April 17: Read these words

"After 1936 everyone with eyes in his head knew that war was coming."

Letters 521 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Letters 521
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Read these words Sir, – Your front-page news item (“After Iran nuke talks in Istanbul, sides to meet again in May,” April 15) brings to mind part of a 1941 essay by George Orwell, called “The Lion and the Unicorn,” in which he referred to the way Hitler hoodwinked so many leading politicians of the time.
“After 1934,” Orwell wrote, “it was known that Germany was rearming. After 1936 everyone with eyes in his head knew that war was coming. After Munich it was merely a question of how soon the war would begin. In September 1939 war broke out.”
Prison conditions
Sir, – Regarding “1,600 Palestinian prisoners threaten hunger strike” (April 15), I am in full agreement that there be a review of conditions for these prisoners.
I suggest that instead of the conditions under which they are currently detained, they be offered those that exist in prisons in the West Bank and Gaza, or in Jordan and perhaps Syria. I’m sure that any of these facilities would be far better suited to their needs.
FRANCES DASH Zichron Ya’acov
Opening Jewish homes Sir, – While the Johnsons think they are doing a nice thing (and opening one’s home to strangers is a nice thing), it appalls me that Jewish boys and girls are being hosted by non-Jews for Shabbat (“Evangelical couple sees calling as welcoming ‘lone’ soldiers for Shabbat dinners,” April 15).
I can’t see the proper Shabbat atmosphere. The food and wine are not kosher just by virtue of a non-Jew having cooked the meal and served the wine. They hosts may not openly proselytize, but the influence will be felt and, God forbid, have an effect.
Where is the Soldiers’ Welfare Association, which supposedly addresses the needs of lone soldiers and is the organization we donate to every year? It could ask us, for example, to host someone for Shabbat.
No longer witty Sir, – Regarding the question of Jonathan Miller’s faith (“Even our own,” Letters, April 15), I remember reading years ago that he didn’t consider himself a Jew, only “Jew-ish.”
At the time I thought it quite witty, but not any more.
First and foremost, us Sir, – How can Peter Beinart accuse Israel of using “excessive force” when in fact it has been so restrained that it failed to squash or even impede Arab terrorism (“Beinart’s bomb,” Comment & Features, April 15)? There are only a few cases of Israeli military commanders who have not agonized over the proper use of force. They often pay with the lives of their soldiers for such agonizing.
My answer? Shame on commanders for having such a cavalier attitude toward the men whose lives they hold in their hands. Never should their or our lives be sacrificed to save the enemy, civilian or otherwise.
More than enough Jewish blood already stains this land because of the weakness and incompetence of government.
Daniel Doron in his article writes that Beinart seems to believe Jews should give up their primary duty to protect life, especially the life of innocents, and forgo the sage’s advice that “he who is about to kill you, rise early and kill him first.” Imagine the lives that could be saved if we adhere to this basic principle.
Mofaz’s plan Sir, – After a careful reading and analysis of “The opposition leader’s peace plan” (Politics, April 12), I was both disheartened and disappointed. It was not easy to distinguish between this new offering and then-prime minister Ehud Olmert’s grand give-away of vital territory in exchange for no Palestinian concessions.
The plan is cloaked in platitudes of preserving Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, but they are hardly sufficient to soothe serious security and political concerns.
Mofaz ignores the Islamization of Egypt and the fragility of the Jordanian regime, the threat of Hezbollah in the North and the daily rockets from the South. He displays very limited insight into the reality of Palestinian demands about refugees, Jerusalem and water, and feels that agreements about these issues can be pushed off until after Israel has already given up territory. The sad fact is that the PA will not accept any agreement where these matters are not settled, with Israel caving into their demands.
As is being increasingly recognized, Israel’s maximum concessions are unable to satisfy even the minimum demands of the Palestinians. Unfortunately, the Mofaz program offers us no help.
Sir, – Much like a novice juggler of lottery balls, Shaul Mofaz recklessly throws land-swap percentages up in the air in his recent interview with The Jerusalem Post.
It is frustrating to note that Israeli military and political actors still believe that Arab Palestinians can be swayed and persuaded by percentages to nail their colors to the mast of peace. When is the ubiquitous penny going to drop? Arab Palestinians want 100 percent of Judea and Samaria and 100% of Israel. Those unable or unwilling to grasp these undisputed facts are inebriated on the mothballs of Utopia.
The writing has been on the wall of history no less than in the PLO Charter and the Hamas Charter.
Notwithstanding Israel’s compulsive- obsessive hunt for peace, it is unbelievable that Israeli leaders still indulge in juggling meaningless, over-abused landswap figures. These serve to systematically whet Arab Palestinian designs on Israel rather than the Palestinian appetite for peace.
A voter speaks up Sir, – In “A matter of culture” (PostScript, April 12), Hirsh Goodman writes: “The number of ministries has to be cut, the deputy ministers culled, and logic applied as to how the executive handles itself.”
The problems he identifies are real enough, and debilitating indeed, but they are the symptoms of the malaise, not the cause. The cause is our electoral system, which predictably and consistently generates a plethora of political parties, a multitude of self-serving MKs and a culture of corruption.
The solution, as everyone knows, is one in which at least 50 percent of the MKs, but preferably more, are directly elected by the voters in their districts.
However, the chances of any change of this nature being implemented by the same MKs who are the prime beneficiaries of the present system are nil.
The only way in which a change could occur is by the formation of a special-interest party whose only objective would be to change the electoral system.
The party would pledge to selfdissolve on completion of its mission. I would vote for such a party.
STEPHEN COHEN Ma’aleh Adumim
Change agencies Sir, – The Jerusalem Post is depending too much on the Reuters news agency for material.
I am sure you are perfectly aware of Reuters’s hostile and biased attitude toward Israel in most of its articles. More than once I was so appalled that I could not restrain myself from writing to them and asking if they had a stake in the destruction of the Jewish state.
Why in the name of God should you pay Israel’s enemy for pathetic information that could be gathered and obtained by a far-less anti- Israel press agency?
CLARIFICATION The April 16 op-ed piece “Burmese politics post-NLD’s overwhelming electoral victory” did not include the author’s name. It is Nehginpao Kipgen.