Letters to the editor, December 15

Happy ho, ho, holidays? Sir, - I read Fox News online as much as I read The Jerusalem Post, and I disagree with MJ Rosenberg's opinions about the "war on Christmas" ("Fox News foments a controversy," December 13). Christians constitute over 85 percent of the American population and their right to celebrate and say "merry Christmas" is being squelched. Additionally, there was a factual error in the piece. Bill O'Reilly and John Gibson never advocated boycotting stores over this issue; they even got the LA Times to print a correction to the article that claimed they had. Contrary to Rosenberg's assertion, the actual myth is not "anti-Christmas animus," but the idea that the US Constitution contains a clause separating church and state. What it says is that Congress cannot establish a state religion, which is not the same thing as disallowing any religious practice in any location which is public. This latter situation, however, is what is going on today, and it would not have been approved by the Constitution's founding fathers. IRIS OREN COX Ra'anana Sir, - As a Jew who grew up in Texas, I can only shake my head at the idea of a "war on Christmas." I knew many very fundamentalist Christians who hated the type of "Merry Christmas" that O'Reilly and his ilk defend. Those good and conservative Christians openly admit that nobody really knows when Jesus was born. They understand that modern Christmas is a direct descendent of Roman Saturnalia and other pagan winter festivals, appropriated by early Christianity in order to help European conversions. These Bible-belt conservatives celebrate Christmas quietly and without all the marketing hype, as a time when they reflect on the birth of their savior. It does not matter to them that the season including Christmas, Hanukka, Kwanza, New Years and other winter holidays is blanketed under the wish for "Happy Holidays." It's only the modern fundamentalists who have a problem with such things. DAVID TEICH Petah Tikva Sir, - MJ Rosenberg's column shows how Jewish lefties bite the hands that feed us just to lick the boots that kick us. Fox News is the only network where Israel gets a fair shake. Bill O'Reilly went after Amiri Baraka, the notorious poet laureate of the state of New Jersey who accused Israel of staging the 9/11 attacks; and Sami Al-Arian, the Florida academic accused (and acquitted) of supporting terrorism. It is too bad our lefty brethren have no gratitude. If Rosenberg really supports Israel, let him combat the Left's persistent anti-Zionism, instead of malevolently attacking Israel's supporters. As for the debate itself - are secularists advocating the downgrading of Christmas? - Fox News is correct. For this reason I am sending all of my Christian friends Christmas (and not "Happy Holidays") cards. TOD ZUCKERMAN San Francisco Sir, - Though I am a Christian minister, I do not want to make common cause with preacher-politicians seeking greater influence, or pundits trying to increase their TV ratings. Still, I do feel concern about an all-inclusive holiday greeting that is sensitive to holidays of all except that celebrated by the majority of the population. There are too many stories in the media about schools that mark Hanukka and Kwanza, but not Christmas; and about places where red and green crayons have to be laid aside in December, as if the traditional Christmas colors somehow promote Christian doctrine. STEPHEN SCOTT Statesville, North Carolina Center-left is Right Sir, - I believe the popularity of the center-left parties (Kadima, Labor) and the poor showing of the Right ("Kadima still gaining strength," December 9) is not due to a shift to the political Left in Israel but the opposite. Israeli Jews are supporting parties that promise separation from Arabs, whereas the Right, while proposing to keep Judea and Samaria, is offering coexistence with millions of Palestinian Arabs west of the Jordan River - a prescription for our destruction. The Right needs to address this issue. YOSSI SHOMRON Nitzan Direct elections Sir, - The controversy over the candidacy of Ruth Gavison for the Supreme Court raises important issues ("Gavison unlikely to get Supreme Court seat," December 7). Those who oppose her candidacy object, in part, to her rejection of the court's "activism." The proponents of judicial activism claim that the court is justified in pursuing this agenda because the Knesset is not doing its job of legislating for the common good. The problem is that Knesset members are beholden only to their parties and are not directly accountable to the public. The only remedy to this problem is to institute truly representative government by the direct popular election of the Knesset. The Citizens Empowerment Center for Israel has been mandated by the president of Israel to deal with this issue, among others. JERRY LEVITT Kfar Veradim Sir, - It seems the game of musical chairs is played differently in Israel than elsewhere in the world. Everywhere else the game is set up with one less chair than there are players. However, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon saw fit to have 26 ministerial chairs, along with their offices their government-issued cars and drivers, secretaries and more - although the law originally provided for 18 ministers. All this at the expense of the public. When will this farce end? When will we have a true democracy, where the members of the knesset are elected by the people and are directly responsible to the people, and not a caucus of self-seeking individuals bent on their own good? SAM LEVY Caesarea Saving the NRP Sir, - The NRP has become truly the Non Relevant Party ("NRP's wrong turn," December 9). I would like to suggest a way to reverse this problem. All major parties agree that settling the Negev and the Galilee is important but only the NRP has the "foot soldiers" to do the job: Bnei Akiva. If these young men and women could be reoriented to make this mission their top priority, and if the NRP joined with Kadima, the equivalent of hilltop settlements could be established throughout the north and south within a month. The NRP should not give up on the West Bank. It would be in a better position to fight for the settlements there from within the government. PAUL BERMAN Shoham It's not an imposition Sir, - There was an important, timely and necessary statement in Ken Jacobson's letter ("ADL responds," Letters, December 13), about not crossing the line from promoting religious values to seeking to impose them. This goes for Christians, Muslims, Jews, atheists and everyone else. PETER SHMUEL LEVITT Netanya Heavy water Sir, - Two lawmakers in the UK are annoyed that surplus heavy water was reportedly transferred to Israel ("UK accused of cover-up in '59 heavy water sale to Israel," December 11). They say it was used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons here. Even if Israel did produce nuclear weapons as a result, has Israel used them against its enemies? Perhaps these lawmakers would have preferred the surplus heavy water having been transferred to one of the surrounding Arab states? VALERIE FISHER Ra'anana Glick generation Sir, - Caroline Glick's receiving an award in New York and another in Israel ("Warm receptions," December 14) shows that it does not make sense to have a new generation leading the country in all areas but politics. The old guard and their minions must go. Contiguity and free passage are words I would use in connection with the bypass surgery the tired gentlemen certainly need to keep their hearts functioning. When old hearts become heartless and the people suffer as a result, it is time they bow out and let go. So go for it, Caroline. BORIS CELSER Calgary Sir, - The world agrees with Caroline Glick's sensible approach and her big Jewish heart. She is all the more credible with her IDF experience. It is about time she take a higher government position than the one she held as assistant to Binyamin Netanyahu's foreign adviser. ALBERT BELLO Toronto Sir, - My heartiest congratulations to Caroline Glick on her well-deserved awards. Long may she continue to write her brilliant columns for The Jerusalem Post. MEL NARUNSKY Ashkelon Iranian friendship Sir, - As an educated, 65-year-old Iranian, I strongly condemn the threats of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad regarding Israel. He is too young to know anything about the Holocaust, merely parroting what he is instructed to say. Iranians have a long history of friendship with the Jews; such a fundamental attribute of a nation does not become distorted with time. I admire Israel's courageous disengagement from Gaza and look forward to a peaceful Middle East, one in which Iranians are liberated from the rule of terrorists. MASOOD RAJI Teheran Travel accessory Sir, - My colleague and I, congregational ministers, recently returned from a long-awaited trip to Israel. We read The Jerusalem Post every morning and found it to be informative, well-written and entertaining. Thank you for adding so much to our trip. RICHARD P. BUCHMAN Mequon, Wisconsin