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Out of hand
Sir, - Perhaps we should look into the matter of the police personnel who took the law into their hands and are now awaiting further action from the authorities ("Police floundering in battle against Tony Soprano wannabes," December 7). While taking the law into one's own hands is never justified completely, in this case perhaps the officers had reasons we don't know about. After all, they and their families were being threatened, and evidently nothing was being done about it. And now, we hear of judges and their families being not only threatened, but actually attacked. The so-called "crime families" appear to be responsible - and, seemingly, the police do nothing about it. Surely, the authorities have the strength to stop these bullies. If they don't, then they should be replaced, beginning at the top.
In the US we also had our Tony Sopranos, but at least they did not take over, as they seem to be doing here. Can't someone do something about this miserable situation?
Sir, - "Demand Egyptian action" (December 7) focused on a major flaw in Israel's foreign policy. The idea of recruiting the aid of our enemies to protect our interests is the most asinine idea ever to have been adopted by any nation. We have been paying for it in blood and treasure ever since Shimon Peres convinced Yitzhak Rabin how clever it would be if we brought Mahmoud Abbas out of exile, allowed him an army and weapons, gave him control over the local Arab educational system and its mass media ("to build his confidence") - provided he pacified the population. We lost about 2,000 Jews, thousands more were crippled and our military presence in the North and in the Gaza Strip collapsed because of this plan. Now we are repeating this policy with Egypt. They are policing our borders, once removed. Gaza terrorists cross the Egyptian border for training in Iran and return to use the equipment smuggled in for them by the Egyptians. Privatizing our Foreign Ministry might not be a bad idea after all.
Sir, - The quote from MK Moshe Gafni in "Chief Rabbinate calls on gov't to keep Jerusalem united" (December 7) makes me wonder what torah his party is united over. The Torah with which I am familiar contains clear expressions of nationalism and of the ideal to fight for the Land of Israel, which he rejects as "goyish." See, for example, Deuteronomy 33:29. Does MK Gafni have a torah that supersedes the Torah of Moshe Rabbeinu?
PA gets it right
Sir, - "PA bill bans concessions on Jerusalem" (December 7) states that according to a legislative bill which passed its first reading on Thursday, "it is totally forbidden to give up or conduct negotiations about any part of Jerusalem," and that "anyone who violates these prohibitions would be prosecuted as a traitor."
I think that all proud Israeli Jews should rally in support of this bill - the only problem is that the bill wasn't presented to the Knesset. It was passed in the Palestinian Legislative Council. It seems the Palestinians possess qualities that many Israelis have abandoned: pride and respect for their religion, traditions and homeland.
If the same bill were to be presented in the Knesset, Kadima, Labor and Meretz - egged on by the media - would howl and scream about racism and sabotage of the peace process. If passed, the Supreme Court would surely strike it down.
My sole consolation is that PA President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to endorse the law, and thus will help to save Jerusalem from being sliced up by Olmert, Ramon, Barak and Beilin.
Sir, - "The Palestine Legislative Council is pushing through a bill that would make it illegal to make any concessions on Jerusalem." This is the first time - and probably the last - when Ismail Haniyeh and I will ever agree. Jerusalem is Israel's eternal capital and not one brick should be altered to please any third party.
Sir, - "Jewish ignorance in Israel" (December 9) was correct - as have been your previous editorials on "miseducation."
That Israeli education was ranked at the top in the past and has declined precipitously can be blamed on the establishment and the government. It is clear that the raw intellect of Israeli students has not declined; what has declined is the ability of the educational establishment to educate. Since the average educational achievement of parents has jumped, this points a finger at the educational establishment.
And those of us who have penetrated the Miseducation Ministry can testify that that is what it is. A self-serving bureaucracy, bereft of direction, common sense and the ability to achieve its most crucial goals. That minister after minister comes and changes those goals is unfortunate, but it matches the parade of prime ministers we have had (seven in the 16 years since I came on aliya). Is there no leadership outside of political appointees?
Aiding and abetting the forlorn situation are unions who have done a marvelous job of banging pots for increased wages and protecting rights. Let's not quibble on the number of hours or students they demand, but no one serious about education would tolerate or encourage the strikes we have suffered. And teachers willing to be quoted on how they will call in sick to avoid a court order to end the strike are a paradigm for the educational establishment - anything to avoid tackling the real issues that face us.
Our children's brains have not grown smaller, but certainly something has happened to those allegedly dedicated to their education.
STEPHEN J. KOHN
Sir, - The latest American intelligence report about Iran should be investigated further. I can believe that the Iranians temporarily stopped their atomic bomb development in 2003 because they were afraid of America. Could their officers and officials now be spreading disinformation, knowing that the Americans are listening to them?
Just like Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, their president has been given another reprieve in which to endanger Israel.
Focus on them
Sir, - Re "Fight with US looms over construction at Har Homa" (December 9): It is about time that we tell the Americans to concentrate on stopping the Kassam rockets and mortars rather than on stopping us from building in our land for the good of our citizens.
Sir, - The National Insurance Institute's English Web site is frozen ("National Insurance Institute's public hotline turns cold," December 6). An announcement from June 11, 2007 on the Israel Government Portal Web site states, "The National Insurance Institute (NII) of Israel has launched a new English language Web site in order to assist those entitled to receive the services and benefits provided by the NII who do not have command of the Hebrew language." Since I don't have command of the Hebrew language, I thought I would ask a simple question and hopefully get my answer back in English. Exactly two weeks later, I did get my answer; however, it was in Hebrew.
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