letters to the editor 88.
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Jerusalem needs a unique solution
Sir, - In "Sharansky launches public campaign to thwart plan to divide Jerusalem" (November 21) the reality of today's situation seems to be overlooked. While Israel has administrative control over all of Jerusalem, the city itself is as divided as ever. Last time I visited the tunnels at the Western Wall, the tour ended in the Arab section of the Old City, where we were met by Israeli security forces who accompanied us back to the Jewish section of the city so we would be out of harm's way.
Jerusalem is unique in that it is the birthplace of three of the great religions of modern times. We must look for a unique solution so that the invisible walls that separate the city today are broken down and all of us will have free access to all parts of the city.
That solution can be found only in the political arena. It cannot imposed by force.
Prisoners for Pollard
Sir, - America is pressing us to free hundreds of Palestinian security prisoners to bolster Mahmoud Abbas. We should condition their release on the release of Jonathan Pollard. Twenty-two years in jail is long enough.
What is a security prisoner "without blood on his hands"? Someone who tried to kill us, and didn't succeed. For this he gets an early pass from Olmert ("Ministerial c'tee approves prisoner list," On-Line Edition, November 21).
St. Yitzhak? No
Sir, - I would like to shake Isi Leibler's hand! ("Stop abusing the memory of Yitzhak Rabin," November 21.) He has the guts to say what many of us think. We don't say it because we are afraid of disagreeing with the "Rabin Heritage." And because the media call anyone who does not fall into step a "right-wing activist."
Not everyone concurred with Rabin when he started with the Oslo Agreement, and those who did not were proven right. He was assassinated, and so were the 1,400 who died because of Oslo. The date of his assassination should be commemorated, but in no way should he be made "St. Yitzhak."
Perhaps next year someone will have the guts to tone it down.
Blowing in the wind
Sir, - True, as long as she represents a Jewish constituency, Senator Clinton will probably support Israel. If she becomes president, her decisions will probably be made after enquiry into the direction of the wind. She has not shown herself to be overburdened with principles. She is no Margaret Thatcher ("Martin Kramer's tawdry political stunt," Ira N. Forman, November 21).
More importantthan the personal
Sir, - Re "Outcry raised over missing minutes in al-Dura film" (November 19): It is commendable that the Post is covering this case, which has suffered from insufficient media attention. But I disliked the tone of this article, which repeatedly generalized supporters of Philippe Karsenty such as myself as "crying foul," as if this were a football match.
Our international media watch organization, Take-A-Pen, has followed this important and tragic case since September 2000. I travelled to Paris to learn and do more for the truth and not to support a person, though I respect Karsenty's courage in standing up for what he believes.
The article discussed the interesting point that France 2 presented only 18 minutes of footage instead of the known 27 minutes; I saw those 18 minutes together with the jury, and there isn't a single frame there that supports France 2's Charles Enderlin's original voiceover assessment that Israeli soldiers killed the boy, or were involved in his death in any way. On the other hand, I observed and upon request can present many indications that France 2's film was staged, as Philippe Karsenty says.
More important than the personal aspect is the fact that hundreds of millions have believed for years France 2's statement about terrible Israeli brutality committed against a young boy; a belief that today seems totally unfounded.
Cheated of a future
Sir, - I have just returned from lecturing in the UK, including at Diaspora Jewish secondary schools. The contrast between what I witnessed (not for the first time) and how Israeli children are being deprived of their educational birthright is sufficient reason for any parent with school-age children to seriously reconsider aliya as a present option.
Our pupils receive only about half to two-thirds of the tuition time children receive in Europe and the US. "Around the table in the teachers room" (November 16) shows it all: Teachers do not want and, indeed, intend to block any changes for a longer school day. Educators abroad expect to work until 4-5 p.m. each day, after which they take home homework to mark - something all too often neglected here, as I saw myself when I was teaching in school.
The UK teachers include many wonderful Israelis who have departed this country, having given up on ever seeing any real improvement here. On this visit I saw how children in the UK are benefiting. How much longer must Israeli children be cheated of their future?
Unity or hostility?
Sir, - "Reform and Conservative synagogues reek of hell" (November 20), says Israeli ex-chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu. At a time when the Jewish state is threatened with being wiped off the map, wouldn't it be wiser to promote unity rather than hostility, whatever your doctrinal differences?
ANDREW M. ROSEMARINE
Sir, - If anything "reeks of hell," it is Mordechai Eliyahu's hatred of Reform and Conservative Judaism. He is not worthy of the title rabbi.
Sir, - If we do not support the newer religious trends of Judaism, we run the danger of having no religion, and no Jewish tradition.
In 1978, when our son was bar mitzva at the Kotel, our cousin, the late Rabbi Steinhaus, of blessed memory, head of the Kol Torah yeshiva in Jerusalem's Bayit Vegan, approached my husband and said, with tears in his eyes: "I never had a boy in my yeshiva perform a full bar mitzva service on his own with such perfection."
Six years ago, our Israeli grandson was bar mitzva at Moreshet Yisrael, the conservative synagogue in Jerusalem, under Rabbi Avraham Feder's guidance. He performed beautifully.
In June 2006, our grandson Daniel, who resides in the US, stood in front of us at the Kotel on his bar mitzva: His Hebrew, his voice and his eyes on the sacred words will remain forever.
Our three boys were raised in Conservative synagogues. Top Conservative rabbis guided and taught them for their special day. My boys know what a Jewish home is; tradition will accompany them into the future.
Yes, you can follow the Orthodox way, but it should not be the only way.
OLGA P. WIND
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband joined in a family gathering with his Israeli relatives on Saturday night in Tel Aviv, and not as reported on page 7 of Tuesday's Jerusalem Post.
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