Letters to the editor, March 3, 2006

Wonderful teens Sir, - Was Shaul Mofaz ever a teenager? And did he listen to his parents? How dare he criticize the parents who "allowed" their children to go to Amona. I, for one, am very proud of the teenagers that did go. The parents who should be held accountable are those of teens who are out all night clubbing and doing drugs. The wonderful teenagers who spent the night outside at Amona in freezing weather did it for the good of the people of Israel. They were standing up for what they truly believe is right. Shaul Mofaz should be ashamed of his statements ("Mofaz, Ezra defend Amona action in lively opening of inquiry," March 2). REBECCA RAAB Ma'aleh Adumim Here's mote in your eye Sir - "Don't worry about the Anglican Church," a non-Jewish friend assured me by e-mail the other day. "They don't know whether they're a church, a political party or a concert party. Here in England they don't count." Anyone who served in the British armed forces, as I did, will recall that people with no religious convictions usually declared themselves "C. of E." The one obvious development since then is the growth of anti-Israel prejudice among Anglicans and, especially, within their Church's hierarchy. Caroline Glick is therefore right when she declares that our two chief rabbis should not even consider meeting the "morally depraved" archbishop of Canterbury ("Being kind to the cruel," February 28). What earthly purpose would be served by speaking with Rowan Williams, who sees a mote in Israel's eye but not the glare in his own? If they are intent on visiting London, our religious leaders would be far better advised to make it clear that we appreciate the stand taken by Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and the moral fiber displayed by Williams's predecessor, George Carey. Otherwise, as Glick points out, Anglicans (and other Christians) will assume that "one needn't treat Israel or the Jews with respect, because we will exact no price for our mistreatment." GABRIEL A. SIVAN Jerusalem Edifice complex Sir, - Jerusalem's careless approval of the architectural beast the Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance is proving to be is an insult to the city's citizens. Quite apart from the loss of precious land near Independence Park and the resulting city-center congestion, the issue of locating this "Tinseltown" bauble in the one Middle East country which is open to messages of tolerance is absurd. Or, perhaps the Wiesenthal people did indeed offer it first to our superbly tolerant neighbors. Can Egypt, Jordan and Syria all have refused to give it a home? Perhaps the social and welfare crises now hurting large sectors of the working class here might be alleviated in some measure by a better allocation of these huge resources. I suggest the "Wiesenthallers" creep back to the West coast, and take their edifice complex with them ("A faux controversy - and ironic, too," February 28). HARVEY CHESTERMAN Jerusalem Citizen no more Sir, - I met Daniel Levinson, an Israeli and American citizen, in front of the Israeli Consulate in New York City recently. He had come to renounce his Israeli citizenship. I had agreed to be his witness. I picked Dan out of the crowd by the intent, haunted look on his face. He was obviously on a mission that gave him no pleasure. At his first opportunity, in 1968, he left the US for Israel and became a citizen. He fought in the Yom Kippur war and was decorated for his service. Dan married an Israeli, fathered two sons - both officers in the IDF reserves - and speaks warmly of his grandson. After living in Israel for 25 years, Dan left 12 years ago. As he recounted these details, his eyes filled with tears of sadness and anger. He bitterly blames Israeli officials for doing what the Arab armies could, and compared the trampling of Jews at Amona to what Cossacks once did to Jews in Europe. He showed me the letter he had written to the Israeli Consulate on January 31 explaining why he was renouncing his citizenship: "Now that [Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's]... irresponsible... behavior is being misused to negate Jewish history and geography in order to help Hamas turn the Zionist dream into a national nightmare, I feel compelled to resort... to this form of protest." I was also shown an op-ed he wrote 10 years ago whose title explained Dan's anguish: "Territory for peace: An invitation for national suicide." Unable to combat what he feels are muddled minds in high places in Israel, Daniel Levinson is exercising what he believes to be the only option left for upholding his principles. What a tragedy when Jews who often say, "We have no other choice," believe that the Israel option is also not viable. HELEN FREEDMAN New York It's a 'Mad' world Sir - Kudos to Gil Hoffman for his insightful "Keeping their heads down" (February 24). After reading his article it seems to me that what the populace wants is someone who incorporates all the traits of the leaders of the three main political parties, to wit: a person who will "not be taken seriously," who is "too inexperienced to lead," who "zigzags politically," who is "untrustworthy" and "egocentric." Needless to say it's not easy to find someone with all these qualifications, but I believe I have found someone who is up to the task (and no, it's not Shimon Peres - he does have experience). This individual once ran for president of the United States, garnering over one million votes, and ran on a platform that incorporated all the qualifications that our three candidates possess. His name is Alfred E. Newman and, while not a citizen of Israel, I'm sure he could be persuaded to make aliya. He even comes with a ready-made slogan: What me worry? YAACOV PETERSEIL Jerusalem