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How many is 'vast'?
Sir, - On what grounds does Leonard Zurakov base his assumption that "the vast majority of Israelis support the two-state solution"? (Letters, October 11.) I certainly have friends and family who do not support such a move, particularly with the dangers to Israel all too obvious - but I would not have the gall to claim they are "the vast majority."
The sorry truth
Sir, - There are 80,000 Jews resident in the West Bank outside the security wall. Fatah, the authority in the West Bank, demands that before a Palestinian state can be created all Jewish settlements be dismantled and all Jews returned to Israel. The area is to be totally Judenrein by law, like Jordan today.
If Ariel Sharon could not deal with the aftermath of the eviction of 8,000 Jews from Gush Katif, how on earth can Ehud Olmert contemplate 80,000 evacuees? Turning over the West Bank and east Jerusalem to the Palestinians would create insurmountable security problems - Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion Airport within artillery range, Israeli cities vulnerable to murderous infiltrators, etc. - not to mention that Hamas might ultimately take over the West Bank.
If a miracle occurred and Fatah agreed to allow the Jews to remain, their fate would be that of other Jewish communities in Arab lands: They would be labeled "dhimmis" or second-class citizens and exposed to opprobrium, threats, assaults and discriminatory taxes ("PM hints at ceding parts of east J'lem," October 16).
Sir, - Let me express a wish before the Annapolis negotiations begin. It is that some of us wouldn't, with almost proud and joyful cynicism, castigate the negotiations as doomed to failure before they even start.
Yes, cynics may always more easily be proved correct, since pessimists are more often right and less often disappointed than optimists. But the pessimism about the Annapolis negotiations is one that necessarily applies to Israel's own prospects of continuance, if negotiations with its neighbors never succeed.
Pessimists need to consider realistically Israel's long-term prospects in a world of forever failed negotiations ("Putting Tzipi in the hot seat," Calev Ben-David, October 15).
Sir, - MJ Rosenberg's "The road to Annapolis" (October 16) beautifully buttressed Palestinians' attempts to advance peace here. Thanks, MJ, for thinking of us from so very far away in Washington.
Fighting for rights
Sir, - In "Time to recharge our Zionist batteries" (October 10) Michael Freund makes a powerful argument for reconnecting with Zionist principles and ideals. It is profoundly disturbing that many, if not most Israelis have no problem abandoning Hebron or the Temple Mount to the Arabs - yet when it comes to our driving behavior or daily interactions, the prevailing mantra is "Not one inch!"
If we could show the same tenacity and fighting spirit for preserving our land as we do when lining up for a movie, we might have more success at the negotiating table.
Sir, - When the teachers started this school year, did they not know the salary they were to receive? If they feel their pay is too low, it is time to get out of education. Once there are no teachers left, the government will be forced to raise the salaries or deal with an uneducated country.
Then again, maybe the teachers should try to become friendlier with the current prime minister, as all of his good friends seem to do quite well ("We're striking - does anyone care?" David Graniewitz, October 16).
Who the Adventists are
Sir, - Re "Jamaican woman takes first few steps on path to Judaism in Brooklyn" (October 15): Latoya Johnson claims she was raised in a Seventh-day Adventist community. As president of the Seventh-day Adventist community in Israel, I am sure she was not.
Her description of her childhood demonstrates that she did not know who the Adventists were and what they believe. I disagree with her affirmation that Seventh-day Adventists are not Christian; since Adventists believe that Jesus is the Messiah, they are recognized and accepted in the Christian world as Christians. And, as Jesus himself recommended, we pray to God "the father" in the name of Jesus.
Her family was very strange, because, she said, "Although they observed the Sabbathâ€¦ my family worshiped Claudius Henry." I have never heard of this "guru."
It is true that with more than 20 million members worldwide, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is the largest Christian Church that keeps Shabbat, but we cannot identify every group that claims to keep the Shabbat automatically with the Adventists. I am sure that if Ms. Johnson approached a Seventh-day Adventist pastor she would receive satisfactory answers about what we believe.
Saying that, I very much respect her desire to spiritually join the Jewish community. God calls people in different ways.
RICHARD ELOFER, President
Seventh-day Adventists in Israel
Sir, - It was disappointing to see such baseless criticism of Nefesh B'Nefesh ("Jury still out on Nefesh B'Nefesh," Yoav Fisher, October 9).
Whether the 99% retention rate NBN claims is correct or not, NBN is facilitating the process of bringing American and other Anglo olim to Israel in unprecedented numbers. If Israel itself has such a high rate of yerida - of people leaving - why should American olim be held to a higher standard?
It seems the height of hutzpa, and a twisted version of Zionist ideology, to play Monday-morning quarterback and assess the value of a particular wave of aliya based on the ultimate rate of olim who stay. Those who hold aliya as a value in itself would be horrified to see such second-guessing.
Further, while there are indeed many positive American cultural influences that have seeped into Israeli society, using that as a measure of whether American aliya is successful or positive is absurd, just as it is to suggest that a measure of that success is "what happens in the larger Israeli society."
As a recent oleh who came via Nefesh B'Nefesh and was assisted greatly by the professionalism it helped bring to the process, I find it inappropriate to suggest that American olim come here with an agenda to change Israeli society by asserting a particular influence. We came here to fulfill the dream of living in Israel and be part of building the country.
Sir, - Please tell illustrator Juha Karhula how powerful his Hanukkia was accompanying "Offer Judaism" (October 15).
Sir, - I agree wholeheartedly with the view put forward by Stephen Sinclair in "The 'Star of David' brand" (October 10) and strongly urge The Jerusalem Post to put this symbol at the top of its front page, as well as on its International Edition and on the Internet.
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