With regard to “In surprise move, PM says he’s ready to negotiate based on Saudi peace initiative” (May 31), we can kiss goodbye to east Jerusalem and other Jerusalem neighborhoods such as Ramot, Ramat Eshkol and Gilo, let alone Gush Etzion, Ariel and Ma’aleh Adumim. And what? Retreat to the “Auschwitz lines”? What’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu playing at? Clearly, he is trying to divert attention from the French initiative for an international peace conference and the threat of criminal proceedings against his wife, but in so doing, he is playing Russian Roulette with Israel’s future!
It looks like former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon has been trumped yet again by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
With the prime minister’s announcement that Israel is prepared to hold peace talks with the Arab states based on the Saudi initiative, what possible evidence can there be for Ya’alon’s assertion that a “small and extreme minority” is taking over sectors of the Likud Party as justification for his resignation? Given Ya’alon’s professed rejection of just about any twostate solution and its acceptance by his replacement, Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman, it looks like the ex-defense minister’s true intent has been exposed – and very quickly.PETER SIMPSON
Demonstrably, war is primarily political in its objectives, and a defense minister does not direct troops in detail, instead relying on advisers.
David Ben-Gurion and Levi Eshkol, two Israeli prime ministers who also served as defense minister, were not retired generals.
Nor was defense minister Pinchas Lavon, or even Britain’s Winston Churchill or France’s André Maginot.
With regard to Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s lack of a military background, it should be remembered that a predecessor of similar background, Amir Peretz, insisted on the Iron Dome research, and in 2006 had enough common sense to prioritize hitting the tallest poppies in the Hezbollah field.FRANK ADAM
With the potential of another government that cannot complete its full term, how ludicrous would it be to have our lawmakers foot the bill for early elections? ROBERT WOLFF
Jerusalem Terrible problem
BDS has become a terrible problem for Israel. The results of a recent poll in the US are startling (“A third of all Americans believe boycott of Israel justified, poll shows” May 31), and Ireland’s foreign minister has joined with his Dutch counterpart in saying that BDS is an issue of free speech (“Irish FM: BDS a ‘legitimate viewpoint,’” May 31).
Here in Israel, we are just beginning to take this problem seriously.
It is now time for the Foreign Ministry to call a special conference with internationally recognized lawyers in how to best deal with the problem. Will a counter- boycott of certain countries be effective? Will a conference of major international companies be effective? Can the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, basically backed by the United States, be used effectively against countries that allow the boycott of Israel? Where are the human rights organizations? Why do we not understand that BDS is being used as real ammunition in trying to make Israel subservient to the world powers, which want to deny Israel the right to be sovereign? What kind of world is this when the right of the Palestinians to kill innocent women and children is not condemned before there is any talk of boycott, divestment and sanctions? BATYA KOENIGSBERG
Forgotten in a car
Following the tragic death of the infant left in a sweltering automobile (“Baby dies in Ashdod after being left by father in overheated car” (May 31), it is high time that Israel passed a law that makes such negligence by parents a criminal offense.
Hopefully, the threat of a prison sentence will impel parents to act responsibly before rushing off and leaving a helpless child behind, which all too often results in the loss of a life.SHIFRA HOFFMAN
We are all deputized to be on the alert for children left in cars.
We are all lifeguards.
Put down those smartphones and open your eyes. Glance into parked cars; get your kids doing this, too.
Parents, have someone you call when reaching your destination and report that all your kids are out of the car. Every time.
If your child is being transported, call the driver to make sure that they have arrived at their destination and all the children are out of the car. Every time.
The new way to greet people: “Hi! Everyone out of the car? Where are your kids?” When you put a child in the backseat of a car, also put your purse, wallet, phone, keys – whatever you will immediately miss upon arrival – in the back seat near your child.
Let us never again hear those words, “a child forgotten in a car.”
Neveh Daniel Of a different kettle
Reader Doron Zieve (“[Free speech] in the IDF,” Letters May 30) quotes from the famous poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred Lord Tennyson, which criticizes the idea of blindly obeying orders in battle, and says he disagrees with columnist Melanie Phillips, who said in “Democracy in turmoil” (As I See It, May 27) that soldiers should defend and not attack their country.
Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon was talking about free speech, not about questioning orders, which in my opinion is a completely different kettle of fish.HEATHER RECHTMAN
Tel AvivPitch for restoration
In 1099 CE, European armies (the Crusaders) invaded and occupied the Land of Israel.
At that time, the Jews were numerous enough to be able to field defense forces to try and prevent the European invasion. However, the efforts of the Jews, and those by Muslim forces, were unable to prevent the Crusaders from achieving dominance in the country. As a result, the position of the Jews in their homeland became very much attenuated, and they would never again be numerous enough in their homeland to be able to form defense forces until the modern Zionist period.
The lessening and weakening of the Jewish position in the Land of Israel may have had many causes.
One might wonder about the role that atrocities played.
An atrocity that appears in most accounts of the Crusader period occurred in the first year of the European invasion. After the Europeans breached the defending walls of Jerusalem, Jews took shelter in their synagogue. However, the Crusader armies set fire to the synagogue. This seems to have made a large impression at the time, owing to its mention in so many accounts of the Crusader conquest of the city.
One wonders whether the descendants of these Crusaders – the member countries of the European Union – might not think it fitting to restore the synagogue their ancestors destroyed for no apparent reason in the principal city of the Jewish homeland.
“For female same-sex couples, gender wage gap a double whammy” (May 31) incorrectly stated that in 2013, “the average Israeli woman earned 31.9 percent of what the average Israeli man earned.” It should have stated that the average Israeli woman earned 31.9% less than what the average Israeli man earned.