letters good 88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
This way out...
Sir, - As I read your editorial "Dickens' law" (May 6) regarding the assault on Israel by the United Nations and its various and sundry agencies, the thought struck me once again: Perhaps it is time for Israel to resign its membership in this less than august body.
Israel is supposed to be a light unto the nations of the world. Just as there came a point in time during the last century when the League of Nations had outlived its usefulness, so that time has obviously arrived for the UN.
Let Israel provide the guiding light out of this decrepit institution for other well-meaning countries.
MICHAEL D. HIRSCH
...is no way out
Sir, - All too often, otherwise savvy politicians say what the Palestinians want to hear instead of what they should be hearing.
Europe threatening to put EU-Israeli upgrading of ties on hold until Israel makes more and more concessions, succumbing to the maximum Palestinian demands, only makes the Palestinians more content to sit back, and, rather than negotiate themselves, wait for the West to force Israel into doing what they want.
If the Palestinians saw Israel advancing in relationships with the civilized world, and saw that they were missing out on increased trade and other material benefits, might they not come to the conclusion that meeting Israel halfway would serve them better than their current intransigence, bellicose statements and terrorism? ("Israel-EU upgrade just caught in political traffic jam, Czech envoy says," May 6).
Home truths from abroad
Sir, - For all Obama's campaign rhetoric, it is obvious that Israel can no longer depend on the unquestioning support of the US. That is the stark reality that must be now be faced.
Vice President Biden's AIPAC address made it clear that the Obama administration wants to be rid of the Israel-Arab conflict once and for all. It is determined to see that the road map is implemented, and that no backtracking on the Annapolis agreement will be tolerated ("Biden: Two-states only option," May 6).
What is also clear is that a new war is coming, the like of which Israel has never seen.
Even if Iran doesn't launch a nuclear strike, its legions of fanatical Revolutionary Guards, armed with the arsenal of weapons that Iran produces, will join with the Syrians.
Hizbullah and Hamas will also join the war, leaving the IDF fighting on three or four different fronts.
If Israel is to win this war, it needs time to prepare for it and to regain international support. This will only happen if Israel is seen to be serious about peace.
It is, therefore vital that the prime minister endorse the two-state solution - and also that he fire Avigdor Lieberman. I cannot think of a worse ambassador for Israel than him. His attitude will lose Israel the few friends it has in the international community. He must go, and go now.
Sir, - With so much talk of a "two-state solution," it might be useful recall this simple formula: Drop the solid state into the liquid state, and watch it dissolve.
I think I prefer to keep my solid state dry.
Turn the spotlight on!
Sir, - The Palestinians want the world to see one of the few locations - less than 3% of the total - where the security barrier built by Israel to prevent Arabs from shooting to kill Israelis is an actual, solid wall.
I believe it is wonderful that they chose that spot, which does indeed show how Arabs living on the other side of the fence are deterred from firing at Israel.
The government should loudly praise and publicize how much safer it is for Israeli citizens, and express its regret at the Palestinians having made that barrier necessary.
And the pope should be made well aware of the danger of appearing on any Arab stage on the other, unsafe side of the barrier ("Israel, Palestinians spar over barrier's role in pope photo op," May 6).
HOWARD N. GOLDSMITH
Sir, - When I read David Breakstone's "Dancing 'round Herzl's grave" (May 4), I was stunned by the quote "(Herzl) miscalculated that anti-Semitism would end with the rise of a Jewish state."
I read Herzl's The Jewish State, with an introduction by Herzl, and a biography, and found that his statement concerning anti-Semitism was made within very strict boundaries.
First of all, he excluded anti-Semitism based on Jew-hatred because of religious orientation. The Jews living in Europe were without a homeland, and were either competing with the middle class for jobs, promoting a form of socialism that was unacceptable to their host country, or holding top finance positions which gave them influence out of proportion to their small number. Herzl felt that if there was a Jewish state, and if the Jewish population immigrated there in an orderly fashion, anti-Semitism would end in those countries.
As we all know, mass immigration never occurred, and anti-Semitism never stopped.
Talking the talk, walking the walk
Sir, - It was heartwarming to read Michael Freund's articulate and informative "Where is Orthodox aliya?"(May 6).
"If a person is committed to living according to Halacha," he asks, "how is it possible not to ask one's rabbi a question of such paramount importance (regarding the mitzva of aliya)?"
Yet were a layman indeed to ask his rabbi that question, what would the rabbi's response be? A rabbi comfortably settled into his rabbinic position, who may be doing a wonderful job, is not the one who can tell others to fulfill this mitzva. The natural response to such a rabbi promoting aliya would be: "So why are you sitting in the Diaspora?"
It's hard to say, "Do as I say, but not as I do.
Having spent many of my professional years in the area of aliya promotion, especially in the Orthodox world, I find that the problem lies not with the layman, but with his mentor. Leadership is needed, and it just isn't there.
On the positive side, there have been outstanding rabbis who have forfeited the luxuries and comfort of America and joined us here - some many years ago, some even during the past few years. They have made their impact on our country and encouraged others to follow.
Sir, - On the one hand, I agree with Michael Freund - I made aliya almost 10 years ago. On the other hand, Israel is a difficult culture for an American to get used to.
I'd rather have the select few, the elite (ahem) making aliya, rather than see a frustrated horde of thousands returning to the fleshpots of America because they couldn't tolerate the wonderful Israeli cultural nuances only some of us have grown to love (and hate).
As far as Halacha goes: Isn't it better to be a happy Jew in the States than an unhappy camper in the Land of Israel?