Dubai and the Jews
Sir, – One sentence reportedly uttered by Dubai’s police chief Lt-General Dahi Khalfan Tamim (“‘Dubai’s ban on Israelis is a blow to relations,’” March 2) really shows that meaningful relations with the Arab states is anyway virtually impossible. He said, “Police will develop ‘skills’ to recognize Israelis by ‘physical features and the way they speak.’”
Is this not what anti-Semites have always said when trying to eliminate the Jewish people? We never learn. EDGAR ASHER Petah TikvaZahalka’s speaking tours
Sir, – MKs Moshe Matalon (Israel Beiteinu) and Danny Danon (Likud) rightly claim that Israel is the only country in the world that would tolerate an MK denouncing it while being paid a salary from taxpayers (“MKs blast Balad head for accepting invite,” March 2).
Balad chairman Jamal Zahalka is on a scheduled Israeli Apartheid week speaking tour.
Kadima MK Robert Tibayev also condemns Zahalka, but claims that his anti-Israel speeches “actually contradicted Israel’s detractors” because it shows the world that we are a true democracy. What? To whom do we have to prove that we are a true democracy? We are a sovereign nation that takes too much criticism and advice from the world, and it is time that we took action against such MKs as Zahalka. If we did, it would deter other legislators from speaking against our country. CHAIM GINSBERG Ma’aleh Adumim
Sir, – I agree that it is an affront to have a Knesset member participate in events that undermine the legitimacy of the country to whose parliament he has been elected. To the extent that it is illegal, he should be held accountable under the law.
However, let him go speak everywhere and let those who want to show that he’s wrong – that apartheid in Israel is just a lie – note simply that there is no Arab country where a Jew could be elected to parliament and then have the hubris (or stupidity) to travel the world and speak against the very legitimacy of the country he represents, without endangering his life or freedom. Not only is this man not discriminated against institutionally – as he and the organizers of Israel apartheid week would have us believe – he is living proof that Arabs in Israel are equal under the law and that even his repugnant and incorrect actions are protected. JONATHAN FELDSTEIN EfratRiots over Hebron
Sir, – Gershon Baskin (“Deadly political babblings,” March 2) presents a reasonable article on the opportunity Israelis and Palestinians have to resolve the crisis over the Hebron religious sites. However, he leaves us with more questions than solutions.
For one, he spends a lot of ink on blaming Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for the riots that occurred after he opened the Hasmonean Tunnels and placed the Jewish Holy sites in Hebron on the Israeli Heritage list. The question is: Who started the riots where so many were either killed or wounded, and why?
It seems to me that while every Israeli government since 1967 has worked to protect and restore Muslim holy sites, it’s just the opposite in the Palestinian Authority. While the PA has a fine police force trained by Gen. Keith Dayton of the US, not one of these police officers is deployed to ensure the safety of Jews wanting to visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. If they are not doing so now, what reasonable expectation will we have for the PA to do so in a Palestinian state living in peace alongside a recognized Jewish State of Israel? And why, with such a large police force, would it take an “international willingness” (the UN) to keep peace and protect both holy sites in Hebron?
Second, what of the Jewish people living in Hebron? Are we to believe that the only solution to this issue of “conflict” is to rid Hebron of Jews? Won't this argument lead to an apartheid Palestinian state?
Finally, the remark that “there is nothing special about Hebron in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” begs the question: If it is not so important, why were there Arab/Palestinian riots in Jerusalem and Nazareth, and why did the PA and its Prime Minister Salam Fayyad hold a cabinet meeting in Hebron?
The PA needs to demonstrate, today, that Jews have rights in the areas it controls, as Arabs/Palestinians have rights in Israel. DAVE RACKNER Hod Hasharon
Sir, – Freedom of worship at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron is a reality, not theoretical (“... who is Netanyahu kidding?,” Letters, March 1). If Israel were to give sovereignty to the Palestinians at Judaism’s oldest site, Jews would have the same access to their second-holiest place as we had to the Western Wall when Jordan occupied the Old City. That is, none. Does Judy Bamberger really think that Arab control of Jewish sites would be more enlightened than Israeli control? If so, on what does she base her conclusion? STEVE KRAMER Alfei Menashe
Sir, – Judy Bamberger can put her disgust and outrage aside: Israel is not alone in having a national heritage site outside its sovereign borders. For example, as part of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Bamberger’s own country maintains several thousand burial sites and more than 200 war monuments worldwide. The Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron is the first recorded burial site in Judaism. By declaring the Cave of the Patriarchs an Israeli national heritage site, Netanyahu is acting no differently from the governments that make up the War Grave Commission in honoring their dead. DR. H. B. MITCHELL Mazkeret Batya‘Counterproductive’? The nerve!
Sir, – Did you ever see Pisgat Ze’ev with your own two eyes (“White House: Pisgat Ze’ev construction counterproductive,” Online Edition, March 1)? I had a friend named Eli from my days in Tel Aviv in the 1980s. Among other things, he was an Arabic teacher in high schools. He also got married in Jerusalem and I was happy to be a guest. Eli and his wife Avia were one of the first young couples to buy a modest apartment in Pisgat Ze’ev in 1990, just before I departed the country. The neighborhood at that time was only a handful of apartment buildings and a modest shopping center. I returned to visit Eli and Avia two or three years later, and Pisgat Ze’ev stretched into the valley as far as the eye could see. It was incredible to see how many new apartments had been constructed. Breathtaking. Truly inspiring – the epitome of Zionist growth.
And now some American administration official has the nerve to claim construction in Pisgat Ze’ev is counterproductive? YONATAN SILVERMAN Tel AvivSupporting the home team...
Sir, – “Cold shoulder” (March 2) by Hilary Leila Kreiger is all about the way our elite sportsmen are treated by the Culture and Sport Ministry. Our ice dance team, the Zaretskys, are being treated the same way as our athletes in water sports because they are not like the noisy and disruptive soccer players and boorish fans. As I wrote to Metro
last year, “it is too bad that even the most promising athletes have to scrounge for funds... in order to represent Israel in international competitions. Our sportsmen and women train physically and psychologically year round to represent Israel around the world, proudly carrying the flag. Not supporting them is short-sighted and isolationist for this country.”
Have we learned nothing except how to be ostracized by nation after nation? JESSICA FISCHER Michmoret... and the homeland
Sir, – I felt bad about David Horovitz ridiculing Yuli Edelstein's
initiative to ask “normal” citizens to help with the hasbara
(“Wrong troops, wrong ammunition,” February 26). As long as I’ve lived
here (38 years), I’ve always felt I had to represent this country as
well as I possibly could. I am at the member of a Internet forum in
Switzerland and Germany with about 150 members, and through me some of
the members received a different picture than what they get in their
respective countries. Yes, the Masbirim Web site is not very useful,
but the idea that each of us can have a little influence is sound. If
thousands of Israelis make an effort, either through personal contact
or via the Internet, I believe we can make a difference. RUTH SCHUELER