letters good 88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sir, - The emphasis of the Winograd Committee was not so much on a technical critique of our leaders. It was, rather, a wide-ranging condemnation of the quality of our leadership. Ehud Olmert cannot ask for time to correct himself, or the system. He must step down now because he was found wanting in his very ability to evaluate and decide ("Kadima in ferment as Olmert vows to survive Winograd's damning war critique" (May 1).
TED S. KRAMINER
Sir, - To maintain that this government must stay on to implement the required changes - a task that demands the utmost common sense and intellectual stature it so badly lacked - borders on the ridiculous. What is clearly needed is a new broom that will wipe out the failures and ineptitude and set out with intellectual integrity and capability to correct the current shortcomings.
The government needs to resign and let the voter decide whom he wants in office. New elections can be held in six to eight weeks after a crash campaign with minimal funding.
The new government will then have to set out rapidly and do whatever is required to restore Israel's strength and deterrence.
Sir, - The main verdict regarding the operation of this government and its ministers brought back a statement I coined at Xerox in Rochester during a management meeting some 40 years ago: If you have a YES team, you have no team.
Sir, - All I know is that if they worked for me, I'd fire them. Wow... I just realized - they do work for me!
Sir, - Anyone with a smattering of either honor or integrity would have resigned at once.
Sir, - In the light of the Winograd Committee's "All these things add up to a serious failure in exercising judgment, responsibility and prudence," it is interesting to recall Hassan Nasrallah's words on August 26, 2006:
"Had we known that the kidnapping of the soldiers would have led to this [war], we would definitely not have done it."
Was Nasrallah admitting a miscalculation, or was he, like the Winograd Committee, accusing Olmert of making reckless moves no sane player would ever have made?
Sir, - Tzipi Livni, always at Olmert's right hand, has been doing internationally the same kind of harm to Israel as Olmert, Peretz and Halutz have done closer to home: weakening Israel without any assurances of more security. She is doing what Ehud Barak did at Camp David, for which he was rejected by Yasser Arafat and then thrown out by the voters.
Not one of them deserves to hold office a day longer. Let the people speak! Direct voting for our representatives is overdue.
Sir, - And Haim Ramon had to go because of a kiss....
Tel Aviv supporter...
Sir, - MJ Rosenberg has every right to prefer cosmopolitan Tel Aviv and sing the praises of its "lively gay scene," though it says much about him that he contrasts Tel Aviv with Jerusalem, which he "loves" for its "Arab parts." However, the author's prescription of callousness toward the Jewish settlers is toxic to Israel's national security. He repeats the false propaganda that they "routinely abuse" Palestinians and goes so far as to accuse them of representing "a threat to Zionism."
The most recent consequence of demeaning the settlers was the willingness to forcibly evict thousands of Jews from their homes in Gaza in the name of yet another failed experiment in appeasement. Rosenberg and his ilk hope to see this reckless policy repeated on a grander scale by sacrificing the homes and livelihoods of the Jews in Judea and Samaria. Such a step would irreparably damage the security of all Israelis, including those in Tel Aviv.
Rosenberg's conclusion that Tel Aviv "epitomizes the Zionist dream" is only partly correct. All of Israel, including Judea and Samaria, epitomizes the Zionist dream. The settlers are no less Jewish, no less Zionist and no less deserving of compassion than the residents of Tel Aviv ("In praise of Tel Aviv," May 1).
National Vice President Zionist Organization of America, Los Angeles
...& accidental humorist
Sir, - Thank you for printing the humorous piece by MJ Rosenberg. Without meaning to, perhaps, the author brought a lot of smiles to a country beset by security concerns and inept and corrupt leadership.
Rosenberg declares: "But I'm a Zionist, which means... Jews living in freedom in their own land." He clearly forgot that he lives in Washington.
"Choosing to live in Hebron or the other settlements in overwhelmingly Palestinian areas is," he concludes, "to reject Zionism." Good thing the early Zionists didn't think that way when they settled Tel Aviv or Haifa, or actually anywhere in all of Israel.
Though he may live far away, MJ is welcome to come again on one of his organization-funded Israel missions and pontificate in his special humorous, irrelevant way.
For equal time
Sir, - Re "No gov't funding - for now - for anti-Zionist filmmaker" (May 1): Perhaps some centrist Eyal Sivan will make a documentary on Arab particularist religious behavior, interspersed with quotes from the Rights of Man, the UN and European Council Declarations of Human Rights, and the US First Amendment against establishment of religion.
He could start with the bullying of Copts by Shari'a bigots in Egypt, and continue with the smashing of Christian shops selling alcoholic drinks in Iraq; the abuse of civic behavior to bully Nazareth into a super-minaret mosque; events in Darfur; the murder of one of the remaining clergy in the Algiers Cathedral; church-burning in Nigeria, etc., etc.
There should, of course, be a lawyer explaining just how equal the testimony of a kaffir (unbeliever) is in a Shari'a court, as compared with the testimony of one and all in a "Western" court.
Sir, - For once Shmuley Boteach has it right ("Hate the sinner, too" April 30). As he points out, there is plenty of love for a murderer, less for his victim, and none for those who dare hate the sinner as well as the sin.
Our problem is that we are the victims of a two-pronged attack, from the religious Right and the humanist Left. The Right tells us that as God forgives so we must forgive, and since he suffered infinitely and forgave, we must forgive infinite sadism. The Left tells us we are robots run by desires, deprivation and determined genes or global warming, and thus hate is out of place against the murderer, who is a victim of society or circumstance.
Our Midrash says kindness to the cruel ends with cruelty to the kind. I have heard capital punishment attacked because murderers are in the image of God. But Genesis insists that precisely because the victim was an image of God, his murderer should be deprived of all image, human or divine.
Not only is the Virginia Tech murderer called a gunman and a shooter, terrorists are called militants, and killers insurgents. Bush's "surge" is evil, but insurgents have to be understood and negotiated with.
RABBI JACOB CHINITZ