceptable as Israel's symbol by the International Red Cross.
Like love-starved puppies we receive each pat on the head with wagging tails and yelps of delight. With this succession of largely empty gestures the UN and the EU have restored the veneer to their much-depleted credibility. They now resume, with renewed vigor, their tenacious embrace of the mother of all worthless causes, a Palestinian state on all the land beyond the Green Line.
Sir, - Kudos to Judy Montagu for her warm, affectionate and thought-provoking "Less than joyful in Germany" (December 4). I sort of read between the lines and felt that she could possibly forgive the second or third generation, "Shoah-innocent" Germans. I couldn't, and would not. To pardon, forgive or forget the horror of the slaughter of millions of Jews needs more than two or three generations, if ever.
I'm glad she ended the article with "this unshakable certainty: Israel is the one place on earth where I can stand up easily and with dignity, proclaiming, 'I am a Jew, and this is my country.'"
Sir, - I've lived through tough times, and the horror always returns come November 9. I shiver, then go back to living.
This year I asked some work colleagues if they knew the word "Kristallnacht." Blank faces stared back. These are educated people, well versed in current affairs. I was in shock.
I live in a retirement home, and the cultural director agreed to give me an afternoon to share some memories of that horrible time with my neighbors, all more or less my age. I got November 7, and the hall was full to capacity. I spoke for almost an hour.
I told them of my best friend in first grade, a Christian boy who lived opposite us in Vienna. When I studied for my bar mitzva he sat with me and listened, and attended the synagogue service and the celebration.
Came the Anschluss and, the morning after Kristallnacht, a knock on the door. There stood my friend, now accompanying an SA man and Gestapo civilian, searching for weapons. My father was arrested; my erstwhile friend, who knew exactly where my bar mitzva books were, left with them on his shoulder.
Father and some 100 others were held in hell for 20 days, with one bucket and no water. He, an ex-soldier decorated with the small Iron Cross, was the only one then allowed to leave the country with his family, within 30 days. His release was signed by Lt. SS Adolf Eichmann. The man who killed six million Jews saved our lives.
One of my granddaughters asked me for a letter she could read while in Poland earlier this year. In it I used almost the exact words with which Judy Montagu closed her wonderful article.
Sir, - Kol hakavod to your writer for expressing in a few words the oft-forgotten blessing we have been given: to live in our beautiful, if challenged, country as free Jews.
No to Tel Aviv as 'gay capital'
Sir, - I love Israel, and keep returning. Recently I heard that some Israeli officials are planning on making Tel Aviv "the gay capital of the world." If true, I believe it would be a mistake, though I have some gay friends.
What about AIDS and HIV spreading through the country many people worldwide consider the Holy Land?
Are these officials thinking of financial benefit? Not if tourism decreases and AIDS and HIV viruses soar! They may want to reconsider.
Terre Haute, Indiana
Sir, - Re "Is it possible to be Jewish and a lesbian?" (December 4), the more correct question would be: Is it possible to be a biblically adherent Jew and a lesbian? The answer - since the Jewish scriptures are the only original, legitimate basis we have today for the faith called Judaism, and since there is a clear ban on homosexuality as found in Leviticus 20:13 - is clearly that the two cannot coexist, at least not in the Judaism God intended.
Light to the needy
Sir, - During this holiday season I would like to start a new tradition: On the third day of Hanukka we give to charity instead of giving gifts to our children. There are eight days of the festival, and seven days of gifts is plenty.