‘Boker tov,’ Tony
Sir, – Mazal tov. Tony Blair has finally woken up to what
Israel has been saying for the past three years (“Blair: West should be prepared
to use force against Iran,” January 23).
Iran is the real menace to the
world, not the Israel-Arab conflict. Now maybe US President Obama will
wake up and understand that just talking and proclaiming economic sanctions
alone won’t work, especially since Austrian, German, French, British, Norwegian,
Swiss, Italian and Belgian companies continue to trade with
Sanctions might hurt somewhat, but unless there is a complete
cutoff in all economic activities between Iran and the rest of the world, things
The European countries talk the talk, but don’t walk the
walk. Negotiations with Iran are just a waste of time and allow the
Iranians to proceed with their plans.HARVEY MATTHEW
Sir, – Enough self-incrimination by Israel’s main English-language
newspaper (“Abbas warns of revolution,” January 23).
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas left negotiations with Israel when the PA
refused to adhere to a previous agreement – to return to direct talks without
preconditions. It is myopic, encouraging of international delegitimization of
Israel, and misrepresentative of Israel’s desire and willingness for direct
negotiations with the PA, to state, as you did, that “the PA left the talks...
when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided not to extend the 10-month
moratorium on new settlement construction.”
Jerusalem Who are
Sir, – Regarding “PA has been torturing prisoners for years, UK
group says” (January 23), we increasingly find that Hamas and other Islamic
fundamentalist groups take each and every opportunity to exaggerate to the
greatest extreme so as to achieve media headlines.
This report shows many
statistics on casualties and the number of detention centers. I somehow think
that when this same “human rights group” investigates Hamas, the investigators
will let us know how many people it threw from rooftops, how many knees it shot
out and what the survival rates were.
Who exactly do these people think
they are kidding? MARTIN LEWIS Ramat Gan Use those phones Sir, – Given the
recent quake in Israel (“3.5 earthquake felt in Upper Galilee,” January 23), the
National Infrastructures Ministry should look to Japan’s early warning system,
which notifies people with a special ring tone on mobile phones.
has more mobile phone users per capita than many other countries. Could not such
a system be implemented here? The Japanese system links together about 1,000
seismographs throughout the country to calculate the location and strength of an
earthquake within a few seconds of it occurring, attempting to beat the arrival
of damaging secondary waves and provide a warning.
Such a system would
give Tel Aviv residents about 55 seconds of time should the epicenter be 100 km.
away in Tiberias.
With one of the highest population densities in the
world – slightly less than Japan’s 336 persons per square kilometer – should it
not be imperative for Israel to install such an early warning system? DAVID
Jerusalem Sabbath tennis
Sir, – In regard to “Shahar knocked out Down
Under: Pennetta comes back to oust Pe’er in 3rd round” (Sports, January 23),
this is what happens when one plays on Shabbat.BEATRICE SAMUEL
US doesn’t get it
Sir, – Why is the United States so disrespected and scoffed at
in terms of foreign policy? One factor may be the complete misreading of what is
happening in the world.
A recent conference in Washington heard two
ex-CIA agents and a member of the Brookings Institution give clear evidence of
bias against Israel and lack of comprehension of the Muslim world (“‘American
lives are being lost today because the the Israeli- Palestinian conflict,’”
The Muslim world is in turmoil from Tunisia to Afghanistan.
The US should deal with this turmoil – the cause is certainly not the
Palestinian demand for a state.
WikiLeaks cables have proved that Iran is
first and foremost on the agenda of the Arab world, and not the
Jerusalem Fischer gets it
Sir, – Bank of Israel
governor Stanley Fischer seems to be one of the few who understands that
globalization is not to be accepted blindly and completely (“BoI tightens
foreign-exchange regulations for swaps, forwards,” Business & Finance,
January 20). He was the first governor to raise the base lending rate, and now
he very wisely has begun limiting speculation that has taken advantage of his US
dollar purchasing campaign.
Israel, together with the rest of the world,
is experiencing spiraling food prices as well as acute water shortages. It is to
be hoped that Fischer will guide the government to preserve our agriculture so
we will remain independent and able to fully cover our population’s
To cover the water shortage he should press the government to
implement the government decision to build the approximately 30 desalination
plants decided upon many years ago, of which just a few have been
When the crunch comes, globalization will not help, as every
country will have to take care of its own.DAVID GOSHEN
Kiryat Ono Cut
Sir, – Prime Minister Netanyahu will devote part of the taxes from our
natural gas discoveries to the Ministry of Defense (“PM endorses tax hike on
gas, oil profits,” January 19). Here are some questions: • Why does the Defense
Ministry, which has the largest allocation in the national budget, allow
non-combat personnel to retire with full pensions at age 42-45? • Why continue
with expensive, uninformative Galei Tzahal when there are many alternative radio
stations available? • Why does the IDF continue its costly parachute training
course? (No nation uses paratroopers today, only heliborne troops.) • Why does
the Defense Ministry pay for overseas university training for retired generals?
• Why does the IAF use its planes to ferry top brass to and from home? ELIEZER
WHARTMAN Jerusalem An Israeli plan Sir, – As we speak, millions of Arabs around
us are rioting in the streets. They are not chanting for attacks on the United
States, the end of Israel or oil. They are demonstrating for freedom, economic
advancement and enough food to feed their families.
Now is the time to
give it to them.
In 2002, the Saudis offered us peace with the Arab
world. They asked for a lot in return – but they did put an offer on the table,
and ever since they have been able to claim that they did something tangible for
the sake of peace.
Why don’t we do the same? In return for the complete
annexation of Judea and Samaria, no opposition to the eradication of terror
within our borders, and a comprehensive peace with all Arab nations, can’t we
offer the Arab masses all our knowledge on desalination technology and modern
agriculture, and total access to the hottest hi-tech sector on the planet? Why
don’t we make a peace plan that invites the Arab world to join us in the 21st
century? DOVBER HALEVI