December 4: Man of courage

It seems the only right wing that’s still functioning is that headed by Israel Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman.

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December 4, 2011 07:20
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Man of courage

Sir, – Once again, our intrepid leader has bowed to intense international pressure (“Israel releases PA tax funds,” December 1). What about some intense national pressure to follow a policy that’s in our interests? Israelis voted in the last election for a right-wing government.

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It seems the only right wing that’s still functioning is that headed by Israel Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman.

In the last election I voted for the Likud. Next time it will be for a party led by a man with the courage of his own convictions.

STEPHEN COHEN
Ma’aleh Adumim

What legitimacy?

Sir, – The sub-headline in Jonathan Rosen’s piece (“Back to unilateralism,” Inside Out, December 1) says “Dismantling outlying settlements would have few drawbacks, but would lead to one very big plus: international legitimacy.”



History has clearly shown that dismantling any settlements has led to international legitimacy for one thing only: the dismantling of more settlements.

SYDNEY L. KASTEN
Jerusalem

Matter of faith

Sir, – Anthony Luder (“Take the leap!,” Letters, December 1) exposes two bits of foolishness.

For reasons I cannot fathom, Shmuley Boteach (“Are Mormons any weirder than the rest of us?,” Comment & Features, November 29) frivolously allows a casual reader to equate Torah miracles with events in other religions, each of which relies on the testimony of human founders, while the Torah is exquisitely clear about the non-human origins of Judaism. No such comparisons should ever be made, especially by someone so widely read who projects a reputation.

That piece of folly is Luder’s cue to fill his absolutist, atheistic conclusions with loaded words, such as “overwhelming biological, geological and genetic evidence.”

Succinctly, species do evolve, which doesn’t explain their initial origins.

For the Jew, in battle for survival on so many fronts, these issues are far too serious for uninformed summary judgments.

PESACH GOODLEY
Telz Stone
The writer is a physician

Sir, – Anthony Luder implicitly attacks all religions as weird, and then, by extension, argues that evolution is an indisputable fact.

Has he ever considered that evolution itself is, at its core, a matter of faith as well? While I entirely support evolution, I find it impossible to believe that the first cell appeared spontaneously. How could mere biochemicals selfassemble to make a cell with all the characteristics of life, including reproduction, which is astonishingly complex? To accept that this incredible biochemical machine could arise spontaneously is as much a matter of pure faith as the existence of a God that created the world and is concerned with all human beings.

Don’t delude yourself, doctor, you are also a believer!
YISRAEL GUTTMAN
Jerusalem

Essential element

Sir, – We welcome the news presented in “Dagan to head movement pushing for change in political system” (November 30).

However, missing from Meir Dagan’s comments is the essential element for meaningful electoral reform: direct regional representation.

Raising the threshold for political parties is admirable, but without at least a portion of the Knesset being elected by region, there is not much to keep this from being just another rehashed plan that only protects politicians without regard for the general public.

By standing up for direct regional elections, there is no doubt that this movement would receive overwhelming public support. We did, when, armed with a petition and only modest resources, we collected enough signatures to convince MKs of the importance of this change, although ultimately with limited success.

Hopefully this new movement, with greater resources, will be more successful, and we stand ready to participate.

ELAINE LEVITT
Migdal Tefen
The writer is co-chairman of the Citizens Empowerment Public Action Campaign (CEPAC)

Talibanland

Sir, – The criminal intimidation involved in forcing Manny’s Bookstore to remove certain titles from its shelves (“Mea She’arim bookstore accedes to demands of extremist haredi vandalists,” November 30) is yet another sign of the ongoing effort to turn the capital of the Jewish people into Talibanland.

Where, I wonder, is there any sign of political and religious leadership that dares confront the narrow-minded, insular and bigoted anti-Zionist forces that are increasingly powerful in Jerusalem?

SHALOM FREEDMAN
Jerusalem

Amos shocker

Sir, – Bravo to Gil Troy (“‘Zionism is Racism’ lie lives on, 20 years after UN repeal,” Center Field, November 30) for drawing our attention to Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken’s shocking description of Israel as an apartheid state.

The adoption of patently false accusations put out by sworn opponents of Israel’s security concerns by the publisher of a leading Israeli newspaper calls for the type of advertising sanctions Troy recommends.

ROBYN ROTBERG
Kfar Saba

Walls and directions

Sir, – David Newman writes about two walls that divided two capital cities (“From East Berlin to east Jerusalem,” Comment & Features, November 29).

The analysis seems lightweight, especially for a university professor.

Newman writes: “Walls are built to exclude someone or something,” and explains that the Berlin wall was built to prevent “the migration of refugees seeking to escape the ‘socialist utopia.’” This explanation tells us that the wall was built to keep people in.

He also tells us that the Berlin wall divided “a single people, speaking the same language, with the same customs and cultural norms.” In discussing Jerusalem, he admits that the wall separates Jews and Arabs, two different peoples with different languages and customs, and is designed to keep one side out.

The two walls may be physically similar but their purposes are exact opposites.

I expect a professor (and dean) to be aware of this difference and not try to make them sound similar.

AHARON GOLDBERG
Hatzor Haglilit

Sir, – David Newman fails to mention why Jews were illegally and immorally cut off from the Western Wall and Mount of Olives cemetery between 1949 and 1967.

He is extremely sympathetic to the plight and inconvenience that the security wall poses to the Palestinian population.

Maybe he should ask why Palestinians are so willing to be suicide bombers.

MATTIAS ROTENBERG
Petah Tikva

Sir, – The problem is not Israel’s defensive wall on Jerusalem’s periphery. It is far less obtrusive than the concrete and barbed wire barrier, dotted with military checkpoints, that ran through the heart of the city for 19 years – with hardly anyone’s objection.

It is where and why the new barrier was built – not to keep Jews out, as Jordanian fortifications did, but to stop mass murderers and provide safe access for all.

JOHN R. COHN
Philadelphia

Sir, – David Newman should have asked a more fundamental question: Why is there an artificial separation between the Palestinian populations on the two sides of the Jordan? Perhaps it makes too much sense to suggest that Jordan and the disputed territories should be joined to make a single Palestinian homeland.

EFRAIM A. COHEN
Zichron Ya’acov

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