letters to the editor.
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Sir, - Re "EU monitors in Rafah coordinate escape route" (March 20): Has anyone else noticed the irony of a situation in which representatives of the EU, a body disinclined to favor Israel, plead for IDF protection? This and the abduction of pro-Palestinian BBC Reporter Alan Johnson signal the anarchy prevalent in Palestinian society, which in all probability will dissolve into civil war should the dream of a sovereign Palestinian state emerge.
GISH TRUMAN ROBBINS
Sir, - The decision to be absolutist in relation to the new Palestinian government does not bode well for the peace process, or ties with the US, the EU or so-called moderate Arab governments. Israel's image around the world is lower than almost every other nation's.
Surely the prime minister needs to demonstrate flexibility and a willingness to listen and wait and see, or all hope will disappear. As in Iraq, a military solution is not possible; only a diplomatic one has any chance ("Israel shelves 'political horizon' talks," March 19).
Sir, - To encourage Western nations to continue withholding aid from the terrorist Hamas government Israel should embark on an aggressive diplomatic campaign to demonstrate the true nature of the Hamas-Fatah alliance, making it clear that our leaders are willing to go anywhere and negotiate with anyone, face to face, in the pursuit of peace. However, any agreements made need to have clear and transparent goals, to be incrementally implemented and continuously verified.
This would seem to be a win-win situation for Israel, which could check compliance before implementing additional steps. The Palestinians would have to stop aggression from their territory, or stand exposed as negotiating in bad faith.
Sir, - The world, as we are, is confused by the conflicting messages from the Israeli government toward the new Palestinian government ("Despite boycott of PA, ministers divided," March 19).
Sir, - In "No aid to terror" (Editorial, March 19) you wrote: "There is not a single Israeli soldier or civilian left for Israel to defend in Gaza."
What about Gilad Schalit?
Name of Failure
Sir, - Re "Naming the conflict" (March 19): How ironic it would be if the government did decide to name last summer's conflict The War to Return the Captives. It would only highlight the failure of the conflict/government to reach its goals.
Sir, - So much has been written about the abuse of the Israeli rabbinical court system, and nothing done to redress the problem that leaves many religious Jews like myself in despair ("Divorcing the rabbinical courts," Anshel Pfeffer, March 20).
Not only are the haredi dayanim who abuse women in divorce cases and harass potential converts committing terrible, unforgivable sins against these innocent people, there is a real and immediate element of desecrating God's Holy Name - hillul hashem. All their prayers on Yom Kippur will not save these dayanim from Divine punishment.
They are promoting baseless hatred among the Jewish people, bringing the Torah into ridicule or irrelevance and deeply perverting Halacha to serve their own personal and political ends.
Sir, - I have just one question for Shira Lebowitz Schmidt ("Black hats in the front of the bus," March 20): If we wear burkas, then can we sit where we like?
When the party begins
Sir, - I retired after teaching political science at Tufts University in Massachusetts for 23 years. Shmuley Boteach's "What are universities for?" (March 19) rings true to my experience. But in my day it was more alcohol than sex that seemed to dominate student life (not that they're mutually exclusive!).
A clear example: As department chairman I managed to engage the assistant-secretary of defense for international security affairs to talk to our students about the Iran-Contra scandal. He had written an op-ed piece in The New York Times about "following the money trail." When I talked to the president of the student International Affairs Club about a Thursday night presentation by this highly knowledgeable official, he replied, "Oh, no, we can't have a good showing on a Thursday night!" Why? Because "that's when the weekend partying begins."
Parents should really question the educational value of the sky-high costs at a "good" American university.
Sir, - A lot of people lose their way amid the temptations of university of life. Still, you can't generalize, or all you succeed in doing is pushing those who do not fit that mold further away.
As a recent graduate, it was rather alienating to hear that all those in college are immoral creatures veering violently off the rails, and that "the time has come for a fundamental reevaluation of whether our children progress or regress at university."
So what is the article saying - don't send your children to a secular college? Send them only to yeshivas, where their academic potential is limited to a wider knowledge of the Talmud and the Gemara? Or don't send them to school at all for fear they won't be strong enough to resist the wild, crazy orgies?
Give me a break, and have some faith in our children. Exposure to the outside world can only make them more well-rounded, understanding and stronger-willed individuals.
What's wrong with Turkey?
Sir, - "Seder in Turkey?" (Letters, March 20) smacked of racism. Your reader can't bear the thought of Jews celebrating Pessah in a Muslim country? Personally, I couldn't bear the idea of celebrating Pessah anywhere but in Israel - but if you're already in the Diaspora, what's wrong with Muslim Turkey, a country which has been relatively good to the Jews for hundreds of years? Why not complain about organized Pessah groups in
Christian Ukraine or Hungary, which haven't been so wonderful to the Jews?
As for staying in Christian London, with rising anti-Semitism and as a guest of Mayor Ken Livingstone - now there's a treat!
Labeling all Muslims as bad will only result in making more of them jihadists.
Sir, - I am glad MKs find it unacceptable that a quarter of the Knesset cafeteria's employees should be fired before the spring recess, and will be even gladder about any MKs who, as a sign of empathy, decide to join them. A quarter would be a good beginning, progressing to four quarters.
All Israelis, secular and observant, would support this act of pre-Pessah housecleaning ("MKs protest cafeteria staff dismissals," March 20).
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