Derfner's unjust generalizations...
Sir, - Larry Derfner ("In the garden of bigotry and extremism," November 5) has done a terrible injustice to the idealism and heroic behavior of most of the people who have settled in the land of Israel. He ascribes the characteristics of zealotry and bigotry to over 300,000 people who live in the land of Israel and who have made the land blossom with their knowledge of agriculture, shepherding, science and technology and Torah learning.
I would not ascribe the characteristics of Larry Derfner to all the people who have settled in Modi'in. People are people and everyone is an individual.
Mr. Derfner fails to recognize that the State of Israel itself was born out of the patriotism and the desire to return to the land given to the Jewish people by G-d and even the United Nations. There were acts perpetrated during the time before the state was born that probably did not meet Mr. Derfner`s agenda, but that did not prevent him from settling here.
Practically all of of the residents living in Judea and Samaria have distanced themselves from Mr. Teitel and others like him. However this does not suit Mr Derfner because he does not agree with the ideology that the land belongs to the Jewish people.
... and his facts on extremism
Sir, - One can't argue with the facts as presented by Larry Derfner. Jewish terrorists, murderers, assassins and extremists seem to come from the right-wing Orthodox Zionist camp. It's an outrage!
On the other hand, the extreme left-wing secular camp seems to produce people whose major concern seems to be how to avoid being drafted into the army, sitting in Tel Aviv's cafes nursing their lattes on Shabbat eve, and criticizing Israel for its atrocities in defending us against our outside enemies.
What this indicates is that extremism in either form is dangerous to the continued viability of a Jewish Israel. And what this further indicates is that the lack of proper Jewish education is causing hideous effects. In the religious-Zionist camp, education seems to have been hijacked by ultra-Orthodox rabbis whose primary goals have little or nothing to do with the modern concept of a Jewish state of Israel. Yet, while the outcome can sometimes produce warped values that result in producing individuals who go off the deep end and become Jewish terrorists, at least this camp cares. The secular camp seems to produce individuals who just don't give a damn. Jewish education must become the primary goal and concern of all of us. The authorities must realize that it is as important as national security and therefore must budget accordingly.
HAIM M. LERNER
The truth about Goldstone is worse
SIR, - Daniel Friedmann's rebuttal ("The terrorists' 'Magna Carta'..." October 30) is very important, but the truth about the Goldstone report is even worse, as the following may prove.
The section in the report on "The mission's general approach" says "Israel submitted ... photographic evidence showing the launching of rockets [by Hamas] from within or near residential buildings, schools, mosques and hospitals." However, Israel didn't cooperate with Goldstone. The IDF aerial photographs in question were submitted by the undersigned, on behalf of the independent international Take-A-Pen organization. These photos - still on www.takeapen.org - show extremely high coincidence rate between locations of rocket launches and schools, but were ignored by Goldstone.
This was not because the information was incomplete; we offered to provide any complementary information needed. The real reason: Acknowledging Hamas's systematic use of Protected Sites as Human Shields would have changed the panel's major conclusions; it would explain that Hamas, not Israel, was responsible for most Palestinian civilian casualties, and undermine Goldstone's most damaging fabrication, about the IDF deliberately hitting Palestinian civilians.
Member of the tribe?
Sir, - Thirty years ago, the Encyclopedia Britannica identified Columbus's origins as the Colon family, conversos, originally from Majorca, before moving to Genoa ("Columbus was Catalan, possibly Jewish, Georgetown professor says," November 4).
Jewish rights on Temple Mount
Sir, - The lack of courage and commitment of our successive governments has resulted in our status as interlopers, if not desecraters of a Muslim place of worship - our holiest place in the world, the Temple Mount ("The Temple is a central focus," Letters, November 2). Our prayers on the Mount are deemed a provocation. Now, even our presence at the Western Wall is attacked, physically and historically. Our governments' response to stone-throwers is usually further limitation of Jewish freedom. In our own country, we have become the historic Jewish beggars who are easily intimidated and must plead for concessions from the more powerful "other."
We have allowed this erosion of Jewish rights to continue too long. It is time for our government to state clearly that Muslim religious needs on the Mount are honored because the Israeli government, which has jurisdiction, defends religious freedoms for all, including the Jews, whose rights may no longer be trampled with impunity.
Sir, - The Chelm bureaucrats and decision makers have done it again. They allowed a wanted violent criminal to make aliyah. ("Kirilik's past: armed robbery, violent tendencies..." November 3).
One has to wonder what his Jewish claims were under the Law of Return. This at a time when some sincere Jewish converts are denied citizenship, as are many of the Bnei Menashe who wish to make aliyah.
Not 'imports,' but people
Sir, - What insensitive use of language in the headline from the November 4 edition: "Committee chairman sides with farmers on urgent need to import 4,000 Thai workers." Thai workers are not agricultural implements. They are people who contribute mightily to the success of Israel agriculture.
Sir, - Kudos to The Jerusalem Post for the oped by Uri Savir ("Lessons from a great man," November 4) testifying to Yitzhak Rabin's true feelings and how he struggled to put forward his views on the possibility of peace with our Arab neighbors. Savir was very close to Rabin, so we know how strongly Rabin felt about gaining peace with our neighbors; because he had almost succeeded, he was brutally murdered.
Thanks also for reprinting Rabin's last speech in the Knesset ("A code for peace") where he laid our pretty much his whole philosophy about how to get to a peaceful solution with the Palestinians.
Dare we hope that another Yitzhak Rabin will arise to lead us to a peaceful solution to our problems ? Let us hope so.
Our negotiating partner
Sir, - Ron Pundak, an Oslo progenitor, declares: "It is worth recalling that it is the Palestine Liberation Organization that represents the Palestinians in negotiations with Israel" ("Only disunity will produce two states," November 1).
Hence the imperative to recall Yehoshafat Harkabi's declaration, made in a Jerusalem Post interview on June 18, 1982, wherein the former head of Military Intelligence delivered the following significant insight apropos Israel's "partner" to be: "The PLO is a Covenant with an organization rather than an Organization with a covenant."