Obama did it...
Sir, – “Left, Right feel vindicated by Palestinian leak”
(January 25) states that “[p]oliticians on the Left said the documents proved a
peace agreement was achievable, while the Right said they indicated the gaps
between the two sides were unbridgeable.”
Both sides are missing the
The documents indicate that the Palestinians were once indeed
willing to negotiate (although their positions could not be considered moderate
by anyone but the most radical post-Zionist leftist Israeli).
President Obama was elected, the rhetoric emanating from the White House has
made the Palestinians unwilling to negotiate at all.
When Obama began
referring to Ramot and Ramat Shlomo in northwest Jerusalem, and Gilo in
southwest Jerusalem, as “settlements” where construction must be stopped, he did
two things: He ensured that Israelis would no longer trust the US, and he
radicalized the Palestinians. After all, as Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas
regularly says, the Palestinian leadership can not be less pro- Palestinian than
the president of the US.RANDI OZE
Jerusalem ...or did Israel?
Regarding “PA figures call Al-Jazeera reports ‘shameful fabrications’” (January
25), wouldn’t it be interesting to find out that Israel had infiltrated
Al-Jazeera in a Stuxnet-type of operation to distort what actually was offered
by the Palestinians, and thereby create this upheaval in the PA? URI HIRSCH
Netanya Prophet in our midst Sir, – A letter from me that you printed late last
year about the initial WikiLeaks leaks turns out to have been
“Things will never be the same again,” I wrote. “From now on
we may say that the public’s security and empowerment are strengthened by three
things: a free press, free elections and free leaks.”
But I could never
have foreseen the newest twist (“‘PaliLeaks’: PA agreed to Israeli annexation of
almost all J’lem’s neighborhoods in 2008,” January 24).
It’s all beyond
our wildest dreams, a golden day for lovers of the free press and truth (and
we’re happily awaiting PA leaks against Hamas).MOSHE-MORDECHAI VAN
Time for a change Sir, – With regard to “Gilo plan dropped from
panel agenda” (January 24), the world condemns and we jump to
If our own prime minister is unable to stand up for Jewish
rights in the Land of Israel, talks about “occupying” others and legitimizes a
fake people as deserving their own state on Jewish land, why should we expect
anything but delegitimization from a very hostile world? It’s surely time to
change direction.YENTEL JACOBS
Netanya Halacha isn’t all
Sir, – Now that
Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, leader of the Ashkenazi haredi world, has declared
IDF conversions invalid a mere week after Rabbi Ovadia Yosef proclaimed their
validity, the ideal solution would seem that Sephardi IDF candidates for
conversion be accepted into the Jewish fold, and not Ashkenazim (“Elyashiv: IDF
conversions invalid,” January 24).
The two conflicting rabbis are
contributing a great deal to the low esteem in which rabbinic leaders are held
by much of Israeli society.
The rabbinic leadership must provide
leadership. They must be motivated by a genuine love of the entire Jewish people
and intent on coming to grips with the issues of modernity and sovereignty that
the establishment of the State of Israel engendered. Serious issues, like the
permissibility of milking cows on Shabbat or the use of Shabbat elevators, must
be decided in favor of leniency as long as there are valid halachic grounds to
When dealing with questions that touch on human lives and the
definition of Who is a Jew, utmost concern must be given to Halacha – but no
less to how the decision affects human lives, as well as the unity and
continuity of our great people.
Petah Tikva Apologies and
Sir, – According to “Gaza no longer ‘occupied territory’ and import
restrictions do not constitute collective punishment, panel finds” (Analysis,
January 24), a “blockade is forbidden if its sole purpose is to starve the
civilian population or deny it other objects essential for its
When the State of Israel was declared, the Arabs, with the
full support of the British, blockaded and literally starved the Jews living in
Jerusalem. But for the faith and strength of our people with the help of God,
they would have succeeded.
Israel, on the other hand, has always made
sure that Gazans, although our enemies, have more than enough for their needs –
even while we are being bombarded by rockets, and no access is allowed to
captive soldier Gilad Schalit.
Today we have a similar kind of crisis,
where we are being deprived not of food but of our legitimacy and rightful
ownership to this land.
Unfortunately, the faith and strength of purpose
of yesteryear is sadly lacking, and instead of standing up for our rights, we
make apologies and excuses as though we were indeed the occupier and not the
Netanya Electoral reform
Sir, – I agree with Brenda
Katten (“A government that cannot govern,” Comment & Features, January 24)
in that Israel is a proportional electoral system gone mad.
any democracy it is the electorate that has the ultimate responsibility to act
responsibly, and thus gets the government it deserves. If it really believes a
coalition is the only means to bring checks and balances on a government, the
current system will continue.
All the recent polls show that if there
were an election tomorrow the result would not be significantly different from
the current Knesset make-up. In fact, for this very reason, Prime Minister
Netanyahu’s current coalition has all the potential to last the full course.
Therefore, there is no excuse for any minister not to plan for the long term and
break the mold, assuming he or she can overcome the budgetary hold of the
Finance Ministry.PETER SIMPSON
Sir, – Brenda Katten is talking
to a wall. Since the establishment of the state, greater luminaries than she,
such as Ben-Gurion, Chaim Herzog, Abba Eban and the present Knesset speaker,
Ruby Rivlin, have been strong advocates of urgent electoral reform, but to no
The threat to Israel’s survival is not the crazy regime of Iran or
the Palestinian conflict, but its own undemocratic, dysfunctional political
system, which, if allowed to continue, could lead to a rebellion similar to what
we’re seeing in Tunisia.
Long-suffering Israeli citizens must wake up to
their complacency! JACK DAVIS
Sydney, Australia Explain that
Sir, – In response
to “Sabbath tennis” (Letters, January 24), what a spiteful statement!
Accordingly, how does one explain bad things that happen to people while they
are observing Shabbat? NANCY MORIN
Sir, – While I feel that people
representing the Jewish state should refrain from publicly desecrating the
sabbath, I found the contention that an Israeli tennis player lost a match
because she played on the day of rest to be interesting.
Using the same
logic, was an Israeli kayaker’s win of a medal on Rosh Hashana during the 2000
Olympic Games a subtle hint from above that we should all go kayaking each year
on that day? YONATAN SILVER