November 21: Prescient lyrics

Does Bibi really expect UNIFIL to do any better in northern Ghajar?

November 20, 2010 22:32

letters 88. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Prescient lyrics

Sir, – One of the 1960’s protest songs was “Where have all the flowers gone,” whose lyrics “When will they ever learn” sadly seem to apply to our present government.

When the Likud was in opposition (but also since taking over the reigns of government) it preached about the dangers of unilateral withdrawals, which always bring terror and not peace. So now, in “Security cabinet approves unilateral withdrawal from northern Ghajar” (November 18), we read that Israel has agreed to a unilateral withdrawal! Since the Second Lebanon War we have been told that Ghajar is Syrian territory. So how has it suddenly become Lebanese? Is it because of pressure by the Obama administration? By this action, Prime Minister Netanyahu strengthens Hizbullah’s claims that only it can “liberate Lebanese territory from occupation.”

Our government tells us again and again about the inefficiency of UNIFIL in implementing Security Council Resolution 1701, which was supposed to stop Hizbullah from rearming and re-establishing itself in southern Lebanon, and how peacekeepers are afraid to enter any of the villages that once again have become Hizbullah strongholds. Does Bibi really expect UNIFIL to do any better in northern Ghajar?


Israeli terrorism

Sir, – Regarding the latest attack by the Israel Air Force (“IAF kills Army of Islam leader in Gaza,” November 18), it becomes more convincing, once again, that truth has two faces.

For rockets launched by Hamas against Israel and other attacks, there is the term “terrorism.” But the IAF deliberately firing missiles at a moving car in broad daylight in the midst of a moving crowd in the center of Gaza City? What the air force carried out was clearly a terrorist attack. Israeli actions invite and provoke terrorism.

Your newspaper defends the Israeli government’s terrorist behavior.

Veglie, Italy

The kid gets it

Sir, – Kudos to Gabriel Latner (“When Gabriel Latner turned the tables on the Israel-bashers,” November 17) for his brilliant speech at the Cambridge University Student Union debate of the motion “Israel is a Rogue State.”

This wonderful example of the intelligent way to bash the Israel bashers should be circulated to all university student organizations, including our own. Perhaps our Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Jewish Agency might also care to take note.


Sir, – Boker tov!  Nearly one month after Gabriel Latner delivered perhaps the most remarkable pro-Israel speech, you have finally reported it. For weeks now it has been the subject of emotional discussions and e-mails around the world.

Amazing how one 30-minute speech can have so much more effect than years of talk by globetrotting professionals. This 19- year-old law student should be officially invited here to teach us some basics of PR. Latner’s speech must be adopted and made part of Israel’s information program.

Tel Mond

Sir, – When I was a student at Cambridge in 1952 reading medicine, I attended a similar debate.

Only then it was Sir Oswald Mosely, the well known British fascist, who was invited to Cambridge to debate the motion “Why all Jews should be expelled from Britain.”

The Cambridge Union debating hall was filled that evening with black shirts (fascists), brown shirts (communists),Tories, Laborites and others. The passion was enormous.

Mosely was extremely articulate – but so was the student who opposed him, who concluded in his remarks that although there is a bit of Sir Oswald in all of us, this should not deter us from separating lightness from darkness and acting accordingly. The motion was defeated.

The more recent Cambridge debate is deja vu all over again, and so relevant.


Look at it this way

Sir, – I would like to propose an alternative to Ray Hanania’s “Seven deadly sins that prevent peace” (Yalla Peace, November 17):

• Wrath: The anger and constant call for Israel’s destruction by the Palestinians.

• Greed: Over the years hundreds of millions of dollars have been pumped into the Palestinian economy, yet many still live in squalid conditions while their “brothers” live the good life. What happened to all that money?

• Sloth: Laziness on the Palestinian side to make gestures of peace. While the world demands of Israel concessions and gesture after gesture, the Palestinians make none.

• Pride: The Palestinians’ inability to recognize the Jewish state and ability, furthermore, to openly declare that a future Palestine would be judenrein.

• Lust: As in blood. The Palestinians have made it clear that they will achieve their goals through blood if not through negotiations.

• Envy: Looking at a state just 62 years old and seeing magnificent advances in science, medicine, technology, etc.

• Gluttony: The Palestinians feed themselves a false version of history.

Instead of the seven deadly sins, maybe it is time the Palestinians concentrated on the seven Noahide laws.

Ma’aleh Adumim

Hands off Falash Mura

Sir, – Regarding “Gov’t approves aliya of last 7,846 Falash Mura” (November 15), after so many years of delay it is a great relief that these poor suffering souls are being permitted to enter the Holy Land that they have dreamed about for so long.

Let us hope their absorption will not be marred by the attempts of various competing religious groups to control their destiny and limit their freedom and prospects till they have completed their “Orthodox conversions.”

Kiryat Ono

An important task

Sir, – Most Israelis are unaware of the job performed by the 35 rehabilitation teachers for the blind. However, as a visually impaired Israeli I am well aware of the importance of the training that I received from rehabilitation teachers. The training I received has enabled me to live a productive and independent life despite my disability. Rehabilitation teachers taught me to use a mobility cane, cross the street, use a computer and perform daily tasks confidently and safely.

By assigning the rehabilitation of Israel’s blind and partially-sighted citizens to the private sector, the government has, in essence, shirked its responsibility not only toward the rehabilitation teachers, but toward Israel’s 22,000 blind citizens – many of whom are disabled veterans and victims of terrorist attacks. By refusing to recognize the rehabilitation teachers as state workers and to offer them fair working conditions, the government has declared that it is not interested in encouraging Israel’s blind citizens to receive rehabilitation, live independent lives and contribute to society.

In an era in which every advanced democratic country is concerned with allotting resources to ensure the integration of disabled persons into society and seeing that they receive rehabilitation and training, the neglect of the rehabilitation teachers on the part of the Israeli government is a shame and a disgrace.

I call upon the Knesset to immediately approve a budget for providing the salaries and pensions of the rehabilitation teachers for the blind, and to ensure that they return to work and that rehabilitation programs continue under government sponsorship. This is an essential step in upholding the values of an egalitarian and just society.

Moshav Ben-Ami

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