letters to the editor 88.
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The Jewish state
Sir, - Ida Nudel's analysis of the non-Jewish nature of what was meant to be the Jewish state, evokes sympathy and breaks one's heart ("What Israel can learn from Muhammad Yunus," October 24). It seems only the president of Iran and the leader of Hizbullah recognize that Israel is a Jewish state.
As Nudel points out, our media, sophisticated humanistic academia even our government - in removing the word "Jew" from identity papers - and the retired president of our Supreme Court, who once said he preferred a state that was democratic but not Jewish to one that was Jewish but not democratic, prefer Israel to be non-Jewish.
But the origin of this failure to equate Jewishness with Israeliness, goes back to David Ben-Gurion and his colleagues of 60 years ago. On the one hand, they were inspired by, and claimed to be fighting for, the Judenstat of Herzl's book.
On the other hand, they were so bamboozled by "democracy" that they did not dare to equate Israeli citizenship with Jewish identity. In the founding document of 1948, after citing the prophets, the Rock of Israel, Jewish history and the Holocaust, they welcomed with open arms the non-Jewish residents of the new state into full, equal citizenship. This limitless reaching out in the name of democracy did not and still does not prevent our enemies from labelling us apartheid, racist, theocratic, etc.
Ida Nudel is right. She would have been right in 1948 if she could have advised Ben-Gurion to be less democratic and more Jewish in founding the Jewish state.
Sir, - Re "Labor to vote Sunday on whether to quit gov't" (October 24), wherein Binyamin Ben-Eliezer deigns to reassure us that he actually could sit with Avigdor Lieberman because he sat with Yasser Arafat.
Is this overblown, self-important, underachiever of a minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer drawing equivalence between the two? Sitting at the same table with another Israeli, however much one may disagree with his opinions, is that the same as sitting at the same table with the man responsible for more Jewish deaths than anyone else since the end of World War II? This does not bode well for the future of this Labor Party.
Even more telling about its future is the semi-concealed and certainly hushed-up fact that the party's largest sector is made up of Arabs. I, for one, have not exactly seen or heard the likes of Ophir Paz-Pines, Eitan Cabel and Yitzhak Herzog celebrate this fact as one would expect of a left-of-center, multicultural party.
Finally, what does it say about the integrity of Labor Party members in the first place with regard to their original assertions about the deep ties that bind them to the ideology of the party? Were those ties so tenuous, were those ideological bonds so weak and so unimportant that so many of them, including life-long party member Shimon Peres, could jump ship to join the ranks of a sewed-together party of hangers-on, has-beens, would-bes, political opportunists and soon-to-be-indicted politicians?
Coddling a murderer
Sir, - I am baffled and stunned by the news allowing Yigal Amir a 10-hour conjugal visit ("Amir's wife to stay over Tuesday," October 24). I believe execution would be more appropriate for the murderer of one of Israel's great patriots.
If I sound harsh, it is because I am unable to understand the reason why he is being treated in such a humane manner.
Who wants peace
Sir, - One the one hand Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says, "I don't intend to enter talks with Syria," while Defense Minister Amir Peretz says that Israel should explore the possibility of making peace with Syria ("Seek peace possibilities with Assad, Peretz insists," October 23).
Do these two people really run the country or are they just rehearsing for their next career move into show biz as the Israeli Abbot and Costello? Who wants peace, they want peace, no we want peace, they want peace, no they don't want peace...
Peace is but a mere word, an illusion. We offer it apologetically and our enemies refuse it. They don't even want the illusion.
So will these two comedians please exit stage left, and can we get a new script. One in which we show our backbone, stand strong and focus on a strong deterrent and a better Israeli society. A script which doesn't mention this word peace, this illusion that has distracted us for too long.
Maybe I'll run
Sir, - In response to Michael Boyden ("Israel needs a president," October 22). I wholeheartedly agree. In a country in which everything is politicized, including the selection of supposedly unbiased and impartial judges, it is mandatory for us to select a president who represents all Israelis from all walks of life.
Politicians are, well, politicians, and it is hard to believe that they would be able to shed that identity and remove themselves from the political arena upon assuming the mantle of the presidency. This restriction, however, narrows or even eliminates the field of announced candidates.
Ruby Rivlin and Shimon Peres, although highly accomplished and having undoubtedly contributed enormously to the growth and success of our country, are still politicians. Colette Avital, also a politician, is qualifying herself merely because she is a woman. There are many women in our country who are more qualified. There may even be men more qualified as well.
Now that I think about it, I have shown my dedication to this country by voluntarily giving up a very comfortable life and successful business in the US and coming on aliya with my family. Thus, my English is excellent and I would have a natural appeal to Diaspora Jews, as I would try to convince them to join us here. My children who are of age have all served in Sherut Leumi or the IDF. I have a master's in the biological sciences and a doctorate in the hi-tech industry, so I can represent Israel while extolling our unmatched strength in the hi-tech and bio-tech fields.
I have not harassed anyone, I love my country, I would like to make it an even better place for my children and grandchildren, I pay my taxes and I love all Jews. And above all I am not a politician.
Maybe I should announce my candidacy...
Sir, - Recently quite a few accolades have been heaped on the Israeli people, especially after the last war, for how caring and compassionate they were toward their fellow Jews fleeing their homes during the horrendous rocket attacks. However in one extremely important sphere, Israelis fail miserably and lag badly behind the rest of the world. They have a very poor track record when it comes to donating their organs after death.
I cannot fathom out why they are so loath, as human life is so precious and its preservation takes precedence over every other consideration. Even the Sabbath may be violated to save anyone with a dangerous illness.
What can be a greater mitzva than saving the eyesight of a living person by transplanting the cornea of a deceased, or saving the life of a critically ill individual desperately in need of an organ transplant. Why should anyone living in Israel suffering from a life-threatening disease have the heartbreaking struggle of attempting finding the huge sums of money required for an organ transplant performed in some other completely strange country on the other side of the world.
It is essential that a nationwide campaign be launched to make Israelis far more aware of the vast benefits derived from donating their organs The whole nation benefits, while the gratitude of the receiver is unbelievable A life is restored because someone cared!
M. U. MILUNSKY