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Sir, - So Hamas is trying "to exacerbate the [Gazans'] plight at the expense of their own people by fomenting resentment against Israel"? That's nothing new - the Arab world has been doing it to the Palestinians since '48! ("Hamas bans import of Israeli produce into the Gaza Strip - 60 trucks of fruit, veggies recalled," July 10.)
Since there is "clearly... no two-state solution," as Caroline Glick points out in "No heroes in Act Three" (same date), I would like to propose a two-plate solution. In addition to its grudging acceptance of "necessities such as milk and bread" (first plate), let's convince Hamas to take in the fruits and vegetables as well (second plate). Then maybe the gratified and grateful Gazans will leave us alone.
It might help if the US sent over some flyers detailing the benefits of the Four Food Groups - now there's a Quartet that would do everyone some good....
Sir, - What is the Hamas leadership in Gaza eating?
Sir, - There is a better reason to give up reliance on petrol energy than global warming, anyway disputed by your correspondent Thomas Laprade ("Nothing to do under the sun," Letters, July 9).
We have to learn to live without petrol in order to remove the main source of terror funding, which we help maintain every time we fill our gas-guzzling tanks. The world, led by Israel, must work on the technology needed to make the hydrogen motor a viable reality over the next few years, so we can go and tell the Arabs what they can do with their $70 bbl.
The biggest problem is the vested interest in petrol by mainly Britain, Norway, Russia and the US, as well as the Middle East and South American producers. But given a significant technological breakthrough, everyone, led by the Greens, will surely join the hydrogen-fuelled bandwagon.
The caretaker who didn't take care
Sir, - Re "Meretz, UTJ join Haifa synagogue power struggle" (July 9): The synagogue has been used regularly on a weekly basis by observant Romema residents since it was built. The secular residents use it as well for all holidays and special events.
This synagogue was paid for in large part by donations from the secular residents for the community, since the observant group was small at that time. Therefore it is up to the community how and when and how often the building should be used. This is part of freedom of religion, and we have lived together peacefully this way for 40 years.
The present situation was created by the caretaker, who was never officially appointed. He invited a few "penitents" to join him for a minyan, then did the unforgivable - he gave them the keys to the synagogue, which meant full control - without consulting anyone else, although we have a committee. In so doing he went far beyond his duties as caretaker and assumed an authority he has no right to.
As for the Breslav people, they are all from outside Romema, except for two "penitents." The so-called worshipers drive up and leave in cars. Many of them come from Jerusalem, we have discovered. There are always different people coming and going, and they have told us that they are paid for it. The synagogue has been illegally converted into a yeshiva and is guarded from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day for fear we might enter.
In addition, no Romema resident has gone into the synagogue during the week without a police escort because the door is locked and opened only on police command.
I hope this will be a warning to other communities to watch carefully what goes on in their synagogues.
Old Romema, Haifa
Sir, - While haredim who throw stones do not represent their entire community ("Bus stoned in Ramat Beit Shemesh," July 9) societies worldwide that do not watch television do, with notable exceptions, seem to have a propensity for violence.
Could there be a link between a lack of television and violence?
Proud to be from Southern Maryland
Sir, - As one of several olim in Israel from Southern Maryland, I want to thank you for reprinting the Washington Post article about the Jewish community there ("The challenge of being a Jew in Maryland," July 8).
However, the overall tone of the article played more on the shveir zu zein a yid (it's hard to be a Jew) syndrome rather than focusing on the amazing accomplishments of the Jews who live there and were raised there.
I grew up in Shaare Tikvah, a Conservative shul. We had a very active membership, with individuals holding regional and international positions of Jewish leadership and several making aliya. This can be attributed to the commitment of its members to Judaism, and to Israel. It is not just a few members, as the article suggested, but dozens.
And I suppose there are "some Jews who find small-town existence too formidable" but those of us who were born and raised there know that we are this generation's movers and shakers because of it!
Credit where it's due
Sir, - Re Warren L. Miller's "The evil and the good done at Kielce" (July 4): I was disturbed by a serious omission. Would a writer reporting on a visit to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC neglect to mention Maya Lin? Is public art so public that it ceases to have any relationship to the person who designs and creates the piece?
Jack Sal spent years researching, conceptualizing and actualizing the memorial at Kielce. He deserves to be mentioned in any article about his work.
This silence isn't golden
Sir, - Frieda Ross is perfectly right (Letters, July 8) that there are few lovers of the Jerusalem Symphony writing letters to newspapers about the orchestra's impending demise. But where are the voices from the municipality and its culture committee? The protests from the Knesset Committee on Jerusalem? Do these representatives care nothing for the public except at election time? How many votes is the orchestra worth?
Why not beefcake too?
Sir, - In response to Amy Friedkin's and Larry Weinberg's defense of the scantily dressed Israeli woman as a come-on to Israel for the 20-something American male:
1. Women are not to be classified together with food, wine, art, views and beaches;
2. If that's going to be the approach, then why not beefcake as well as cheesecake? ("Our 'human-lens' approach to hasbara," July 8.)
The office of Ze'ev Boim states that contrary to what was written in "Absorption remains bastard portfolio" (July 5), the former immigrant absorption minister did not "try to leave the portfolio before, to become ambassador to the United States or head of Israel Bonds." He did not seek those positions or have any hand in "baseless rumors" about receiving them. As absorption minister, he dealt solely with helping immigrants, and not with finding another job for himself.
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