April 1: No, Minister!

How tragic is it that the vital defense and finance ministries are handed out as consolation prizes.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
No, Minister! Sir, - There are wide-ranging calls for Amir Peretz's resignation as defense minister due to his poor performance in this critically important ministry. How curious, then, that he is now demanding the finance ministry, another critical ministry. These highly desirable portfolios require a truly qualified and experienced minister. How tragic to have these vital ministries handed out as consolation prizes ("Blind arrogance," Editorial, March 29). CAROLYN TAL Haifa Sir, - I would like to remind Amir Peretz of the famous old saying: "Better to keep one's mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt!" HELA CROWN-TAMIR Mevaseret Zion Facing up Sir, - While Michael Freund is quite right to demand "some fresh new faces" in Israel's leadership, the present electoral system is unlikely to deliver because there is no way for the electorate to target specific miscreants. The Jewish state must sacrifice a decidedly counterproductive aspect of its uniqueness and allow for electoral districts, so the Jewish people finally have the inherent democratic right to throw the rascals out ("Smoking engines and impervious clowns," March 28). DAVID B. GREENBERG New York Can't explain it Sir, - I'm perplexed by the prime minister's willingness to make, "sweeping, painful and tough concessions" in order to encourage dialogue with our enemies. Had Israel done something egregiously wrong to get to the position it is in as a country, I would say such concessions were necessary. But Israel has not. What's more, the painful concessions already made - for example, the withdrawal of troops and 10,000 people from Gaza - didn't result in peace, or genuine dialogue ("Israel set to brand Arabs as peace spoilers," March 23). MATTHEW BERMAN Herzliya Trifle hypocritical Sir, - How typical and ultimately hypocritical of Hamas spokesman Fauzi Barhoum to blame "international sanctions against Palestinians" for a recent tragedy ("We lost everything in flood of sewage," March 28). He seems unaware of - or deliberately obfuscating - the recently-disclosed fact that international aid to the Palestinians for 2006 was greater than the funds the Palestinians received in 2005, despite "international sanctions." It never ceases to amaze that the Palestinians never seem to be responsible for whatever adversity or misfortune befalls them. Perhaps this is leading to a diminution of sympathy from a world growing weary of Palestinian victimhood. Such tragedies are inescapable when billions of dollars in aid for the Palestinians are diverted or embezzled by their leaders. FAY DICKER Lakewood, New Jersey Stopping the war Sir, - Jews Against the War and other similar groups ought to be commended for challenging the American Jewish leadership's silence on the war in Iraq. Polls indicate that the group represents the majority of American Jews, and it is driven by a moral obligation to stop the disastrous war in Iraq ("The war in Iraq is just plain wrong," Arthur Waskow, March 29). SARAH NEWMAN Los Angeles New springtime Sir, - As Christians in Ireland from the Catholic, Protestant and Pentecostal Churches, we would like to publicly identify with the letter presented to a Knesset caucus on March 29 ("Evangelicals to present Knesset with letter of repentance for Christian crimes against Jews," March 27). We must not forget the debt we owe the Jewish people. We wish to affirm the need for all Catholics, Protestants and Pentecostal Christians throughout the world to keep acknowledging the common roots linking Christianity and the Jewish people, who are called by God to a covenant which remains irrevocable (Romans 11:29). This is fundamentally important for the self-knowledge of Christians and for the transcending of divisions between the churches. We are committed to work for the flowering of a new springtime in mutual relations, and would like to see more dialogue and cooperation between the Christians and Jews. We acknowledge that, as the Letter of Repentance says, all Christians have a need to repent for the part the Christian churches have had in the growth and spread of anti-Semitism in history; we seek forgiveness for this from God and from the Jewish people. Irish Christian Friends of Israel are committed to reconciliation and building friendship. PADDY MONAGHAN Irish Christian Friends of Israel Dublin Seasonal... Sir, - The story of whether marijuana constitutes kitniot - legumes - or not, as reported on March 27, seems less relevant to Pessah and more to the high holidays ("Is marijuana kosher for Pessah?" March 27). DAVID AMINOFF Jerusalem ...silliness Sir, - "Is marijuana kosher for Pessah?," "Woman with crocodiles strapped to her stopped at Rafah crossing" (March 27) and "Peretz convinced he'll be finance minister" (March 29) obviously indicate that it's our silly season - between Purim and April 1. YONATAN SILVER Jerusalem