Just the start
Sir, – With regard to “Gilad Sher: 100,000 settlers need to be
evacuated” (September 12), do we really need Sher, Yossi Beilin and Dov
Weisglass to advise the Palestinians not to accept anything less than the offer
made years ago by then prime minister Ehud Olmert (which they rejected)? All
those “settlers” would be a nice starting point for further demands.
Palestinian Authority has learned quickly enough that it can extract any
concession from Israel without giving anything in return due to our apparent
Netanya Is it an obligation?
Sir, – It
is impossible to understand how Deputy Knesset Speaker Hilik Bar (“An obligation
to try again for peace,” Comment & Features, September 12) can ignore every
single one of the many times Arabs obstructed both peace and trust with an
intifada or a war.
Bar’s criticism focuses on the realists who know that
Arab Muslim incitement to hatred and violence is ongoing. They will never agree
to peace – not until Islam undergoes reform, as most religions have, in what I
wish could be our own “Age of Enlightenment.”
He mentions both flags
raised in the Knesset chamber as a sign of hope. We realists know that seeing an
Israeli flag in PLO chambers will not happen unless it’s during a hudna, a lull
in hostilities taken to regroup one’s strength.
He also forgets Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s early – and correct – statement that the only
Palestine is Jordan, and Shimon Peres’s early – and correct – analysis that the
Arabs will never make peace with us. Now he criticizes Netanyahu for not moving
farther to the Left.
Bar’s piece does not pass the bar of
Sir, – Hilik Bar’s high-minded,
clarion call to keep trying for peace brings to mind the definition of insanity
widely attributed to Einstein: trying the same thing over and over again while
expecting different results.
Bar’s blithe dismissal of every other
political player in the room, as well as their motivations and agendas, is a
good reminder of why the Israeli public has fired and indeed marginalized his
Labor Party. His arrogance and contemptuousness makes him
Indeed, he argues out of both sides of his mouth, for even
he recognizes that there are legitimate and even overweening security issues
that Israel ignores at its peril.
While it suits Bar’s worldview to
dismiss his opponents as right-wing nut jobs, the reality is that they, along
with the vast majority of the Israeli public, are simply unwilling to continue
to sign meaningless agreements. If he believes the fault is ours for not trying
hard enough, we should understand that delusions on which we double-down are
just self-defeating and the province of those who have drunk the kool aid of
their own ethereal, fantastic constructs.
– It is not often that halftruths can be clearly shown for what they are, so
Hilik Bar is to be thanked.
He writes: “...just this month I hosted a
group of Palestinian officials at the Knesset for the first time. For the first
time, the Palestinian and Israeli flags were raised in the Knesset chamber,
beside each other. The spirit of peace was in the air.” What he omitted is that
the reciprocal visit to Ramallah was cancelled by the Palestinian leadership,
which so relished seeing their flag in the Knesset.
Somehow, the “spirit
of peace” has failed to reach our “partners” in the quest for
Netanya Noted with gratitude
Sir, – In her Grapevine
column of September 11 (“A time to remember”), Greer Fay Cashman solved a riddle
that has been bothering me since my aliya in 1995: Why are so many journalists
from print, radio and television so far to the Left? Cashman writes that Uri
Avnery “trained a new breed of investigative journalists and photojournalists.
In fact, a good many of Israel’s leading journalists and press photographers
either got their start with him or began working for him early in their careers
– a factor that helped springboard them into key positions in other media
Now I know. Thank you, Greer.
IDA SELAVAN SCHWARCZ
Sir, – Congratulations to David Newman for his eloquent tribute to the late
Edith Gold (“Remembering unsung heroes,” Borderline Views, September
He expressed the thanks of many British members of Bnei Akiva who
spent their year of hachshara (training) at Kibbutz Lavie, where Edith made them
feel at home and gave them the help and love that she herself was deprived of in
They are all grateful to Edith, and to Newman for articulating
their gratitude.STEPHEN ROSENBERG
Sir, – In
his impassioned article “Israel welcomes all seeking refuge, but only if they’re
Jewish” (Comment & Features, September 10), Joshua Bloom writes about the
duty of Israel to accept and give succor to African migrants fleeing to Israel.
But 0refugees from Sudan and Eritrea pass through Egypt on their way to Israel.
Isn’t it Egypt’s obligation to protect them, according to the international law
Bloom cites? As a rabbi, Bloom knows how crucial it is for Israel to retain its
status as a Jewish-majority state.
Migrants from Africa put the onus for
granting asylum on the first nation they escape to, not some other country
farther away. Thus, once they get to Israel these infiltrators are economic
Israel is struggling to absorb scores of thousands of Ethiopian
Jews. Our Muslim minority is already 20 percent of the population, and the
number of benighted Muslims from Africa is in the millions.
Sorry to say,
Israel cannot right all the wrongs of the world.STEVE KRAMER
Sir, – I beg to differ with Joshua Bloom.
First of all, Israel
has welcomed nearly a million immigrants from the former Soviet Union together
with their entire families even though most had only one Jewish parent or
grandparent. Then, when the Muslim North Sudan massacred, enslaved and/or
forcibly converted to Islam around a million Christians from the south, no
Christian country came to their aid – unlike Israel, which opened its gates to
thousands of grateful, decent, real refugees who, because they have behaved in
an exemplary manner, have never suffered here from rejection or
Next, Israel allowed in a large number of Darfurian Muslims
who were being systematically massacred by fellow Muslims from northern Sudan.
Only when things calmed down did the Darfurians willingly return home (with a
large purse full of dollars).
The north Sudanese and Eritrean Muslims who
managed to illegally infiltrate Israel over the years and now number some 60,000
are a different group entirely. Not only do they not appreciate their savior,
they actually believe it is “not a white man’s country,” as one stated on TV
during a demonstration.
It seems they (not all, but many) therefore feel
it is their right to rape, murder, harass, rob and otherwise turn the lives of
the infidel Jewish population in south Tel Aviv into a virtual hell, where not
only females but males (especially the elderly) are reluctant to leave their
homes after dusk.
I am sure the biblical demand that the Israelites treat
the strangers among them with decency was not meant for those who do not treat
their Israeli hosts with decency.TRUDY GEFEN