(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sir, - I found Ruthie Blum Leibowitz's interview with Steve Leibowitz entertaining, inspiring and nostalgic ("Are you asking as a journalist or as my wife?" May 21).
I worked with Steve when he was with the Government Press Office and I with BIPAC, explaining Israel's case to foreign journalists. Only when he came out with his Betar views and I with mine from Hashomer Hatza'ir, in informal chats with the guests, were they able to understand the complexities of our society.
We fought the battle for News in English because, in that period, all English speakers, including tourists, diplomats and journalists, were glued to Jordan's News at Ten.
When we approached the heads of IBA, they retorted "Well, then, perhaps we had better have the news in every immigrant language!"
I raise my hat to Steve and his excellent colleagues, who worked so hard with Damocles' Sword hanging over them for so many years. They have succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.
Finally, I must say that Steve is, in my opinion, an exemplary oleh and would make a perfect head of the Jewish Agency.
Ethiopian aliya: Part of our history
Sir, - It is an outrage that our history books do not teach the incredible achievements and bitter tragedies of Operation Moses in depth. The Ethiopian aliya is an important part of our history as a nation.
This miracle happened in our lifetime, and changed the aspect of our land. It is something on which we should pride ourselves, and it would be wrong to lump the story of Ethiopian Jewry into a "section dealing with multiculturalism."
It is a bad policy to suppress or rewrite history for any reason, whether it deals with a politician with whom a minister might not see eye-to-eye, or a people who have found their home here and are contributing to the building up of our amazing country ("Schools fail to teach Ethiopian aliya," May 21).
Bully with a weapon
Sir, - Hitler was a genocidal megalomaniac, but nobody can deny that his threats to the Jews were frank and sincere. Why doesn't Larry Derfner believe the Iranians are also frank and sincere when they threaten to wipe us off the map? ("The Iranians are coming, the Iranians are coming," May 21).
I would worry if a bully who constantly threatened to kill me was seen buying a gun. But Derfner is probably made of sterner stuff.
Yet before being so flippant about Iran's threat, he should recall George Santayana's oft-quoted: "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed
to repeat it."
The real difference
Sir, - Livni and Barak have it wrong ("Comparing Iranian threat to the Shoah is wrong," May 17).
Of course, we are fortunate to have our own state, which we did not during the Holocaust. However, in the face of a nuclear attack this would not, unfortunately, make much difference.
The real difference between then and now is that today we know the inconceivable can - and did - happen; whereas then, no one could possibly have known, or even imagined that it could.
Arab peace plan
Sir, - Of course the authors of the Arab "peace plan" ignored the principle that compromise is a two-way street ("The 'peace plan' that isn't - yet," Zalman Shoval, May 21). How could it be any different?
In our neck of the woods, compromise happens between two equal partners. To the Arab world, we are not an equal partner. Islam teaches that from the cradle. We are considered dhimmi at best, Ã¼ntermenschen at worst.
Eli Wiesel, speaking at the opening of the new Historical Museum at Yad Vashem on March 15, 2005, said it was not man's inhumanity to man which enabled the slaughter of the millions, but man's inhumanity to Jews. It was because Jews were not considered man that made it so easy for the killers to kill, and for the indifferent to look on.
President Obama's adoption of the Arab "peace plan" as a basis for negotiations is a non-starter. The sooner we get that into our heads, the better.
Sir, - As far as Israel is concerned, the only hope for avoiding the pressure being placed on Israel for self-destruction is the Congress of the US and the American people.
Silver Spring, Maryland
Obama: Read Abu Toameh
Sir, - My deepest gratitude to Khaled Abu Toameh and, by extension, to The Jerusalem Post for providing us over the years with insights about the Palestinian Authority's lack of readiness and/or desire to carry out its commitments.
Abu Toameh's "Fatah officials warn Abbas: Excluding us from new government will lead to 'intifada'" (May 15) captured the extent of the serious disunity and potential for internecine warfare among the Palestinians - not only between Fatah and Hamas, but within Fatah itself: between pro- and anti-Fayad elements; between "old guard" and "young guard"; among the leaders of Fatah in Ramallah, Fatah in Tunis, and what is left of them in Gaza; and, finally, among their constituent bodies now dominated by powerful, rival clans.
Inevitably, such deep societal divisions result in power grabs - whether by corrupt monopolies concentrating economic resources, or by threats of violence and intimidation.
So how can Israel be expected to negotiate with a Palestinian entity, with its organically divided populace and dysfunctional government, when inescapable questions about viability have yet to be addressed? A weak Abbas and and impotent Fayad, for all their Western support, could barely serve, respectively, as mayor and comptroller of Manara Square in Ramallah, let alone as leaders of a sovereign nation.
No wonder the conversation in Israel has wisely started to move away from the establishment of a Palestinian state, now all but certain to fail. The Obama administration and the rest of the Quartet would do well to read Abu Toameh and catch up with the Israeli electorate.
At least here, with the stakes growing clearer by the day, discussion of alternatives to a Palestinian state has become a high priority. It's about time.
JEFF DAUBE, Director
ZOA Israel Office
Sir, - Re "Terror plot 'worries' Riverdale Jews" (Online Edition, May 21): By sheer coincidence, on my frequent business trips to New York, I attend morning services at Riverdale Jewish Center, the target of last week's terrorist plot.
The morning after, I told the locals who attended services that if they wanted to move to someplace safe, they should consider their homeland - Israel!
MICHAEL D. HIRSCH
The solution's there
Sir, - Re "Four children among six killed in new road carnage" (May 15): You reported on a fatal collision in which the drivers involved shared an aggregate of 98 previous traffic convictions.
This is scandalous. I shudder to think how soon these drivers will be back on the roads.
If IDF drones can spot Hamas operatives loading rockets into ambulances on the back roads of Gaza, shouldn't it be easy to spot reckless drivers on Israel's highways?
And to then lock them up for a very long time, with a lifetime driving ban.