August 31: In the national interest

The Israeli government would act wisely if it compared this strike action to the strike by federal air traffic controllers in the US in 1981.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In the national interest
Sir, – The Israeli government would act wisely if it compared this strike action (“Foreign Ministry workers to IDF: We’ll cut ties if you help PM’s trip to DC despite strike,” August 30) to the strike by federal air traffic controllers in the US in 1981. Then president Reagan gave them 48 hours to end the strike or be fired. When they didn’t, he did.
This strike by Israeli federal Foreign Ministry workers that impedes vital national interests should be dealt with in the same way.
The only result of giving in to them is a further “domino” escalation of wages in other sectors of the government and the subsequent damage to the federal budget.
Rabbi Yosef’s death wish
Sir, – Regarding “Netanyahu distances himself, government from Ovadia Yosef’s death wish for Abbas, Palestinians” (August 30), it seems that once again the pot is calling the kettle black.
The hypocrisy of the Palestinian Authority as expressed by Saeb Erekat and Jamal Zahalka, takes one’s breath away.
According to your report Rabbi Ovadia Yosef said that the Palestinian people are “our enemies and haters” and then asked God to punish them. He did not recommend that any of his listeners should go out and kill Palestinians.
This is the direct opposite of the Palestinian imams who call for their congregations to don suicide outfits and rid Eretz Yisrael of the Jews. Schoolchildren from kindergarten onwards are indoctrinated with hatred of the Jews.
Sir, – Why all the outcry about the rantings of one very old man (Rabbi Ovadia Yosef)? Apart from the fact that what he says is 100 percent true, and Abbas is an enemy of Israel, why is there such an outburst of condemnation? Why doesn’t President Obama condemn with equal ferocity the continued incitement and teaching of hatred against all Israelis that prevail in all Palestinian schools? Why isn’t a word spoken about the encouragement of young Arab children to be religious martyrs? CLIVE LEVY Petah Tikva Sir, – Prime Minister Netanyahu challenges the Palestinian leadership to take the negotiations “as seriously as we do.” Which faction of the Israeli government takes the peace negotiations seriously? Certainly not Shas. Their holierthan- holy Rabbi Ovadia Yosef condemns Abbas and Palestinians as “evil” and calls for them to “perish from this world.”
Shas holds 11 seats in Knesset – enough to topple Netanyahu from power, should he discipline Shas for their rabbi’s inciting comments.
When Netanyahu publicly condemns Shas’s rabbi for his hateful rhetoric, then I’ll believe Netanyahu has the courage and commitment to make peace.
JUDY BAMBERGER O’Connor, Australia
Sir, – I would recommend that Mr. Jamal Zahalka get ready to build a lot of jails.
He stated that “if God forbid a Muslim religious leader would express similar sentiments [like those of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef] toward Jews, he would immediately be arrested.” With all the fiery anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric dispensed on a daily basis and more so in the Friday sermons by dozens of imams, Mr. Zahalka would be welladvised to get busy building the jails to house all of those religious leaders.
ZE’EV M. SHANDALOV Ma’aleh Adumim
When right meets might
Sir, – Regarding “The real world versus fantasy land” (August 30) and the impending direct talks, it’s time to recognize rights versus reality. Rights are “inalienable” – until they are confronted by the reality of power. It is “fantasy land” to think otherwise.
Why did the British withdraw from their Palestine Mandate on May 14, 1948? Was it in respect of the right of Jews to establish a Jewish state? Or was it because the post-World War II financial and human cost to maintain their presence was too great? Certainly, it was the latter.
Was the British Empire established by right or by power? Certainly, the latter.
Did the countries of Western Europe establish their colonies by right or by power? Certainly, the latter. Did they relinquish their colonies because they became enlightened? Hardly.
The Arab and Muslim countries surrounding Israel are, essentially, dictatorships. Do the leaders rule by right or by power? Certainly, the latter. Do the leaders do some bad, bad things? Yes.
Are they ostracized and threatened with boycotts and delegitimization? No. Do they have diplomatic relations and trade freely with non-Arab and non- Muslim countries? Yes.
Reality shows rights are insignificant in the face of power.
What is the current Israel-Palestinian reality? Israel is strong. The Palestinians are divided and weak. There is no need to either beg or bribe the Palestinians to negotiate for peace. Peace is in their hands. If they want it, they can have it, but not on their terms. Again, not on their terms.
Israel does not need to concede territory. Rather, it should continue to expand and refuse any land-offset. The longer the Palestinians wait to implement an “end of conflict” agreement, the smaller their state will be.
That is their incentive to negotiate.
The Palestinians and their friends can make Israel miserable.
But Israel can make the Palestinians infinitely more miserable.
The resolution of our conflict will not be about rights, it will be about will.
Will Israel prevail as the sovereign, eternal state of the Jewish people as a matter of right? Not a chance.
Conscience can be nonsense
Sir, – Acting according to one’s conscience seems to have become a fashionable reason for action (“36 artists sign letter refusing to perform in Ariel settlement,” August 29).
By that reasoning, someone could just as easily say that they refused to perform in front of Ashkenazim, or Sephardim, or Arabs, or people of dark-colored skin, or people of light-colored skin. People could use the same reasoning to support honor killings, or terrorist bombings of innocent youth. Acting according to one’s conscience is an important factor to be considered, but does not in itself make a decision a correct one.
Sir, – The idea of political theater is totally abhorrent. The job of theater, actors, performers is to bridge the gaps among all population groups. The themes of good drama are universal. It is therefore truly abhorrent when a group connected with Israel’s entertainment apparatus, funded by the government, decides where and to whom it will play or perform.
Sir, – I cannot resist posing a very simple question to the actors, playwrights and theater directors who publicly announced they would boycott a new theater house in Ariel. Are you prepared to participate in a performance at the Western Wall, which is beyond the green line, or on Mount Scopus, which was accessible only by special arrangement prior to 1967? If yes, how do you distinguish between these locations and Ariel? And how do you distinguish between Israeli settlement in Jaffa and Ariel? Since culture should be universally available, I sincerely believe you should be prepared to perform and discuss these issues in serious plays that are performed in Tel Aviv, Ramallah and Ariel.
Not just ‘lamed-vav’
Sir, – I would like to take issue with two of your letter-writers (“Ariel ‘lamedvavniks,’” Letters, August 30). First of all, it was not 36 artists who signed the letter refusing to perform in Ariel – it was more like 53, and rising.
Why shouldn’t they object to being part of a scheme to take over part of the West Bank before there is any decision, one way or the other? As Israeli citizens, these people have every right to object to public funds being used to build buildings not in Israel. Until such time as the Palestinians agree that Ariel, and other areas, perhaps, should be given to Israel, we have no right to be there.