letters to the editor 88.
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Sir, - The late Oriana Fallaci was obviously an extraordinary journalist and an extraordinary person ("Oriana Fallaci, 1929-2006: Champion of civilization," September 18).
Her statement that "truth inspires fear" leaped out at me. It seems to me that the world's Muslims are the ones reacting from fear of the truth when they demonstrate so widely and vociferously against the truthful statements of the pope, against caricatures in Danish newspapers and on other parallel occasions.
This is the same Muslim world that persists in blaming the catastrophe of 9/11on the Mossad or Zionists, or whatever. Avoidance of the truth goes hand in hand with fear, and fear naturally evokes strong emotional reactions.
Fallaci's comparison of the Koran to Mein Kampf also has great resonance. It crystallizes the nature of the battle in the same way as the phrase "Islamo-fascism," but is even more well defined.
Sir, - I'm afraid that the logical case made in your editorial "Islamic intolerance" (September 18) for greater Islamic tolerance toward the pope will fall on deaf ears. That's because the people who are angry at the pope's words are really angry at the pope himself.
Islamic teachings make it clear that Christians, as infidels, have three choices: They can convert to Islam and be treated with full equality, they can retain their religion with restrictions as second-class dhimmis and pay a tax, or they can be killed.
Pope Benedict XVI has not only failed to comply with the first two choices, but now he has the impudence to cite highly critical passages from some upstart Byzantine emperor who fought the Muslims.
Sir, - Where is Kofi Annan hiding these days while the Palestinians attack churches (Palestinians attack 2 more churches, September 18)? Needless to say, if Jews were involved, he would be up at dawn reading a statement of condemnation.
Sir, - I don't ever recall Buddhists firebombing a mosque in response to the Taliban's wanton destruction of the large Buddha sculptures or Jewish Holocaust survivors desecrating churches in light of Pope Pius XII's posture as "Hitler's pope."
Could you just imagine how much worse this mess would be had the pontiff revealed his penchant for drawing cartoons?
Sir, - Pope Benedict XVI, the head of a religious community, made a bold statement from a public platform that US President George W. Bush, the head of a country and vouchsafed enemy of terror, did not even dare to whisper.
Common people like me have nothing to lose when we speak our opinion on certain matters aloud. But when a person like the pope or the US president does the same thing, he has to take into account the negative publicity that he will get, as has happened now in the case of the pope.
No risk, no gain is the undeniable truth and the one - be he a religious head or a political leader - who has the courage of conviction will ultimately bell the cat.
OMAR LUTHER KING
Face the problem
Sir, - Aren't we an old enough democracy not to panic every time there is a conflict between individual freedom and society's rights? An individual's freedom ends when it impinges upon and endangers society as a whole.
Can there be any question about prosecuting the Balad MKs who have flouted the law, endangered the state and thumbed their noses at the rest of us ("Balad MKs meet with Lebanese PM, express support for Hizbullah," September 17)? They are counting on us to behave as we did when we knew Hizbullah was digging in deeply on the border and bringing in masses of destructive weapons: stick our heads into the sand and hope we would never have to confront the problem. Things in real life don't work that way, as we found out to our sorrow.
Now is the time to stand up and to prove ourselves a true democracy. He who violates the laws which were passed to protect society should be prosecuted to the full extent of those laws. There should be no hesitation because of politics, wealth, standing or any other aspect unrelated to the issue.
Sir, - The solution to the horror of lack of organs for transplant in Israel and elsewhere is simple ("Transplanted to Israel," September 17). Anyone can get an organ if, and only if, at least one member of the family is on an irrevocable donors list. All others will not, since they do not believe in organ donation.
San Diego, California
Change the system
Sir, - In the letter "Sad reading" (September 18), the writer regrets not knowing more about the candidate for whom she voted in the last election. When one considers the number of MKs who are being investigated by the police, there are obviously many more voters who have similar regrets.
This situation is the result of yet another problem generated by our poor electoral system. In an election in Israel, each party presents a political platform and a list of candidates.
Reading party platforms presents no great difficulty and one can agree with them or disagree, but what about the candidates?
A major party alone will offer dozens of candidates from all over the country. Altogether there are hundreds of candidates. How can an average voter get know anything in depth about them?
In the representative system of elections, the country is divided into separate constituencies, each with its own representative. In an election, a voter votes for one person only, with at most four or five candidates to choose from. It is therefore possible for a voter to learn a great deal about the candidates.
Sir, - The photo of Royal Air Force fighter aircraft accompanying your piece on the Battle of Britain on was a poor choice ("The Battle of Britain and our battle," September 15).
The planes are Boulton Paul Defiants, obsolete aircraft, many of which were destroyed by the Luftwaffe during the invasion of France. They were withdrawn from service and did not play a combat role in the Battle of Britain.
Limit the term
Sir, - Some time before the change at the top of the Supreme Court, it was suggested that choosing the incoming president by seniority be abolished ("Dorit Beinisch sworn in as Supreme Court president," September 15).
This was interpreted as an anti-feminist attempt and abandoned.
But I failed to notice anybody presenting the idea of another change: limiting the term of the court president to a specified number of years, like the president of the state. Even the chief rabbis have limited terms.
Sir, - James Adler (Letters, September 13) must be reading another newspaper called The Jerusalem Post. How else can he have missed the stimulating and creative columns by David Forman, M.J. Rosenberg, Gershon Baskin, Naomi Chazan, David Kimche, Larry Derfner, Daoud Kuttab, Ami Ayalon, Yossi Beilin, Hillel Halkin, etc., which certainly give comfort to his self-described "contrary views"?
Sir, - I have just returned from Israel. My Hebrew is not bad - certainly good enough to join in conversations, find my way around and handle every day situations. However, when it comes to understanding the news, I found I had to rely on CNN or the BBC (never being around for the 5 p.m. news in English).
It struck me that there are relatively few non-Israelis who are able to understand the news in Hebrew on Kol Yisrael or Israel Television. Numbered among those who therefore rely on CNN and the BBC when they are in Israel are most of the foreign journalists whose reports impact on world opinion and influence policies.
An Israeli 24-hour news program which presented Israeli perspectives on Middle Eastern events and affairs in English and/or other major world languages, plus subtitles, could give the context which tells Israel's side of the story.
It is surprising that with so much Israeli expertise in technology, such a vital weapon is missing from Israel's arsenal.
love my dog
Sir, - In August, hearing the hotels in Jerusalem complain about the lack of customers and their difficult situation, my wife and I decided to spend a week in Jerusalem instead of traveling abroad.
We phoned the reservation departments of almost every big hotel, but we got the same reply: We won't accept you with your dog. We explained that it is a dog that lives in an apartment, so there would be no problem to be in a hotel room, but the reply was still no.
As we could not leave our dog alone in our apartment, we gave up the holiday in Jerusalem, and also traveled abroad this year.
By the way, a few years ago, we were in a five-star hotel in Saint Moritz, Switzerland, and we said that we had a dog. Every year since then, we have not only received an invitation for us to again spend time in the hotel, but also a special, dedicated invitation "for your dog."
If Jerusalem's hotels are not interested in having clients, at least I'd like to see them stop complaining and asking for government financial help, i.e., our tax money.
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