December 20: Believe it or not

Two items in your December 19 issue made me proud to be an Israeli. Yet a few weeks ago Israel was rated virtually bottom of all countries in all aspects. Whom are we to believe?

letters to the editor 88 (photo credit: )
letters to the editor 88
(photo credit: )
Believe it or not Sir, - Two items in your December 19 issue made me so proud to be an Israeli. On the front page was "Ben-Gurion rated Europe's best airport" and, inside, "Hawking to promote Israeli ALS research." Yet a few weeks ago Israel was rated virtually bottom of all countries in all aspects. Whom are we to believe in this world? MICHAEL PLASKOW Netanya One-way ticket... Sir, - I am not a violent person. But Ahron Cohen of Natorei Karta should relocate to Iran, where he can practice his religion, whatever it is, freely (?). Let the powers that be "take care" of him there ("Impostors in hassidic garb," December 19). SUSAN TARAGIN Jerusalem perdition Sir, - I am a Holocaust survivor. Four months after my liberation from the camps I met a most charming officer of the British Royal Army Medical Corps, who later became my husband. I told him that I hoped he felt, as I did, that bringing up a family in Palestine (as it was then) was not only a tremendous privilege but our duty to our country and our people. Day after day your paper has carried pictures of Jews calling themselves rabbis lining up to shake hands with our biggest enemies. One was of a bearded Jew giving Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a bear-hug. All of a sudden I had a flashback to the scene as we arrived in Birkenau: An SS soldier got hold of one unfortunate Jew who had a long beard and started cutting it off, together with pieces of flesh. At the same time, another bearded man was attacked by two Germans who took hold of his beard from both sides. With bunches of it in their hands they started tearing at it until a clump came away with the roots and flesh. The poor man collapsed, bleeding profusely. Thus acted the destroyers of the brothers and sisters of my nation. And today, does anyone doubt the intentions of Ahmadinejad, who promises that Israel will soon be wiped out? Any Jew who can put an X over the name of Israel and sit down with our greatest enemy will surely be erased from the book of life. Not for nothing did Isaiah say, "Thy destroyers and they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee" (49:17). LEA FUCHS CHAYEN Kfar Saba Long live ambiguity... Sir, - Sam Ser posits a false analogy between US secretary of state Robert McNamara's policy of revealing the true dimensions of overwhelming military force to deter "potential aggressors" and the nuclear ambiguity practised by Israel ("To hell with ambiguity," December 17). The USSR fully understood, and internalized, the horrific consequences of a nuclear first-strike against the US. But Iran's Prime Minister Ahmadinejad is a megalomaniac who has openly declared that he is willing to sacrifice half his population in order to destroy Israel. Such irrational and nihilistic logic cannot be compared to the deterrence that assured the geopolitical status quo 50 years ago. Long live ambiguity. FAY DICKER Lakewood, New Jersey ...not necessarily Sir, - I agree with Sam Ser's assertion that we need to put "all the cards on the table" regarding our nuclear capabilities. However, since our neighbors and the vast majority of the world are either openly supportive of Ahmadinejad's goal of eradicating our country or, at best, apathetic, not even our "going public" would act as a deterrent against Iran's ambitions, and there is little incentive for anyone else to try to deter Iran on our behalf. Therefore, in addition to ending the nuclear "ambiguity," we would simultaneously have to announce a creative, strategic "second-strike" plan that would give Iran, our Arab neighbors, and a good part of the Western world a reason to actually care if we disappeared. MENACHEM LIPKIN Beit Shemesh Unconvincing claim Sir, - A more accurate name for David Forman's group would be Rabbis for Palestinian Rights as he is totally unconvincing in his claim "to care for our own and for the other." In "Ours is not a nation like all others" (December 18) I saw no evidence of concern for our own. Forman's argument is confused and contradictory. He paraphrases a talmudic dictum which places accountability for the crimes of an entire household on the person who saw someone in his household committing a crime and did nothing to stop it. On that basis, Forman should be a leading advocate of the position that holds there are no innocent Palestinians, since they not only fail to stop the atrocities committed by members of their households, but rather declare, in word and deed, their support for the perpetrators. It is most unfortunate when our sacred texts are used as platforms for partisan and misguided opinions. ZEV CHAMUDOT Petah Tikva Kosher electricity Sir, - I feel it incumbent upon me to comment on "'Shabbos goys' set to switch on kosher electricity in 2007" (December 8). The term "pirate" suppliers implies that the electric company has a monopoly on electric production and that private generators are illegal. This of course is false. If "pirate" is an allusion to the professionalism with which these systems are set up, I can testify to the quality of the system I personally installed in our town, as well as that of the other systems I am familiar with. Licensed electrical engineers designed the systems and qualified electricians set them up. Engineers who have viewed our system have commented that the Israel Electric Company would be envious of our standards. Regarding the quote from the company official that our systems are unsafe and many children have received shocks but miraculously none have been killed, I can only say that no one I asked had heard of a single incident, and I believe the electric company official hasn't heard of one either. On the other hand, I have heard of many people receiving electric shocks from regular electricity, and I am sure even that official knows of those who have died. It is a shame that the only reason the electric company is finally trying to solve the problem is because it realizes money is being lost to private kosher suppliers. I would add that our workers don't get free electricity, nor do they go on strike. AVRAHOM BLUMENTHAL Jerusalem Credit where it's due Sir, - Chana Givon and I represent the Unity Coalition for Israel, founded by Esther Levens of the US, on the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus. I have been a member since its founding. Consequently, I found it disturbing that credit was not given to MK Dr. Yuri Shtern who, aware of the need to recognize the contribution the Evangelical community is making to Israel, created the caucus, and to director Josh Reinstein for his dedicated work in seeing that the project succeeds ("Evangelical leaders honored for support of Israel," December 19). JUDITH NUSBAUM Rishon Letzion Be warned! Sir, - A young English woman in her mid-20s is doing the rounds of the Anglo community in the Jerusalem area claiming she needs to borrow money and will pay it back, or some other sob story. She has already four files that we know of open with the police. Her parents in Ilford, London, are aware of her activities in Israel and recommend that anyone being defrauded by her report it to the police. She is very clever at giving names of her targets' friends and relatives to enhance her story, and she has taken large amounts of money from well-meaning individuals. Be warned: Don't be duped by this young woman. MOSHE BEIGEL Efrat