letters to the editor 88.
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Sir, - The way the police were congratulating one another, one might have thought it was sterling detective work that led to the capture of Benny Sela. Sighted by a police officer on December 4, 11 days after his escape, it still took another four days and an excess of 2,000 police officers before he was apprehended ("Serial rapist nabbed near Nahariya thanks to civilian tips," December 10).
Our police department hasn't very much to be proud of. If this capture is what Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter considers great film material, it would have to star Buster Keaton to stand a chance at the box office. Right now the Israeli police are looking more like the cops in The Shield than those in Law and Order.
Sir, - Amid the euphoria surrounding the Sela capture, what a relief to see that "With Sela back behind bars, police turn to correcting errors" (December 11).
Day at the circus
Sir, - Today many of us feel more anger at the media than at the police ("Shameful celebration," Editorial, December 11). As I listened to the interviewers' sanctimonious tones and read press denunciations of the "celebration," my reaction was cynicism. We all know that none of the pictures of the Sela capture spectacle would have appeared without the police conniving with the media that brought them to the public's attention. The police, however, do not own the media.
My son, who participated in the Stephen Hawking appearance at the Bloomfield Museum in Jerusalem on Sunday, described the circus to me. Repeated requests from the museum director that the media, particularly photographers, leave the room were ignored. Flashbulbs popped, photographers elbowed one another and reporters screamed their questions in a total disruption of order.
It is ghoulish for journalists to force answers from and photograph the unwilling - families of murder victims, survivors of terrorist attacks, even a despicable psychopath. That is journalism at its worst. A bit more balance in your editorial was in order.
Sir - Your report on Stephen Hawking in Jerusalem said that "even a senior staffer couldn't make head or tail of his lecture" ("Hawking's black hole lecture leaves teenagers in the dark," December 11). Readers may judge for themselves as they can watch the whole lecture via the British Embassy Web site: www.britemb.org.il
As to understanding such an outstanding intellect, Einstein commented: "If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"
Don't worry, be happy?
Sir, - What observers find so perplexing is the politically-clouded vision of the Israeli leadership, its ineptness and inability to stand up to outside pressure. In the good old days of the state Israel's security came first, and no leadership would ever compromise it.
Today, with Iran, Israel is facing the biggest threat in its history, and yet, as David Horovitz writes, "it gets harder and harder to comprehend" the source of the politicians' optimism. The chilling reality seems to be that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will use his nukes as soon as they are ready. The question is, how will Israel stop this?
I am surprised that Israel has not changed its policy of nuclear ambiguity and "bragged" of its own nuclear might in order for Iran to realize that the price it would pay would simply be too high ("Iran the vulnerable"? December 8).
Blessed be Borat...
Sir, - David Horovitz, explaining that "In my country there is problem - with Borat" (December 1), is understandably concerned that Sacha Baron Cohen's character tries too hard to expose Americans as bigots, while the rest of the bigoted world may take the film's mock anti-Semitism to heart. Yet I think the film's overwhelming popularity bodes well for Jews, and for Israel.
Borat is a spoof of all the primitive, anti-Semitic and barbaric Third World rubes most people scorn but are too afraid to deride because of political correctness. Iran's Ahmadinejad comes to mind. The film provides an outlet for those pent-up feelings.
It's good to know that despite all those high-sounding UN resolutions blaming Israel, most people know who the real jerks are.
Charleston, South Carolina
Sir, - Can you conceive of a member of any other ethnic group producing such a self-denigrating satire? Only a Jew would be so self-loathing as to make such a movie about Jews for members of other ethnic groups to laugh at.
This is the corrosive influence of anti-Semitism, that it makes Jews grovel in stupidity in order to be accepted by the rest. Would an Italian make a movie containing a "running of the Italians," or an Arab make a movie with a scene where money is thrown at Arab bugs? No - it is only funny if Jews are degraded in this way.
The best response is not to see the movie. Let Cohen do something truly funny, but not anti-Semitic, to redeem the shame heaped on our Jewish name.
'Not that Jewish' in the holy land
Sir, - I applaud David Mamet's courage in confronting, in his book The Wicked Son, the self-loathing Diaspora Jew ("Life outside the tribe," December 10). However, he errs in his claim that the phenomenon does not exist in Israel. "Those people do not have the problems of the Jews in the Diaspora... The Jews of Israel don't go around saying, 'I'm Jewish, but I'm not that Jewish.'"
On the contrary, the phenomenon is rampant among our so-called literary elite. The post-Zionist in Israel is the equivalent of the self-hating Jew in the Diaspora. It is the Israeli Jew who disparagingly asks the new oleh from America, "Why would you move here?!"
Let's hope Mamet's book makes the rounds in Israel.
Sir, - For years I have believed that sending water from either the Mediterranean or Red seas to the Dead Sea is a good idea. Besides the obvious benefits, such a project could be used for generating hydroelectricity, as well as bringing about much-desired urban development in the Negev.
I hope that the steps being taken by Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezar are encouraged by the country, and that any noises from the friends of this or that organization are not allowed to distract from this important national undertaking ("World Bank's Dead Sea plan would make matters worse, warns Friends of the Earth," December 11).
Happy B-day, Frank
Sir, - Frank Sinatra was born December 12, 1915, and once again it's time to wish Frank a Happy Birthday. He would have been 91. He was a great vocalist and humanitarian who for decades gave 100% of his abilities to keep entertaining lovers of good music, as well as helping many of his colleagues through hard times.
Sinatra passed away on May 12, 1989, but his music, style, class and contribution to the arts will live on forever.
Massapequa, New York