Who will pay?
Sir – We have been reading reams and streams of articles and
letters telling us how the proposal to verify and remove Syrian chemical weapons
could change the face of the Middle East. However, I haven’t seen a single
paragraph telling us who is going to come up with the money to undertake this
The world is in the grip of an economic crisis. Governments
everywhere are increasing taxes and cutting social programs.
The job of
finding, moving and destroying the Syrian arsenal will be gargantuan. I can’t
imagine that it will cost less than tens of billions of dollars. I also can’t
imagine for one second that the Russians, who proposed this compromise, will
step up and offer to pay.
The UN will probably be carrying the burden,
which, after all, will eventually devolve onto its member states, of which the
US is by far the largest contributor, at nearly one quarter.
President Barack Obama stand up and tell his people that they are going to have
to cough up this amount? I suspect that if he gave them the choice between
paying and delivering the punishing blow he originally threatened, they would
opt for the latter.HENRY KAYE
Ashkelon Cough it up
Sir, – I have
followed with interest the articles and letters about new olim and the
difficulties they face. The latest is by Chaim Friedman (“Abandoned aliya: Don’t
blame your missing house,” Comment & Features, September 16), who, I see, is
managing director of a mortgage brokerage firm.
Friedman makes one
statement that is the underlying reason as to why young couples here cannot buy
their own homes: “[T]he minimum down payment is a high 25%.” That is the crux of
the matter! Unless young couples have very wealthy parents or are themselves
very high earners, how on Earth do they raise this amount? How many years would
it take for them to save $50,000 for a deposit on what is now a modest apartment
costing $200,000? Many young couples are able to afford the mortgage payments,
which are probably the same as a rental commitment.
But it is the
crippling deposit that prevents them from ever owning their own home. If
Friedman can offer a mortgage that doesn’t require 25%, I would be delighted to
hear about it.
I would also love to hear about the bank where “an initial
negative decision can be readily reversed, especially if you have someone at
your side who knows the ropes... and the law.”
What does that mean? Come
on, Mr. Friedman. You are obviously one who knows the ropes and the law, so
cough up the relevant information that so many young couples need to know!
Sir, – With all due respect to the
honorable professor Ian S.
Lustick, (“Two-state illusion,” Comment &
Features, September 16), he might be a historian but he should go a little
deeper into history. Then he might come to the correct
Lustick is not comparing apples with pears – that might be
too close. He is comparing apples with bananas and worse.
occupied by Britain. France occupied Algeria.
The Soviet Union conquered
its neighbors and imposed communism.
South Africa imposed apartheid on
the original inhabitants, who were an overwhelming majority but were second class
citizens with no rights in their homeland. Where is the comparison with Israel?
Jews lived continuously in “Palestine” for thousands of years. Zionism is a
return to our ancient homeland, Israel. After several wars, when we defeated our
neighbors who wanted to annihilate us, we are here in larger numbers and
stronger than ever.
We have a large majority of Jews who were ingathered
from exile in many countries. The minorities of Muslims, Christians and others
who live here have full rights and, as citizens, participate in every aspect of
They are in the Knesset, they are doctors in hospitals, they are
lawyers and judges, etc., etc.
Hopefully, there will be a “two-state
solution” when we can live in peace. It is as much in the other side’s interest
Sir, – Ian S. Lustick would have us believe
that “the Palestinian Authority needs its people to believe that progress is
being made toward a two-state solution....”
Palestinian Authority has drawn a curtain down on what is happening in the peace
talks and is doing little to bring its people to believe in a two-state
solution. On the contrary, it continues to indoctrinate toward the future
elimination of Israel and the glorification of Palestinian
BARRY SHAW Netanya
Sir, – Prof. Ian Lustick puts forward a
very strange argument.
He says that Israel-Palestine should be a single
state – the “state of all its citizens.” This would result in a bloody mess, and
the mess would force the great powers to step in and cut Israel down to size,
which, of course, would be very small.
The consequences of the mess would
be totally unpredictable.
There is a fatal weakness in Lustick’s chain of
reasoning, which smacks of Israel-hatred.
Smash Israel at any price!
Jerusalem Let them know
Sir, – Referring to the letter headlined
“Lousy ambassadors” (September 16), my first thought was that it should be
translated into Hebrew and placed on the front page of all Hebrew newspapers and
all the popular Israeli travel sites, blogs, whatever. Travel agencies should
give it out with each flight ticket.
A lot of our young Israelis who
travel do not have the maturity to realize that they truly are our ambassadors.
We are criticized constantly for almost everything we do, and when we do have an
opportunity to do the right thing in a small way – which is a mere matter of
showing decent and respectful behavior to a host country – we blow
Someone has to tell the young travelers, but someone has to think of
a way how.HEATHER FRIEDMAN Yedidya Governor’s murder
Sir, – Stephen
Gabriel Rosenberg questions whether Gedaliah ben Ahikam was so important, his
murder so significant, that we have to introduce another fast day just a week
before Yom Kippur (“The murder of Gedaliah, governor of Judea,” Comment &
Features, September 8).
Rosenberg concludes that perhaps the
assassination was for the better in the long run and that Shakespeare should
have written a play about it. “[T]hen we would all have acquired in school a
somewhat better knowledge of this lurid tragedy.”
In fact, our children
and grandchildren did learn in school about Gedaliah’s tragic death and its
They know that it forced Jews to flee, putting an
end to the prospect of the land’s resettlement.
The Babylonian exile was
made absolute and Judea was left bereft of its children.
known he’d be thrilled. But that’s not why we fast on Tzom Gedaliah. It is why
we send our kids to Jewish schools to allow them to learn and appreciate our
CLARIFICATION The Jerusalem Post
wishes to clarify that the statements by MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta’al) at Monday’s
Knesset Interior Committee meeting on Jewish visits to the Temple Mount (“Tibi
tells MKs: The crusaders and the British passed, and so will Israel,” September
17) referred to Israel’s presence in east Jerusalem, specifically the area
surrounding and including the Aksa Mosque.He was not referring to the
entire State of Israel.