Sir, – It is very magnanimous of Ray Hanania to inform us of his vision, were he only a Jew, of forgiving virtually everything everyone has done to the Jews over the centuries (“If I were a Jew,” Yalla Peace, October 16).
Besides asking atonement for his own sins, he tells us “I would also ask my enemies to atone for their own.” How lofty, just like his hero Nelson Mandela.
Yet for the most part, he seems to imply that only Jews and, by extension, Israel are the guilty parties in the ongoing Arab-Palestinian conflict and the often outright rejection of Israel. While informing us of the fact that he has “never heard any [Arab Christian clergy] preach that Arabs should accept Israel as a state to bring about peace,” he still implores his “fellow” Jews not to “use the Arab rejection of partition in 1948 as a means of putting the blame for the conflict on Arabs, or of rejecting the two-state solution.”
This is superseded only by his apparent ignorance (or perhaps denial) of history, where it has only been in very recent times that certain Christian denominations have come to terms with the legitimacy of Judaism and asked for any kind of forgiveness for thousands of years of indescribable persecution, discrimination, denial of human rights and even mass-murder against Jews.GERSHON HARRIS
Sir, – I am not sure which Christians Ray Hanania has been talking to.
Perhaps it is those individuals who say they are Christians but have no
knowledge of what Jesus taught his Jewish disciples.
Bible-believing Christians know they have been forgiven by what Jesus
did for all mankind on the cross – the once and forever atonement.
But to say that Christians never have to confess their sins and ask for
forgiveness is what a true believer would call very “cheap grace.”
As believers we are exhorted to bring our sins before God in a place of
repentance whenever we are aware that a sin has been committed. To ask
forgiveness is only part of the message; as true believers we must also
love those who have done us wrong.FERYL HONOROF
A yefeh nefesh
Sir, – Gershon Baskin’s involvement in the successful negotiation
process over the release of Gilad Schalit (“Post
columnist held secret
talks with Hamas,” October 14) demonstrates in a most remarkable manner
what one yefeh nefesh [bleeding heart, but literally gentle soul – ed.]
By challenging a political precept, he opened up the way toward a moral
encounter with the enemy. Schalit’s redemption in return for the release
of a thousand Palestinian prisoners is an act of which we should all be
Sir, – Congratulations to Gershon Baskin for searching his soul on Yom
Kippur to develop a list of Israeli actions he cannot abide
(“Confessions of a ‘yefeh nefesh,’” Encountering Peace, October 11) .
Interestingly, he fails to specify anything that the Palestinians have
done to forestall peace, though he glibly admits that resolving the
conflict “is not solely dependent on Israel.”
Let us be clear: Baskin’s peace camp does not have a monopoly on
morality. It is entirely possible to oppose the actions to which he
objects (e.g., “price tag” attacks) and still not support his vision of
peace. Many truly moral people have concluded through their own soul
searching that the peace agreement he claims to know “to the minutest
detail” is a recipe for the destruction of the Jewish state – itself an
To them, Baskin is not a self-hating Jew, just dangerously naïve.
EFRAIM A. COHEN
Sir, – What part of “I quit” does Judge Nili Arad, president of the
National Labor Court, not get (“National Labor Court orders doctors to
return to work immediately,” October 14)? My advice to the medical
residents who resigned: Stand fast and ignore the court order. It’s not
up to your employer to decide whether he accepts your resignation. It’s
your own decision.
You quit, period. That means you’re no longer employed. If your employer
wants you back badly enough, he or she will make it worthwhile.
No one can force you to work against your will.
Sir, – Let us hope that some common sense prevails in the Health
Ministry (“470 residents stay away from work, but hospitals cope,”
October 12) and the idea of charging Israeli doctors who study here and
then emigrate is put firmly in the wastebasket.
If there is one sure way to ensure that no emigrating doctor will ever return, that would be the way.
It is high time the Israeli government learned that less-senior doctors (and, indeed, other hospital employees) are not slaves.PETER SIMPSON
Sir, – Unrelated to my views on the medical residents’ (and some
specialists’) resignations, I express my disgust at a comment made by
Dr. Charles Migrom (“‘The hospitals are an asset that the Finance
Ministry has bled dry,’” October 12).
After commenting that it would hurt his daughter to move back to the US,
he states that he did not see that “these bastards” are leaving any
room open. This language is distasteful in the extreme.MONTY M. ZION
The writer is a retired physician
Sir, – Though I might agree with Dr. Charles Migrom and his feeling for
Hadassah Hospital, has he ever been on the other side, that of the
patients? As someone with a sick, disabled husband, I spend two or three
visits a week to the hospitals and medical services in Jerusalem. If I
call in August for a specialist’s appointment and am told that the first
one available is in January or April, how should I feel? Mention the
magic word sharap (medical treatment provided outside the framework of
the public health system), though, and you have the appointment in a
week. Why should this be? Why are we always on time yet have to wait an
hour or more to see the doctor? I certainly feel doctors should have
better working conditions and better pay. But what about the patient? M. SCHAEFFER
Sir, – We have just returned from our first visit to Israel. It was a
marvelous trip in the main, and we hope to return in the future.
Beyond the organized part we decided to stay on for a few days of
relaxation, as we had been told that Tel Aviv was a nice resort. Our
travel agent in the UK booked us into a hotel.
However, when we arrived on October 6 we were told that, although we had
booked and paid for three nights of accommodation, Yom Kippur meant
that the restaurant was already closing and, apart from a snack and a
breakfast, nothing more would be available for the duration of our stay.
Other facilities such as room service, bar and swimming pool were also
We managed to buy some supplies from the local supermarket to eat
(without plates or cutlery!) but spending our holiday in siege
conditions was not what we had expected.
We are very mindful of other peoples’ beliefs and practices, but it
should be incumbent on an international hotel to advise foreign travel
agents of such circumstances and to give non- Jewish customers a choice.
To take money and not provide a service is hardly a good business
practice.GAIL AND STEPHEN BROWN