Letters to the editor, May 16

Left's 'racism' Sir, - Re "High Court upholds law denying Palestinian spouses citizenship" and "Left appalled by High Court decision on spouses' rights" (both May 15): I would like to know whether our Left would also consider the European Union's immigration laws to be "based on racism" - since the High Court's decision supporting the Citizenship and Entry to Israel Law follows closely upon the EU's perception of Staatlichkeit, the right of a nation state to take an inward-looking position, especially where immigration is concerned. The EU member states have learned the hard way that their overzealous application of human rights principles is forcing them to change their own long-standing national self-identities in order to accommodate the cultural will of the newcomers. And, like Israel, those states are tightening their immigration laws in order to protect themselves against such enforced change. The result may be a redemarcation of old divides between Christianity and Islam - but only the Israeli Jewish Left, so willing to give up on its own national identity, would call this racism. LILY SINGER Jerusalem Sir, - Ahmed Tibi is concerned that "husbands and wives, families and children will be torn apart." He must surely be aware that those who would exploit the reverse court decision - had it been made - would be responsible not for tearing families apart, but for blowing them apart. His decrying this very sane and correct High Court decision puts him and those who think like him beyond the pale of acceptance into Israeli society. DAVID S. ADDLEMAN Mevaseret Zion Sir, - The major problem with this law is that it offends our idea of equality and religious tolerance. Nevertheless, repealing it on that basis alone would amount to an emotional response which could endanger the lives of Israeli citizens, including Arab Israelis. The court's decision was simply the temporary extension of an existing law, which will soon undergo some major changes. Justice Minister Haim Ramon said the decision "appears to apply to a certain population sector, but I intend to make a law that will apply to everyone... [A] citizen of a hostile country won't be able to adopt Israeli citizenship, except under circumstances that the state will determine." One can only hope that the new law, while maintaining its focus on Israel's security, will come in a prettier package. OPHIR CHADOR Oakland, California Sir, - I am tired of hearing Israel castigated for its military strategy ("Petition heard criticizing Gaza artillery safety margin," May 5). The petition filed by the Association for Civil Rights is outrageous. When will these civil rights organizations start looking at how Israelis live - in dread of terrorist attack, day in, day out? Where is our right to live without fear? RONNY VAN DEN BERGH Yavne Anti-Semitism's alive and kicking Sir, - One may agree or disagree with the assertions of Robert Wistrich ("When Herzl came knocking," May 15) about what Theodor Herzl said, and whether he was later proven right or wrong. But one thing he said has definitely been disproved by history. He said: "Once we begin to execute the plan, anti-Semitism will cease at once and everywhere" (quoted in The Zionist Idea from Judenstat, page 225). Not only did anti-Semitism continue once the project of the Jewish state was started; now, in Israel's 59th year, it is stronger than in the preceding 58. JACOB CHINITZ Jerusalem Sir, - As a Jew, I get very pissed off having to bear some of the brunt of the ever-growing anti-Semitism that is now infesting the world. Israel and its suckered master, the US, are the most hated nations in the world. CECIL RENFIELD Sydney This way to peace? Sir, - Re "Anti-Zionist rabbi, Adwan agree to build relations" (May 14): As an American Jew, I am thrilled that an Orthodox rabbi in Vienna saw fit to travel to Stockholm to meet with Palestinian cabinet minister Atef Adwan. The two men sat down to talk peace between Israelis and Palestinians who support Hamas. In the final analysis, all Jews, regardless of a commitment to political Zionism - from Natorei Karta on the Right to Meretz on the Left - will benefit from such talks. On the other hand, if such contacts fail, bus bombings by Palestinians and retaliatory strikes by the IDF will continue, bringing grief and suffering to both Jew and Arab. CHAIM GROSS Brooklyn Sir, - How nice and surprising to hear a member of the European Parliament mention the importance of Judeo-Christian roots. And what a shame Muslims appear blind to their Judeo-Islamic roots. Perhaps if they opened their eyes to where they came from, the direction we are all going in would look a lot brighter ("Fates of Europe, Israel connected," May 10). MITCHELL BARNETT Tel Aviv Potentially lethal Sir, - Re "Saving ourselves" (Letters, May 15): Since no one is coming up with any ideas that work to combat the growing traffic death epidemic and we still are waiting for those elusive speed cameras, perhaps the best thing would be to put warning notices on cars, similar to those on cigarette packets, saying: "This instrument can be lethal." ZELDA HARRIS Netanya Customawry? Sir, - On a recent TV news program a VIP tourist complained about the unnecessary rudeness of airport staff toward tourists. My son was born in Israel and left at three years old. He is now 46 and lives in Houston, Texas. In 43 years he has visited here only once, for two weeks. He says he cannot stand the "intentional rudeness" of the consulate staff when he has to renew his Israeli passport. Sure, there are a lot of foreigners who do aggravating things, and some are downright obnoxious. But doesn't customer service mean serving the customer and being patient? JACK SHASHA Ra'anana Only in Israel Sir, - Once again we had the annual frenzy of children in search of anything inflammable to burn for Lag Ba'Omer. Fences were torn down, building sites were ransacked, branches were ripped off trees and supermarket trolleys became a scarcity as children carted off their precious cargo to hide from rival pyromaniac gangs. Why is it that in any other country this would be classed as vandalism, but in Israel it is not only tolerated but looked upon with a smile? NATALIE GILBERT Jerusalem Visual magic Sir, - Thank you for the recent injection of quality into your political cartoons section. The Tuesday slot, especially, is an absolute delight. RAANAN NACHMIAS Haifa