August 25: Problem lies elsewhere

If “the train was built to serve everyone,” then we must have equal access to all cars.

Problem lies elsewhere
Sir, – To cater to the archaic Orthodox discrimination against women, CityPass CEO Yair Naveh endorses sex-segregated cars on the new Jerusalem light rail (“System could have ‘mehadrin’ cars – CEO,” August 24).
What’s next – ethnic-segregated cars? Jews versus Muslims? (Note the unfounded, pathological fear amplified by a question from the light rail’s own survey: “All passengers, Jewish and Arab, enter the train freely and without the driver’s inspection. Is that a problem for you?”) I am a frequent visitor to Jerusalem, and what is a problem for me is the Orthodox forcing their minority and non-democratic views on all. If “the train was built to serve everyone,” as Naveh is quoted as saying, then we must have equal access to all cars. Period.
That the Israeli government remains silent on this illustrates the stranglehold the Orthodox have on it.
JUDY BAMBERGER O’Connor, Australia
No comparison
Sir, – I am astonished at the fatuous comparisons Hal Goodman presents in “What if they opposed a synagogue?” (Opinion, August 23).
On one side of the scale are the radical Islamists who perpetrated 9/11, murdering thousands of Americans. On the other is Bernard Madoff, a crook who stole from his American customers.
Losing the American dream is a terrible blow, and criminals do terrible things. They get put in jail.
Losing lives is not reversible. The 9/11 perpetrators set out to murder in cold blood for ideological reasons. Thousands of human beings were killed as a result.
The synagogue where Madoff had his bar mitzva is still considered by even the greatest of his victims just a synagogue. The mosque they are trying to erect is not a religious statement, but a political one.
Sir, – Hal Goodman’s article is an insult to the memory of the more than 3,000 people murdered on September 11, 2001.
He attempts to equate what al- Qaida terrorists did at Ground Zero to the actions of people like Bernard Madoff.
What Madoff and his ilk did was nothing short of economic terrorism, and those who were his victims suffered and continue to suffer greatly. However, these victims can still be embraced by their families and receive muchneeded support. Those who perished at the hands of the Arab terrorists are gone forever.
Therefore, by invoking such a comparison in making the case for a mosque to be built at Ground Zero shows total disregard for the pain and suffering of survivors of the 9/11 attacks.
ZE’EV M. SHANDALOV Ma’ale Adumim
Sir, – My answer to Hal Goodman is as follows: If and when Jews fly planes full of people into buildings full of people, I will be the first to oppose a synagogue at the site of the attack.
It’s not about rights – it’s about decency and concern for the feeling of others.
EVA GOLD New Brunswick, New Jersey
A colleague remembered
Sir, – Regarding “FPA shocked by death of its chairman, veteran Dutch TV journalist Conny Mus” (August 23), I had the opportunity to know and interact with Mus for 23 years.
Last February, a Jewish journalist working for a foreign TV network was arrested by Hamas in Gaza. The reporter’s life was in danger. I can now confirm that it was Mus who negotiated the release of that reporter.
Conny should be remembered in the context of the adage from the Talmudic tractate known as Pirke Avot (Ethics of the Fathers): He who saves one human life is rendered as if he has rescued an entire world.”
That is how I will remember my colleague.
DAVID BEDEIN Director, Israel Resource News Agency
‘Bending’ facts
Sir, – It is always interesting to watch facts being “bent” to suit a political viewpoint.
Prof. Hillel Shuval’s letter about Gaza (“A writer’s rebuttal,” August 23) refers to “27 isolated settlements,” and then to “former prime minister Ariel Sharon, who put those settlements there in the first place.”
I can write about only one of those settlements, Kfar Darom, but that is enough. It was founded in 1930 on Jewishowned land, on a site mentioned in the Talmud. It was destroyed in the Arab riots of 1936-1939, and rebuilt. It was destroyed again by the advancing Egyptian Army in 1948, and rebuilt in and after 1967.
Ariel Sharon had nothing to do with its founding or with either instance of its rebuilding – only with its unjustifiable surrender.
Do something already
Sir, – I don’t get it. Each time Iran advances its nuclear program, Israel and the US announce that it is “unacceptable.”
And each time nothing more is done about it (“Iran begins fueling Bushehr nuclear reactor,” August 22).
What is the point of making pronouncements when one is not prepared to back them up? The writing is on the wall: If Israel does not take it on itself to destroy Iran’s nuclear reactors, Iran will develop nukes and use them against Israel. The only issue is whether Israel acts now, before the nukes are in place, or after the first one lands on Tel Aviv.
Yes, the world will be more compassionate if you choose the latter, but will it matter?
ABE KRIEGER Highland Park, New Jersey
Sir, – A loyal American humbly suggests that Israel not take the US government’s word that Iran is not yet a nuclear threat to Israel. Not only is America not looking out for Israel’s best interests, it is barely looking out for its own.
Any student of history knows to take tyrants and fanatics at their word – when they promise something spectacular, they always do their best to deliver.
Israel has been among the most forbearing of nations for the last few generations, but forbearance has its limits. Do not wait for history to prove itself all too predictable in its awfulness.
New ghetto tenant
Sir, – Thank you for the feature about Venice and its ghetto (“Making a splash with Venice’s Jewish past,” August 22).
Having just returned from there, I wish to inform readers that the old age home the writer referred to is no longer in existence. The building now houses Giardino del Ghetto, a kosher boutique hotel.
Finest hour missed
Sir, – With Pakistan at the mercy of Mother Nature (“World Bank to earmark $900 million of Pakistan loans to aid flood relief,” August 18), the world of Islam is resoundingly silent, shopping as usual in luxurious malls or building new ones. The aid flotillas are still heading for Gaza, but rescue for Pakistan is coming, as usual, from the hated West.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki moon is begging the nations of the world to give generously, with funds falling far short of needs. From the Muslim world there’s only a deafening silence – no marches, no demonstrations, no outpourings of solidarity.
This could have been Islam’s finest hour. Instead, Muslims should now all cringe in shame.
FREDA KEET Herzliya/Jerusalem
Wishing long life
Sir, – Regarding the August 18 article on human trafficking (“Zuaretz: Time to make impact at UN in other ways”), we definitely have to be more aggressive at the United Nations on matters of this type, and let them know about all we are doing.
Thanks to MK Orit Zuaretz and her committee, Israel might get some positive mention there – if we live long enough.