April 3: Fat of the matter

Tzipi Livni has little reason to criticize the obesity of Prime Minister Netanyahu's cabinet.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Fat of the matter Sir, - Tzipi Livni has little reason to criticize the obesity of Prime Minister Netanyahu's cabinet. Had she put the broad national interest before narrow party interests and joined the coalition, the ensuing cabinet would have been much smaller. Likud and Labor, working together, could pass legislation substantially raising the threshold for political parties to gain Knesset seats, thus depriving the small parties of their vital role in forming any cabinet. The small parties, to survive, would be forced to join the major ones, further increasing political stability. MACABEE DEAN Ramat Gan Unhealthy situation Sir, - Thirty ministers, plus deputy ministers - and still PM Netanyahu was not able to find a minister of health! This is a shocking situation; a deputy minister just doesn't have enough clout to force those in charge to pay out the money necessary to do what needs to be done. ("Failure to appoint health minister would harm services, experts warn. 'Deputy minister won't have the political clout to fight for budgets,'" March 31). LEONARD ZURAKOV Netanya Pledge of... Sir, - If you want to understand why many Israelis are suspicious that Israeli Arabs lack concern for the well-being and survival of Israel, read "Balad's Zoabi praises Iran's nuclear quest as means of deterring Israel" (April 1). If indeed Israel possesses nuclear power, this country has never threatened to destroy another country, as Iran does. Even the Soviet Union did not threaten "to wipe the US off the map." But Ms. Zoabi is not only critical of world opposition to Iran's threats - she is fundamentally opposed to Israel as a Jewish state. But Israel is a Jewish state, with civil rights for its minorities, in a sea of Muslim states in which Jews cannot live. Where do you see a Jewish member of an Arab government? Yes, democracy does mean allegiance to the host country! In the US, every school day begins with the Pledge of Allegiance. This statement of allegiance does not undermine American democracy. It strengthens the national need for loyal citizens who respect and support its principles. If Haneen Zoabi is not willing to accept Israel as a Jewish state with minority rights, she is identifying herself as a representative of those who would destroy this nation. R. EHRLICH Jerusalem ...disloyalty Sir, - Your page one story on newly-installed MK Haneen Zoabi was shocking and disturbing. As an American citizen who spends lots of time here with my family in Israel, I find it mind-boggling that a person like this could be seated as a member of the Knesset. How do you entrust a radical ideologist with the welfare of this state and all its people - Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs, Christians and others? Is not loyalty to country a prerequisite to being a leader in Israel? Obviously not. DAVID B. SHERMAN Brooklyn/Pardes Hanna So it was Sir, - We have no argument with Wolfgang G. Schwanitz's characterization of Amin al-Husseini ("The sheikh and the Shoah," March 24). The museum's online resources clearly demonstrate that al-Husseini was a lifelong, ardent anti-Semite, anti- Zionist, Nazi sympathizer and propagandist. During the Holocaust he knew about and actively supported the Nazis' efforts, and met with Hitler, who promised to exterminate the Jews living in the Arab world under British rule. In addition, among many other things, he spewed and incited hatred of Jews, broadcast pro-Axis propaganda, and recruited thousands of Muslim auxiliaries for Hitler's SS. PETER BLACK Senior Historian US Holocaust Memorial Museum Washington For the record Yad Vashem comments on 'A Righteous Arab', an essay that appears on Page 5 of today's UpFront magazine: Historians can argue, and disgruntled former employees can make unfounded accusations, but the deliberations of the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous Among the Nations are independent and jury-like, free from any outside pressures, including from the Yad Vashem administration, or from former employees. For over 40 years the commission has taken its responsibility to recognize the Righteous Among the Nations very seriously and is committed to fulfilling this duty with the utmost integrity. The administration of Yad Vashem never prevented the case of Khaled Abdul-wahab from being discussed in any of the commission's forums, and allegations that Yad Vashem's administration is intervening in the commission's work are categorically untrue. Mordecai Paldiel has not worked at Yad Vashem for more than two years, and his conjectures as to what took place are unfounded. The commission, in all cases, including that of Abdul-wahab, examines each case carefully, consulting with experts in the field, and examining all the evidence before it to see whether it meets the criteria for Righteous Among the Nations. Commission members are well versed in all the criteria, including parameters of risk assumed by the nominated person. Should new information - that changes the picture - come to light, it is the prerogative of the commission's chair, a retired Supreme Court justice, to decide whether to re-examine a case. In the case of Abdul-wahab, although he certainly acted nobly and generously in a time when few others did, the commission concluded that he is not eligible for the Righteous Among the Nations designation.