letters good 88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sir, - "US is concerned about the prospect of a right-wing government" (February 12) showed how little the US has learned. We are still operating under the assumption that all Israeli concessions are good, despite experiences with violent consequences later on.
The Israeli election results show that Israelis will act more cautiously for peace - a development which should be welcomed by Americans looking for lasting stability.
Sir, - The lesson to be learned is that the electoral system needs radical change: a totally democratic basis of personal responsibility of MKs within central party frameworks bedded upon geographical voting blocs - i.e., constituencies, as in Britain. That will produce clear-cut lines of responsibility of MKs during Knesset terms and an identification with the electorate, producing cleaner election results ("Amid competing claims of victory, there's no doubting the failure of the system," February 11).
Sir, - I nearly choked on "Eitan: Pensioners' election defeat is the public's loss" (February 12).
Can anyone tell me what the Gil Pensioners did for us? Did they fight to make it easier to bring help into the house when we could no longer do for ourselves? Actually raise our National Insurance payments so we could make ends meet? Increase the health basket for medications solely for use by the older generation?
The answer to these and a host of other questions is evident in the lack of support for Rafi Eitan's party. Furthermore, the bickering in his ministry spoke of egotism on a high scale.
Old age is not necessarily a passport to smart thinking.
Change? OK, then
Sir, - Let the US president who promised change begin with changing the Mideast dialogue.
It is not about which Israeli leader will bend more to the pressures of the outside world. It is about finding the Arab leader with the desire to truly stand up for peace with Israel.
And if such a leader is found, will the radical Islamists allow him to live? These are the questions for the Obama administration that is seeking "change."
Toward true peace
Sir, - In "Beware of the nerds" (UpFront, February 6) Jonathan Rosenblum finally hit the crucial point of the Arab-Israeli conflict: "As long as it remains one over Israel's legitimacy - i.e., essentially theological in nature - there can be no permanent peace."
The legitimacy of the People of Israel in the Land of Israel derives from the Hebrew Bible - and is supported by the Koran. The "theologies" of Hamas, Fatah, Hizbullah, etc., presently supported by most Muslim nations, are in plain contradiction to that holy book of Islam.
Hence, modern ideas/ideals like democracy, pluralism, tolerance and socialism won't solve that "theological" conundrum; on the contrary, they would aggravate it.
Contrary to "land for peace" - the common slogan of the various lovers of peace - the Arab/Muslim nations, Iran included, will have to concede that the Land of Israel is, by Divine decree, prescribed for the People of Israel, even according to the Koran. Acceptance of that fundamental truth is the basic precondition for the two sides to live in trustworthy peace.
The IDF can protect us and even conquer territory, but neither military nor police force is geared to establish a true and lasting peace. That is the work of responsible spiritual and political leaders.
Pollard: The facts and the shame
Sir, - "The Pollard affair" (February 12) was a shameful misrepresentation of the facts. Eli Kavon twice referred to Jonathan Pollard's actions as treason against the United States.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Under US federal law, treason occurs when one levies war against the US or adheres to its enemies, giving them aid and support. Mr. Pollard was not guilty of treason but of one count of espionage - the transmitting of certain information to the advantage of a foreign nation.
While espionage is a serious crime, Pollard has more than paid the price. Even if your writer believes he violated his obligation of loyalty to the US, he surely cannot accuse him of crimes that were neither alleged nor committed.
If Jewish leaders in the US stopped agonizing over whether their neighbors will question their loyalty and recognized that more than two decades in prison is more than ample punishment for acts of espionage for a friendly country, then maybe we will one day see Mr. Pollard come home to Israel, where he belongs.
Sir, - Eli Kavon asks: "Does [Pollard] truly deserve to be imprisoned for life?" Then, inexplicably, he never refers to the question again, instead turning the article into a religious-vs-civic identity issue in which Pollard is repeatedly referred to as a traitor, and his actions likewise categorized.
Treason it may technically have been, but the information - which the Americans were supposed to share with Israel in the first place, but did not - was probably vital to our survival.
Many other Americans have committed far worse acts of espionage since then, for countries not friendly with the US, and received far lighter punishments.
Does Jonathan Pollard deserve to be imprisoned for life? The answer, in a nutshell, is no.
MENACHEM G. JERENBERG
Ramat Beit Shemesh
Sir, - The writer is flogging a dead horse. No one questions Pollard's guilt. Pollard himself acknowledged it. The real issue is the severity of the life sentence compared to many sentences of two to three years for other US convicted spies for enemy countries whose harm to the US was significant.
The prosecution violated the plea agreement Pollard had. Rather than being a stain on American Jews, the unequal punishment is a record of shameful US justice.
DAVID M. LEVIN
'Just calling to say...'
Sir, - Thank you, Judy Montagu, for "Hotline to heaven" (February 11).
This wonderful line, initiated by our patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has been in service for 5,000 years and is available 24 hours a day, with no beeps, no busy signals and no taxes. In fact, it is completely free of charge and serves all languages.
Sir, - I am a 55-year-old woman with peripheral neuropathy in my lower limbs. From being a full-time working woman, mother and wife, I now find myself unemployable and actively restricted - a change in life-style that is somewhat overwhelming.
I would dearly love to communicate with or meet other people who suffer from this disabling disease, and their families, to exchange views, ideas, information and emotional support. Please email email@example.com
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