letters to the editor 88.
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Sir, - David Horovitz, in "A wish for 2007" (January 1), skirted the issue. He said: "Ariel Sharon was a figure who inspired confidence."
Maybe Mr. Horovitz didn't want to say it because of Sharon's pathetic state today. But look. When John Kennedy was elected president of the US many years ago he promised to surround himself with "the best and the brightest."
Among other things Sharon did to us, he surrounded himself with not-the-best and certainly-not-the-brightest. And now because of Sharon's illness these clueless people are trying to run our country. What a catastrophe for Israel.
Sir, - Re "Noam Shalit: No deal yet" (January 1): Enough of this emotional roller-coaster regarding the release of soldier Gilad Shalit. The news is filled with so many false hopes, and I can only imagine what the family is going through. Please inform me only when the deal is real!
One by one
Sir, - I would like to propose that for each week no Kassams fall, Israel hands over one prisoner.
Sir, - The demographers Matthew Wagner spoke to in seeking to discern why Israeli Arabs have a higher birthrate than their peers in neighboring countries failed to mention a most obvious reason: the political one ("CBS: One in six Israelis is Muslim," January 1). For years Palestinian leaders have spoken, as Yasser Arafat did, about "the Arab womb" as a weapon to destroy Israel.
It is therefore quite likely that the growing Palestinianization and Islamization of the Arab sector would be accompanied by such an effort to transform a Jewish state into an Arab one.
It underlines how important aliya and an increased Jewish birthrate are to the survival of Israel.
Let's be democratic
Sir, - According "Megidor to urge reform in electing MKs" (January 1), the committee's report omitted several major aspects that were discussed during its deliberations. Among points which must be clarified is how to overcome the acknowledged disadvantages of the "winner takes all" system in the proposed regional elections.
Assume, for example, that three parties stand in a district and A receives 40% of the vote, B 35% and C 25%. A wins and the votes of the 60% of voters who may totally disagree with A's policies are wasted.
We cannot afford to ignore the several proposals international experts have put forward for overcoming this clearly undemocratic system; among them the system of Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), also known as the Single Transferable Vote (STV), which ensures that the winner is chosen by a majority of voters.
Sir, - Bravo on your Day Tripper item of December 28 recalling the role in Israel's War of Independence of young Jewish volunteers from then French North Africa. This is to add that their unit, the "French Commando" (Hacommando Hatsarfati) of the Palmach's Negev Brigade, also comprised many Jewish and non-Jewish volunteers from France itself including the unit's commander, Rav-Seren (Maj.) Thadee Diffre, who served under the assumed name of Teddy Eytan. He is believed to have been the highest-ranking non-Jew then in the IDF.
The French Commando was the first IDF unit to enter Beersheba and raise Israel's flag there in October 1948. The city honored veterans of the unit when they visited in October 2005, donating their flag to the municipal museum and attending a ceremony where a major intersection was named after them. Those French volunteers killed when capturing the city are buried at Nahalat Yitzhak cemetery near Tel Aviv and include Lts. Marc Levy and Raphael Weiler, also respectively veterans of the French Maquis Resistance and of Gen. de Gaulle's Free French Forces.
French volunteers killed during the Bir-T'mileh fighting described in your Day Tripper item are buried at Kibbutz Revivim in the Negev. The oldest were aged 21 or 22, but several were also World War II veterans, as were many of the approximately 3,500 volunteers (including about 600 from France and its North Africa territories) from about two dozen countries who made up Mahal (Mitnadvei Hutz La'aretz), the foreign volunteers who came to Israel's help in 1948.
Most were Jewish, but some were not, and the non-Jews who fell in 1948-1949 are buried together at Haifa's military cemetery. Among them are Frenchman Roger Touriese and aviator "Buzz" Beurling, who had been Canada's foremost World War II fighter ace.
MKs' 'English money'
Sir, - Re "Budget slashed for MKs' English classes due to lack of interest" (December 29), I have a suggestion: Why not allocate this money to the Ministry of Education for the purpose of tutoring schoolkids in English? For some time now I have been engaged in helping schoolchildren with their homework. I do this as a volunteer. In many cases their level of knowledge is appallingly low. Most don't know basic grammar or even the alphabet, and their vocabulary is very poor.
In my opinion, MKs should follow the example of Amir Peretz, and hire private tutors. With their inflated and often undeserved salaries they can certainly afford it.
No more Prime time?
Sir, - Further to the letters complaining about HOT television's decision to drop BBC Prime (January 1): We must emphatically object to the attitude that a cable company can serve up any puerile pap, or delete reasonable material, without its mass audience objecting. BBC Prime has been an excellent vehicle for some very good productions and its loss would be a great pity.
Sir, - I agree that the Ethiopians need a decent channel of their own, but I must protest at Anglos getting the short end of the programming stick. We used to have TCM, but that is gone and we have Indian movies instead. As for Hallmark, there isn't a movie that hasn't been shown at least 10 times before.
I am going to switch to YES and suggest that all Anglos who feel HOT treats them unfairly do the same.
Sir, - HOT seems determined to discontinue TV channels that offer a shade more quality in English programming. Not only is BBC Prime on the way out, so too apparently is Hallmark. Star World and Channel 3 with their moronic shows are under no threat whatsoever.
Sir, - What sort of marketing survey says "No one watches BBC Prime"? Those doing the survey must be off their heads (or maybe they surveyed only Hebrew speakers). I have been in Israel since 1949 and know Hebrew very well indeed, but apart from the Israeli channels for the news the only channel I watch is BBC Prime, as do many of my friends.
Scrap BBC Prime? It's the last straw. I may as well scrap TV altogether.
Sir, - It just goes to show you can't beat a good book.