April 29: Short memory

It would seem that the author of the failed Oslo Accords, despite his acclaimed memory, has a blind spot.

Short memory
Sir, – It was with a heavy heart that I read your headline on Remembrance Day, “Peres: Now is the time for a peace deal with the Palestinians,” (April 25).
It would seem that the author of the failed Oslo Accords, despite his acclaimed memory, has a blind spot. Since the 1993 Oslo Accords over 1,000 Israelis have been killed in suicide bombings which began in 1994, the same year President Shimon Peres received the Nobel prize for those accords.
It is only seven years since Peres made his famous admission that, “we shall not repeat the mistakes we made in leaving Gaza.”
An oft-used truism comes to mind: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Sir, – Here he goes again. How many times has President Shimon Peres said “Now is the time for a peace deal with the Palestinians”? The record is wearing thin and surely it is time to face reality and realize that they will never want peace but only pieces.
Sir, – With all due respect to the office of the president of Israel, Shimon Peres must have his head in the sand. I am surprised that with all his travels and meetings he doesn’t see that Abbas is not a partner for peace.
Abbas announces he is for peace when he is in front of an international audience but in front of his own people he denies that. He honors terrorists and can’t even express the fact that Israel will be a Jewish state.
Peres further states that a new peace agreement will “'pacify” a “stormy Middle East.” He is joining other propagandists around the world that are trying to convince everyone that an Israeli- Palestinian peace agreement will solve all the problems in our neighborhood. It is my suspicion that he merely wants to protect his reputation as a Nobel prize recipient.
On her own
Sir, –With the retroactive “legalization” of three additional West Bank outposts despite worldwide condemnation of further construction in the occupied West Bank, Israel once again demonstrates that the greatest existential threats it faces are the policies of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Likud (“PA, UN slam legalization of 3 outposts,” April 25).
I speak with many in the United States who dearly hope that, if Israel precipitates a war with Iran, our government will show the courage that Dwight Eisenhower exhibited in 1956 when Israel attacked Egypt and tell Israel that she is on her own.
GORDON LOUTTIT Los Angeles, California
Poor education
Sir, – In Isi Leibler’s recent column, (“Personal Musings on aliya on Independence Day,” April 25) he makes a good point that as a Jew one can find greater fulfillment by living in Israel.
But, sadly, I must take issue with one of his premises. He writes: “And in a Jewish state where children automatically receive a Jewish education...”
If only that were the case! Since making aliya six years ago, I have taught in the Sternthal Reshit program of the Machon Hagavoah Le’Torah at Bar-Ilan University. It is designed for young men and women who, after 12 years of study in the Israeli school system lack the most basic Jewish literacy, which their peers in the Diaspora can acquire even with minimal Jewish schooling.
They choose to study in Reshit because it provides them with their first opportunity to find out what it means to be a Jew.
As one young man put it: “I always defined myself as a Jew without any real idea as to what it meant.” There is much work to be done in Israel’s schools before Leibler’s statement can ring true.
Misleading photo
Sir, – I mostly agree to what Moshe Matalon writes (“Time to equalize the national burden,” Comment and Features, April 25). But the photo and caption you put next to it are absolutely misleading (“Think how many brigades they could fill. Orthodox Jews listening to a speech in Jerusalem”). These are not Orthodox Jews, these are haredi (ultra-Orthodox) males, some of whom may have served in the army, even in combat units, while others have not, and some are too young to serve in the army.
If you want to show people who don’t go to the army, you should have shown also the many young unreligious and unpatriotic city youngsters who don’t even have the pretense of studying but just “don’t feel like it.”
Orthodox Jews mostly wear regular clothes, and they contribute their share or more to the economy and defense of our nation.
Formula failure
Sir, – Does Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman live on another planet (“Litzman claims psychiatric reform is ‘much closer,’” April 24)? Is he not aware that subsidies and promotion of infant formula is a total contravention of the World Health Organization code on infant nutrition. Let his ministry spend more on supporting breastfeeding, providing roundthe- clock counsellors in hospitals, subsidizing training courses given by recognized breastfeeding organizations and less on lining the pockets of formula manufacturers.
When will cabinet positions be given to people who are qualified for the job instead of to those who maintain the status quo of the incumbent government?
WENDY BLUMFIELD Haifa The writer is a breastfeeding counselor and prenatal teacher.
Unrecognized shame
Sir, – It is so shameful that nearly 100 years have elapsed since the Armenian genocide, and yet that ghastly murderous massacre has never been fully or adequately addressed.
In his very poignant article, “The Armenian genocide, a historical event that continues to haunt modern international relations” (Comment and Features, April 24), author Harout Harry Semerdjian outlines how 1.5 million Armenians were killed, 500,000 dispersed worldwide and 3,000 churches were destroyed.
Horrendous, but nobody cared, neither the church hierarchy, nor the European governments – forever fearful of the Ottomans.
US President Barack Obama’s campaign promise to recognize the genocide did not come through, like many of his other promises. There is a morbid fear of antagonizing Turkey, which refused to allow US troops to use the much shorter through its country into Iraq, which must have resulted in the needless loss of American lives. However America has remained powerless for a variety of reasons such at Turkey’s strategic role in NATO, while its radical Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to assume a dominant role in world politics including a recent veto against Israel joining NATO.
Haredi Zionism
Sir, – Dov Lipman’s opinion piece (“Why haredim should be Zionists,” April 24) is quite interesting. Lipman forgot to mention one source out of the Bible concerning the haredi stance on the state. The 10 spies were against entering and taking over the land promised to our forefathers and some of their arguments were similar to those of the haredim today, including things like lowering the level of religiosity and not having time to learn Torah.
The consequence was, as we know from the Torah text itself, a longer exile and delay (up to 40 years) until we could enter the land of Israel and obey the laws as they were given at Mount Sinai.
Even after we entered, established ourselves, set up our own state and government we had to wait about 300 years before Hashem allowed us to build our Temple.