letters pink 88.
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Sir, - In his review of Dore Gold's new book The Fight for Jerusalem: Radical Islam, the West and the Future of the Holy City, Jonathan Schanzer wrote: "Gold reveals the surprising fact that Jerusalem, during the nascent Zionist movement in the 19th and early 20th centuries, had a Jewish majority. Jews comprised nearly 50 percent of the population in 1842 and some 65% in 1914" (Jerusalem Day supplement, May 11).
These statistics were known over 64 years ago, and while their republication is most welcome, they are no revelation. They were cited in the 1943 UK Navel Intelligence Division's Geographic Handbook Series publication Palestine & TransJordan, and appear in far more detail in Prof. Yehoshua Ben-Arieh's 1984 Jerusalem in the 19th Century.
Next time Mr. Schanzer goes to Yemin Moshe he should look for the plaque adjacent to the steps leading to the Montefiore Windmill, where all such population details are displayed.
It is the fault of poor government and Zionist hasbara that these demographic statistics are not on the tip of everybody's tongue today, especially as the international community chooses to ignore the 40th anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem and resolutely attempts to re-erect the barriers that split the city in 1948.
COLIN L LECI
Sir, - How shall we ever be able to "clean house" if we start pardoning corrupt politicians who have been sentenced? Now Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann may let off MK Naomi Blumenthal, who "has had enough with her dying husband" and "has learned the lesson." Many convicted regular citizen criminals "have had enough," but must still serve their prison terms ("Friedmann mulls pardoning Blumenthal," May 15).
Sir, - "Ramon on way back to cabinet" (May 15) says more about the caliber of our leadership than about the erstwhile justice minister.
Peres for president
Sir, - Re "Peres confidants divided about whether he will run" (May 14): The people of Israel know Shimon Peres well, and so do the Arabs. He is an integral Israeli figure who has done much for our country, in good times and bad.
If Israel is a military power, that is to Peres's merit. If it is a thriving democracy, Peres helped to build it.
Peres was humiliated by the Knesset last time a president was elected. They chose a man who didn't deliver the goods. It was an unjustified slap in the face for a man who didn't deserve it.
Members of Knesset: Do justice to Peres now!
Deal with the reds
Sir, - If our redshirted, Maoist students succeed in their campaign for free higher education they will destroy our universities as surely as an earlier generation of European leftists destroyed theirs. Once the universities of Germany, France and Italy were the greatest in the world. Today they have little to attract students, unless one is studying some country-specific subject or cannot get into a decent school elsewhere. On the other hand, all of our juvenile stalinoids would love to study at Harvard, MIT or Stanford, schools that would cost them a lot of daddy's money.
Like it or not, higher education is an investment that pays high dividends. Somebody has to pay for it, and governments have more pressing issues. Government will always contribute much to the cost of scientific research and other areas in which it has immediate interest, but undergraduate education should largely be paid for by those who will directly benefit from it: the students.
Student loans with government subsidies should be made available, to be paid back beginning a few years after completion of studies. Ex-soldiers, who deferred study to serve the country, should get extra aid. Scholarships should be available for the truly worthy.
Most disturbing about this strike, in addition to the red shirts and the hammer-and-sickle flags, is the students' policy of violence and intimidation. With the collaboration of radical faculty members we are raising a new generation of red fascist thugs.
The authorities should open the campus gates and allow those who wish to study to continue to do so. Red violence and intimidation should, like Orange violence, be met with police batons, arrest and jail. Like the rest of the government, Yuli Tamir is too paralyzed to prevent another of Israel's proud accomplishments, our university system, from descending into chaos ("My interrupted Greek lesson," Neil Rogachevsky, May 15).
Sir, - Even at such an innocuous event as the Eurovision Song Contest we were treated to a display of Muslim might. How else to explain that Holland, France and the UK all gave Turkey 12 points - not forgetting Germany, which gave the song a handsome 10? ("Teapacks fails to push button in Eurovision semifinals," May 13.)
Sir, - How ironic that Israel's entry was nearly disqualified owing to its "political nature" while several entries verging on soft porn passed without comment. One particularly nauseous number featuring girls gyrating in a cage sticks in the memory.
'Y's and wherefores
Sir, - Sorry, but your correspondent is wrong ("Signs of the times," May 14). Street signs should be phonetically correct, and often it's the English that's got it wrong.
So: Tziyyon, Chayyim, etc. are right. "Zion" is misspelled from German, and "Chaim" sounds as if it should rhyme with "shame." The fact that English eyes have grown accustomed to a word picture doesn't make it correct or desirable.
M.M. VAN ZUIDEN
Who'll build the Palestinian state?
Sir, - The photo of children posing for news photographers atop a burned-out car in Gaza got me to wondering: Why aren't they in school? As long as there is murder and mayhem and nobody teaching the next generation, who will build roads, schools and hospitals and jump-start an economy ruined by civil war and uncontrollable violence?
If the Palestinian leadership wants a country so badly, let it do what we did - build, despite everything, and teach their children to live among others who don't necessarily hold the same views.
Tolerance and a work ethic help make a country, guns and civil war don't ("PA orders police to deploy in Gaza," May 15).
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