Doing Brits proud

This summer has proved to be a golden season for British sport, with a feast of gold and silver medals in a dozen major categories, including athletics, cycling, car racing and cricket.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Doing Brits proud
As an ex-Brit of the Zionist persuasion, I doff my kippa in awe at the feats of British sportsmen Lewis Hamilton and Andy Murray, who, on the same day, did Britain proud, Lewis by winning the Formula 1 race at Silverstone (“Hamilton delights home fans, Rosberg penalized,” Sports, July 11) and Murray by winning Wimbledon (“Masterful Murray routs Raonic to deliver again for grateful nation,” Sports, July 11).
This summer has proved to be a golden season for British sport, with a feast of gold and silver medals in a dozen major categories, including athletics, cycling, car racing and cricket. It makes one want to bring out one’s trusty cricket bat and tennis racket and take a swing for old time’s sake.
Too bad that Portugal won the Euro Football Cup. Just imagine if England or Wales had won that, too. It almost makes one think of doing a reverse aliya, God forbid!

Significant questions
The article on the Iranian effort at obtaining more technology for its non-conventional weapon programs (“Iran sought more German chemical, biological weapon technology than thought,” July 10) raises a number of significant questions.
For one, it does not at all make clear the degree to which Iran was successful in obtaining this technology. In addition, how could the German government, aware of its historical responsibility to the Jewish people, sanction any form of military contact with the Iranian regime? Another question relates to the threat by Iranian Revolutionary Guard chief Hossein Salami to use Hezbollah-Iranian missiles for the “annihilation” of Israel.
This bit of psychological warfare clearly has domestic and pan-Islamic audiences in mind.
On another level, though, there is once again astonishment at the willful obtuseness of the Revolutionary Guard chief, who certainly must be aware that in any non-conventional military confrontation with Israel, greater Tehran would be devastated from land, air and sea.
But it also raises the issue of where world outrage is at this clearly genocidal message. In addition, it leads to the dismaying thought of how the alliance led by the United States could sanction a nuclear agreement that in 10 to 15 years will leave Iran with a full-blown nuclear weapons industry and capability.

Even if Iran abides by the nuclear agreement – a naïve assumption – it would only delay its explicitly destructive intentions. Why did it insist on a 10- to 15-year limit rather than a lasting treaty? The answer can be found in Islamic tradition.
Ten years is the maximum amount of time that Muslims can be at peace with infidels, and only for the purpose of buying time to regroup before renewing their offensive. According to Raymond Ibrahim in the Middle East Quarterly (2010), this Hadithic precept derives from the 10-year “treaty” between Mohammed and his Quraysh opponents in Mecca. Since Muslim legal theory requires that treaties be of temporary duration, Mohammed claimed a dubious infraction and broke the treaty after two years.
The contemporary Muslim assaults on Israel followed this precedent, with major attacks occurring at close to 10-year intervals or less: 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, 1987-1993, 2000-2005, 2008 and 2014.
Once strengthened by lifted economic sanctions and informed by this tradition, Iran will repeat history unless we learn from it.
With Iran continuing to chant “Death to Israel” and 100,000 or more missiles stockpiled by Hezbollah, dreams of moderation could rapidly fade into a nightmare.

UNRWA and return
I would like to congratulate Yair Lapid for his passionate and informative article criticizing the raison d’etre of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (“UNRWA – Who asked you?” Observations, July 8). However, I suggest that the main thing that’s wrong with UNRWA is its support for “the right of return” of Palestinian refugees from 1948 and 1967, as well as their descendants.
These refugees are being held hostage – with UNRWA support – in camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in most cases without the possibility of assimilation or migration to other countries.
This is the right of all refugees.
With their exponential increase and the Palestinian insistence on a right of return, it becomes more and more impossible for Israel and the Palestinians to come to a peace agreement.

Pie in the sky
 In “Two immigrants hope to build up the demolition recycling industry” (July 7), I was amazed to learn that the current recycling of construction waste in Israel produces only low-quality materials, such as gravel used as under-fill for roads.
Anybody who travels on Route 1 around the current Sha’ar Hagai roadworks will note that the vast amounts of spoil material from the road-widening and rail tunnel- building are being reused within these infrastructure schemes, and that the vast hills of spoils are now being reduced without going to landfill.
The venture proposed by these Israelis (certainly, they are not still considered “immigrants”) appears far-fetched, given that the number of buildings being demolished in Israel is very small per capita compared to the rest of the industrial world. Indeed, one would be hard pressed to identify old structures higher than three stories compared with the 10- to 20-story buildings in the UK.
Furthermore, the concept proposed in 2008 was dealing with trash rather than construction waste. As such, this looks like a pie in the sky venture that the government was probably correct to dismiss.

Missed opportunity
Donald Trump and his advisers missed a golden opportunity.
Before the FBI came out with its decision to let Hillary Clinton off the hook (“FBI recommends no charges in Clinton email probe,” July 6), Trump should have said: “The American people will now have the opportunity to witness in real time the corruption of the Democrats and of Mrs. Clinton if the FBI does not ask for her indictment.”
A win/win situation: Trump would have been proved right – and if not, Clinton would have been forced out of the race. A shame it wasn’t milked for what it offered.

Smiles of joy
As I left the Western Wall recently, I noticed three buses parked right in the middle of the huge plaza, a strange sight. Even at IDF induction ceremonies and national holidays, one does not see this.
It turns out that the Haverim L’refua (Friends for Health) organization had brought in over 100 wheelchair-bound patients, mostly children, for their annual pilgrimage to Judaism’s most holy site.
Together with their volunteer caretakers, the group sang “If I Forget Thee, O’ Jerusalem” and “It’s a Mitzva to be Happy.” The smiles of joy on the many faces could not be erased as many observers choked back tears.
I could not help but think to myself how this significant event put into perspective the many other issues (Women of the Wall, political divisions, intra-religious conflict) that are the daily dose of reality here. The ongoing struggle for survival often obscures and camouflages some basic truths.
When questioned about who we Israelis really are and what our objectives are, one need only to witness this fundamental act of love to realize what really is important, and what Israel stands for.