The 'Peres bill"
Sir, - I find the "Peres bill" another example of undemocratic Knesset action. The present law allows the Knesset to change voting and election procedures by a simple majority when it suits it ("Olmert tries to put out fire sparked by reform plan," November 12).
Two basic reforms are needed: (1) Election or voting procedure changes must be made by 60% of the Knesset; and (2) they should not come into effect until the following Knesset, and should not apply until after the immediate upcoming election.
We must root out the corruption and self-interest the present law allows.
Sir, - One wonders why "holding an open vote and not a secret ballot vote would likely sway the race in favor of Peres." Why would MKs be afraid to vote openly for Shimon Peres's rival if Peres thus knew where their allegiance rested? Alternatively, what benefits would MKs receive should they be seen to support Peres? Would this affect the Knesset vote on the proposed bill to make electing the president an open vote?
Surely a vote on such an important matter as electing the next president should be secret and not subject to political favors or penalties, with MKs voting according to their consciences (thus proving they possess such an attribute).
Yes to 'evenhanded'
Sir, - "Are Democrats' gains in House good for Israel? Party leaders insist traditional US support won't be harmed" (November 9) sounded rational since most nations are wondering the same thing. Then your reporter posed a concern that the Democrats might be "more evenhanded." That gave me pause. As a US citizen, I want my government to be evenhanded.
Is Israel sacrosanct when it comes to criticism? If that's the case, don't you cease to be an "adult" nation, and become a "challenged" child of the US? And if that's the reality, should the US give its daughter dangerous toys?
Evenhanded means being honest with everyone involved.
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Who's an occupier?
Sir, - It is always with great interest that I read an op-ed by Amnon Rubinstein. I can agree with him on many points in "The new nuclear age" (November 12), but I was astonished to read about the "occupied territories" and, later, "the territories occupied in 1967."
Mr. Rubinstein knows, like all of us, that in 1948 Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq attacked Israel and occupied the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank. And he knows that in 1967 Israel reconquered these same territories.
I was amazed to read these remarks, generally used by Israel's enemies.
Sir, - With Kassam rockets falling on Israel, advanced weapons being smuggled into Gaza, hate education pervasive and Palestinian society in disarray, it is ludicrous for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to even think "territorial concessions," let alone be "ready" for them ("PM: Read my lips: "I'm ready for territorial compromises," November 12) .
Sir, - Self-described yored Bruce Yitzhaki now lives in peaceful, pleasant Philadelphia ("Better abroad," Letters, November 10).
However, his crybaby lack of stamina, commitment and civic responsibility may not endear him to many of the Zionists in his new-found haven.
Sir, - I was reminded of something I heard years ago:
Those who don't appreciate the privilege of living in the Land are vomited out.
MILTON J. KRAMER
...show some Jewish pride
Sir, - Although I believe Israel is the home of all Jews, I can understand those who have made an honest evaluation of their situation and decided that they are unable to join us. However, Bruce Yitzhaki gives as a reason for not wanting to return to Israel the fact that "gays unashamedly want to parade through its holy city" - that is, he uses concern for the sanctity of our capital as justification for physically abandoning our entire country.
Yitzhaki: Show some Jewish pride. If you have decided not to live here, at least have the decency not to make a virtue out of your decision to opt out of being with the Jewish people.
Sir, - Why should anyone have returned to the land of their forefathers, which was mostly swamps and desert? Why should anyone have done hard labor they were not used to, in an unfamiliar hot climate? Why should they have dried swamps, worked like slaves to make the desert fertile and risked malaria, famine and attacks by marauders? And the more they developed the land, the more neighboring countries coveted it and claimed it as theirs.
Why stay in a place where people have to fight for their existence? Why indeed?
Really, Mr. Yitzhaki, you are better off where you are, and we are better off without those who think like you.
Sir, - While I agreed with much of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach's "Is marching as a gay the greatest of sins?" (November 6) I was disappointed in his misleading generalization: "For religious Christians in America homosexuals are the single greatest threat to the family." As an American and an ordained Christian minister, I believe intolerance is a far greater threat to the health of the entire human family.
Some fundamentalist Christian groups, interpreting the Bible from a particular perspective, may believe that homosexuality threatens the traditional family structure. However, most practicing Christians in America are not members of such denominations and understand that there are true threats facing the integrity of families that have nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the parents.
Forgive me if this letter sounds a bit cranky. I was a bit sleep-deprived when I wrote it, following a protest against the gay parade beneath my daughter's Jerusalem apartment by hundreds of nearby yeshiva students.
REV. AUDREY BORSCHEL
Pastor, Central Christian Church
Thanks for the insight
Sir, - I'm writing to thank you for a trio of op-eds on the gay pride parade that was both impressive and refreshing in that each eloquently expressed a different, major side of this complicated debate ("Genuine tolerance? Cancel the march" by Uri Lupolianski; "Why I'll be marching this Friday" by Yonatan Leibowitz; and "It isn't the parade that's the problem" by Shira Leibowitz Schmidt, all November 8).
Kudos to all three writers for getting to the core of the matter - that the parade itself was not the key issue but a single incident in a struggle over what "normal" is going to look like in our society. And it is precisely for this reason that neither side is going to concede. Members of the GLBT community cannot settle for being grudgingly tolerated and expected to keep themselves hidden; and the religious community cannot allow its concepts of family and morality to be so drastically and universally undercut.
Can this knot be undone? No way is clear at the moment, but presenting a variety of viewpoints, as you did, and promoting full understanding between all sides was a distinctly good start.