April 17: Bridge of courage

'J'lem's new bridge is a beautiful and courageous creation, and Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava should be presented with the keys to the City of Jerusalem.'

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Bridge of courage Sir, - Re Tom Hope's "Eiffel Tower of Jerusalem, or a hideous monster?" (April 11): I see the structure over the bridge at the city's entrance as a magnificent sculpture poised to soar into the heavens above Jerusalem. As I drive down Rehov Kanfei Nesharim ("wings of eagles") toward the city, it has the appearance of a jet plane taking off into space. It is a beautiful and courageous creation, and Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava should be presented with the keys to the City of Jerusalem. SAM STEINBERG Jerusalem Sir, - France has the Eiffel Tower, Sydney the Opera House, New York the Statue of Liberty. Now Jerusalem can proudly offer, alongside these masterpieces of creativity, the Calatrava Bridge. I am delighted to still be around to watch it being built. RHEA RUBIN Jerusalem Heart and head Sir, - I read "The heart, and head, of the matter" (April 16) with increasing surprise. Surely it's the heart that would say (loudly) to parents that they want a Jewish education for their children, rather than such an important decision being dictated by the head? Andrew Silow-Carroll gave as his main reason for Jewish education "the fluency in Jewish learning‚" and "Jewish literacy." These are important aspects, but not nearly as important as Jewish identity and knowledge of the history of the Jewish people and its Jewish practices, which have led to our position as Jews in today's world. If Mr. Silow-Carroll had reversed his head and heart, this column might have come nearer to many other Jews' philosophy. LYNNE SHAFFER Jerusalem The weak & the wily Sir, - Former Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov's self-serving explanation that Russia can help Iran with impunity because Iran is really not as dangerous as its repeated calls to destroy Israel imply, may contain, surprisingly, an important truth ("'Iran's leaders are not so stupid as to think they can destroy Israel,'" April 13). Iran may indeed exploit its incitement against Israel mostly to inflame greater rage among Sunni Arabs against Israel and distract their attention from what Iran has in store for them. Becoming Israel's top enemy also helps Iran assume leadership of an Islamic jihad against the West. Its investment in Hizbullah and in terrorism have already paid it billions in dividends by ratcheting up the price of oil after every increase in regional tension. But even if the wily Iranians are developing WMDs not for immediate aggressive use, this does not make them less dangerous. Their possession of such weapons will enable them to implement a strategy of fatally weakening the West by gradually raising the price of oil. Europe certainly, and probably even the US, will not go to war with a nuclear-armed Iran over the gradual rise in the price of oil even though the consequences - not least the massive transfer of wealth to Iran - may be disastrous for Western economies and for the West's ability to fend off an openly aggressive Iran. Once Iran accomplishes this strategic goal it will have plenty of time to take on Israel, by conventional and non-conventional means. More importantly to its religious zealots, it could take over Saudi Arabia and its holy sites so dear to every Muslim. Direct, rather than indirect control of Saudi oil may be just an added bonanza. DANIEL DORON, Director Israel Center for Social and Economic Progress Jerusalem MJ Rosenberg and Ahmed Tibi... Sir, - Thankfully, MJ Rosenberg's latest diatribe against "settlements" represents a minority view both here in Washington and in the rest of the US ("Remember this: 78-22," April 15). Taking a holiday from reality, Rosenberg would have us believe that if Israel returned to its 1967 borders, peace would break out. This despite Hamas's stated intentions and Mahmoud Abbas's inability (or unwillingness) to end incitement and demolish the terrorist infrastructure. If the Israeli Knesset has its Ahmed Tibi, then I suppose the American Jewish community has his counterpart in MJ Rosenberg. MORRIE AMITAY Washington The writer served as executive director of AIPAC from 1974 to 1980. ...on the fringe Sir, - I am stunned that MJ Rosenberg has swallowed the Arab canard that the West Bank is the cause of our conflict with the Palestinian people. It might be hard to remember over there in Washington, but there was no West Bank territorial issue when the conflict started and when the PLO and its offshoots were created. It would do MJ well to follow the Palestinian media: They want it all. When the few brave leaders of the Palestinians (such as Dr. Sari Nusseibeh) state what MJ claims - their concession to a two-state solution - they fade from the political scene. The column's language, too, was quite disturbing: "Few Israelis have any use for the settlers." What does that mean? On the eve of our festival of freedom and time of renewal, I would hope all Israelis will find a "use" for each other, strive for unity and not disparage one another. During my years in the IDF I was fortunate to befriend people from all parts of the political spectrum. In the army, that great Israeli equalizer, one gets to know others with different political and religious beliefs and respect their views. No one ever told me, "We have no use" for you. Luckily for us, it is people like MJ who are a "fringe element" on our human and political map. SHLOMO LOSHINSKY Ma'aleh Adumim Sir, - MJ Rosenberg's column had far too many factual errors to cover in one letter - just one example: 78-22 should refer to the 78 percent of Mandatory Palestine east of the Jordan River that is occupied by Arabs, leaving just 22% for the Jews, and not as MJ Rosenberg described. But one point was too glaring to ignore: his absolute refusal to face reality and his continuing to blame the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria for the conflict. Um... there are no horrible settlers in Gaza anymore, MJ, so why is a war being waged on us from there? Terrorism fails without the support of the civilian population. The terrorists, unfortunately, have it. EVE HAROW Efrat Sir, - MJ Rosenberg should remember that 78% vs 22% signifies something besides the percentage of Palestine that Israel has inhabited since the end of the 1948-49 War of Independence. Just months after Britain secured the Mandate, it lopped 78% off the original British Mandate for Palestine and gave it to the Hashemite clan to establish Transjordan. The true percentage of Palestine that Israel won in 1949 is therefore just 17% (78% of 22%). STEVE KRAMER Alfe Menashe Sir, - Read up on Arab history and religion, Mr. Rosenberg. Muslims cannot make peace with infidels, though they can trick you into thinking so. Ask Christians, Copts and Berbers. Don't be in such a hurry to believe what the Arabs say. Become a student of Yasser Arafat. Read what he said after signing the Oslo Accord. Our checkpoints and roadblocks are nothing compared with what Islamists have inflicted on the world's airports. Join us. Our settlers are the salt of the earth. Don't blame your own people for the Arab conflict. And stop begging for peace. Let the Arabs do that. CHAYIM SEIDEN Jerusalem Shop till you drop? Sir, - I wonder whether anyone, especially in Europe, noticed that the last time the impoverished Gazans broke out of their "prison" into Sinai, they spent an estimated $250 million in 12 days. And now Hamas is planning to give them another shopping spree ("Cairo issues trade ban to prevent Gaza breach," April 13). CAROL CLAPSADDLE Jerusalem