Yitzhak Rabin's vision for Israel
Sir, - Thank you for publishing excerpts from Yitzhak Rabin's last speech to the Knesset before his assassination. ("A code for peace," November 4). In this speech, he stated clearly that in our view for a permanent solution to the strife, the Palestinians would have an entity which is less than a state. The borders of Israel would be beyond the lines which existed before the Six Day War. Israel would not return to the 4 June 1967 lines. Jerusalem would be united and would include Ma'aleh Adumim and Givat Ze'ev. Moreover, Israel envisaged, under a permanent settlement, that the security border would be located in the Jordan Valley. Gush Etzion, Efrat and Betar would be in Israel. Rabin even mentioned the establishment (my italics) of settlements in Judea and Samaria.
Clearly, this was offering the Palestinians less than what is being proposed by the current government. Critics, both here and abroad, should take note when decrying our government for not being serious about negotiating a peace settlement, while remembering Rabin as a dedicated man of peace.
MONTY M. ZION
Sir, - "The first Muslim affiliated with a Middle Eastern university to win a Nobel Prize will be an Arab-Israeli," presumes Uriya Shavit ("Muslims, Jews and the Nobel Prize," November 3). It is just such patronizing comments that so endear Jews to Israel's neighbors.
The Gulf is pouring resources into its science faculties now, so this overweening confidence is also misplaced. No Nobel Prize for Prudence for Professor Shavit!
No Diaspora heritage
Sir, - I read the article about David Stoleru ("Barcelona architect aims to teach Jews about their Spanish past via historic venues," November 4) with mixed feelings. On the one hand, Mr. Stoleru is to be complimented for his exemplary work in restoring these historic sites. On the other hand, to refer to these sites as part of our heritage is bothersome. Our heritage revolves around the Land of Israel, period. The land is our heritage, the Torah is our heritage. They must be glorified, they must be presented in the brightest light.
The rest - Spain, Germany, Poland, Greece, the United States - are all way-stations on our millennia-long wanderings in exile.Why this deeply embedded need to "restore" these transient stops of strangers in a strange land? Did some French architect feel the need to restore historical sites on the Isle of Elba connected to Napoleon's period of exile there? Or to restore historical sites on Devil's Island to mark the period of Papillon's incarceration? Elba and Devil's Island are no more tied to "true" French history than is Spain to the true history of the Jewish people.
MICHAEL D. HIRSCH
Sir, - Nikita Krushchev once stated that the West was in such moral decline that it would sell the USSR the very rope that it would use to hang the West. Russia and China and even Europe are today in such moral disarray that they refuse to authorize the toughest of sanctions against Iran.
Iran is now not only on the verge of having a nuclear bomb but it has long-range missiles that can reach Tel Aviv. The United States keeps issuing declarations - most recently by Congressman Howard Berman - about imposing tough sanctions ("Berman: New sanctions on Iran likely," November 4). However the United States cannot issue sanctions by itself and every country decides on its own what is important to them. Russia and China have evidently decided that they will never be affected by Iranian missiles or nuclear catastrophe. The rest of the world be damned!
If Europe, Russia and China do not act now to avert an Iranian horror that will blacken the earth for centuries, their countries will be taken over by the Shi'ite dictatorship which is Iran. They are threatened just as much as Israel.Wake up world!
As Hamas rearms
Sir, - For years Hamas has been unceasingly smuggling progressively more sophisticated and longer-range weapons into Gaza. Successive governments have known about it but, not to worry, the situation has been under vigilant surveillance.
Latest update: Hamas has a missile capable of striking Tel Aviv ("Hamas has dozens of missiles with 60-km. range," November 4). In not using any and every means at our military's disposal to stop this situation, these governments and military establishments are guilty of criminal negligence. Does anyone remember the Cuban missile crisis?
I can already see the announcement that Iran has reached nuclear capability, "but we are carefully following every development."
Chazan's excellent points...
Sir, - Prof. Naomi Chazan makes excellent points in "Democracy check" (October 30). The difficulty arises in defining exactly what are the limits between free speech and incitement, freedom of association and insurrection and freedom of thought and subversion.
It is only too easy to fall into the trap exemplified by the politician referring to pornography: "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it." To say that the High Court of Justice should be the arbiter for each particular instance offers a solution, but will of necessity involve lengthy and cumbersome legal proceedings.
Perhaps a panel of retired High Court justices, representing all streams of thought, could lay down some guidelines, grounded in law, which could then be legislated by the Knesset.
...but only for some
Sir, - Naomi Chazan contends that the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin "exposed a series of fundamental flaws in the country's democracy that have scarcely been diagnosed - let alone rectified." Unfortunately, she presents a one-sided and incomplete picture of the events that preceded our national tragedy.
Nowhere does she mention the demonization and alienation of an entire segment of our population (a group that was previously lauded as the pioneers of their time). Absent was any mention of the subversion of democracy and the suppression of information to the public. Furthermore, it appears to me that while she advocates freedom of expression, opinions and viewpoints that don't adhere with her perspective fall under the category of incitement.
Jerusalem/Staten Island, NY
Ancestry is no guarantee
Sir, - Isi Leibler ("Perfidious Albion and Jewish leaders," November 3) seems surprised that the foreign ministers of France and UK should be so critical of Israel in the light of their having Jewish ancestors. On the contrary. Is this not absolutely what is to be expected from the lessons of history?
Go back to the Spanish Inquisition. Not all Jews converted to Christianity, but those who did, we know, were at the forefront of persecuting and denouncing those who remained as Jews secretly.
Top marks for the college
Sir, - I could not contain my enthusiasm after reading Elliot Jager's article regarding Martin Kramer spearheading a Liberal Arts College in Israel sponsored by the Shalem Center ("A progressive first from a conservative think tank," October 9). It is high time that our future leaders be men possessing a grasp of the humanities. They should be well-versed especially in Jewish history and Jewish values as well as world history and philosophy. This ingredient is so lacking in today's Jewish leadership.
Good luck to Martin Kramer. May he succeed in this most important endeavor to create a cadre of devoted leaders for Israel and world Jewry.
Deerfield Beach, FL.
Dr. Aaron Lerner, of Independent Media Review and Analysis, has contacted The Jerusalem Post to state that he was entirely misquoted in "Right-wing bloggers skeptical of Teitel charges" (November 4). The article quotes a statement posted in Lerner's name on the blog Shiloh Musings, including the assertion that "Israeli 'justice' is always different for right-wing Jews." Lerner has told the Post that this entire statement is fabricated; he did not make it.
We are pleased to set the matter straight, and have also deleted the paragraph from the online version of the article.