With elections closing in and the cost of living and housing on our minds, we must also seriously consider our security. Former Mossad head Meir Dagan put it bluntly by saying Israel’s leadership frightened him more than did the country’s enemies (“Tens of thousands turn out for anti-Netanyahu rally in Tel Aviv,” March 8).
Even after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goes, and even if the US or Israel permanently destroys Iran’s nuclear sites, we should ask ourselves: What are the chances of Israel’s survival ad infinitum? Secularism is not the answer, no matter how efficient and bold the Israeli army.
Neither are haredim the answer, as proved recently when one of their leading rabbis said Israel should not have an army because God would do all the fighting.
The Arabs know they only have to win one war to destroy Israel, so they can be patient. If they sign a peace treaty for a two-state solution, their terms will mean the death of Israel. Just giving up the Jordan Valley will be the end of Israel.
Israel’s survival ad infinitum will mainly be because of those Jews who carry the sword in one hand, and the Torah in the other.ROSY GUBBAY
Upon hearing the statement by the Jordanian queen (“Jordan’s Queen Rania: There is ‘nothing Islamic’ about ISIS,” March 8), I have to disagree.
For decades, now, and well before the establishment of the modern State of Israel, Muslims have been terrorizing Jews with acts of beheading, chopped-up bodies, bombings in marketplaces and restaurants, and, more recently, the running over of Jerusalem pedestrians, all in the name of Islam.
From the 1929 Hebron massacre, in which 70 Jewish neighbors of the attackers were chopped to pieces, to the many bombings of the intifada and the recent pedestrian killings, we’ve hardly heard a word of protest from the “Muslim moderates.”
If it has always been “Muslim” enough to enact these atrocities on Jews but not “Muslim” enough when applying them to non-Jews, the conclusion must be that barbarity is second-nature to Islam if the target is chosen appropriately.
One cannot help but see a poetic justice in the “victimization” of a world that didn’t protest when only Jews were targeted.SHARON LINDENBAUM
The anti-Semitism at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (“We will not tolerate abuse, London univ. director says,” March 8) is nothing new. In 2003, as a mature student, I started a part-time Jewish history degree at the London School of Jewish Studies, which was under the auspices of SOAS. I had to register at SOAS during freshers’ week. It was a most intimidating experience.
There were stalls run by friends of the Palestinians with slogans like “Kill the F****** Zionist pigs.” I was lucky. I was off campus for my first year. However, the thought of registering for a second year and the fact that the degree was transferring to the SOAS campus were enough for me to ask for a transfer to University College London.
I met Prof. Colin Shindler, Pears Senior Research Fellow in Israel Studies at SOAS, at an event held in Northwood, where we lived, and asked him about the anti-Semitism on campus. He denied there was any.
I am afraid that lecturers have been walking around with blinders. It is only now that they have awoken to the reality of what is going on.LESLEY NADEL
Worth a visit
In his extremely interesting “Purim and the gentiles” (Comment & Features, March 5), Raymond Apple forgets to mention the connection to the English royal family. If one visits Windsor Castle just outside London, in the Queen’s Presence Chamber there are, among other items, three beautiful, enormous tapestries about the Book of Esther dating from 1779-87. Well worth a visit.EALLAN HIRSHFELD
US Jews speak out
As an American Jew, I was raised to cherish Israel. Unfortunately, I have found myself appalled by much that takes place in your nation. Cherishing has turned to distrust and dislike.
Now that your arrogant prime minister has given his speech to our Congress, interfering with our nation’s internal affairs (“PM to Congress: Deal paves Iran’s path to bomb,” March 4), I, for one, can no longer abide my country supporting Israel.
That pompous ass claims to speak for all Jews. Well, he doesn’t speak for this Jew (and for many other American Jews I know). He speaks against me.
His claim that Israel could go it alone is delusional. Most of what you have to defend yourselves is thanks to my country’s generosity – and gullibility. Any chance Israel has of surviving depends deeply on its allies, chiefly the United States.BARRY CUTLER
Palm Desert, California
Perhaps a Jewish Nobel Prize winner can say some frank things about your prime minister’s speech, as well as about some of your government’s policies, without being accused of being an anti- Semite – the usual response to critics of Israel. I watched the speech on TV.
While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did a good job of outlining the Israeli position, it was clearly a political speech, although I had a hard time telling how much of it was aimed at the Israeli election, and how much was aimed at cutting the feet out from under President Barack Obama in his efforts to get a deal on nuclear issues with Iran.
The Netanyahu speech stated clearly that Israel would not stand passively in the face of another Holocaust. Everyone knows that. Everyone knows that Israel has nuclear weapons of its own, though you are careful never to acknowledge it.
Everyone also knows that should a nuclear weapon go off on Israeli soil, there is at least one city in the Arab world that would no longer exist a few hours later.
The effect of the speech on American politics is harder to judge. The Republicans in Congress already want to tighten sanctions on Iran, even in advance of a deal, making any deal much less likely. The speech played to their position, as was clear from who was standing and applauding. While Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice tried to tone down the politics before Netanyahu’s appearance, the speech itself made their efforts fruitless.
I can’t say what the effect of the speech will be on the US Jewish community and the country’s unswerving support of Israel. I can say what the effect has been on me.
I no longer want to pay for the settlements in the West Bank. The US gives Israel about $3 billion per year in support of its national security programs.
This money allows Israel to spend $3 billion on other things, including things I don’t like. I do not like the settlement activities or the land grabs from the Arabs, and were I given the power, I would decrease our aid by one dollar for each dollar spent in expanding the Jewish presence on the West Bank.
Netanyahu has unwisely chosen sides in the American political game. It will be very interesting to see how Israel responds in its election next week.BURTON RICHTER
Palo Alto, California
The writer won a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1976.
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