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Sir, - The issue is not whether to divide Jerusalem, but whether to trim it. The post-Six Day War municipal boundaries were too ambitious and had unforeseen consequences.
It is important to concentrate on the essential and rid ourselves of the peripheral. PM Olmert was correct to state that Shuafat and Walajeh are unnecessary burdens. "Return" them to the Palestinian Authority, and the inhabitants can return their blue ID cards and be free of our onerous occupation and NII transfer payments.
Spend the money we will save on making Jerusalem a cleaner, safer, better place for Jewish life and culture to flourish ("Lieberman vows to keep 'historic' Silwan out of land swap deal," October 18).
Sir, - I am an American Christian, and the Lord has put it in my heart to love you. I do not understand why you let my country tell you what land to give up. This is wrong. Please stand fast and do not be influenced by Mrs. Rice; nothing good will come of it. When has giving up land ever solved any problems when those you would give it to want your destruction?
Having a say
Sir, - With the Turks, don't talk about the Armenians; it's offensive to them ("It wasn't genocide"). With the Chinese, don't refer to the Tibetans; they can't take that ("It's an internal affair"). With the Iranians, don't start about gays and nukes; it's rude ("We don't have any, and we don't want any").
With the Saudis don't bring up their Twin Towers murderers; it's insensitive ("We've suffered from them, too"). With the Americans, don't mention Pollard; it's hard on the relationship ("This is a legal, not a political issue").
But when it comes to Israelis, anyone feels free to say anything to us, and lots of Israelis are willing to listen: "Oppressors of the Palestinians." "Racists." "Imperialists." "Nazis." "Nuclear terrorists." "Down with the Wall." "Split Jerusalem." "You must compromise." "You have no other choice." "You must agree to the two-state solution."
This trend can only come from a lack of respect for us ("Peres: Pollard was almost released, but US balked," October 18)
Accept those who...
Sir, - To the convincing arguments formulated in "Back to the aliya dark ages" (Editorial, October 18) in favor of the Bnei Menashe's "right of return" and rejecting Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit's machinations against them, I would add: We Jews are isolated and subjected to a worldwide vicious, hysterical hatred unparalleled since the psychotic Nazi era and primarily fuelled by Islamofascist ideology and propaganda. Those who proudly choose to carry the burdensome weight of our faith and culture and have proved their commitment unreservedly deserve to be welcomed wholeheartedly, with open arms!
GISH TRUMAN ROBBINS
...take on our burden
Sir, - Some years ago, while on a trip to Israel for national UJA, I had the opportunity of meeting Meir Sheetrit. He was a young man then, just beginning his career and looking forward to contributing to the building of the State of Israel. He was proud of his Sephardi heritage and seemed well aware of the problems many of his fellow Sephardim faced in their attempts to integrate into Israeli society.
It is therefore with extreme sadness and disbelief that I see him today displaying such insensitivity and small-mindedness with regard to the immigration into Israel of the Bnei Menashe and other groups.
I appeal to him now: Mr. Sheetrit, remember your own history and experience and do not press forward with this unwise and discriminatory course of action. It brings dishonor on you and your community, and tarnishes your historic legacy.
I'll raise a beer to Bar
Sir, - Model Bar Refaeli chose to avoid military service and graze in another pasture. Had her choice come from some socio-political incentive, there would be a case for the complaints from the "reactionary Right." But her motivation was the pursuit of a plump purse, actions perfectly in line with those of many of our leaders. Those at the top receive a deluge of benefits; the middle and lower strata are supposed to benefit from what trickles down. And that is akin to the unsteady drip of a leaky faucet.
Her actions are no more deplorable than the actions of those here who talk about patriotism while behaving very unpatriotically by putting personal gain first ("Prosecution claims Hirchson embezzled NIS 2.5m.," October 18). She is merely preaching what she practices, thus raising the morals code bar one notch.
The next time I am having a drink in a bar or at some bar mitzva party, I will raise a beer to Bar in Beersheba.
Z'EV M. FREED
Smoking in public
Sir, - At last steps are being taken! ("Restaurant which allowed smoking loses NIS 2.5m. suit," October 17). Indeed, totally separate smoking rooms are needed: Smoking and non-smoking sections in the same room is like urinating and non-urinating sections in a swimming pool.