Sir, - Re "Olmert, Peretz come out publicly to lend support to beleaguered Halutz" (November 15): This trio commanded Lebanon War II; the result is known. Their present behavior is quite understandable, as is their common aim: to survive in their jobs and maintain their reputations.
No doubt they are acting in accordance with Benjamin Franklin's "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."
Sir, - Tony Blair, in his Guildhall speech, reveals he is seeking any device that may allow him to retreat from Iraq with a semblance of honor. To this end he trots out the old canard that the Arab-Israeli conflict is the prime cause of all the ills that beset this part of the world. In addition, he seems willing for the Syrian and Iranian pyromaniacs to assist in dowsing the Iraqi fire.
Such an arrangement would, of course, involve a cost. We must be very careful to ensure that it is not borne by Israel ("Blair: UK's Mideast strategy should start with Israel," November 15).
Fed up with Iraq
Sir, - In "An American parable" (November 15) Samuel Freedman describes the violence in Iraq as resulting from the US occupation. His analysis slanders America in two ways.
First, he ignores the fact that coalition forces liberated Iraq from the yoke of a brutal tyrant, thereby creating an opportunity for the Iraqi people to create a free country. Second, much of the violence is sectarian and domestic in nature. In short, he is blaming America for the failure of others to reap the benefits of our soldiers' sacrifices.
Probably most Americans are fed up with the Iraqis for their uncivilized behavior and resent the ungrateful attitude of so many people like Mr. Freedman, who fault our country unjustly. That may be why there was an implicit message in the last election to just let Iraq go hang.
Sir, - Daniel Pipes's review of Mark Steyn's America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It should be required reading for every Jew ("A devastating thesis," November 15). Israel, with 20 percent of its population Arab and most of its leadership unprepared to face the reality of this threat, is on the front line. If it is too late for Europe, how much time has Israel?
Sorry, Mr. Tibi
Sir, - One should not read too much into the American elections as they affect US policy toward Israel ("Tibi rejoices at Republican losses," November 8). The US Congress is generally more supportive of Israel than the executive branch.
The reason is simple, and has little to do with any explicit Jewish lobbying efforts: Most American voters sympathize with Israel, and their elected representatives know it. Not having their fingers on any triggers they can afford more honest posturing than the president can.
If Mr. Tibi expects a Democrat-majority House to embrace him and turn its back on the rest of Israel, he will be disappointed.
Sir, - Re your report on "New bases to secure Egyptian border" and the idea of fencing the border (November 15): Since it has been proven in the past that tunnels can go under fences, why not flood the existing tunnels and clear them out? If the "rats" drown, so be it.
Giving in does not make the world love Israel, but strength brings grudging respect.
Monroe Twp, New Jersey
Does the punishment fit the crime?
Sir, - We are still hearing in the media about "the severe punishment and injustice" meted out to attorney Avigdor Klagsbald, who is appealing his sentence of 15 months (November 6) for causing the death through negligence of 23-year-old Yvegnia Vexler and her son Arthur, six.
In contrast, we ask: How is it possible for "three seconds of negligent attention" on the road leading to the deaths of a mother and her young child to be punished by only 15 months of incarceration?
We do not know the foundation for the claim of these three seconds. According to the police investigators who examined the scene of the accident we learned that the driver had an unobstructed field of vision of at least 300 meters up to the crash site. If Mr. Klagsbald managed to cover 300 meters in three seconds the velocity of his car must have been 360 km/hr! But he claimed he was driving within the legal limit of 80 km/hr. If so, three seconds of inattention on an urban highway is a severe offense indeed. His past driving history is not clean of severe traffic offenses.
Independently of this case we investigated 40 trials, chosen at random during the period February 2005-February 2006, out of the verdicts pronounced in fatal accidents by different traffic courts. Our findings showed that about 40 percent of those negligent drivers who were sentenced without a plea bargain received 13.5 months on average. In other words, Mr. Klagsbald will serve just one month and a half over the average for his severe negligence with its horrific consequences.
Is there any reason to bemoan his punishment? We consider the verdict a light one in view of the extensive negligence and its tragic results. At least the judge did not lower the bar of punishment in this case.
Chairperson, Anashim Beadom
Sir, - Re "Police to question Katsav again" (November 15): We believe that anyone named president must be unconnected to ruling political elites. In the absence of an inherited nobility, he should, in order to serve the interests of the country abroad, enjoy prominent recognized achievements, an excellent moral reputation, a high intellectual level and broad international popularity.
We believe the best candidate to be Prof. Israel Aumann, 2005 Nobel Prize winner in economics for his achievements in conflict theory, a field of prime importance for states and politicians. Common sense, professional honesty, firm ethical foundations and the ability to critically and objectively analyze a situation are professional demands of a high-ranking scientist.
Prof. Aumann is independent and not connected to any ruling elite, as demonstrated by his numerous speeches against unilateral withdrawal, land for (the illusion of) peace, and permanent retreat as a basic strategy in Israel's struggle for existence.
He also knows the hardships of real life. He left Germany as a child in 1938, lived and worked in the US and Europe and lost his son in Operation Peace for Galilee. He has a large and devoted family. Clearly he can properly assess events in Israel and abroad.
Electing such a person as president would raise considerably the intellectual, moral and ethical standard for presidents in the entire civilized world.
and other physicists
Diversity, thy name is woman
Sir, - Re "Report finds just 6.6% of local CEOs are women" (November 6): If the Israeli economy is to grow more rapidly it must utilize the brainpower of half the work force.
Traditional cronyism, preference for military buddies and plain paternalistic discrimination is stagnating the economy. Diversity in the workforce brings innovative and robust ideas and approaches. Israel must develop real incentives for companies and government ministries to encourage and promote women in the workforce to move up the ladder and keep pace with world business trends.
Advancing Women in Business