August 26: Scream and weep

The whole country should be screaming out against the proposed budget cuts directly affecting the war on road carnage.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Scream and weep Sir, - The whole country should be screaming out against the proposed budget cuts directly affecting the war on road carnage. People are dying in horrific collisions which could be prevented. Yet the newly formed National Road Safety Authority (NRSA), which is already implementing "golden patrols" around schools and productive safety and educational projects, is to have its budget slashed while vote-hungry politicians squabble. We have to face the fact that Or Yarok's service ads may be all that remain of the promises to the public that deaths and serious injuries on our roads will be reduced by a third in... how many years? Whatever happened to the network of speed cameras? Those of us who have dedicated our lives to saving others' may soon have to throw in the towel too ("Road Safety Authority fights cuts; Ministry calls body 'redundant,'" August 25). ZELDA HARRIS, PR Director Chaim B'derech Metuna Netanya Giving up Sir, - The government pulled out of Gaza and got nothing in return, unless you count the rockets that have been launched against us from the area. It has released terrorists and got nothing in return, except that some of them have gone back to shooting at us. It has now released 198 more terrorists, and we will get nothing good in return. What does the government propose to give up next? ("'There'll be no peace without the release of all our prisoners,'" On-Line Edition, August 25.) RONNIE STEKEL Jerusalem Unfair with the facts... Sir - Thank you for Calev Ben-David's "The 'expert reassurance' of Nicholas Kristof" (August 7), criticizing the New York Times columnist's "Tough love for Israel?" It is a shame that Kristof refuses to play fair with the facts in his analysis. For example, he belittles Israel's plight by comparing its conduct unfavorably with Britain's response to IRA terrorism. The two are in no way similar. Ireland has never denied Britain's right to exist or claimed sovereignty over London; whereas most Palestinians deny Israel's right to exist and demand sovereignty over Jerusalem, including Judaism's holiest site, the Temple Mount. And peace has come to Ireland without the mass eviction of people of British ancestry from Northern Ireland; whereas the Palestinians want all Jews expelled from the West Bank and seek to turn Israel itself into a majority-Arab country. Kristof also lauds Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas as a "reasonable partner." But in 2000 Abbas stood with Yasser Arafat in rejecting Israel's offer of a Palestinian state born in peace. And earlier this year, Abbas rejected ever recognizing Israel as a predominantly Jewish state and said he opposes terrorism today only for tactical reasons. Kristof ignores the fact that while the Palestinians have directed hundreds of bombings and thousands of other attacks specifically and deliberately at Israeli civilians, Israel has never deliberately carried out an attack for the purpose of harming an innocent Palestinian civilian. AHARON S. R. SILVER San Francisco the point of fiction Sir, - Far too long have we heard the phrase "peace process" bandied about in the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. "Process" implies give and take on both sides until compromise is reached. This has not been the case in the Middle East. While Israel has been required to uphold commitments and has forced "painful concessions" from its citizens, there has been no such demand from the "peace partner" that has openly refused to disarm and disband its terrorist groups. Relinquishing territory has only brought the enemy closer to Israel's urban areas. It is time to relegate the phrase "peace process" to the category of fiction. The conflict is not about territory; the demand that Israel relinquish land is for the purpose of weakening the state in order to destroy it. The enemy does not hide its true goals; it is we who are not listening! Secretary of State Rice is arriving for the umpteenth time to force more concessions from Israel ("Russia and Syria join Palestinians on Rice's agenda," August 25). She must be firmly informed by Prime Minister Olmert and Foreign Minister Livni that "land for peace" is out, and the new slogan is "peace for peace." CHANA GIVON, Co-Director Writing the Wrongs Forum For Pro-Israel Advocacy Jerusalem British Jewry is anything but smug Sir, - Re "Die-alog" (Letters, August 5): I find it absolutely amazing that your correspondent is so misinformed. The British Jewish community has been fully supportive of engagement and dialogue with the Christian Church for decades. This dialogue has been at a meaningful and practical level in up to 100 locations across the UK. As well as informing national religious education in schools and chaplaincy work in the universities, the British Jewish community has even, through organizations like the CCJ, made useful, pioneering and valuable contributions to the theological education of Christian clergy. Over 65 years ago, the then chief rabbi, along with the archbishop of Canterbury, was a founding member of the Council of Christians and Jews. The current chief rabbi and his predecessors have all been active in promoting dialogue with Christians at the local, regional and national level, on many issues including the Middle East. My own experience of the British Jewish community is that it is anything but smug and self-satisfied, as your correspondent suggests, but rather open and willing to honestly engage, debate and challenge, as demonstrated by the chief rabbi's address to the Lambeth Conference. I, for one, have found this both refreshing and enriching, and I would imagine I speak for many Christians in the UK today. DAVID GIFFORD, CEO Council of Christians and Jews London Garden Tomb Sir, - I was interested in Shelly Paz's news that "Visits to east Jerusalem sites are up dramatically" (August 20). I was, however, surprised that her survey did not include the Garden Tomb, probably the most popular site in east Jerusalem for Protestant or Evangelical Christians. We have found that our monthly figures very much reflect the 40% increase in Israel's incoming tourism numbers. During the first seven months of the year we welcomed 145,049 visitors, an increase of 37% on the same period last year. Our experience suggests that the marketing strategy of the Tourism Ministry is proving effective, but our growth is also explained by the increasing number of locals who now feel it is safe to come into our area. Israelis don't seem to have a problem in visiting a well-kept Christian site which has no entry fee! PETER WELLS, CEO & Director The Garden Tomb Jerusalem