(photo credit: Courtesy)
Why the 1967 borders work
Sir, - Re "Why Israelis worry" (Editorial, January 26): Is it too late for reassurance on why Israel shouldn't have any security worries about a return to her 1967 borders?
Almost no headlines concerning present difficult problems or "bad news" would be on the pages of The Jerusalem Post today if Israel was on those borders. She won her most legendary, decisive, lightning war from those 1967 borders. She almost lost another one (Yom Kippur) from her most expansive borders ever that included even the Sinai Peninsula.
On those '67 borders Israel had virtually no demographic problems, no indigestible hostile lands, and no borderless and stateless paramilitaries. She was much more secure than now.
Especially in an age of rockets (and nukes), security is not even mainly about borders, but about accepting neighborhoods.
Just good sense
Sir, - On the eve of elections, the politicians are trying to convince voters of their eagerness to continue the peace process. For us voters, the choice is not easy.
Whom to believe?
In a May 1996 op-ed in this newspaper entitled "For Jewish self-interest," just before the elections for prime minister, my reasoning was straightforward: The State of Israel was built by Jews who came here from dozens of countries to live in an independent Jewish country and be responsible for their own fate. So it is important to remember that before the 1996 elections, a crucial decision about the Oslo 2 agreement was made by the left-wing government of the time. In the Knesset vote, the non-Jewish factor was decisive as five of the 61 votes favoring the agreement came from the Arab parties.
Israel is a democratic country. Arabs who live here have civil and human rights, and it is their right not to like Zionism. But in recent weeks we have seen new examples of aggressive, anti-Israel solidarity of Arab MKs with Hamas. So doesn't it, after all, make good sense for decisions about the security and future of the Jewish state to be made by Jews?
This question remains as important in this election as it was in 1996.
Today, the so-called peace process, based on unilateral concessions and a return to the 1967 borders, is championed by the Labor and Kadima leaders, who continue the policy of the creators of the Oslo process. It would be very dangerous to entrust the Jewish state's future to those who base their policy on the support of the sworn enemies of Zionism and the Jewish state.
That is one of the main reasons why I am voting for Binyamin Netanyahu ("Why Likud is your best bet," Shalom Helman, February 4).
I was ashamed
Sir, - I attended the English Language election forum in Haifa on February 3. As a young political person living in Israel for half a year now and believing in human rights, I cannot describe how ashamed I was listening to five out of eight candidates trying to make people vote for them by using racist slogans. The only ones I would not accuse of offering disgusting and humiliating testimonies against minorities and other ethnicities would be the representatives of Labor, Meretz and the Green Movement.
Where I come from, luckily, in a public debate featuring candidates from the whole political spectrum, people could not express those views without hearing strong opposing voices. Last Tuesday, those few who were opposed were either helpless or unwilling to do anything.
Racism, unfortunately, is international and no issues - even considering the special situation of Israel, as well as of the Jewish people - can justify blaming whole societies for the actions of a few, or support the idea of telling someone else how and where to live.
This is not the way a state is supposed to stabilize its democracy and the welfare of its citizens, at least in my opinion.
'Israeli dream' omitted
Sir, - I am greatly saddened by the February 2, 2009 issue of People magazine, which covered the January 18 We Are One! concert that celebrated unity and progress and was inspiring for countless people in the United States and beyond. The caption to the photo on page 10 includes Bono's world-unifying message - with one important omission.
Bono spoke of "an Israeli dream," in between "an African dream" and "a Palestinian dream." For People magazine to leave Israel out, particularly in the days following the cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, seems antithetical to Bono's message and to the We Are One! inaugural celebration.
Green but abstemious
Sir, - I have had a nursery specializing in drought-tolerant plants for many years. My husband and I brought most of these plants out from Australia over the years, believing that, sooner or later, Israelis would have to give up their ideas of growing European-style gardens and learn to appreciate Mediterranean landscapes.
I was very disturbed by the news that the new large Park Midron Yafo is to be left as a sandy wasteland because of our acute water shortage, caused by the lack of foresight and commitment by successive governments over the last decade ("Water restrictions turn Park Midron Yafo into a sea of soil," Online Edition, February 5). The writing was on the wall that Israel's water would have to be used more wisely and efficiently.
Of course, the Israel Water Association cannot now allow the planting of grass - though why it recently did in the new Kfar Saba Park, I cannot understand.
However, there are many good substitutes for lawn, which while not allowing for regular foot traffic, do present a green vista - so important for the emotional well-being of a people living in stressful times and in cramped and often dreary surroundings. Put in with our winter rains, though these may be meager, these plants will need watering very infrequently in the summer, and even less in following years.
If any landscape designer or gardener cares to contact me, I am available at (email@example.com).
Sir, - Perhaps, because we live in the Middle East, not many readers are aware of American football, but there are still many fans here.
Last Sunday night, fans from all over the country watched the Superbowl, played between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals. Coming from Chicago, and having watched its team go down in yet another defeat two years ago, I can say that I've made a classic compromise - similar to what many people of our faith have done.
Often, a Jewish Ashkenazi man marrying a Jewish Moroccan or Yemenite woman assumes her family traditions as his own. It is not that he is rejecting his own background or heritage, rather that he is assuming a set of traditions more to his liking.
In the same way, having a married my wife in Pittsburgh 29 years ago - almost to the day Pittsburgh won one of its six Superbowls - I rooted unabashedly for my wife's home team. The feeling of winning is somewhat cathartic, liberating.
And when the time comes that my home town can finally produce a winning team in some sport, I will revel in that, too.
In the meantime - Go, Steelers! ("Underdog Cards hope to 'Steel' title," Sports, February 1).