letters to the editor 88.
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Sir, - As a prelude to his new film, "Mel Gibson hits the redemption trail" (October 8). That may be so, and I wish him well. But I, for one, shall not be attending this new cinematographic event - nor, for that matter, any future film with which he is associated.
DAVID S. ADDLEMAN
Sir, - On September 29 I participated in a beautiful, peaceful demonstration for Israel held in Bern, the Swiss capital. More than 3,000 people (some say 5,000) listened for more than two hours to powerful discourses about why and how to support Israel - including one by a member of parliament. Wonderful Hebrew songs brought tears to the eyes of quite a few people.
It was a good way to prepare for Yom Kippur.
I hope the Swiss government will be influenced by the resolution written by the organizers (Christian Friends of Israel, among others). It would be a step toward better cooperation between Switzerland and Israel, and a better image of the Jewish state in Europe.
Badge of courage
Sir, - Three cheers for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for standing up to more of the same disingenuous drivel which says that everything, everywhere and in some way is always the fault of the Jews and/or Israel ("Harper's veto," Editorial, October 3).
To use a good American expression: Hogwash! The whole world knows better by now - except, it seems, those who should get off the blame merry-go-round and try to educate and make a decent life for their people.
Sir, - Shame on you, Stewart Weiss! ("A tale of two presidents," October 1.) A proper equation would have been the former American president with the Israeli prime minister; Clinton's financial foibles compared with Olmert's.
As for Moshe Katzav, why is his word less valid than the word of the woman who accuses him? He remains innocent until proven guilty.
A rabbi should refrain from the sin of mirma - slander.
Sir, - Stewart Weiss managed to turn what might have been an interesting comparison into a vicious attack on our beloved Bill Clinton. He seems unaware that Clinton was impeached but emerged unscathed; also that Clinton's popularity grew after he left the White House, and that he is today one of the top "do-gooders" in the world, justly admired for his unstinting efforts on behalf of its most unfortunate individuals, particularly children.
Sir, - Stewart Weiss should make up his mind. If President Katzav is surrounded "only by smoke" and "every citizen is entitled to be presumed innocentâ€¦" why write a blistering column about sin and confession - or the lack of it - and political hutzpa?
If Weiss thinks the president is guilty, why indulge in pious reservations? As for a lack of confession in the spirit of Yom Kippur, Clinton did confess after the evidence was in, and expressed contrition.
Is Weiss prepared to forgive him? Why excoriate him now? If he is not prepared to forgive him, why talk about the magic of confession?
Stewart Weiss responds:
I clearly indicated that Mr. Katsav is innocent until proven guilty, and his culpability will be decided by due process. However, the strong taint of scandal clearly dishonors the office he occupies and calls for him to take a leave of absence until this mess is sorted out.
Whether history will rank Bill Clinton as "one of the top do-gooders in the world" is a matter of opinion. His moral laziness puts him near the bottom of my list.
The right road
Sir, - David Horovitz's excellent interview with road safety guru Prof. Elihu Richter gives rise to doubt about the commitment of various transportation ministers to the issue ("How many people do you want to kill?" October 6). So much tragedy could have been avoided.
One unsung minister, Yitzhak Levy, was responsible, after visiting the UK in 1996, for the introduction to Israeli towns of speed bumps and roundabouts. Over the years since then urban road deaths have dropped from almost 50% to around 30%.
Unfortunately no one else comes to mind.
Sir, - It was 50 years ago that for a short period I drove a bus for BC Electric in Vancouver. As professionals, bus drivers had fewer accidents. But when a bus was at fault in an accident investigation showed that the driver had walked out of the house mad at his wife, or following some unsettling incident.
Surrey, BC, Canada
Style & substance
Sir, - It's one of the unique pleasures of reading The Jerusalem Post to find another article in the series of memoirs by Yehuda Avner dealing with the politics and diplomacy of the 1980s. Rarely does one come across political memoirs written with such style, recreating the historical atmosphere of the time with brilliance and dramatic effect.
To a historian like myself the articles are of fundamental importance in capturing the personalities and political thinking of major figures in Israeli history - notably Menachem Begin ("The Rosh Hashana of Sabra and Shatilla," September 22).
They also include quite new information that has not been part of the public record to date, including the fact that Shimon Peres was against Begin's bombing of the Osirak reactor. Had this been generally known many of us might have been able to make a more critical assessment of Peres's equally naive political proposals of the 1990s and after.
PROF. PAUL LAWRENCE ROSE
Pennsylvania State University
Sir, - Twice in recent days The Jerusalem Post has carried articles about people who can trace their ancestry to either one particular individual ("King David's 'progeny' to meet amid revolution in Jewish genealogy," October 3) or to the lost tribe of Menashe ("A miracle of biblical proportions," October 4). In both cases the ancestor(s) lived well over 2,000 years ago.
A few months ago an article in your paper about the film the The Da Vinci Code proved that anyone living that long ago is either an ancestor to everybody living, or to nobody at all. The proof is beyond the scope of a letter to the editor, but the interested reader can find it in Prof. Richard Dawkins's recent book The Ancestor's Tale.
So I and the current pontiff can reasonably claim to be descended from both King David and the tribe of Menashe, as well as from the early Christians.
Does this make me a Catholic, or the pope Jewish?
Sir, - Last month during a wonderful few days with 20 bikers on the annual Miklat charity bike ride in the scenic beauty of Connemara on the west coast of Ireland, I entered a pub to buy a (soft) drink. Three locals were just leaving, and one of them looked at me and said, jovially, "Hello, where are you from?" I replied, "I was born and bred in England, and now live in Israel."
To which he retorted: "They crucified Christ, didn't they?"
Sir, - Isn't it foolish to suggest we need a female version of the word "rabbi"? Do we call a female pilot an aviatrix? Grow up, and let's end this debate.
A September 28 article, "Pat Robertson is once again spreading the word... for the Tourism Ministry wooing Christians to Israel," included a quotation from an interviewee misrepresenting remarks made by Pat Robertson regarding former prime minister Ariel Sharon. We apologize for its publication.
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