Sir, – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is perfectly right when he
compares Judea and Samaria to Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland (“PM evokes
Sudetenland when deflecting European criticism,” February 27), which was ceded
to Nazi Germany in 1938 under pressure from Britain and France.
Republic’s foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, rejects this analogy because
Czechoslovakia was “totally isolated” at the time. Israel, he argues, has the US
as its ally.
Moreover, he maintains that the Palestinians are the main
inhabitants of the West Bank and therefore the territory “belongs to
I beg to differ with Schwarzenberg. Israel today is extremely
isolated and even the US cannot necessarily be counted upon. Moreover, if we
examine the situation in the Sudetenland in 1938, we find that this territory,
which comprised Czechoslovakia’s western border region, consisted of 90 percent
ethnic Germans; on the face of it, Hitler’s demand that it be annexed to Germany
appeared not unreasonable.
The Czechs objected partly because of the
strategic value of the area, without which they would be unable to defend
themselves, and also because historically the Sudetenland was part of their
country. As we know, Hitler’s annexation was soon followed by his occupation of
the rest of Czechoslovakia.
Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem are the
heart of the Jewish homeland, religiously and historically. Moreover, they have
vital strategic value for the Jewish state. Certainly, the majority of the
people living there today are Palestinian, just as the majority of the
population of Jordan is Palestinian. But the Palestinians lay claim to the whole
of Israel – you just have to look at their maps – and they are not prepared to
end the conflict with the Jewish state.
If Israel is forced to withdraw
to what Abba Eban once called the “Auschwitz borders,” hemmed in on all sides by
hostile states, its situation will indeed resemble that of Czechoslovakia after
the Sudetenland was ceded to Nazi Germany.
Incidentally, it might be
worth pointing out that after the war, Czechoslovakia expelled over two million
Sudeten Germans, viewing them as Nazi collaborators. Many died during the forced
Jerusalem Have a great week
Sir, – While
drinking my private, special blend of freshly ground coffee without sugar or
milk, without any slogans and without any wording on the package (with the
exception of “coffee” and the name of the store), I read Herb Keinon’s wonderful
“The repackaging of Bamba” (Out There, February 27).
What a great way to
start the week. Can we have more of this please? I always enjoy reading Herb’s
articles but this one was really special.
More, more, please! LILA STEIN
Jerusalem Sir, – I have always loved Herb Keinon’s Out There columns. But his
latest, on repackaging Bamba, must be one of his best. What a wonderful way to
start the week.SUSAN SHAUL
Sir, – Kudos to Herb Keinon for his
very funny column. My husband remarked that he hadn’t heard me laugh so much for
a long time! Thanks to Herb I shall face the week with a smile. Keep the wit
flowing! JUDITH FELSENSTEIN Jerusalem Sir, – Herb Keinon caused a flash flood of
memories for me in his description of discovering the “magic” of Celestial
Seasonings’ creatively named and beautifully packaged teas.
In the 1970s,
my college roommates and I at Rutgers University discovered these teas and were
conquered: We actually began to collect the boxes, not to mention become
selfappointed experts in exactly which variety of tea went with which time of
day, meal, etc., with super-caffeinated “Morning Thunder” leading the way!
Imagine, then, our shock and dismay when one day we discovered almost by
accident that the formerly innocuous and actually pretty corny "sayings" had
turned overnight into fundamentalist Christian quotes from the New Testament
with one clear and dominant message: Jesus Saves! Despite various attempts to
separate church from tea drinking, we painfully decided that for these four
Jewish boys, Celestial Seasonings had crossed a very red line, and we simply
stopped buying all those wonderful teas.
Of course, we would spotcheck
now and then to see if things had changed, but at least until I graduated in
1977, Celestial Seasonings would remain only a fond memory. Problem was, I
couldn’t just purchase the more simple yellow-boxed Lipton tea, since my mother
refused to allow that brand into our house because of the alleged anti-Semitism
of the original Mr. Lipton. Perhaps it was this double trauma that converted me
into an avid coffee drinker! Thanks for the memories, Herb!
Hatzor Haglilit Wertheimer as icon
Sir, – How good to see the February 27 op-ed
by the iconic Stef Wertheimer (“Cairo’s business-savvy protesters,” Comment
& Features) with guidelines for the economic future of the Egyptian
Wertheimer’s personal success in industry and in providing
employment, encouraging incubators and creating ideal, environmentally-friendly
communities is nothing short of wonderful. He is still so clearthinking; every
word he wrote should be circulated in the corridors of power. One can only dream
of political leadership of such caliber.
His short spell in the Knesset
and his efforts to support the campaign for electoral reform are indicative of
how he viewed the pathetic performance of those elected. He is not alone – some
very fine people tried their hand in political life and then reverted to
business or academia, where they still make a great contribution to the state
Wertheimer’s autobiography should be compulsory reading in
schools as a guideline for future generations.ZELDA HARRIS
Sir, – Meir Margalit, in “The 10 plagues of east Jerusalem”
(Comment & Features, February 16) laments what he calls “the daily
humiliation suffered by residents of east Jerusalem.”
not only of rights, but also of obligations.
Protection of a democratic
state is essential. If a minority refuses to accept this obligation, does the
state have to extend its services equally to those who show loyalty and those
who do not? If citizens deliberately do not pay their share of municipal taxes,
is the municipality obligated to provide them with the same services it provides
to taxpaying citizens? The disdain and hatred for non-Muslim “heretics and
infidels” stem from the Koran and are taught in Muslim schools and the
If the standard of education, the garbage collection, the
limitations in building permits in non-tax-paying areas fall below that of tax
paying areas, who is to blame? How do you deal with a population that intends to
weaken you and enable your enemies to destroy you? If anyone criticizes Israel
for being a “full democracy for some and less for others,” let him visit the
Knesset and see how many Arab MKs there are.
Or let him visit a Jewish
hospital or a university and see for himself that the door is open equally to
Jews and Arabs.
If the inhabitants of east Jerusalem don’t like us, they
are free to move to “we-willdestroy- you” Hamastan or to
“no-Israeli-will-live-in-Palestine” Fatahland.ELIEZER WHARTMAN