The irony of US training
Sir, – How ironic that Thursday’s newspaper contained a glowing article about the training of Palestinian forces (“Palestinian force trained under American sponsorship makes gains in West Bank,” February 11) – including comments by the commander of their national security forces that “in the past two years, there have been no cases of Palestinian security men attacking Israeli targets” – while on the front page of the same paper is the tragic headline “Palestinian policeman kills IDF soldier near Tapuah.”
The reality is that the Palestinians, as evidenced by their continuing words and actions, remain in a state of conflict with the State of Israel. The training of their young men in weapons and Western combat skills by the United States and the EU, though it appears well-intentioned, does not guarantee that these skills and weapons will not be used against our citizens.
The advisability of Israel continuing to tolerate this arrangement should be urgently reexamined. HILLEL HURWITZ
Ra’ananaA foolish proximity
Sir, – Israel is very foolish for agreeing to proximity talks with the Palestinians (“Top Clinton aide slips into town to lay groundwork for ‘proximity talks,’” February 11).
The United States representative will be doing virtual cartwheels over having the Palestinians agree to these talks. The spokesman for the Palestinians has already stated that these talks will culminate in a Palestinian state; all that will be left to negotiate is how much Israel will be allowed to define its borders.
No negotiations can be so prejudiced at the outset. Israel is certainly entitled to handle what its own needs and priorities should be. The United States is not Big Brother and should not be made to appear that way.
If Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas cannot bring himself to join in regular talks, too bad. This is not the end of the world.TOBY WILLIG
Sir, – Michael Freund mentions the UK as a country that permits expat voting (“Hyphenated Israelis,” February 11). I have used this facility and believe that clarification is necessary. The right to vote in a general election in Britain is for a period limited to 15 years. This means that the expat can vote in three elections if each parliament runs for five years, which is usual.
Since Britain’s electoral system is a constituency system, the voter votes in his/her previous place of residence. He/she casts the vote by proxy. In the constituency system, the expat’s choice has as much value as a once-famous pipe tobacco.ALBERT JACOB
Sir, – Larry Derfner believes that changing the voting law isn’t undemocratic, it’s just that voters would mostly support the right-wing parties (“Bring on the expat votes,” February 11). Does that mean that if they voted for the left-wing parties it would be okay? Does he truly believe that if Israelis live abroad, they would only support a hawkish government? Some very liberal doves outside of Israel feel that making peace in the spirit of Oslo or disengagement is the direction the country should pursue.JONATHAN SURASKY
Beit Shemesh Indifference to carnage...
Sir, – Nicholas Kristof’s account from the Congo (“The world capital of killing,” February 10) is truly mind-boggling. It is especially astounding in light of the world’s apparent indifference to the carnage and horrific brutality there. Not to diminish our own unique place in history vis-à-vis the Holocaust and other persecutions, almost six million people have been slaughtered there in the past three years.
Where is the UN, the body of “civilized” nations that regularly convenes to discuss and decide a course of action in matters such as this? Where are the NGOs so publicly concerned about human life? Where are Twitter-driven crowds screaming for action and accountability? Why does academia stand mute and seemingly unashamed in yet another example of man’s willingness to destroy human life?
The answer appears to be Israel. The world is up-in-arms about Israel and its presumed injustices against a people led by chronically-corrupt individuals whose sole intent is holding that people hostage to their pathological hatred for our country and to their swelling, donor-based Swiss bank accounts.
In an upside-down world where death is celebrated over life, this reality may be the greatest absurdity of all.YITZCHAK MILLMAN
Jerusalem ... and anti-Semitism
Sir, – England is fast becoming notorious for Jew-hatred. Its treatment of Israeli diplomats shows nothing but contempt as the British politicians try to cover themselves with statements that seem to be apologetic, but disclaim any responsibility. The treatment of Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who was invited to speak at Oxford, was absolutely horrendous; the cry of “Kill the Jews” greeted his ears as he spoke (“UK police probe ‘Kill Jews’ chant at Ayalon’s Oxford speech,” February 11).
Every day, anti-Semitism grows and grows in Great Britain. It is high time that Israelis realize what kind of country Britain has become. The cowardice of British Jewry has led to these anti-Semitic scenes all over the UK. The clock is ticking away, and it will be very difficult, unless something is done now, for the world to think that there are any values of decency left in England.THELMA SUSSWEIN
JerusalemOne way to mobilize
Sir, – In line with the article by Gil Troy (“Let’s mobilize the netroots against Anti-Israel Week,” February 9), perhaps instead of taking visiting dignitaries directly to Yad Vashem to pay respects, we should bring them first to the Shrine of the Book and show them what we have given the world; that even the most secular Israeli student can read the displayed 2,000-year-old font and understand the text from the book of Isaiah recited at the Shabbat day meal by observant Jews. This biblical text was written and preserved before any modern European language (except possibly Greek) was developed.
Only then should visitors be taken to the Yad Vashem to see the culmination of what we received in return from the European world.YEHUDA S. RABINOVITZ
NetanyaKeep it down!
Sir, – Do our enemies have to know all the latest about the IDF – where it’s building the new underground command center (“IDF underground center to replace ‘Bor,’” February 10), what new weapons the IDF is buying, which new war planes and terrain vehicles we are purchasing, etc., etc.?
Why make things so easy for our enemies? They don’t need secret service agents in Israel. They just have to read the Israeli newspapers.
Let’s have a little discretion, please! HANNAH SONDHELM
Jerusalem The bees’ needs
Sir, – According to the Haifa University researchers, “bees do not seem
likely to overdose” on caffeine and nicotine (“Haifa University study:
Bees get a buzz around caffeine and nicotine,” February 11).
However, if bees hang around certain parts of Israel long enough, their tolerance level should at least go up.JOSH KLEINER