Tribute to Peres
Sir, – Uri Savir’s tribute “30 years with Shimon Peres” (Savir’s Corner, October 10) provided readers with a fascinating picture of the qualities of one of Israel’s great leaders. For me, having always been opposed to the political views of Peres, it provided interesting information, enabling an increased respect for this elder statesman.
What a shame, though, that Savir could not avoid expressing his intense dislike for our current prime minister. An honest and unbiased assessment would have required him to admit that the attitudes adopted by Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian successor have been solely responsible for the failure of peace negotiations to advance.
Many Israelis still feel that the Oslo process resulted in recurrent Palestinian acts of hostility and has to be regarded as a failed Peres endeavor.MONTY M. ZION
Sir,– I read very carefully the column in which Uri Savir praises the qualities and achievements of Shimon Peres.
Savir deserves credit for a masterful presentation of Peres as the ultimate international peacemaker.
The choice words of acclaim for his mentor are numerous and glamorous. Yet with respect but also heated objection, I must accuse Savir of cerebral ignorance and blindness in the face of today’s realities.
Beginning with Oslo and continuing with decades of philosophical obtuseness, Peres has been perhaps the main personality guilty of misleading Israel and its useful-idiot friends in appeasing Israel’s enemies. Contrary to Savir’s opinion that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is “an anti-Oslo advocate who could not implement the continuation of the historic agreement,” the truth is exactly the opposite.
The false god of Oslo, championed by Shimon Peres, not only cost hundreds of Jewish lives, but whetted the appetites of our foes. It is they who abrogated “the agreement,” not Israel. Savir, as usual, continues to insult the intelligence of the Israeli reader.YITZCHAK BEN-SHMUEL
A Jewish soldier
Sir, – First of all, happy birthday to Ted Marchand (“The celebrations are in full swing,” Grapevine, October 10). This is the first time I have seen the name of a survivor of the Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp.
My brother, Alvin Ungerleider, then a young officer in the US Army’s 29th Division, was one of the liberating soldiers of the camp. Alvin saw the death and suggested they all say Kaddish. The survivors then realized that this was a Jewish officer – they could not believe that an American soldier was a Jew.
My brother never spoke of this until 20 years after the war, when I had taken him to Yad Vashem and we saw the horrific photos. He suddenly said, “I was there.”
Brig.-Gen. Alvin D. Ungerleider served in the US Army for 36 years, including in Korea and Viet Nam. He was a brave soldier and a devout Jew.ANNETTE UNGERLEIDER MARTIN
Keep it green
Sir, – At first glance, the full-page advertisement on the back cover of your Succot supplement (October 8), featuring a beautiful scene of the rolling hills and green fields of the lower Galilee, seemed to have been created and paid for by one of the nature conservation societies, and I wondered where the money came from.
However, on closer inspection I looked at the arrows almost covering the idyllic scene and realized that the advertisers were developers intending to destroy the area with high-rise apartment blocks.
We need industry and employment, and we need homes. It is also a good idea to tempt people out of the larger cities and into the periphery. But we need green, open spaces or we will choke.
Instead of destroying the beautiful landscape, surely it would be better to focus on urban renewal in neighboring towns. There are many old and neglected areas where local residents as well as newcomers would benefit from the renovation and fortification of existing residential buildings.WENDY BLUMFIELD
Sir, – In “Vatican: Continuation of Israeli-Palestinian conflict could harm region’s Christians” (October 6), we read that the Holy See says the Israel-Palestine conflict will have “consequences” for Christians in neighboring countries, while the Vatican’s secretary of state considers military intervention and the use of force to protect these Christians “licit and urgent.”
Maybe the pope should review history and see that these same arguments, almost word for word, were used by his predecessors to start the Crusades.BARRY RYDER
Sir, – In “Juristocracy in Israel: When legality loses legitimacy” (Into the Fray, October 3), Martin Sherman worries about Israel being overwhelmed by millions of new refugees if those already here are treated too humanely. But this has been a non-issue since the Egyptian border fence was completed. There are only 55,000 such refugees in Israel and the number is going down, not up.
Sherman rightly points out that these people have created social problems in poor neighborhoods of south Tel Aviv. But there is a better solution than throwing them into a detention facility. If a fair and objective status-determination procedure were instituted and genuine refugees were allowed to work, as they are in other countries, they could afford to live in a wider variety of neighborhoods close to their jobs.
This solves another problem that Sherman brings up, that Israel “cannot bear the burden” of supporting so many refugees. If refugees were allowed to work they would not cost Israel one shekel. Indeed, being energetic and willing to take risks, they would bring considerable economic benefits to Israel, with many starting their own businesses and creating jobs for veteran Israeli residents of south Tel Aviv and elsewhere.MICHAEL GERVER
Sir, – With regard to the two letters appearing on October 3 (“Wrong move” and “Right move”), I was co-chair of the Council of Christians and Jews in Belfast for nearly 20 years. I have come to know and respect the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. They are genuine friends of Israel, and heaven knows there are few enough of those.
They offer practical help at every turn. After the Lebanon war I got a call from their Northern Ireland president, Brian Sylvester, asking what they could do to help. We decided on an ambulance, and with assistance from the Jewish communities of Dublin, Belfast and Cork, and from ICEJ supporters in both Ireland and Northern Ireland, we provided not one but three ambulances to Magen David Adom.
The Belfast Jewish community would be diminished without their heartfelt love and support. Never once has there been any indication of attempted indoctrination.
Indeed, it’s rather the reverse: More than once I was told how lucky I must feel to have been born Jewish.
As over 5,000 of them are here to celebrate Succot with us, let us laud them. Would that there were more of these good Christians in the world.SHOSHANA APPLETON
Sir, – With regard to the letter by David Parsons of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (“Wrong for sure,” October 6), at 10 a.m. on July 12, 2007, I went to the ICEJ and was interviewed by Parsons on his radio program. Afterwards, as I was leaving and had made it to the main lobby, he came after me and presented me with material I judged to be missionary. I felt used, ambushed and deceived.
I stand by my letter of October 3 (“Right move”).