December 14 UpFront: Mixed blessings

Let the Arabs have the oil. We have the brains, and soon enough, the former will dry up.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Mixed blessings Sir, - While John Brown and Glen Perry of Zion Oil and Gas may be optimistic concerning finding large quantities of "black gold" in Israel ("The making of a miracle," December 7), the reality is not as evident, and perhaps not really desirable. Although some crude has been found along the Coastal Plain, especially near Ashdod, the amount found so far is only a "drop in the bucket" insofar as the country's total energy needs. The big question, however, is whether it is really worth spending so much time and money on fossil fuels, especially with all the worry about the environment and global warming. It is much better developing alternative energy sources, including solar energy in the Negev and wind-produced energy along the coast and on the Golan Heights. Regarding biblical oil, when it is written in the Bible that "the foot of Asher to be dipped in oil on the head of Joseph," I think that the oil being referred to was olive oil and not petroleum. Olive oil is much more environmentally friendly. MAURICE PICOW Netanya Sir, - I for one am not rooting for the Zion Oil and Gas Company to find oil in Israel. This is not a vast, arid country like Saudi Arabia, Iran or even Texas, which can afford eyesores like dozens of oil pumps and disastrous oil spills. Ours is a small, delicate environment which is already being ruined. In addition, the need of the hour is to wean ourselves from hydrocarbons and pursue cleaner energy. Here water is our oil, and its scarcity may even promote wars. I suggest that the well-meaning Christian Zionists consider investing in either desalination plants or in digging for more large water reservoirs under the earth, such as the one found recently in the Negev. Maybe water is the "blessing of the deep crouching below"? CAROL CLAPSADDLE Jerusalem Sir, - I applaud John Brown and people like him who invest in Israel. I only wish he would reconsider where his money and time are invested. If you want an energy source and a potential to help Israel, I wish you would step outside in the daytime and look up. How about Genesis 1:3, "And God said, let there be light, and there was light." It even states in verse 4 that it was good. I only wish Brown would consider investing in research to improve collecting and storing solar energy. You don't have to dig kilometers to get it, and it won't potentially harm the resources we do have, such as groundwater and air. Let the Arabs have the oil. We have the brains, and soon enough, the former will dry up. J. STRAMER Beersheba Sir, - Texas oilmen would not have to be digging thousands of feet into Israel searching for oil if Menachem Begin had not handed Sinai over to the wily Anwar Sadat in 1979. Its Abu Rudeis oil field would today be supplying all of Israel's needs. AMNON GOLDBERG Safed Sir, - I think we should not get our hopes up. According to the latest figures, Israel consumes about 300,000 barrels per day, mostly from Russia, some from Mexico. So the projected 484 million barrels of oil is equal to about four years and two months of oil for the entire country (probably less as population and consumption increases). In addition, no fewer than 470 wells have been erected in Israel since 1947 in the pursuit of oil, and not a single one has borne fruit. At the end of the day, even if Zion Oil is successful (which is highly improbable), the overall impact won't be as monumental as your article presents. YOAV FISHER Tel Aviv A matter of facts Sir, - It is gratifying that Munib al-Masri promotes a Palestinian state living peacefully with Israel ("His Palestinian estate," December 7). Let's hope that his intentions are more trustworthy than his "facts." He states that: 1. "We gave away 77% of the land." The first partition of Palestine was in 1922 with the Arabs receiving 72.2% of the land (Jordan). That is, within the '49 lines Israel got only 20% not 77% of the land, an injustice indeed. 2. He wants the return to the '67 "borders," which the Arab League (including the PLO) never recognized. 3. UN Resolution 242 (1968) is about returning some - not all - of the lands for real peace. Recall also the 1968 Arab League meeting in Sudan declaring the three noes to negotiations, recognition and peace with Israel. It is encouraging, however, that he, and hopefully others, has finally realized that the Philistines mentioned in the Bible, a people who disappeared from history more than 2,500 years ago, were of Cretan origin. Masri can help more by creating better living conditions for the refugees living not far from his ornate palace, as we did for our refugees from the Arab countries. That would not only make his claims more credible but also alleviate suffering, a real and constructive step towards peace. ALFRED INSELBERG Ra'anana Kudos to Kanter Sir, - I couldn't help but be deeply touched by the story of Zohar Kanter (Arrivals, December 7), a young lady who arrived here alone from the States. How I admire the fortitude and determination of this young woman and how very sad to have lost both her parents by the tender age of 26, and to have lived by her wits while still not 17 years old. It saddened me to think that the relatives she has here, because they are religious, have distanced themselves, and are not at all supportive to this courageous young woman, and cannot see beyond her tattoos. What a shame that while they are practicing their religion they have no compassion. I truly wish this young woman all the luck in the world, she deserves it! LINDA SILVERSTONE Herzliya Pituah Sir, - Fearmongers would have us believe that all American or international Jewish youth are turned off by Israel, but reading Zohar Kanter's story gives me hope that this is not true. As for Kanter herself, she sounds like a very amazing person. She has gotten on with her life after personal tragedy through perseverance and strength. She is a great benefit to Israel and for all the Jewish people. ROBERT CHERNIACK Vancouver Real nerve Sir, - Calev Ben-David ("Did I forget thee, O Jerusalem?," December 7) strikes a rather sensitive nerve that has been painfully mooted for decades, and that is to what degree should Diaspora Jewry have input into the affairs of the State of Israel. Everyone could have opinions on various issues, but to organize activist drives to have these opinions influence Israeli policies is a different issue entirely. Personally, I've always felt that unless one lives here and is ready to sacrifice his/her life and the lives of his/her children for the defense of this country, they should keep their opinions to themselves. To sit and enjoy the luxurious fleshpots of the Diaspora while trying to dictate Israeli policies is patently immoral. HAIM M. LERNER Ganei Tikva Food for thought Sir, - As a lover of anything to do with good food I should be delighted that are now so many cookery articles appearing in The Jerusalem Post and its various supplements. Sadly, quite the opposite is true, I am frequently frustrated and annoyed after reading most of these, especially the recipes. They are invariably extravagant, fiddly, time-consuming and, worst of all, contain ingredients difficult or impossible to find in Israel. As an example, a frequently called-for ingredient is heavy or double cream for which the only cream available here, whipping cream, is a very poor substitute. The only cookery page that I bother to read now is Judy Montagu's Short Order. Her articles are entertaining and the recipes she gives practical, they never take hours to make, do not leave me with a sink full of utensils to wash up and, best of all, the results are unfailingly delicious. LOLA S. COHEN Jerusalem