Carry a big nuclear stick...
Sir, – Rabbi Ian Pear makes a number of good points in calling for Israel to announce that it has a nuclear weapons capability and is willing to gradually give up this capability completely (“Give up the nukes?,” April 25).
However he misses one critical point: The adversaries of Israel are not at all troubled by Jewish humane values. They would see any Israeli abrogation of power not as an example to be followed, but as a weakness to be taken advantage of. Seeing Israel incapable of responding to their nuclear strike would give them a far more tempting target. The threat of devastating Israeli counter-response, even to the messianic mullahs, must in some way deter.
Thus, whether Israel would ever be able, in good conscience or not, to use the arsenal, the policy of speaking not at all while having a big stick ready for use remains the most advisable one.SHALOM FREEDMAN
Jerusalem ...but don’t give enemies ammo
Sir, – By telling President Barack Obama that building will continue and taking a don’t-order-us-around stance, Israel stands a very good chance of alienating itself from the free world and giving more ammunition to its enemies (“Abbas: Forget about a state with temporary borders,” April 25).
While I agree that Israel has the right to build, now is hardly the time, since all sides must sit down and come up with a satisfying solution. How many more times can they go back to the drawing board before it all blows up in their faces?HERB STARK
Massapequa, New York ‘What’s in a name?’
Sir, – Shakespeare coined the phrase “What’s in a name?” but today in Israel, we see evidence of names being abused. The Holyland project has been linked with fraud and deception (“Ex-J’lem deputy mayor is latest arrest in Holyland corruption scandal,” April 23). Of a large variety of names, the administrators chose this one, but they preferred not to live up to it.
This ancient land upon which we sit was made holy by God’s will. To disgrace the use of this name is the height of immorality. It shames God, the land and its people.TOVA WALD
JerusalemThe holiest site
Sir, – I agreed with the crux of David Horovitz’s column on Friday (“From bad to worse,” April 23). However, he made one important error. When mentioning the absurd decision of the British Advertising Standards Authority, Mr. Horovitz seemed to imply that the Western Wall was the holiest site in the Jewish religion. It is not. The holiest site in Judaism is the area of the Temple Mount, also featured in the ad banned in Britain, where the aptly named Holy of Holies of King Solomon’s Temple was situated.
When arguing with the world about the right of the Jews to their ancestral homeland, we must be sure that we accurately present our heritage.GARY WILLIG
Staten Island, New YorkTaiwan’s airports
Sir, – Following the eruption of a volcano in Iceland which disrupted all air transport in Europe, among the thousands who were stranded at airports all around the world were many Israelis as well as Taiwanese travelers (“Packed planes bid to get hundreds of thousands home,” April 23).
However, while most countries of the world participate in the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization), a UN specialized agency which is in charge of aviation and flight safety, Taiwan is excluded from participating in its activities, even though its international airport was ranked as the world’s 11th-largest by international cargo volume, and 19th in terms of international passenger services. In 2008, some 174,000 international flights carrying over 35 million passengers arrived in and departed from Taiwan.
These figures emphasize the urgent need to let Taiwan be part of the organization, so when a crisis like the one in Iceland occurs, Taiwanese citizens can be part of the decision-making process like the rest of the international community.SIMON C. HSIEH
Director, Information Division,
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office
Tel AvivBush did not save America
Sir, – If it is a rule of history that all great empires that rise must ultimately decline, then I am of the opinion that President George W. Bush, with his long and expensive Middle Eastern wars against terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan, has hastened the decline of America rather than helping it to maintain its powerful status as suggested by Ofer Israeli (“Did Bush save America?,” April 22).
Indeed, where is there proof of a “successful confrontation” with terrorism, when almost a decade after 9/11, there is an increase in terror attacks, in anti-American sentiment, civilian casualties and soldiers killed? In the US, there is an increase in unemployment and fiscal failures.
Personally I feel deeply saddened for the parents who know that they have lost their sons and daughters – all in vain, for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan are not free and there is no consolation for them in a falsely declared victory.DR. LILY POLLIACK
Jerusalem Faith after the Shoah
Sir, – As a survivor of Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Zeitz and Schlieben (where I worked as a slave laborer building Panzerfausts for the Wehrmacht), it is important to me to point out that after I was liberated and moved to the United States, I was interviewed by numerous oral history projects concerning the Holocaust. Through my involvement with these programs, I was encouraged to begin speaking publicly about my experiences at schools, churches and various civic organizations.
While being interviewed or while speaking, I always make it a point to wear my yarmulke. This inevitably raises the question about my belief in God in light of what happened to me (“Where God stood in the Shoah,” April 7). Although I initially questioned my belief in God, it eventually became important to me to reinforce my faith, regardless of my experiences. If we blame God for the Holocaust, we run the risk of offering forgiveness to the Germans (and others) who perpetrated these horrific crimes.ABE PASTERNAK
Southfield, MichiganIndependence Day wishes
– I get so tired of hearing the Palestinian narrative that “we all want
peace” and that Israel is an obstacle to this and that Israel needs to
seriously get on the same “peace” track (“Happy Independence Day wishes
from a Palestinian,” April 21).
Without itemizing once again the
well-trod response to Palestinian intransigence in refusing to accept
Israel’s existence, it is nevertheless amusing to read in the article
that “we can all unite and work toward the overdue dream of a viable
Palestinian state before it is too late. It is time for our people to
not let the past rob us of our future, but rather let it motivate us
toward actions of hope.”
“Overdue dream?” There is a critical
mass of thought that a Palestinian state is not due at all. Nor is
there any real intention to seek peace with Israel.
“Rob us of
our future?” There is a story that Forbes is going with in their annual
list of the 500 wealthiest people in the world that Mahmoud Abbas is
now the 49th-richest man in the world, two slots down from Suha Arafat,
wife of Yasser Arafat. If I thought that I was being “robbed” of my
present and my future, those would be a couple of addresses where I
might pursue a claim.YITZCHAK MILLMAN
– It was refreshing to read Aziz Abu Sarah’s positive wishes to Israel.
While I do not agree with everything he says, I appreciate that he has
taken this step to reach out to Israelis, and hope that indeed, there
is an end to the culture of “revenge and destruction.”S. NEWMAN