May 30: Rahm on the carpet...

Rahm on the carpet...;...for a lot of things?; Very funny; Why is it, Larry?; A simple test; Our overcrowded hospitals; Just who do they represent?; No law is better; All the correspondence; We can help, too;Get the title right, please; What’s fair is fair.

May 30, 2010 05:39
letters to the editor 88

letters to the editor 88. (photo credit: )


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Rahm on the carpet...

Sir, – With Rahm Emanuel having taken his family to the Kotel, can we expect Hillary Clinton to publicly reprimand him for an act that was “unhelpful” to the peace process and to the administration’s relations with the Arabs?

It will be interesting to see how the American president will relate to Emanuel now that he has had the audacity to recognize Jewish historical ties to the Old City of Jerusalem.

...for a lot of things?

Sir, – As a Jew, Rahm Emanuel deserves to be able to celebrate his son’s bar mitzva anywhere in the Jewish homeland, especially at the Kotel. It has nothing to do with his politics or those of his boss. It also has nothing to do with his religious affiliation.

I would argue, though, that after seeing pictures of Emanuel in front of a well-known, non-kosher seafood restaurant in Eilat, and reading about how he and his party enjoyed the calamari, his rabbi at the modern Orthodox synagogue he attends in Chicago would be speechless.

Ma’aleh Adumim

Very funny

Sir, – So nice the Government Press Office is telling us where to eat and even swim in Gaza (“GPO advises foreign journalists on luxurious Gazan restaurants,” May 27). Instead of giving us entertainment advice, the GPO should fight for better access into the Gaza Strip; many of our colleagues are refused entry for all kinds of reasons.

The letter was a sarcastic way of telling us that we do not report the facts on Gaza. But we do – we report what we see with our own eyes and give an honest picture of what is happening there and in other places.

These facts are sometimes unpleasant for Israel and the Palestinians. But the only thing we do is report the facts.

Chairman, Foreign Press Association in Israel

Why is it, Larry?

Sir, – Larry Derfner, criticizing Israel for its blockade of Gaza, mentions in passing that fuel-powered generators are imported largely through tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border (“Living it up in Gaza,” 27 May).

My question is, why is that border not open to allow free access to all that is needed, to help provide normal, peaceful lives for Gazan citizens? Why are severely ill Gazans not allowed to cross freely into Egypt to receive expert medical care? Were Egyptians also subjected to attacks by thousands of rockets?

And why are the ships bringing supplies not docking in Alexandria, and from there having the cargo moved overland to Gaza? Perhaps Derfner could provide me with the answer.

Tel Mond

A simple test

Sir, – Regarding “Abbas: We could have peace in a week” (May 27), I suggest the headline read “We could have peace in a week if the Palestinians wanted it.“

It is a given that the majority of Israelis would agree to a separate state for the Arabs. The reverse is not so clear.

I suggest that US envoy George Mitchell ask the Arabs two questions:

1. Do you agree to a Jewish state in what was British mandated Palestine? (The answer must be an unequivocal yes or no.)

2. If the answer is yes, would that be the end of the conflict? (This answer, too, must be an unequivocal yes or no.)

If the answer to both is yes, then let the negotiations begin. If the answer is no or there are prevarications, that would be the end of the matter.

Beit Shemesh

Our overcrowded hospitals

Sir,– I just want to say that I sympathize with those people who have been hospitalized in facilities with no available rooms ("Patients spent 70,000 hospital days lying in corridors in past year,” May 27).

My husband, in his 80s, was at Shaarei Zedek Hospital two weeks ago for a procedure. He had to wait for over 26 hours in an emergency room corridor before getting a bed in the cardiology department.

We were told that there were an additional six heart patients who were waiting. But they weren't the only ones lying in the ER corridor, which was filled with people in hospital beds.

Kol hakavod to Dr. Ronni Gamzu for asking how much longer elderly patients can be kept in corridors. Good luck to him as the incoming Health Ministry director-general in finding a solution.


Just who do they represent?

Sir, – Israeli officials made a wise decision regarding a clearly biased parley (“Israel to avoid UN meeting in Turkey on ‘inalienable’ rights of Palestinians,” May 26). But the NGO Ir Amim was to attend.

Ir Amim, like many political advocacy NGOs, receives significant funding from foreign countries such as Norway, Germany and the Czech Republic, and from the European Union. Thus, its positions inevitably reflect the foreign policies of the donor nations, and not those of Israel.

It is hoped that legislation pending in the Knesset that would require transparency on funding for political NGOs will soon be enacted so that Ir Amim and others will be required to identify themselves as beneficiaries of such funding in all public discourse.


No law is better

Sir, – I fully agree with Prof. Alan Dershowitz (“Top legal minds debate ways to fight terror under international law,” May 24), a sworn enemy of the current law, that there must be one standard for all. Undoubtedly, Israel would prefer no international law to biased international law.

Professor Aharon Barak, our ex-chief justice, together with Prof. Amnon Rubinstein – both with well-known left-wing tendencies – are strong proponents of international law.

But this leaves a universally-despised Israel most vulnerable to further demonization.


All the correspondence

Sir, – Your article “Carter thought Begin would fall fast, new documents show,” (May 24) reports on information to appear in a book being brought out by Gefen Publishing House called Peace in the Making. The Menachem Begin-Anwar Sadat Personal Correspondence. The book will contain all the personal correspondence between the two.

Gefen Publishing House

We can help, too

Sir, – Rebecca Anna Stoil’s “‘Schalit bill,’ aimed at toughening conditions for Hamas prisoners, passes major hurdle“ (May 24) reports well the Israeli government’s unanimous vote on proposed legislation denying Hamas prisoners the wide privileges they receive today in Israeli prisons, like family visits and higher education.

The bill is supported by Knesset consensus including the opposition, expressing actual Israeli public opinion.

The majority of the public, while deeply sympathizing with the Schalit family, understands that Hamas’ demands are unacceptable. That’s why there’s a grass-roots effort to pressure Hamas for Schalit’s release and an immediate improvement of his conditions.

A global petition against Hamas has been revived. The petition, signed so far by 90,000 people from around the world, demands that Hamas leaders be brought to trial for war crimes (e.g., the crime of keeping Schalit incommunicado in inhumane conditions). It can be read and signed at

Chairman, Take-A-Pen

Get the title right, please

Sir, – Your useful list of events taking place during Shavuot compiled by Jonah Mandel (Shavuot supplement, May 18) was marred by one egregious mistake throughout.

Many of the lectures listed were given by female rabbis. The correct term in English for these women is simply "rabbi." The expression used, "rabbanit," refers to the wife of a rabbi.

In Hebrew, female rabbis are referred to as rav or sometimes rabba.


What’s fair is fair

Sir, – The editorial “Our Arab minority” (May 17) describes the challenges of integrating a Muslim minority, a problem that extends well beyond Israel. It is a major issue in Europe and is becoming increasingly so in America. Your recommendations put an unfair burden of solution on the host country.

The way to proceed should be twofold. First, everything possible should be done to minimize the numbers of Muslims in the population, either by restrictive immigration policies or by denying generous welfare benefits. Second, those Muslims who explicitly renounce the elements of their texts that call for warfare against unbelievers for the purpose of Islamic domination (i.e., jihad) should be treated with total equality.

It’s only fair.

Jericho, Vermont

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