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Sir, - I have often wondered whether Gershon Baskin is a real person or a piece of computer software as his articles are so predictable. If he is a real person and did write to Mahmoud Abbas suggesting that he institute a "Ministry of Peace," may we enquire what Mr. Abbas replied? ("Create 'Ministries of Peace' in every country," September 25).
It may be appropriate to note what Mladen Andrijasevic from Beersheba reminded us when he wrote about Columbia University, quoting George Orwell's aphorism "that only an intellectual can be so stupid" (Letters, September 25).
Mad and madder
Sir, - I do believe that our government, or what passes for one, has completely and utterly taken leave of its senses. With Gilad Schalit in unlawful captivity for over a year now, how can any responsible, lucid individual even contemplate releasing convicted Palestinian prisoners whose only regret is that they failed in their mission to murder Jews? ("Israel approves release of 90 Palestinian prisoners," September 24.)
Compound that with the fact that a terrorist, Faris Nazar, who walked free two months ago after pledging to forsake the path of murder and mayhem, was apprehended last week while indulging in his former vocation.
And now Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer proposes releasing Marwan Barghouti, sentenced to five life terms for murder, in order to bolster Mahmoud Abbas! ("Ben-Eliezer calls for Barghouti pardon," On-Line Edition, September 25.)
The emperor is not only naked - he's gone stark raving mad!
Wanting reform is not enough: Get involved
Sir, - Again Daniel Doron wrote superbly, and right on the ball ("A healthy dose of scepticism," September 19). I agree that many Israeli citizens are disillusioned and cynical about the manner in which they are governed and protected. It is time the electorate became involved and demanded a change in our sub-standard political system.
We have a corrupt and incompetent political system that does not economically or physically serve or defend its people. The coalition government includes many bent, self-centred Knesset members and even ministers whose mission is to condition their voters to a state of impotency for those officials' own ulterior motives.
Where in any democratic state of the world would a government stand back and allow its citizens to be unprotected and defenseless - as occurred in the two intifadas, the disengagement from Gush Katif, the past seven years in Sderot and the devastation of northern Israelis and their property in the Second Lebanon war? This is the kind of thing that happens in Third World regimes that allow their own citizens to be decimated.
Regardless of the essential Netanyahu economic reforms, I observe waste and inefficiency in the many socio-Marxist monopolies that still exist, together with the handful of powerful and wealthy cartels in the so-called free-enterprise sector. They, in conjunction with a compliant government, have the same effect of manipulating and inflating prices, and then ripping off their consumers.
I am shocked and bewildered that the polls are indicating that Ehud Olmert, our characterless leader, is rising in popularity after his ineffectual performance of mediocrity and unaccountability.
With the divisions in our society widening this is no time for complacency or apathy. Without real leadership I foresee a potentially threatening scenario from many disaffected and desperate citizens, who may use civil disobedience to rebel against the present inept and defective government.
I urge the voting public to get involved in reforming the political process and working toward the appointment of a leadership that cares for the people, their way of life and their simple survival.
Great job, Livni!
Sir, - Tzipi Livni: Forget the negative comments from those Foreign Ministry officials ("Livni's colleagues criticize her for joining rally at UN," September 25). Israel should not keep a low public profile on Iran and its threat. Our enemies have been using the press to their advantage, and the world has been listening. Iran wants to destroy Israel and its Jews. Why should we sit back? Would we sit back and watch if a giant tidal wave was fast approaching Tel Aviv?
The UN rally was organized by American Jewish organizations that care about Israel. Israel should care about Israel.
Blessed be the Christian Pilgrims
Sir, - The Christian Embassy in Jerusalem is a loyal and true friend of Israel. Indeed, it is one of the few organizations ever willing to promote the Jewish state and encourage visitors to the Holy Land. It is about time the Rabbinate got its collective head out of the sand and awoke to the reality that we are in 2007 and Israel is besieged by enemies.
Succot - Tabernacles - is a joyous festival, and on such an occasion these rabbis should lay down their bigotry ("Chief Rabbinate bans Jews from annual Feast of Tabernacles March," September 19).