(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sunny days ahead...
Sir, - Hurrah, hurrah! How wonderful to be able to express the pride we feel in Israel's breakthrough in solar technology. The regional plan for kibbutzim to get together and use some of their agricultural fields to further the mass production of solar energy could be one of mankind's greatest achievements ("A solar revolution dawns in the desert," November 4). Imagine the world, at long last, on the way to getting rid of fossil fuels!
The oil-producing countries would no longer be able to blackmail the free Western world. We would suffer less pollution. Mass solar energy would help all developing countries as well.
So let us raise our glasses to Israel, and find the entrepreneurs who will go on to make a brave new world possible.
...or gloomy times?
Sir, - Without doubt, the remarks made by MK Meir Porush over the weekend are the opening shots of the civil war that will surely erupt in Israel shortly after peace agreements are completed with our Arab neighbors ("'In 10 years there won't be a secular mayor in Israel,'" November 3).
By rapidly multiplying, the haredim may achieve numerical superiority here and there, but haredi control of our cities will never be accepted by the secular majority.
The only reason there has not been a violent secular backlash against the haredim is the current serious external threat to our existence which continues to occupy us. Once that threat vanishes, the pent-up frustration against the haredim will explode.
It's only a matter of time. When peace comes, we will turn on each other.
Likud's horse race
Sir, - In some ways, Israel reminds me of my hometown of Melbourne, Victoria. Yesterday was the first Tuesday in November, when the state of Victoria traditionally enjoys a public holiday and stands still at 2:40 p.m. to watch the famous Melbourne Cup, a horse race.
Miri Regev, Benny Begin and the Likud remind me of the jockeys jostling for the best position just before the election race ("Benny Begin begins wave of celebrities joining Likud," November 3).
I am perturbed at Mr. Begin, who betrayed many voters immediately after the 1999 Knesset elections because he was disappointed with his party's (Herut's) performance. "Mr. Integrity" should have stayed in the Knesset to represent his voters, even for a short time. So now he is coming back to ride another "horse."
I am disappointed with the system of voting in Israel, where MKs should be responsible to their constituents. With the flaws in the present system, I am sad to admit that I look forward to election day mainly as a public holiday for enjoying a barbecue with the family, like many Victorians did yesterday.
Ramat Beit Shemesh
Word maketh the man
Sir, - Binyamin Netanyahu was due to be the guest of honor representing Israel at the Israel, British Commonwealth Association's annual Balfour Dinner, held Tuesday night at the Tel Aviv Hilton Hotel. He cancelled - on 24 hours' notice - and did not himself ring to apologize, but asked an aide to telephone our chairman. Apparently, he was busy with election meetings!
Many people paid a high fee to attend the dinner and hear him speak. William Hague flew out specially from England to represent the British side of the association.
What sort of example has Bibi set? His behavior was an insult to the other guest speaker.
I had intended voting for Bibi, but I certainly will not now. I think he has lost every vote at that dinner - and here was a respectable crowd of the best Zionists Britain had to offer: a ready-made audience of people who would probably not attend an election meeting. He failed to take advantage of it.
If you commit yourself to an arrangement, your word is your bond. Whatever Bibi says now, I will not believe he will carry it out.
Last time I voted for Ariel Sharon, and look what happened.
Jewish dating and mating
Sir, - Shmuley Boteach's "How to fix Orthodox dating" (November 4) told us what we already know about "shidduch dating," and dating in general, but gave very little concrete advice on how to fix the problem. I have five daughters and four sons, and my wife was part of a shidduch group which cared very much about each prospective bride and groom.
I can tell Rabbi Boteach that it is not the matchmaking system, nor the dating system, that is awry; it is the incompatibility of the needs of the average young man and young woman.
When asked what they find most desirable in a future wife, men invariably list great looks, minimal weight, maximum measurements, and - somewhere at the bottom - religious compatibility. When women are asked the same question they list personal attributes, religious compatibility, personal hygiene, and, somewhere in the middle to the bottom, great or good looks.
Shmuely can rant and rave all day against the Jewish dating system. But unless he's figured out how to refocus the earthly requirements of men, and religious men in particular, he's going to have a hard time finding the lofty shidduchim he wants for his girls.
Sir, - That wonderful musician Leon Botstein and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra are what make Jerusalem a worthwhile place, in spite of everything - light railway and all. Why don't they get more support from the municipality? ("The multitask force," November 3.)
Farewell, dear friend
Sir, - I was saddened to read of the passing of Rabbi Leslie Hardman ("Man of truth," Letters, October 28). As a Christian, I had the privilege of corresponding with him. A gentle and wise man, he will be greatly missed by the Jewish community. But please believe me when I say that many gentile hearts have also been touched by this truly great man.
Farewell, dear friend.
County Kildare Ireland
Pray for America
Sir, - I'd like to request a prayer from the people of Israel for America. As you might know, we will soon be under new leadership ("America decides," Editorial, November 4). Many believe that the decision that is made will determine our future for many years to come. Many prayer chains and circles are praying hard for guidance, forgiveness and protection.
We also pray for Israel, and have been for years. Those of us who are true Christians know how special Israel is to God; it is therefore special to us as well. If not for Israel and your faith, we would not have ours.
Could you please pray for and with us in this period?
Port Republic, Maryland
Sir, - May I correct the letter from David Resnick? ("Call it the Bible," November 4). We must, as your reader suggests, refrain from using the term "Old Testament." However, "Bible" includes the Christian Bible, commonly called the New Testament.
We Jews do not recognize two testaments. Let us call it by its proper name: the Hebrew Bible.
Monroe Twp, New Jersey
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