April 30: Smashing Ladies

Despite our gallant tennis team's unfortunate loss, my granddaughter and I enjoyed wonderfully exciting and entertaining tennis on Saturday and Sunday.

letters thumb (photo credit: )
letters thumb
(photo credit: )
Smashing ladies Sir, - Shahar Pe'er: You are an overwhelming credit to your country, together with Anna Smashnova, placing Israeli women firmly in the international tennis arena. We are immensely proud of everything you have achieved so far, despite the enormous pressures you had to shoulder. Your stubborn determination and will to succeed must surely overcome all obstacles in what is certain to be an illustrious career. Tspi Obsiler: You have proved, once and for all, your amazing talent, agility and strength - and my own personal belief, as a 72-year-old gymnastics instructor, that age need not be an impediment to strength and fitness. Despite our gallant team's unfortunate loss, my granddaughter and I, both aficionados of the game, enjoyed wonderfully exciting and entertaining tennis on Saturday and Sunday at the Canada center in Ramat Hasharon. Thank you, ladies! ("Czech mate! Pe'er defeat costs Israel," April 28.) GISH TRUMAN ROBBINS Pardesiya Appalling plight Sir, - Watching TV recently, I came upon a show that was trying to collect money for Jewish Holocaust victims living in Israel. They said those people didn't receive enough money to purchase food. They showed photos of their empty pantry cabinets. They also said they were collecting donations so the survivors could receive dental treatment. It appeared that because of their age, untreated dental conditions could result in disease and death. I'm appalled! God has blessed Israel with more than enough money to ensure that these survivors never lack for such minimal human needs. I think your politicians should bring a overnight remedy to this outrage. RICHARD HELLSTROM Lexington, Massachusetts Sir, - There is a saying in the US: "What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas." That said, I would add, "Whatever happens in Jerusalem touches the human soul of the world." STEPHEN E. BROWN Norfolk, Virginia With mom & dad Sir, - Some interesting statistics were released during the discussion about the recommended change in the custody laws. In about 500 of some 2,500 divorce cases last year, the father was awarded sole custody. More interesting, however, and worrying: In only 150 cases was joint custody ruled. With all the hoopla over automatic custody rulings, no one seems to be asking why parents share custody in so few cases, allowing the children access to both parents. Sole custody, even assuming visiting rights for the other parent, tends to severely limit the child's access to that parent, which is neither fair to the children nor in their best interest (except in special circumstances). Why aren't we promoting joint custody, for the good of the children, especially in such a small country where travel from one parent to the other is usually not a big deal? ("End gender discrimination in custody cases, committee recommends," April 28.) SHLOMO GOREN Beit Shemesh Friends like these Sir - It is a simple matter to identify with much of Isi Liebler's "With friends like these..." (April 29). However, one begs to differ with his assertion that "peaceniks" represent a "fringe group outside the Jewish mainstream." The notion of the modern penchant for self-denigration among Jewish people has been fully explored by Harvard's Prof. Kenneth Levin. Manfred Gerstenfeld praises Levin in The Oslo Syndrome, Delusions of a People Under Siege for bringing to light "this phenomenon of identifying with one's besiegers." Levin's The Stockholm Syndrome described how the phenomenon can affect an entire nation. Former US ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer, an Orthodox Jew who among other significant accomplishments was dean of Yeshiva University, initiated the acceptance of Yasser Arafat and his PLO through his PhD at Columbia University. Not surprisingly, he created a wide audience for the extraordinary idea of laundering terrorists in the pursuit of a vacuous peace at any price. Given that Olmert and his government seem committed to embracing the Arab political line, Liebler should not be surprised with the response of "Friends like these." ALEX ROSE Beit Shemesh Time to fight back Sir, - In the Dutch parliament recently, during a debate about Geert Wilder's movie Fitna, the leader of the Socialist Party equated Jewish settlement-building with the horrific crimes against humanity committed by Islamic terrorists. He said that in 1948 Israel committed wide-scale ethnic cleansing (referring to a book by Ilan Pappe published in Dutch two months ago). No one interrupted to refute his words. That same evening I wrote a letter to the SP countering the claims about settlers and ethnic cleansing, providing historical and juridical facts about the '48 war and Israelis' rights to live in the disputed territories. I also contacted the Dutch Information Center on Israel and demanded action against the SP. Its response was that the matter would be discussed in private with the SP leader. It is time to fight back against a biased world media and morally corrupt politicians who are strongly influenced by Arab propaganda. Israel has Jews who immigrated from more than 100 countries in the world. Most maintain close ties with their countries of origin and speak their native languages. In the Diaspora, many Jews, and others, are in daily contact with Israel and strongly motivated to support it from the outside. My idea is to form rapid-response teams of immigrant volunteers using the Internet to counter one-sided media reporting in Europe and the US. Jews and others in the Diaspora could function as media watchdog teams, with immigrants and native Israelis providing the context in which the conflict with the Arab world is developing. This knowledge would be used to write counterclaims to journalists and politicians worldwide. As a result of contacts I had in the Netherlands with Geert Wilder's PVV party about FitnaPost report about the financial aid from the Netherlands to NGOs hostile to Israel ("Watchdog slams Ma'an's Western funders," April 5), the PVV attacked the Dutch government and demanded an investigation. Anyone who has similar ideas or feedback, or who wants to help me set up such rapid-response teams is invited to e-mail [email protected] In a few weeks Israel turns 60. What better present for this birthday of our state than helping her in the fight against the Islamist jihad and a renewed anti-Semitism? YOCHANAN VISSER Efrat Strict, stricter Sir, - I was struck by a statement in Barry Rubin's "Stuck in the Middle Ages, Islam targets moderation" (April 28). Speaking about modern Islam, he observed that "mainstream clerics are more sympathetic to radical Islamists" (than to moderate ones) calling it "a key factor in the reformers' weakness and the Islamists' strength." This seems to fit not only Islamists. From my observations of Christianity in the US, the same general phenomenon applies. And, not to be outdone, we here in Israel also suffer from this pathology. Our moderate, "mainstream" religious leaders are also constantly looking over their shoulders to see which rabbi, with even stricter, narrower interpretations of Halacha, is about to denounce them for what might be considered a modern, moderate stance. It may be argued that Muslims, Christians and Jews are different, for various reasons. But this common regression threatens us all, and the resultant unhealthiness is debilitating and self-defeating. YORAM GETZLER Moshav Aminadav