December 23: A ‘Post’ agenda?

You led your December 21 issue with the wrong story (“Syria would drop Iran for peace with Israel, senior IDF officer told US”).

A ‘Post’ agenda?
Sir, – You led your December 21 issue with the wrong story (“Syria would drop Iran for peace with Israel, senior IDF officer told US”).
In its place should have been the article on Page 3: “Yadlin: Israel would be ‘happy’ if Hamas took over Gaza.”
The assessment of Syria’s readiness for peace with Israel may be correct or it may be fantasy, perhaps even a bit of wishful thinking.
The Hamas takeover of Gaza, however, became a fact that we can assess. The results? Terrorism, the kidnapping of Gilad Schalit, rocket and mortar barrages, and a war to boot. Additionally, Israel’s reputation has been dragged through the mud.
The Military Intelligence assessment on Gaza, which we can now assess in hindsight, was completely wrong. This begs the question: How reliable are MI assessments? Clearly, they are not. And they can be very costly. In view of its failure to correctly assess Hamas’s takeover of Gaza, would I heed its assessments regarding another rabid foe, one with nuclear intentions, namely Syria?
Considering the way it placed these articles, perhaps The Jerusalem Post was also engaging in wishful thinking, pushing an agenda and even false hopes?
Harming Gilad’s chances
Sir, – While I sympathize with the father of Gilad Schalit (“Schalit: My son has been abandoned,” December 21), I think his widely publicized campaign demanding the clearly lopsided and dangerous release of Palestinian terrorists in exchange for his son is actually harming the chances for an exchange.
Hamas by now realizes that it cannot force Israel to releasing terrorist killers, but it knows full well that what it cannot do, the Schalit campaign to demoralize and confuse the Israeli public might accomplish.
Unfortunately, Israel has far too often shown that even minor public pressure can force it to make decisions it later regrets, such as the exchange several years ago of 435 terrorist prisoners for an Israeli businessman and the bodies of two IDF soldiers held by Lebanon.
It is important to keep in mind that some of those who were let go were being held in hopes of an eventual exchange for IAF navigator Ron Arad.
Thus, with all due respect for the Schalits, I respectfully suggest that they rein in at least their rhetoric, and perhaps their entire campaign as well.
Kiryat Arba
Opportunity for Obama
Sir, – I am a great admirer of Caroline B. Glick. From her comments about Jonathan Pollard (“A time to shout,” Our World, December 21), it would appear there has been grave miscarriage of justice.
Successive presidents have failed to facilitate Pollard’s release. This is an opportunity for president Obama to prove his integrity and compassion regardless of political issues.
First things first
Sir, – In his article “Jewish malware” (Comment & Features, December 21), Charles Jacobs tries to understand why Israel is unable to portray itself to the world in a more coherent and positive way.
Israel calls itself a democracy, but it does not separate religion from state, it does not allow Arabs to fully integrate into society, it refuses to make electoral reforms – and where is our constitution? The fact that it has been unable to define its borders adds to these problems and makes a non-Jewish world easy prey for Palestinian propaganda.
My question is, how can Israel make a case in the court of world opinion if it has yet to solve these basic problems? P. YONAH Shoham Define ‘British Jewry’ Sir, – Shmuley Boteach’s diagnosis (“Fixing the failures of the British Chief Rabbinate,” No Holds Barred, December 21) almost hit the mark. But it is neither the UK chief rabbi nor the UK chief rabbinate that is the root of the problem.
It is UK Jewry.
When refugees from Czarist Russia hit Britain’s shores at the turn of the 19th century, British Jewry was practically moribund. In a word, it had virtually assimilated. Immigrant ostjuden soon discovered that it would be impossible to make a silk purse of a sow’s ear, and so began to establish their own institutions. These thrive in Stamford Hill today. They are not part of the United Synagogue or any synagogue stream other than their own.
What of British Jewry? Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the man and his office, are paradigmatic, torn between deciding whether they are British Jews or Jewish Britons.
So they continue in a no-man’s land, going nowhere. I doubt whether Boteach’s solution would amount to more than window dressing.
The writing is on the wall. British Jewry must take the plunge and become British Jews, or these people will succumb as Jewish Britons.
Kfar Vradim
Torah smarts
Sir, – The December 20 letters condemning the recent front-page picture of Shi’ites mutilating themselves on the Ashoura holiday (“Photo smarts”) prove the profound wisdom of our ancient Torah, which denounces such acts.
In Deuteronomy 14:1, commandments 467 and 468 prohibit both slashing one’s self and mangling one’s head in excessive mourning, as idol worshippers did.
Hawaii on the Med?
Sir, – The Post missed the boat by failing to choose the most obvious headline when reporting on the choice of a new head for the Israel Police (“Danino appointed police chief,” December 20). Clearly, it should have been “Book ’em, Danino.”
Solving a problem
Sir, – I would like to express my appreciation to Lars Feder and to congratulate him for telling the story of the “Finnish refugees” who returned from the Soviet Union when the countries made peace (“Who is a refugee?,” Letters, December 15).
It should be noted that the first wave of refugees from Karelia,about 400,000 people, arrived in Finland after the winter war of 1940. They were not put in tents or displaced persons camps, but were taken in by the local population, which at that time numbered about 3.5 million people.
Residents who had a lot of land gave up some of it for the refugees. People who had room in their homes took people in. There was no economic assistance or support from any organization or country.
Finland did not have a second generation of refugees because the people who arrived there after the 1940 war were fully integrated into the country and were not used as a political tool to blackmail the Soviet Union, which never spoke about returning the occupied areas to Finland.
All those who want to solve Israel’s refugee problems should turn to Finland to learn how a nation can do so without outside help and in a short period of time.
UNRWA should be closed, as it makes people refugees forever.
In my opinion, the 1967 border is a fiction and there is no reason for Israel to turn over any part of Judea and Samaria to another country or people. It has the right to follow the pattern of retaining the territory acquired in wars, constant attacks and aggression by Arab and Palestinian neighbors, a pattern that was established by the Soviets.
Just as Finns absorbed and integrated those refugees who found a home in Finland, so should the countries neighboring Israel. Close down the refugee camps, enable those residing there to live, work, study and contribute to the country in which they now live. Call a halt to the discontent, hatred and terror that is bred in such camps.
May we live to see the day when peace finally reigns in our region and we enjoy the luxury of mutual respect and co-existence.