Sir, – As Caroline Glick makes clear in “How to respond to EU sanctions” (Column One, July 26), Israel must promptly pass proposed legislation that would limit the ability of foreign governments to fund Israeli NGOs.
Doing so would be a truly effective and morally required response to funding that has been subverting the democratic process within Israel by skewing the playing field of competing voices with massive donations to anti-Israel organizations.
Passing such much-needed legislation would be a classic measure-for-measure response to Europe’s sanctimonious meddling.
As Rabbi Hillel challenged us, “If not now, when?” We are not punching bags.
We are not sitting ducks. The more we stand up for ourselves the greater the respect on the world stage that we will command.
DOUGLAS ALTABEF Rosh Pina Doing the math
Sir, – The mere suggestion that Martin Indyk be nominated as US Secretary of State John Kerry’s personal envoy to oversee Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is injudicious (“Indyk: A disastrous choice for mediator,” Candidly Speaking, July 26).
In the three-week Yom Kippur War, Israel sustained nearly 3,000 fatalities, the equivalent of a tenth of a percent of its 1973 population. If the same percentile were applied to recent US war operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, it would render a horrendous total of 300,000 American fatalities, a scale that illuminates the enormity of Israeli losses. Do the math! Indyk’s 2010 postulate, namely that Obama signed 30 to 40 condolence letters a month to the families of dead US service personnel, was unforgivable.
KARL HUTTENBAUER Berlin Nothing will change
Sir, – Instead of thinking of the good of our country and its Jewish people, whether religious, not religious or zealots, it seems that our worthy prime minister is joyous to have had one over on Naftali Bennett (“Yitzhak Yosef and David Lau elected chief rabbis of Israel,” July 25).
Netanyahu’s worries about being in the bad books of the haredim are more important to him than the population. Now nothing will change.
The rabbinate will carry on harming women’s rights and liberties. More youngsters will go to Cyprus rather than be forced into religious marriages.
Boys and girls will continue to be educated like they’re still in a shtetl. People will not work yet expect to get money for nothing.
Men will continue to translate the Torah to suit themselves.
They’ll think that sitting in a yeshiva is equivalent to protecting the country (and while they stay safe they’ll beat up haredi boys who opt to defend their fellow citizens).
Nothing has changed, just the names, yet I’m not so in love with what Israel has become.
I am not religious, and the next time I need a rabbi it will be to bury me. But if you can’t trust a rabbi, who can you trust? Doesn’t anyone else feel the way I do?
JUDY GOLDIN Kiryat Ono Misinformation
Sir, – Regarding “High hopes, low expectations” by Douglas M. Bloomfield (Washington Watch, July 25), I was disappointed to read misinformation in a reliably Zionist newspaper.
Bloomfield states that “polls show both [the Israeli and Palestinian] public's support the two-state solution.” If only it were true.
Israelis define the two-state solution as two states, one Arab and one Jewish. The Palestinians define the states as one entirely free of Jews and the other a state with unlimited immigration rights for anyone who claims Palestinian heritage.
The Palestinian two-state solution would result in two states, both Arab.
JOEL LEVINE Ashdod Misleading numbers
Sir, – In “Facing the music and dancing the dance” (Encountering Peace, July 25), Gershon Baskin relies on misleading numbers to advance a “peace” agenda divorced from reality.
As he has so often in the past, Baskin refers to Palestinian willingness to settle for only 22 percent of “the land between the river and the sea.” This artificial construct is meant to make the Palestinians appear as downtrodden victims willing to accept meager crumbs in the pursuit of peace.
Baskin ignores a more relevant 22%: Pre-1967 Israel was only 22% of the original British Mandate designated as the Jewish homeland. (The vast majority of the remainder is now Jordan, the first Palestinian state.) Even that was too much for our neighbors to tolerate. They attempted to destroy the Jewish state in 1948 and again in 1967.
The Arabs’ failure to achieve their goal has led them to ascribe legal and historical status to the “Green Line” that no party to the armistice ever contemplated.
Baskin also says that “70% of Israelis... want Israel to make peace with its neighbors.” No doubt the vast majority of us want a real peace. That does not mean, however, that we must support an agreement based on the pre-1967 “Auschwitz Lines” made with a Palestinian leader who lacks legitimate political standing and cannot represent the 40% of Palestinians living in Gaza.
Show us an enforceable peace formula accepted by Palestinians and their leadership in all the disputed territories – one that will permanently recognize and guarantee our rightful existence in the land of our fathers – and we will celebrate in the streets. Until then, Baskin’s facile use of misleading numbers only obscures this critical discussion.
EFRAIM A. COHEN Zichron Ya’acov
Sir, – Gershon Baskin states that 70 percent of Israelis seek peace with their neighbors. The figure is much higher – they just don’t wish to commit collective suicide based on the terms that the author and the Palestinians advocate. How many Palestinians wish to live in peace with the Jewish state of Israel? What about Hamas, the peace-loving ruler of the Gaza Strip? How wonderful it would be for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to bow to all the pressure and lose respect from close allies and friends but be welcomed in capitals all over the world. One has to believe that this was also part of the motivation for the architects of the disastrous Oslo Accords.
JONATHAN SURASKY Ra’anana
Sweet rail dreams
Sir, – The high-speed rail link to Jerusalem is something I dream about. The thought that it will only take 28 minutes to Tel Aviv, and even less to Ben- Gurion Airport, is exciting. But has Jonathan Maron (“Clipped memories, clipped wings – the hard landing Nesher faces after ‘2017,’” Comment & Features, July 23) observed the reality? As you travel by bus or car from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, you observe that major parts of the railway have not even been started. There are major parts of the track still missing between Modi’in and Jerusalem. There are viaducts missing from the tunnel-ends on the Jerusalem side that will link in to the new railway station being constructed.
The signalling system is missing.
In addition, there is still no sign of electrification. On your pages only a few months ago there was a tender for the electrification of the railway system.
Without electrification it will be impossible to send locomotives through 30 kilometers of tunnels without a detrimental effect on the passengers.
Also, locomotives and new coaches will take well over three years to design, manufacture and test.
I don't believe such things can happen before 2020, even though I dream it will happen sooner.
BOB GOLD Jerusalem
The writer is a retired electrical engineer