US President Donald Trump is attempting to go where no man has gone before: to successfully broker a peaceful and lasting solution to the turmoil in the Middle East. He is trying to think outside the box, which is something he is known for (although “open mouth, insert foot” is often how he is viewed).
When did former president Barack Obama come to Israel? Not until his second term. Every time I submitted a question to Obama’s staffers about his views on Israel, the response I received was a canned AIPAC speech – which led me to believe how little Obama really thought about Israel.
The peace that then-president Jimmy Carter was able to help negotiate between Israel and Egypt has, thankfully, stood the test of time. I cried when Israel had to give back Yamit, which was a lovely town created in the desert, but through all the administration changes in Egypt, that peace has held.
As I understand it, Trump is attempting to relocate the Gazans to land in the Sinai Peninsula, with financial aid from the Saudi Arabians. The Gazans would have their own country. They would be in control of their own destiny. Certainly, this would require a great deal of assistance, but at least it is a start and a viable solution – and without Hamas or PLO involvement. (Jerusalem rightfully belongs to the world. Make it an international city!)
Just maybe this unconventional president really can go where no man has gone before! HELEEN ABRAMSON
Did I read correctly – “Trump may let PM visit Kotel with him” (May 21)? This brings on thoughts of the days of the British Mandate and sovereignty over the Western Wall, and of what we can and cannot do there.
It should be the other way around: Our prime minister may let Trump visit the Kotel with him! MORTON FREIMAN
President Trump may allow our prime minister to visit the Kotel with him – or not. I suggest our prime minister tell Mr. Trump that the president can accompany him, or not go at all! After all, whose Kotel is it? BARRY LYNN
I have been a resident of Jerusalem for 34 years and have witnessed the visits of many heads of state, including presidents of the United States. But with the visit of President Donald Trump, I have never seen such wanton destruction of trees and greenery so the presidential party’s helicopters can land in a place that is convenient for him and deemed suitable by the security establishments.
I do hope it will be the White House footing the bill for replanting the area after President Trump departs, and not the residents of Jerusalem.
On behalf of all Americans living in Israel, welcome, President Trump. Thank you for making the effort to visit Israel and the Americans of the US diaspora. Here’s an idea for you to help us and help make America great.
We are seven million Americans living abroad more or less permanently. We have parents living in the US who, if they moved abroad to be with their children, would lose their Medicare and Medicaid benefits. If our parents and elderly relatives were allowed to move closer to their children and the US agreed to extend coverage at 50% of the current cost to them, your government would save over $450 billion over 10 years and our parents would be happier being close to their children at the end of their lives.
Such a program would also help many a host country. (Israel is host to about 5% of all Americans living abroad.)
Many thanks for your consideration, and thank you for shouldering the responsibilities of the world.PHILIPPE BLUMENTHAL
With all the media attention on the visit by US President Donald Trump, Jonathan Pollard’s situation has been overlooked.
What a magnificent gesture it would be if President Trump would quash all charges against Pollard and bring him home to Israel, even as a late addition to his entourage. Talk of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposing gestures that would encourage our sworn enemies to recognize a Jewish State needs to be reciprocated by the US.
Let Pollard go!JUDITH BARNET
Jerusalem Manning and Pollard
Assuming that “Manning leaves US prison seven years after giving secrets to WikiLeaks” (International News, May 18) is accurate in its characterization of his crime – “passing secrets to WikiLeaks in the largest breach of classified information in US history” – the following thoughts come to mind:
• If Manning were not a “transgender” and his commutation not a magnet to liberal voter appeal, would then-US president Barack Obama not have been so keen on commuting the final 28 years of Manning’s 35-year sentence?
• If Manning were Jewish and not affiliated with the LGBT movement, would the president have commuted his sentence?
• If Jonathan Pollard were not Jewish but just “transgender,” would he, too, have had his sentence commuted?
I believe a reasonable person could easily conclude that former president Obama’s decisions regarding the Manning and Pollard cases were primarily based upon the subjective and biased perspectives and opinions he has of Jewish people, which unfortunately compromised and influenced his decisions.HAIM WOLDENBERG
Tzur HadassahMusic was there
It is good to know that reader Larry Bigio enjoyed the music on Reshet Bet during the switch from the IBA to the new broadcaster, IBC (“Public broadcasting,” Letters, May 18). But there was lovely music (classical and modern, vocal and instrumental) being broadcast all the time before, during and after the switch. It is called Kol Hamusika.MARION LUPU
HaifaGet their attention
In “Aguna for 17 years, woman goes on hunger strike” (May 9), you report that Zvia Gordetsky’s husband has preferred to spend over 16 years in jail rather than give her a get (religious divorce), as ordered by the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court.
The rabbinical authorities are not at fault, since they have done everything permitted under Israeli law. The halachic way to deal with such recalcitrant husbands would be to apply, as a last resort, makkot mardut (flogging for contempt of court). The Knesset should pass a law to allow this once a husband has spent a year in jail.
After six months in jail, the husband should be taken to the place of flogging, shown the post to which he will be tied, and the whip. If he refuses to issue a get there and then, he should be returned to jail for a further six months to think it over.
If he still refuses, he should be taken to the place of flogging, stripped and tied to the post. If this does not convince him and he still refuses, the first lash should be given. Almost certainly, it would have the desired effect. If he is exceptionally obstinate, he should be lashed repeatedly until he agrees.
This could continue in extreme cases ad sheteitzei nafsho (until he expires), as the Rambam ruled, in which case the wife would be automatically released as a widow. Although this scenario is highly unlikely, it would convince any future recalcitrant husband that he should obey the rabbis’ instructions and grant a get.MARTIN D. STERN