letters to the editor.
(photo credit: )
Sir, - Re "Israel scraps plan for massive new bridge to Mughrabi Gate" (July 3): Why not construct access to the Temple Mount from the northern side of the Western Wall plaza, via existing buildings, through what is now a police station next to the Chain Gate? The station could be expanded and/or easily relocated to another area nearby.
This new entrance/exit for non-Muslims would be built outside the Temple Mount plaza area, abutting, but not going beyond the Western Wall, incorporated into the existing police station and gate at the end of Rehov Shalshelet (Chain Street). Moreover, an observation platform could be constructed there for those who would like to view, but not step onto, the Temple Mount itself.
Disabled and elderly access could be provided directly from the Western Wall plaza area by elevator and a special ramp. A similar ramp could easily be constructed from the Jewish Quarter to the new entrance point.
The new entrance, via a building, would be more secure than an outdoor bridge vulnerable to earthquakes and terrorism.
This is a "win-win" alternative: It is far less expensive than the original plan; doesn't disturb the archeological site, preserves the sanctity of the Western Wall area, meets the needs of visitors, and - because it would not be built on the Temple Mount itself - would not violate Muslim or Jewish concerns.
A well-placed kick...
Sir, - I write to support Yehudit Collins's "Katsav remains innocent until proven guilty" (July 3). Presumably "Aleph" did her military service and would know the basic principles of Krav Maga.
Methinks the lady protesteth too much.
Sir, - Yehudit Collins asks if she is the "only woman in Israel not prepared to join the lynch mob" against Moshe Katsav. No, she isn't. But those of us protesting against the hysterical efforts to destroy Katsav without enough evidence to convict him are few and far between, I fear.
A fair trial would have cleared up a lot of inconsistencies - from the alleged "blackmail attempt" to when Katsav allegedly sprouted an extra set of arms to restrain a woman while simultaneously undressing her. We would also have learned why she remained in her job.
...to those who offend
Sir, - We really do not need to be exposed to a disgusting court trial. The best message to send Moshe Katsav, the best punishment for his lowly acts, would be to take away the monetary benefits due him.
Why stop there? We could pass laws applying to people like Avrum Burg, who talk against Israel. Why should any of them benefit from monies coming from Israel? There should be a penalty for such actions, too.
Let's put our taxpayers' money to good use, such as in our education and medical systems.
Sir, - How can the man in the street argue with Israel's attorney-general? How could you or I know what is better for the State of Israel than Meni Mazuz? After all, we are only doctors, scientists, journalists, hi-tech specialists, plumbers, clerks and taxi drivers. We're not even lawyers!
When will we finally realize that the monstrous powers of our oligarchic legal system, which is totally out of contact with the nation's citizens, are unparalleled in any Western democracy?
("Court postpones hearing on Katsav petitions until next week," July 3.)
Sir, - I was shocked by the blatant lack of voluntary censorship practiced by Israel TV and radio last week. Nowhere else in the world would such a detailed description of an alleged rape and forced sexual relations be broadcast live during the middle of a normal day, and when most schools had just broken up for vacation.
If the military censorship is there to protect the country's security, who is looking after our morals? One begins to understand why many haredi parents do not allow radios in their homes.
Sir, - I am saddened by the suffering that has been caused to everybody by the allegations in connection with President Katsav. Such incidents should never happen among a holy people in their Holy Land.
Unfortunately the Jews' return from exile was not accompanied by due observance of the basic religious principles: modest dress and sex enjoyed within marriage and not outside it.
Justice must prevail in this case, but we Jews must change our ways. Ben-Gurion stated that the Bible is our constitution. Let us serve God and follow his commandments.
Sir, - Re "The West at war" (Editorial, July 1): President George Bush, in a recent speech to C.A.I.R., was at great pains not to identify the "extremists" as Islamists in order to convey the utmost sensitivity for the feelings of what is alleged to be the vast majority of Muslims, who are not terrorists.
However, unless and until this vast majority loudly and unequivocally denounces and abjures the "barbaric attacks" by the generically-labelled "extremists" who have hijacked their religion, its thundering silence makes it complicit in the actions of the "minority."
It behooves the West to finally recognize that "war has been declared against us," and that the West "should act decisively and collectively to win that war"
Lakewood, New Jersey
Tourism, not terror
Sir, - I was an American tourist in Israel and Jerusalem twice before I moved here, and I found the Arab vendors and guides in Jerusalem's Old City to be very helpful. Arab vendors have wonderful Christian, Egyptian and Near Eastern things to offer that I didn't see in Jewish stores.
I think the best solution for the Palestinian economy is to end the terrorist attacks and become seriously involved in tourism. People won't travel to a country where they won't feel safe, but Palestinians are excellent with tourists, and need a chance to prove it ("Tourism as a boost to Middle East peace," July 1).
Sir, - She never hid her being Jewish, she sang "Avinu Malkeinu" like an angel - but she never comes to Israel, and now she went to Germany and "was glad to be there." I guess she needed the money!
As happens to so many idols, another one just fell off the pedestal ("Streisand goes down like butta in Berlin," July 2).
Free for all?
Sir, - I was surprised to read "Free Alan Johnston" (Letters, June 28) in The Jerusalem Post. Okay, you printed it, but surely the editor could have commented?
After returning to Israel from South Africa and seeing the many anti-Israel articles in South African newspapers, especially by Ronnie Kasrils, who happens to be minister of intelligence, surely our Israeli newspapers needn't follow suit. Isn't it enough that the majority of the world press is against Israel?
The Letters Editor responds:
Our Letters column is open to the full spectrum of readers' opinions, including those that take issue with other readers.