March 31: Bully boy

Somebody needs to remind Silvan Shalom that there is a country out here, with millions of citizens who need responsible, adult ministers to see to their needs

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March 30, 2009 20:30
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Bully boy Sir, - So "Shalom supporters in Likud to declare war on Netanyahu" (March 30) if he doesn't get the portfolio and the honor he wants. Remember the bully in the classroom who demanded that you give him the toy he wanted or nobody would play with you? Somebody needs to remind Silvan Shalom that there is a country out here, with millions of citizens who need responsible, adult ministers to see to their needs, which are many and serious, often life-threatening. We can't afford the time for him and others to play childish games while he worries about his outsized ego. One of Israel's advantages is the internecine fighting among the Arab factions, which draws some of their attention away from warring with us. Must we give them the same kind of help? We need to change the way our government is elected so we can oust people like Shalom, with their large egos and small minds, and replace them with small egos and great minds. DEENA SPIGELMAN Jerusalem Way to go Sir, - Finally, Jerusalem has a leader who understands that the plug must be pulled on certain projects ("Barkat may stop J'lem light rail project after first two lines," March 29). Too often, leaders forge ahead for the sake of completing aproject at any cost. I am reminded of two quips that every project manager - and politician - ought to bear in mind: 1. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should; 2. Don't start vast projects with "half-vast" ideas. S. JONAH PRESSMAN Jerusalem Moral problem in urban warfare Sir, - In "All our sons" (March 26) Larry Derfner raised a very legitimate moral problem that our young men have to face in urban warfare: How should a soldier react when he is given a shoot-to-kill order in a 100-meter-radius area and then finds, wandering about, a woman with children who have entered the restricted area by mistake? At this point in time, there may be no satisfactory answer. A possible solution might be for the army to develop a weapon with the ability to render a person unconscious for a specific period. After each conflict, the army reviews all its aspects thoroughly and looks for solutions to thorny problems. With technology what it is today, almost everything is possible. I hope the IDF recognizes this problem and is seeking a solution that is as moral as possible under almost impossible circumstances. The most satisfactory solution would be for our leaders to find a way to make peace with our enemies so that problems of this kind will never arise again. P. YONAH Shoham Poison distilled... Sir, - One wonders what exactly is being taught in Danny Zamir's Rabin premilitary academy when the distribution of a book of Psalms is considered ravings by hysterical rabbis; and why the IDF is financially supporting this institute. What are these poor, misguided youths being taught when they so cheerfully spread lies which anti-Semites around the world are only too happy to use to prove that we Jews use blood to make our matzot? ("Jewish blood libels," Isi Leibler, March 26.) BARBARA SHAMIR Beit Horon ...here at home Sir, - The kibbutz movement stood at the very forefront of the struggle to establish and defend the Jewish state. How sad to see a movement with such a glorious past appoint as educators of its younger generation people who have no compunction about spreading false allegations against Israel and the IDF ("Gaza civilian shooting allegations false," March 26). By doing so they provide material for anti-Israel and anti-Semitic journals ("Fury over 'anti-Semitic' Oliphant cartoon," March 27). The founding fathers of the kibbutz movement must be turning in their graves. DAVID STEINHART Petah Tikva High principles Sir, - The op-ed by 'Sgt. S.' ("Faith in arms," March 30) brought tears to my eyes - because I know, without the shadow of a doubt, that these are indeed the high morals of the IDF. Five of our children have served, including our youngest, who was stationed at a checkpoint in Kalandia, near Ramallah, for over a year. The incidents she brought home to us on Shabbat, while chilling me to the bone, illustrated the principles so well expressed by Sgt. S. The reports in Haaretz and The Guardian may have rocked the faith of some, but not of this Israeli mother. REIDA MISHORY-ISSEROFF Kfar Yona Sir, - Wouldn't it be nice if our army was victorious once again, as well as moral? Collateral damage by losers can never be justified; but if you win, that's another matter. JEREMY I. PFEFFER Rehovot Pipe dream? Sir, - For an oleh, it is very easy to see a very common problem here: Israelis address the "now," and do not know how to plan for the future ("Who's fixing the sewage system to prevent the next mishap? No one," March 30). The Or Yehuda pipe was not checked for blockages before it burst because there was "no need." Landlords do not fix serious problems in their apartments because there is no need. There seems to be a notion that if you pretend a problem doesn't exist, it will go away. Yet spending money now to make sure a problem is fixed - checking the sewage pipes, for example - will result in much more money being saved later on. I urge my fellow Israelis to break this trend of ignoring problems and saying "It'll be OK." Address the issue, be it political, economic or sanitary. Don't just patch it up, or pretend it does not exist. JEREMY WEISS Tel Aviv Big problem Sir, - Allon Sinai's otherwise insightful article regarding the 1:1 tie between Israel and Greece failed to point out the most essential reason why the locals were so frustrated and why they will lose the replay in Greece ("Israel hangs on for tie with Greece," March 29). The team as a whole appeared to be some 20 cm. shorter than their opponents, and perhaps 20 kilos lighter. At times it looked like a high school team playing in an adult league. The accompanying photograph showing Elyaniv Barda battling Sotirios Krygiakos for the ball clearly depicted these crucial differences. About 90 percent of Dudu Aoute's goal kicks were easily captured by the Greek defense and immediately brought back forward into Israeli territory, while the Greeks used their added height up front with long high passes that were out of the reach of the Israeli defenders. They were reduced to diving at their opponents' feet, or tripping them from the rear. Of course, there is no magic potion that can suddenly turn the locals into two-meter-high giants, but the selection of the starting lineup and the strategy that is applied needs to take this serious situation into consideration. CHARLES TICHO Hackensack, New Jersey

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