letters to the editor 88.
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Sir, - Re "Jordanian official: Israel unopposed to construction of 5th Temple Mount minaret" (October 12): Perhaps the Israeli authorities need a lesson in Jewish history - back to 1948, when the Jordanians wouldn't permit even one Jew to live in Jerusalem's Old City between then and 1967. Nor could any Jew pray at the Western Wall.
After the Six Day War the Mount was proclaimed to be "once again in Jewish hands," until Moshe Dayan decided to reward the Arabs for destroying our synagogues and Jewish property in the Old City and gave the keys of the Temple Mount to the Arab Wakf.
Thanks to Dr. Gabi Barkai for his common sense in stating that he is against any change in the status quo on the Temple Mount. Is there really need or reason for a 5th minaret there?
Sir, - This encroachment will be perceived as an unpardonable outrage. Dr. Raief Najim of Jordan asserts that Israel's authorities have not voiced any objection to the proposed construction of a minaret on this prime Jewish holy site. He must not be aware of the public outcry it would elicit.
If it is true that someone in our government has given a nod of approval, it will constitute a blatant example of legally permitted desecration.
AARON SWIRSKI, Architect
...shows our tolerance
Sir, - There is no better expression of Israel's sovereignty and magnanimity than the reported decision to allow Jordan to build another minaret on the Temple Mount. It is, of course, for the government of Israel to decide who goes up to the Mount, and when.
Much of the world forgets that when Muslims hold Friday Ramadan prayers on the Temple Mount, they do so with the protection and indulgence of the Israeli authorities. Your country is to be congratulated on its continued religious tolerance.
Sir, - Moshe Sharon's "Negotiating in the bazaar" (October 11) was reminiscent of my September 7 letter "Stay shtum." The difference between us is that I am 89 and limited to writing letters to The Jerusalem Post, whereas he, obviously a seasoned negotiator, is still an active member of society and should press strongly for his points to be acted upon.
For this he needs allies. He could approach Messrs Netanyahu and Lieberman, who are in need of a good agenda.
Sir, - May I, as an ardent socialist, ask a favor? Please stop describing as left-wing those deluded people who demand that Israel sit down and hold "peace talks" with parties and governments whose stated aim is the total destruction of Israel. They are dreamers whose understanding of Israel's situation is nil.
If they do claim to be socialists, they are lousy ones. Socialism is founded on realism, not on silly, vapid idealism.
My business? You bet it is!
Sir, - Where does Don Adams of La Mesa, California, get off telling me, an US citizen who volunteered for three years in the US Army during the Vietnam war, that what has happened to Jonathan Pollard is none of my business? (Letters, October 12.) It's every bit my business!
The US Constitution demands equality and justice for all, no picking and choosing. But Mr. Adams's tone suggests he hasn't any problem with injustice. If he did, he might've wondered why someone who - admittedly - committed a crime that should have netted him two years in prison is still languishing there 22 years after the fact. And then he might have looked at former pentagon analyst Ronald Montaperto, who for over a decade passed highly classified information to the Chinese, seriously damaging US security.
Pollard, having done no harm to US security, received life imprisonment, while Montaperto was freed after three months.
George Washington wrote 200 years ago: "It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights... the government gave to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance."
Mr. Adams's letter seems to do just that - sanction bigotry, and assist in persecution.
Context is all
Sir, - I just read "UN claims 40% growth in IDF roadblocks" (October 12) and was struck by the sheer meaninglessness of a statistic taken out of context.
If I were to tell you that there had been, say, "a 300% increase in personal searches at London airports" and that these had "completely disrupted the lives of the traveling public," would you conclude that the British authorities are bad?
Wellington, New Zealand
The right reform...
Sir, - In "The right electoral reform" (Editorial, October 12) you state that a system in which a third or half the Knesset is elected by district will reduce the number of parties. This implies that two-thirds (80 members) or half (60) the Knesset will still be elected by a proportional system, thereby requiring 1.25% or 1.67%, respectively, of the total vote to elect one member. Both of these thresholds are lower than the current one, so your suggestion could lead to no reduction at all in the number of parties.
There is, however, a way to introduce district representation - which you favor - and retain a proportional element, to allow a reasonable representation of significant minority opinion, without artificial thresholds. This is the Hare-Clark system, in which districts each return a (small) number of proportionally elected representatives. You ran my op-ed about this on March 28 ("Why not Hare-Clark?").
Sir, - In the interest of brevity, here's the Israeli scenario after regional elections are instituted:
The party in power will come up with a map of electoral regions guaranteed to give it a Knesset majority. The opposition will come up with a different map giving it a majority in the Knesset. They will turn to the Supreme Court, who will then decide which party will win the elections.
That's the Israeli way. Stop this silly regional reform now, before it's too late.
Sir, - I am an inmate prisoner in California, on a yard with 1,200 inmates. We are eight Jewish men and we had a great high holiday celebration. Beyond that, we are really trying to connect with Israel in a deeper way than just our regulated services.
Two of us are Israeli, and read and write Hebrew. We would like to correspond with Jewish friends in Israel who can soften the hard hearts of men facing oppressive hatred around us here. This would be a great Ahavas Yisroel, and very meaningful for us Jewish prisoners.
STANLEY SOLVEY H63172
PO Box 8501
Coalinga, CA, 93210-8501
Just a thought
Sir, - Is it me, or are some issues of your paper so full of articles worthy of a response (October 12) that the next day's paper should have a full page of letters?
M.M. VAN ZUIDEN
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