(photo credit: Courtesy)
No gift to diplomacy
Sir, - Congratulations on "Real mediation" (Editorial, July 14). The news that Javier Solana is retiring as EU foreign policy chief, albeit with so many critical issues unsolved, will not draw many tears from Israel's friends. Over the years he has distinguished himself with a string of biased comments and undue pressure on Israel to make all the concessions in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
His parting shot was particularly unhelpful, suggesting that he would impose a settlement on Israel and declare a Palestinian state with or without Israel'sconsent.
This one act alone is the perfect indication of just how little Solana has understood about the history or current status of the conflict; it illustrates his unsuitability for any mediation or observation role.
The conflict is littered with failed attempts by American presidents, the EU and the UN, and indeed the UK, to impose unrealistic conditions on Israel. All of them, almost invariably, have made matters worse, not better.
When it comes to issues regarding Israel's future, we need to tell the world that the only people who can resolve them are the Israelis themselves, face to face with anyone in the Palestinian leadership who has a genuine desire to make peace with Israel rather than wipe the Jewish state off the map.
StandWithUs UK and
Co-President, Zionist Federation
Sir, - So District Court Judge Moshe Drori has no regrets over not convicting the yeshiva student who ran over a parking lot attendant who tried to stop him from driving off without payment.
Good thing the student wasn't put up for a place on the Supreme Court - he might have made it! ("High Court to ruleon driver who hit parking attendant," July 14.)
...on many levels
Sir, - Reading Seth J. Frantzman's "Where's the justice fora working-class heroine?" (July 15), I don't know what outraged me more: that a rabbinical student ran over an Ethiopian Jewish convert working as a parking attendant, after refusing to pay her, and left her wounded in the street; or that he was able to bring stellar character references from Shas head Eli Yishai and Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shmuel Amar; or that he was sentenced merely to community service; or that his victim mysteriously then had her conversion stripped from her.
What can we readers do to see to it that this amoral, conscience-lacking human being - a religious Jew! - never becomes a rabbinical judge?
Sir, - This student may have a brilliant mind, capable of comprehending the most abstruse talmudic point in no time at all.
But the public figures in the student's corner seem not to have understood that this aspirant to the rabbinical judges' bench failed shockingly on the level of simple human decency, as well as exhibiting injudiciousness under pressure, a weak conscience, scant introspection and a blatant disregard of the law.
Sir, - This seemingly unrepentant young man who denied his criminal act to the police needs to be named and shamed and disqualified from ever being appointed a rabbinical judge. Did he consider it permissible to run over someone as long as they were female, Ethiopian, and/or a convert?
He needs to be punished more severely than 140 hours community service and a token NIS 10,000 paid to his victim as compensation.
Sir, - The Israeli judicial system has hit an all-time low. The case of Noga Zoraish is a disgrace to the ethical way we are taught to live our lives. Do not let this travesty of justice continue.
If you're not helping, at least don't hinder
Sir, - It is a shame that not one of the Jewish leaders who met with Barack Obama had the good sense to tell him a simple truth: American concern for Israel's security is far less important than the US not preventing Israel from being able to maintain its own safety.
Self-defense is not only the Zionist ideal, but an increasing necessity in today's reality ("Obama fails to reassure some Jewish leaders," July 15).
Why the fuss?
Sir, - Two points: 1. Writer and historian Benny Morris, an expert on the Middle East and someone who has always favored a two-state solution, has made it very clear that the Palestinian Arab world will never accept a Jewish state here, regardless of the conditions.
2. While visiting the US, Salaam Fayad, the PA finance minister, was asked by the former head of the CIA, James Woolsey, whether Israelis could live within a Palestinian state. His response was in the affirmative.
That being the case, one has to wonder: Why the big fuss over settlement construction?
Sir, - Although Jeff Barak does raise some legitimate points of criticism relating to the first 100 days of the government's performance, his narrative becomes completely ineffective because it is overwhelmed by an almost tangible anti-Bibi animus. This biased perception permits viewing only Palestinian claims as just while rejecting the validity of Israel's concerns ("Buckling under pressure," July 13).
Barak goes so far as to view Nicolas Sarkozy's call for the dismissal of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman as "understandable." Why is he not, like most citizens of Israel, gravely offended by this grossly vulgar intrusion into the internal affairs of the sovereign State of Israel?
Credit the kids
Sir, - We all know the famous concept that in His spare time, God brings people together for marriage. Unfortunately, there are marriages that go bad. So why did God bring these people together to begin with? Perhaps the answer lies in the couple's offspring.
While it is sad that the parental relationship did not last, I have observed that such children are often the most amazing people you would want to meet, especially when their parents are still available to them and make it clear they are still loved.
Yes, divorce is traumatic for the parents, but let's give more credit to the survival instinct of the kids ("How divorce scars people," Shmuley Boteach, July 13).
Games are soft power
Sir, - Congratulations on "18th Maccabiah kicks off " (July 14) successfully on Monday night at Ramat Gan's National Stadium. Sports appearances are soft power - that's why big countries strive for gold medals in the Olympics and other sports contests.
The 2009 World Games will be held in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, July 16-26. An Israeli delegation of 11 athletes and some crew members will participate in the following sports: ju-jitsu, water skiing, ballroom dancing and pÃ©tanque.
I hope your paper will follow the Israeli team in Taiwan, and that it will win medals for Israel.
SIMON C. HSIEH
and Cultural Office