Just who is...
Sir, - I was disconcerted by Anshel Pfeffer's "And who, may we ask, is Tzipi Livni?" (March 30), and by the insinuations that because we know little about this minister we have to "deal with a long list of unanswered questions." That kind of thing is usually said when there have been allegations of wrongdoing, and not when someone has had a career which, contrary to your writer's
suggestions, is completely transparent and available for all to read.
On Ms. Livni's CV, available to all on the government Web site, it is clearly stated that she has two children; and her career from her army days is also described. (Incidentally, she worked for 10 - not "a few" - years in a law firm.)
It was particularly unpleasant to read how "scary"
it is that Ms. Livni keeps her family out of the spotlight. I would suggest the opposite is true, and that use of one's family in furtherance of political advancement is much more scary.
Sir, - I suggest that Anshel Pfeffer has missed the point. It is of no importance to whom Livni is married, nor how many children she has; what is of significance is how her voting record in the Knesset has influenced the path Israel has taken.
The answer to Pfeffer's question is given in depth by Caroline B. Glick further on in the paper ("At least she's not corrupt," March 30).
According to Glick, Livni is a clever politician who propelled herself to prominence by rejecting her previous values, principles and beliefs and jumping on Ariel Sharon's "expulsion bandwagon."
As justice minister, her actions ensured disengagement.
Today as foreign minister she is seemingly encouraging the US to pressure Israel to "negotiate" the surrender of Judea and Samaria.
Sir, - If Ehud Olmert is doing all he can to delay publication of the Winograd testimony transcripts on the grounds that it would damage the national interest, why is he frantically giving interviews about how well he did? ("It has not been the easiest year..." March 30.)
Sir, - What peace plan could the Arab world propose that compromises Jerusalem, the capital of Israel? ("Arab League refuses to change its 'peace' initiative." March 29.) Tonight, Monday, Jews the world over will be celebrating at their Seder tables, chiming in, "Next year in Jerusalem!"
The city of Jerusalem in its entirety belongs to the Jewish people, for its foundation stone is the epicenter of the Jewish world. An indivisible Jerusalem resonates not only with those of us living today, but with David, Solomon, the prophets, the sages and their lineage for more than 3,000 years.
This year, the 40th anniversary of the unification of Jerusalem, should be a celebration the world over: Jerusalem, the spiritual capital of Jews all over the globe, is in our hands!
More like blackmail
Sir, - "Land for Peace" sounds like blackmail to me. It is no different from the Mafia going to a store owner and telling him to pay for protection: "If you don't pay, we will burn down your store."
I thought Hamas was a terrorist organization. Now it is legitimate because Ismail Haniyeh appears in Western clothes on the front pages of the papers as the Palestinian PM? The mobsters knew how to dress for success.
Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa's comment is really a threat: "If we don't move forward, we will witness an escalation of violence in the region."
Nothing but the latitude and longitude has changed since the 1947 UN debates. At that time Arab leaders threatened Jews who lived in Arab states.
An Arab delegate told the General Assembly: "The lives of one million Jews in Muslim countries would be jeopardized by partition." Approximately 820,000 Jews fled for their lives with little more than the shirts on their backs. At what cost do you stop blackmailers?
Sir, - Whenever the Arab refugee problem is addressed, it must be stressed by our politicians and journalists that in place of the Arabs who fled Israel, Jewish refugees from Arab countries came here. This is vital, but I rarely see it in the media. Even private individuals should mention it, often ("Who was cleansed?" Letters, March 26).
Sir, - The new plan for teaching English includes "20 minutes of reading time in each class"
("Education Ministry to put English studies at head of the class," March 29). The question is, who does the reading?
Last June, my daughter graduated from a public school in Jerusalem, where she was in the English-speakers' English class. About three years ago I asked her if they read in class. She replied that the teacher reads. "Why don't you let the students read?" I asked the teacher. "Ministry of Education rules," she replied. The reason, she said, was to avoid embarrassing those children who don't read well.
If this is the current attitude, I expect that the 20 minutes will be wasted time.
Matzot in Havana
Sir, - "Cigars, salsa and shmaltz" (February 16) talked about the Canadian Jewish Congress's supply of kosher-for-Pessah food to the "small but tenacious" Jewish community of Cuba. It mentioned a first-ever meeting between Castro and local Jewish leaders, and noted Castro's participation in a Hanukka celebration held in the Gran Sinagoga on December 20, 1998. This and further meetings "helped immensely in paving the way for our Pessah shipments in the years following."
Former chief rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau's 2005 autobiography, Al Tishlah Yadcha El Hana'ar (Do not raise your hand against the boy), contains this account:
Early in 1994, on a lecture tour in Venezuela, the chief rabbi made a brief visit to Cuba accompanied by some Venezuelan Jewish leaders. In Havana they met with Castro. During a talk lasting more than three hours Rabbi Lau asked the Cuban leader to allow Cuba's Jews to receive matzot from abroad.
Castro gave permission - provided the matzot weren't sent from the US. It was agreed that they would come from Venezuela.
Declaring our freedom
Sir, - I recently made several attempts to buy an Israeli flag to replace the tattered one in front of my home. In each instance I was informed that I must wait until Independence Day. That was, indeed, the day Israel was permitted by the nations to declare its existence - but Yom Ha'atzmaut, for the people of Israel, was in fact declared when we were brought out of bondage to freedom, by an authority much higher and more relevant than any man-made assembly of nations.
That's why I have always set out the banner of our people on my home and auto on Pessah Eve, the only true reason we are here!