A map is worth 1,000 words
Sir, - It is shocking to realize how few people are aware of the size of Israel and its position in relation to the surrounding Arab world. I carry a map showing this in my purse and have found that producing it often serves as a reality check.
It would help wishful-thinking readers abroad, as well as our homegrown far Left, if you had such a map of Israel next to articles discussing the rockets fired from Gaza, or negotiations concerning the diminishing of this little country.
People forget. People prefer not to confront reality. You would be doing Israel a service by providing a constant reminder of our reality ("Comptroller: Start fortifying Sderot now," February 20).
Sir, - Many of your readers who, like me, have been voting for the inclusion of Jerusalem on the World Monopoly site may have noticed that "Israel" has recently been erased from the leaderboard so that Jerusalem now stands as the only city that does not have the country in which it is situated listed alongside it.
I appeal to everyone, regardless of whether or not you have been participating in this vote, to protest via email@example.com ("Fudging the game of talking about Jerusalem," February 19).
Gazan Arabs to Egypt
Sir, - It is often forgotten that the State of Israel exists today as a Jewish nation-state due, in large part, to the razing of some 400 hostile Arab villages and the dispersal (by a combination of flight and expulsion) of their inhabitants during Israel's 1948 War of Independence. This draconian course of action was initiated by the embryonic Jewish armed forces only after it had become clear that neither appeasement nor sporadic military pressure would remove the existential threat posed to Israel by hundreds of thousands of irredentist Arabs (and their future progeny, presently numbering in the millions). In short, Israel is a safer place for the Jewish people because Sheikh Munis is now Ramat Aviv - which brings us back to the problem of Gaza.
Owing to the failure of every other tack, the mass expulsion of Arabs from Gaza to Egypt looms as the only viable solution to the existential threat that now menaces Sderot and will soon encompass Ashkelon, Ashdod and a widening perimeter of Israel's civilian centers. With a population of more than 80 million, Egypt will hardly notice the addition of another million or so immigrants whose dialect and culture are already kindred to that nation. Recently almost half of Gaza's population voluntarily poured into Egypt during a two-week shopping spree.
Undoubtedly, a mass expulsion will prompt Egypt - and many other nations which appear unperturbed by Gaza's relentless aggression against Israel - to sever diplomatic and economic relations with the Jewish state; but a government which refuses to put the safety of its citizens above diplomatic and economic considerations, weighty though these may be, forfeits its raison d'etre ("How to turn Gaza over to Egypt, " Daniel Pipes, February 7).
West Hartford, Connecticut
Sir, - Yisrael Perry has been sentenced to 12 years in prison plus a fine of NIS 24m., equalling 2.6 percent of the funds he stole ("Attorney who defrauded Holocaust survivors of nearly NIS 1 billion gets 12-year sentence," February 20). The court should have imposed a restoration order for the return of the bulk of the heist.
The court case has taken six years. With the possibility of a threatened appeal, the survivors will nearly all be dead and buried before justice is done.
Phone call for you
Sir, - The Post
has been fair in its coverage of the US election and reasons for supporting candidates. To me, the choice is as clear as a phone ringing.
Last week we in Israel, Jews everywhere and Americans became the potential victims of terrorists seeking revenge for the assassination of an arch-terrorist ("Defense officials say Africa likely target for Hizbullah retaliation," February 18). During the same week, the Democratic leadership of the US House of Representatives stalled vital legislation that would enable US security agencies to conduct surveillance of selected foreign phone conversations that include potential terrorists. Even the Democratic-controlled Senate approved the legislation.
But Senator Barack Obama voted against the legislation, and Senator Hillary Clinton did not think it important enough to come to the session, but expressed her negative views of it. Of course Senator John McCain supported it (the vote took place after the Mughniyeh assassination).
This week the terrorist phones were surely buzzing with conversations about points of attack while American security agencies, thanks to the Democrats, will be deaf to these conversations.
It is hard for me to imagine how anyone living in Israel, or any Jew in the US, can support a party that does not recognize the security vulnerability we are all in now.
STEPHEN J. KOHN
Really, really low
Sir, - In calling Rob Malley "pro-Israel," MJ Rosenberg of the Israel Policy Forum set the bar really, really low ("Smearing Rob Malley," February 19). Malley's prolific writings and activities certainly make such designation more than highly questionable. In fact, this unqualified endorsement calls into question IPF's own bona fides.
While passionately defending Malley against well-deserved criticism, Rosenberg savages his critics, particularly former New Republic publisher Martin Peretz, someone with absolutely unimpeachable, long-standing pro-Israel credentials. As to whom to believe about Malley, choosing between Peretz and Rosenberg ought be a no-brainer.
RICHARD D. WILKINS
Syracuse, New York
For a new Cuba
Sir, - Re "Castro resigns as Cuban president" (February 20): World influence in the transition Cuba will face now that Fidel Castro's rule has come to an end should be decidedly geared toward the implementation of a new democracy with free and fair elections.
Cuba's present communist government falsely presents itself as the authentic spokesman for the aspirations of the people, and claims to be able, though by recourse to violent means, to bring about the radical changes which will put an end to their oppression and misery.
Marxist communism is characterized by the "class struggle," which implies that society is founded on violence. Within this perspective, any reference to ethical requirements calling for courageous and radical institutional and structural reforms makes no sense. In this system, every affirmation of faith or theology is subordinated to a political criterion, which in turn depends on the class struggle, the driving force of history.
Participation in the class struggle is presented as a requirement of charity itself. The desire to love everyone here and now, despite his class, and to go out to meet him with the non-violent means of dialogue and persuasion, is denounced as counterproductive.
With the changing of the guard in Cuba, let us hope that a new wave of freedom from the tyranny of communism is on the horizon.
Line of fire
Sir, - If the Knesset thinks the most important bill to pass is one that bans smoking on army bases, there is definitely something wrong with its priorities. What about a law ensuring that soldiers have all the equipment they need, that the machinery they work with is safe, that they have a place to sleep and the right training to make sure they come home safely?
As bad as smoking is, we ask each soldier to put his or her life on the line. Let each one make an adult decision about whether to smoke or not ("Soldiers are smoking mad over tobacco ban on IDF bases," February 20).