July 22: Talansky's trials

I'd like to know which successful businessman doesn't know about transactions made with hundreds of thousands of his dollars.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
Letters
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Talansky's trialsSir, - I'd like to know which successful businessman doesn't know about transactions made with hundreds of thousands of his dollars.Are we expected to believe that such a businessman simply lets other people conduct affairs involving these sums without his knowledge, without his knowing what they are for?Would somebody who conducts business like that end up with anything other than a massive debt? ("More flaws revealed in Talansky's testimony," July 21.)MATTHEW BERMANHerzliyaUnfair treatment...Sir, - I feel ashamed watching the way the Olmert lawyers have been conducting the cross-examination of Moshe Talansky. They have no respect for this 71-year-old. They mock him, spit out words like "I pity you," and the state's lawyers let it happen.There is no humanity in the courts, just greed and bold ambition ("Confusion and contradictions in Talansky's testimony," Analysis, July 21).GAVRIEL ESKELMaoz Zion...of an elderly witnessSir, - This analysis was a grossly unfair description of prosecution witness Morris Talansky and his testimony.As an American trial lawyer with more than 35 years of court experience, I am amazed that a court would permit the kind of unmerciful badgering - called "cross-examination" - that goes on not just for a couple of hours, but for days. I have seen professional witnesses fold up after two or three hours of such pounding away.Exposed to this kind of treatment, it is a wonder this witness still knows his name and address.As far as is known, the only axe Talansky has to grind is that he was taken by Ehud Olmert for a pile of money which was not applied for the purpose it was given. There is no reason why this elderly man should expose himself to this ordeal: The police certainly checked out his story and were satisfied with it.Compare Talansky's being cross-examined in a court for hours at a time with the way the prime minister has been treated. Mr. Olmert was questioned in his office for an hour at one time, and two hours a second time. He was, in effect, politely interviewed as the prime minister, while Mr. Talansky is receiving brutal verbal treatment in a court where he is known only as "the witness."Let's be fair. At Mr. Talansky's age, he is entitled to some mind-wandering and confusion natural to the situation he is in.IRVIN SCHERMERJerusalemThe trouble with you IsraelisSir, - I really can't believe all this self-righteous posturing over that Talansky thing. It's nothing but a bunch of jealous wannabees sore over not being at the receiving end of somebody's good-natured largesse.Don't you Israelis understand that Americans admire you and want to give you gifts as a way of expressing our esteem? Why, just the other day I met a wonderful, brave fellow visiting from the West Bank, touring around in an RV. I felt sorry for him having to pay for all that gas, so I gave him a few twenties. I told him to get himself a decent suit. Of course he accepted the money! After all, the guy's not some kind of Mother Theresa.The trouble with you Israelis is you're not humble enough. You don't know how to say thank you and just keep right on moving ("Olmert's lawyer catches Talansky in contradictions," July 20).DAVID KATCOFFJericho, VermontAmazing pain...Sir, - I have to preface my comments by identifying myself as an unimportant gentile living in Canada - but I was so outraged by the lack of humanity exhibited by Hizbullah in revealing only at the very last moment that the two Israeli soldiers they had captured were dead ("'There was hope until the end,'" July 20).One can only imagine the horror and grief experienced by their families, and the sense of betrayal Lebanese must feel for suffering a war that was totally avoidable.Living in a peaceful, free democracy as we do here, it absolutely boggles the mind that anyone can be so evil.This whole tragedy illustrates how important it is for Israel to defend its own interests rather than expect common sense on the part of "allies" to step up to their responsibilities and support their friends. Oshawa, Ontario...they love it when we hurtSir, - What I find extremely painful is the asinine assertion by divers politicians and spokesmen in Israel: "We need to make painful compromises" - for peace, to bring our kidnapped soldiers home, etc.Does the Jewish public here think non-Jews are impressed by our pain, that they sympathize with us? Nothing delights many of them more than seeing Jews in pain (they have been inflicting it upon us for 3,000 years) except when we inflict it upon ourselves, as in the spectacle of Jewish soldiers and police beating up Jewish residents in Gaza and Samaria.MICHAEL S BLOCHKochav YairStaunch friend came to callSir, - Gordon Brown's address to the Knesset showed that the tenant of 10 Downing St. is a staunch friend of the Jewish people. In his speech, Britain's premier recalled the bravery of Raoul Wallenberg, to whom he dedicated a chapter in his book Courage - Eight Portraits.The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation is proud to have him as a honorary member ("Brown offers 'economic road map' to buttress Mideast peace efforts," July 21).DANNY RAINER, Vice-PresidentInt'l Raoul Wallenberg FoundationGivatayimSir, - Now that the British premier has been on a state visit, I and perhaps thousands of other British-born Israelis are wondering why Queen Elizabeth II has still not graced us with her presence, giving a sense of pride to all who have followed her momentous reign since her coronation in 1953.This inexplicable omission has often been intensified for me by the queen's frequent visits to Arab and other states while the Land of Israel, which gave birth to so many British values and religious beliefs, is repeatedly overlooked on the royal travel itinerary.Your Majesty: Let this young-old democracy experience the thrill, magic and mystique of your presence on its sacred soil. You can be assured of a right royal welcome with maximum security and warmth from the people of Israel, who warmly admire the British way of life. In return, you will enjoy a unique experience.DAVID HERMANJerusalemStick to artSir, - In "Know when to fold them" (Billboard, July 18), your reporter told us that an origami festival would bring artists from, among other places, "the US, Europe, Israel and Palestine" to Jerusalem. Either he doesn't know his political facts, or he is bringing his political wishlist to your readers. I know of no such place as "Palestine" on the current, internationally accepted map.Your writer has the right to support whichever political agenda he desires, but the editorial page is the proper place for opinion.IRENE BERMANShohamGenteel mealSir, - The flyer touting "a verity of fish and vegetables" that Judy Montagu opted to view as "a subtle bid for truth in advertising" (Short Order, UpFront, July 11) reminded me of a local Chinese restaurant I visited that advertised a special offer on a "three-curse meal."Fortunately, the establishment was not true to its word, and the waiter was perfectly polite.YONATAN SILVERJerusalem