(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sir, - When 8,000 law-abiding, taxpaying, army-serving Jews are struggling mightily to put their lives together after the government detached them from their properties, jobs and communities, Larry Derfner proposes shoving this unprecedented trauma on an exponentially higher amount of Jews ("Quicksand in Yesha," August 7).
Moreover, Mr. Derfner, in his fantasy, believes the day will come when the Palestinians put down their arms and become law-abiding citizens.
He fails to realize that our peace "partners" are not ready for peace, and that attempts to force peace only draw the noose tighter around us. Sadly, he fails to acknowledge that true peace ought to mean our Arab neighbors accepting a Jewish presence anywhere.
Sir, - In "The once and future child murderer" (July 21) Frimet Roth explained why Israel must not release Ahlam Tamimi, the murderer of her daughter Malki and several other children. This is the holy wish of a bereaved mother. But the Schalits' wish to get their son Gilad back from Hamas custody as soon as possible is no less holy.
So Israel faces a terrible dilemma - if one assumes that only these two wishes need to be weighed. This is not the case.
To recall the infamous Ahmed Jibril prisoner exchange: When Israel released 6,000 Lebanese fighters and 70 convicted terrorists with the blood of civilians on their hands for our five captured soldiers, everybody approved the release of the fighters; nobody the release of the 70. Beyond the terrible injustice and pain caused to their victims' families, later surveys indicated that in the first two years after their release, those 70 men, foreseeably, killed many more Israelis.
This mustn't happen again. Israel and its leadership must summon up the strength of character and readiness to exert the pressure necessary to demand the release of Gilad Schalit at a reasonable price, without a wholesale throwaway of Israel's moral and security values.
Fresh air and foul
Sir, - Daniel Pipes's "Samir Kuntar and the last laugh" (July 21) was a breath of fresh air following the frightening release of the terrorist who murdered a four-year-old. Thus it was with sadness that I read his "May an American comment on Israel?" (July 28) in which he felt obliged to defend himself against those who criticize him, as an American, for expressing his learned opinions.
Pipes is a gifted writer whose columns I search for in The Jerusalem Post. He is a distinguished scholar who very capably defends himself without any assistance from me.
Moreover, he has an uncanny understanding of the background and current challenges facing Israel, in addition to a devotion to the survival and success of his people - perhaps beyond that of some Israelis.
How dare any Israeli castigate a friend such as he!
When major is minor
Sir, - I fully agree with David Herz that the bagrut system is detrimental to our education system ("Eliminate the bagrut," August 7). I would add that the "megama" aspect of secondary school education here is equally problematic.
I've long objected to forcing our high-schoolers to choose a subject in which to "major." Many schools allow two such majors and consider that it will attract top-quality students. In my opinion, it seriously compromises students' basic education.
With each "megama" utilizing five weekly class hours, for three years of high school our students are deprived of five to 10 hours of other subjects. This forces the schools to limit the teaching hours devoted to literature, history, art, music, etc.
It is absurd, for example, that students squeeze both Hebrew and world literature into two or three hours a week (unless someone "majors" in literature); the same with history, geography, etc. Given the fact that many students do not continue on to university after national service and those who do are not exposed to a liberal arts education, we are severely limiting our youth's general knowledge instead of broadening their horizons as we should.
With the bagrut system (among its many faults) stifling curiosity and discouraging students from developing critical thinking, and the megama system reducing the availability of general subject matter, I shudder to contemplate the impact on future generations.
Taps off, briefly
Sir, - I'm not a scientist, engineer or health official, but I do have an idea which I think could work, at least in the short term, to lift us out of our dire emergency water situation ("Knesset orders commission of inquiry into water shortage," July 29).
Couldn't the water in the whole country be shut off for an hour a day, every day? If people knew when that hour was they could easily prepare for it.
It seems to me that an enormous amount of water could be saved in this way.
TAMAR H. KAGAN
Sir, - You reported that Jerusalem's regional planning council has authorized the building of a large artificial lake in the Motza Valley (J'lem panel okays Motza park, lake," August 7). What do they plan to fill it with?
Room with a view
Sir, - I often wondered why my nephew chose to live in an apartment with large picture windows not only facing the beautiful mountains of Meron, but also with a prominent view of the cemetery below. After reading Melinda Ribner's "Ode to Safed" (Thursday, August 7) the answer became clear, and I find myself quite jealous.
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