Letters to the Editor: May 22

Depressing day Sir, - Your paper of May 21 was one of the most depressing I've seen! The editorial "Intellectual dishonesty" showed how persistent the anti-Israel campaign is. Even after their boycott of Israeli academia was overturned the British teachers keep on trying, sensing that eventually opposing groups will give in and the motion will pass. Iran is threatening to annihilate us, and the world sits back and says tut-tut. The Palestinians daily celebrate their victorious eviction of Israel from Gaza and know that eventually Israel will retreat from the whole of the West Bank. The more pressure they put on us, the more we'll cave in. Shall we allow others to rewrite our history without shouting out the justice of our cause? Losing the propaganda war will condemn us to oblivion. CECILIA HENRY Kfar Bialik Writing to Ahmadinejad... Sir, - Shouldn't a letter similar to Gerald Steinberg's "Dear President Ahmadinejad... " (May 21) perhaps be sent to the Iranian leader? It is, after all, a wholly sensible appeal for reasonable, responsible action in preventing disaster to both Israel and Iran. However, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's views on world affairs are bound up with an apocalyptic Shi'ite teaching relating to the return of the Twelve Imam, a view which posits catastrophic disaster in Islamic lands before the realization of the jihad dream, and a total Islamic conquest of mankind. The Iranian leader operates according to a completely different mind-set than what we might call reasonable or sane. He is the representative of a culture gone mad. On the micro-level it is the suicide bomber, on the macro level it is the state leader willing to incur millions of casualties to destroy his hated enemy. Thus however good the intentions - whether at the UN or coming from the mouths of the most responsible world leaders - not even the sanest and most sensible words, appealing to Iran's best interests, are going to work in this situation. SHALOM FREEDMAN Jerusalem ...based on Islam Sir, - I propose an alternative to Gerald Steinberg's letter: President Ahmadinejad: Your aim to wipe Israel off the map defies the values of Islam expressed in the Holy Koran and through Islamic art. In Islamic art a uniform geometric pattern is purposely disrupted by the introduction of a counter-pattern to demonstrate that human creation is less than perfect. Based upon the belief that only Allah creates perfection, rug weavers from Islamic lands intentionally weave a small patch of dissimilar pattern to break the symmetry of their rugs. The Islamic artisan does not want to be perceived as competing with the perfection of Allah. Perhaps you see a continuous pattern, like a beautiful Islamic rug, running from Morocco on the Atlantic Ocean to the eastern borders of Iran. Shift your perception to see Israel - not as a blemish on that great Islamic rug, but as a small counter-pattern needed to realize Islamic values. The ingathering of the Jewish people into its historic homeland in the midst of the Islamic world is the fulfillment of Mohammed's prophecy in the Koran (Sura 17:104): "And we said to the Children of Israel, Scatter and live all over the world, and when the end of the world is near we will gather you again into the Promised Land." Switch your viewpoint to recognize the sovereign right of the Jews over the Land of Israel as the will of Allah, as expressed in the Koran (Sura 5:20-21): "Remember when Moses said to his people: 'O my people, call in remembrance the favor of God unto you, when he produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave to you what He had not given to any other among the people. O my people, enter the Holy Land which God has assigned unto you, and then turn not back ignominiously, for then will ye be overthrown, to your own ruin.'" This paradigm shift should transform your perception of Israel from an alien presence to a tiny golden seed from which a lush, green Islamic tree has germinated and spread its roots and branches across North Africa and the Middle East. As a devout Muslim, recognize the State of Israel as a blessing expressing Allah's will. PROF. MENAHEM ALEXENBERG College of Judea and Samaria Ariel Man kills dog Sir, - This came to me by e-mail: A man in Paris sees a pit bull attacking a toddler. He kills the dog and saves the child's life. Reporters swarm to cover the story. "What is your name? All of Paris will love you! Tomorrow's headlines will proclaim: Paris Hero Saves Girl from Vicious Dog." The man says, "But I am not from Paris." Reporters: "That's OK. The whole of France will love you, and tomorrow's headlines will read: French Hero Saves Girl from Vicious Dog." The man says, "I'm not from France, either." Reporters: "OK. All Europe will love you. Tomorrow's headlines will shout: European Hero Saves Girl from Vicious Dog." The man says, "I'm not from Europe, either." Reporters: "So where are you from?" "I am from Israel." Reporters: "OK... then tomorrow's headlines will say: "Jew Kills Girl's Dog." MONTY M. ZION Tel Mond Scary free-for-all on the roads Sir, - Living and working near home I rarely take to the road, but last Friday I had occasion to drive to Herzliya from Mevaseret, and I have to report a nightmare journey. Speed limits were totally ignored, with cars overtaking on all sides, cutting in and out to suit. Maintaining a safe distance between vehicles was not to be seen, and use of mobile phones by drivers was widespread. I was overtaken by a lorry owned by one of Israel's leading bakers at a speed of 120 kph. Had he had a mechanical failure he would have caused mayhem. Neither on the outward nor return journey did I or my wife see a single police vehicle. Is it any wonder, then, that "do as you please" is the order of the day on Israel's roads? Until a police presence is an overwhelming factor on our highways these dangerous and selfish drivers - impervious to the daily reports of traffic fatalities - will continue to make life unbearable for other, more responsible road users ("Three dead in weekend traffic accidents, topping weekly national average," May 21). DAVID S. ADDLEMAN Mevaseret Zion Sir, - In the UK relevant legislation is covered in the document known as the Highway Code, where fundamentals such as not parking on street corners, not driving the wrong way down a one-way street, not driving without both hands on the steering wheel, and the use of car indicators when pulling out or turning the corner are laid down. Such legislation apparently does not exist here - and if it does it is not enforced. It is high time the government got its priorities in order: The threat of murder from dangerous driving should be treated with the same priority as the terrorist security threat. Part of the problem is that road markings fade very rapidly because the wrong type of road paint is used. Many countries with temperatures higher than ours have clear, long-lasting road markings. Is our inferior paint a budget measure helping to provide more ministerial Volvos and other perks? COLIN L. LECI Jerusalem Sir, - After a driver has spent a year or two (sometimes much less) behind the wheel, he feels as comfortable there as he does sitting in front of the TV wearing his bedroom slippers. In such a setting, as we well know, it is easy to relax, even doze off. And yet that driver is part of a dynamic in which many changing factors, alone or in combination, demand maximum alertness in order to avert potential disaster. This is the inherent contradiction in driving. We must resist the temptation to feel "too comfortable." N. COHEN Jerusalem Messiah's forerunner? Sir, - Re "Who's living an incomplete Jewish life?" (May 18), I finally agree with something written by Larry Derfner. Is this a sign of the Messiah's imminence? ARDIE GELDMAN Efrat Sir, - To put Larry Derfner's article in perspective: 3318 years ago, Israel became a nation at Sinai. Forty years later, the Jews settled in the Holy Land. They lost their national independence some 2,000 years ago. Since then they have wandered, settled, and been expelled and persecuted all over the Diaspora. They practiced their religion despite all odds, and some say that is the reason for their survival. Only 58 years ago the Jewish state was established in Eretz Israel - nothing short of a miracle. This period, however, is but a small fraction of the long history of the Jewish people. The establishment of a secular Zionist state cannot detract from the religious life of world Jewry, which is alive and thriving. It should also not be instrumental in reducing the religious way of life in Israel for those Jews who wish to carry on their traditional mission. MEIR SHAPIRO Netanya Sir, - There are three basic elements in Jewish life: the Jewish nation, the Jewish land and the Torah, not necessarily in order of importance. Someone who is able to diligently serve all three elements to the maximum lives the most complete Jewish life. But anyone serving any one of these elements is also fulfilling an important role as a Jew. Those who serve in the IDF are serving the Jewish nation. Those who live here and are Israeli citizens serve the Jewish land. And, of course, those who carefully observe all the mitzvot serve the Torah. We should remember this when we cast aspersions on those we call "settlers," and be aware that here is a group that comes pretty close to fulfilling all three elements simultaneously. HAIM M. LERNER Ganei Tikva Enjoyable tease Sir, - We, a group of about 30 senior citizens, want to let you know how much we are enjoying and benefiting from your Daily Brain Teasers column. The "Word-Builder" game has proved to us that we are a pretty amazing group of seniors. We look forward to solving many more inspiring games provided by your newspaper. STAFF & MEMBERS Melabev Beit Hakerem English Speakers Memory Club Jerusalem