(photo credit: Courtesy)
Theater of the absurd
Sir, - Thank you to the many political parties vying for Knesset seats: The political ads on Monday night provided a break from reality.
Instead of focusing on whether our brethren in the south can now return to the "safety" of their homes, or on how soon it will be before soldiers are again asked to put their lives on the line, we were busy watching men waving underwear, the former chief rabbi of a European country "sweeping up," and Holocaust survivors promoting the legalization of marijuana.
It was hard to know if we were watching the first Knesset promos, or something out of Mad TV or Zehu Zeh ("Selling themselves," Gil Hoffman, January 28).
Sir, - The AACI is one of the most efficient supporters of aliya. Firing the Beersheba manager is not the way to promote aliya ("AACI tightens belt to survive depression," January 28). Firing some of our ineffectual so-called aliya emissaries would be a much better way of tightening the belt.
I made aliya in spite of the obstacles placed in my path by the aliya office.
IDA SELAVAN SCHWARCZ
...but aim right
Sir, - The AACI's need to tighten its belt by closing its Beersheba office belies its promise to its Jerusalem membership in its most recent newsletter: "AACI is getting excited about the new facilities and the expanded array of services which we will be able to provide."
AACI clearly cannot continue to claim national status while narrowing its focus to its Jerusalem activities at the expense of the south. This scandalous measure has Anglo residents of the Negev outraged. Unfortunately, none were interviewed for this article.
Once again, aliya to and absorption in the Negev is being abandoned in favor of pampering the veteran and well-heeled Anglos in the center of the country.
Sir, - In reply to Dutch RTL media journalist Conny Mus ("Why Israel blocked press entry to Gaza," Letters, January 28): Judging from what occurred during the 2006 war in Lebanon, having a slew of foreign journalists stationed in Beirut and elsewhere not only increased the negative propaganda war against Israel but also endangered these people's lives.
Indeed, field correspondents are often exposed to warfare. Many have paid the ultimate price. The intensity of the warfare in many parts of Gaza suggests that several foreign journalists, and their accompanying camera and logistical personnel, might well have been killed or injured during the three-week operation. That none of them suffered even minor injuries can be attributed to the ban imposed by both the government and the IDF.
After the cease-fire, these journalists wasted no time going into Gaza to get "the full story."
Interests aren't equal
Sir, - In "Another price of the Gaza operation" (January 28) Meir Javedanfar puts forward a serious dilemma related to Israel's ability to maintain a good relationship with the new Obama administration. He suggests that despite the justice of our cause in Gaza, it is perceived even by the so-called moderate Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia, as an "overt and brutal use of force." Therefore, he concludes, the US must pressure Israel to make concessions in order to appease the Saudis, and doing so is in the US's best interests.
A simple truth for the writer and Israel's leaders: What is in the best interests of the US is not necessarily always in the best interests of Israel.
Islam's major struggle
Sir, - Re "Obama and the Muslim cold war" (January 28): Hillel Frisch pointed out, correctly, that the struggle between Islam and the West is mirrored by the struggle within Islam between the radical Islamic fundamentalist camp led by Iran, on the one hand, and the "moderate Arab Sunni" camp led by Egypt on the other, over regional hegemony. However, in concentrating on realpolitik, he failed to mention the major struggle within Islam over religious beliefs and their implications for everyday Egyptian life.
It is important to note that on August 29, 1966, Gamal Abdel Nasser, in Cairo, put to death by hanging the three central figures and main ideologists of the radical Islamic fundamentalist movement called the Muslim Brotherhood: Sayyid Qutb, Muhammad Yusuf Awash and Abd al-Fattah Ismail. Zionism was not the issue.
Similarly today, Mubarak opposes Hamas, which is aided and abetted by Iran and Hizbullah, because it is perceived to be the direct follower of the hated Muslim Brotherhood. Again, Zionism is not the main issue.
Sir, - I was struck by the picture accompanying Hillel Frisch's op-ed of Gazans mobbing a truck for food handouts. How many years have gone by - how many billions of dollars and tons of food have been donated - and they still can't feed themselves.
They speak of honor and pride. How long will they remain beggars?
Sir, - Hopefully, on his way to the region, George Mitchell completed an earnest, realistic study of Hamas's ultimate objective (Hillary Clinton, too).
Israel should not be ostracized for its retaliation against terrorism, nor forced to acquiesce in any plan. Oil and land should not be bargaining chips for a lasting, just peace ("Obama says Mideast envoy Mitchell in region to 'listen,' not dictate," January 28).
Sir, - People of Israel, please never accept, nor succumb to Hamas due to any political pressure, no matter from where.
These people are only tolerable if they universally state the right of Israel to exist, and renounce any and all forms of violence. Only after this should Hamas be accepted into the world community. Anything less should be condemned and then ignored.
Twelfth hour is here
Sir, - I do not recall a national crisis being more mishandled than the serious current water shortage ("'Israel has no plan for water economy past 2010,'" January 28). The public is fully aware that the solution is the immediate construction of dozens of desalination plants, which successive governments decided to set up but never did in the numbers so urgently needed.
Israel, as usual, was a pioneer in the area of desalination plants. Scores of countries in the world have long used our knowhow to solve their water shortage problems.
As seems to be the norm in Israel, we have waited until the disaster point and our next government will have no option but to drop everything and do what was promised decades ago.
To borrow from the late Abba Eban: We Israelis never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity to defer a national crisis."
Good and evil
Sir, - I can't help thinking that one of the reasons Jews are hated throughout the world is that their Bible helped to define good. Evil, its opposite, then became a burden on those who now had to contend with the concept ("When life declines to imitate art," Judy Montagu, January 28).