(photo credit: Courtesy)
Break those waves
Sir, - As a former lifeguard at the Irish Sea 65 years ago, who nearly drowned three years ago in the Mediterranean off Netanya, I read "Caution: Deep water" (Editorial, July 28) with great interest. In spite of being close in and near the lifeguard station, I was sucked under and out to sea by a riptide.
A very effective and relatively inexpensive way to prevent tragedies would be to build "wave-breakers" off the swimming beaches. This could be done using sunken old ships or rocks, or both. It would not have to be unsightly.
Your editorial could then be retitled "Caution: Shallow water."
DAVID L. NEMTZOV
Sir, - While Gil Troy's assessment of the Palestinian approach to violence is absolutely correct, what troubles me more is the criticism from Canadian Israel-bashers he has encountered ("A pornographic approach to violence," July 28).
Canadians are justifiably noted for their sense of fairness, but when it comes to Israel-bashing, the phenomenon of anti-Semitism seems to peek out from under their cloak of liberalism. Behavior that is acceptable for anyone else, isn't for the Jews - i.e., Israel.
I often wonder how Canadians would react to a sudden "intifada" by their native peoples, targeting women and children in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
HAIM M. LERNER
...and a new pornography
Sir, - The word "pornographic" takes on new meaning in Prof. Troy's view of the Samir Kuntar exchange, used to illustrate his point that "A culture of martyrdom that venerates the violent is a nation destined to fail."
The failure lies in the wrecked greenhouses that were left for the Palestinians to build a new economy on; in the lack of schools, hospitals, clean streets, decent housing and a growing economy where people would work for money rather than the currency of murder-for-effect or the veneration of child-killers.
With all the wars and conflicts we have endured, we do not celebrate death, but build cities and educate our children to rejoice in life.
Truth vs falsehood
Sir, - Ira Rifkin's "To fight or not to fight on the home front" (July 24) interested me for a number of reasons. For one thing, he writes from Annapolis, Maryland, a short distance from Baltimore, which was home to me for many years.
His description of the Annapolis local newspaper, The Capital, mirrors so many local newspapers in America these days. He labels it "our daily fish wrap," calling it "simplistic, unimaginative and factually unreliable," which has not stopped it from becoming "a proxy arena playing out the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
He questions in depth whether to bother responding to ignorant diatribes containing mass falsehoods about Israel. I can only agree with his conclusion that they are difficult to ignore.
Furthermore, it is crucial that he, and others who are able, spread the truth.
Mofaz's best card
Sir, - In "Olmert weighs quitting after primary" (July 27) you reported that former chief of staff Shaul Mofaz intends using his security experience to trump Tzipi Livni in the upcoming Kadima primaries. I think he has a much better card to play.
As Israel's transportation minister he is surely the best qualified to bring the discredited "road map" to a complete standstill - even total gridlock.
Sir, - Hardly a day goes by that we don't read or hear transportation minister Shaul Mofaz giving his opinion on how to keep the country safe. He cannot help but talk about security, he told the Post in a recent interview. And in "An open letter to Senator Obama" (July 23) he wrote: "The only truly important issue for the State of Israel has been and will continue to be our ability to continue living and surviving here as a people."
True enough. Yet Israelis currently face the gravest danger of all every time they get into their cars.
In June, traffic fatalities reached a record high, with 45 killed and 176 seriously injured. A total of 2,731 people were involved in accidents. Why does Mofaz have no substantive antidote to the terror Israelis face on the roads every single day?
It is well known that more Israelis have been killed on the roads than in all Israel's wars and terror attacks put together. I would have more time for Mofaz as "Mr. Security," and more respect for him as a potential leader, if he had shown the slightest skill in improving these shocking statistics.
In light of his inability to give road safety the attention it deserves, why should we believe he knows best how to deal with Iran and other security matters?
We aren't lefties
Sir, - I was quite shocked to read "Activists to test Gaza naval blockade" (On-Line Edition, July 25).
The Free Gaza Movement, of which I am a member, is not directed by members of ISM and ICAHD. Its organizer is the Free Gaza group, which is made up of international peace activists. We come from different backgrounds, have different positions and opinions, but are united in a single wish: to help the suffering people of the Gaza Strip.
As a Jew, I feel obliged to follow the main principle of Judaism: "Solidarity with the suffering," based on Leviticus 19:18. "Ve-ahavta lere'echa kamocha."
To stamp us as "lefties" is incorrect. Although my heart beats on the left, my life's dedication is to justice, which is found neither on the Right nor the Left.
I am inspired by the Ethics of the Fathers and the Prophets. And I follow the philosophy of Martin Buber, an early Zionist who strove (unfortunately, in vain) for justice and peace with the Arab population.
I am very offended that our peaceful action was reported against the background of many people's fear that Iran might send weaponry to Gaza.
"The IDF spokesman would not say," you wrote, "what the navy intends to do" when we enter Gazan waters. I have a suggestion: Let peaceful words speak instead of words of might.
One word would be sufficient: Shalom.
Sir, - David Horovitz seemed to view favorably Sen. Barack Obama's ability to answer his questions with confidence, not relying on his aides, compared to Sen McCain's need to refer to Sen. Joe Lieberman for "reassurance." I would argue to the contrary ("Obama's presidential vision for Israel," July 25).
As an Israeli and an American, I am concerned that Obama does not see the need to answer to the American Zionist constituency. I am sure he answered with assuredness because he knows he currently has a "lock" on the "Jewish vote" in the US.
I wish he felt the need to answer to the nuances of the American Zionists, as Sen. Mc Cain seems to.
Sir, - There is a wonderful story about a visitor sitting on the balcony of a luxury Israeli hotel who is approached by a waiter and asked what he is doing.
He replies that he is writing a book about Israel.
"Oh, how long have you spent in the country?" "I came yesterday," answers the visitor.
"And how long are you staying?" "I'm leaving tomorrow."
Surprised, the waiter asks, "And what is the title of your book?" The reply: "Israel - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow."
This story came to mind as I contemplated the grandiosity with which Barack Obama pontificated on the issue of "settlements" - an issue whose multiple facets he has no doubt been thinking about deeply for many years.