December 28: Fenced out

Amotz Asa-El errs when saying the territorial era gave rise to political careers like Yossi Beilin's and Hanan Porat's.

letters 88 (photo credit: )
letters 88
(photo credit: )
Fenced out Sir, - One can choose to agree or disagree with Amotz Asa-El's assessment of Yossi Beilin's career in politics ("In praise of Yossi Beilin," December 21), but on one particular issue Asa-El errs. It was "the territorial era that gave rise to political careers like Beilin's on the Left and [Hanan] Porat's on the Right" that was actually the era of fence-sitting - populating Judea, Samaria and Gaza with Jews, as if compromise on land was not an issue. At the same time, holding onto the land-for-peace solution was seen as the ultimate answer for peace and security, if only the enemy would agree to negotiate. Now is the era of Greater Israel vs. Land for Peace, and that fence is not only tearing a hole in our proverbial pants; it is also tearing a hole in our collective heart. BOB YERMUS Jerusalem Dog's world Sir, - The German veterinarians who instituted the use of dogs in the Hagana were Rudolph and Rudolphina Menzel, and not Dr. Minze and Prof. Rudolphina as stated in "The IDF's best friend" (December 21). They began breeding local "pariah" dogs and "created" the Canaani - which was recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club. They also trained the Canaani and proved that this hardy dog was perfectly suitable for the army and police. It could even be trained as a leader dog for blind people. RUTH SCHUELER Jerusalem Sir, - Yaakov Katz's outstanding article is an excellent tribute to a very important military unit that few people know about. Anyone who has owned a dog understands the attachment between an animal and its master. Often, these are "one-man dogs," meaning that the dog and its handler are "buddies," both in combat and otherwise. That the animals are given the honor of a military funeral is very touching. May programs such as Oketz continue to be successful in the IDF. MAURICE PICOW Netanya Pressure's on Sir, - "A consensus in waiting" (December 21) hit the nail on the head by promoting continued pressure on Iran through increasingly severe sanctions. The mention of the upturn in Iraq and its possible influence on the political thinking of both major parties in the US leads one to a derivative conclusion. The positive events in Iraq and the "approaches for a quiet period" by Hamas suggest that now is not the time to relax pressure. On the contrary, the advantage, however slight it may seem, to US forces and the IDF requires that it must be utilized with the utmost vigor. Not for nothing did the United Nations insist on "unconditional surrender" in World War II, regardless of approaches for a separate peace on the part of Nazi Germany. D. MEYER Haifa Jews without Mormons Sir, - J.D. Elder writes of Jews who converted or raised their children as Mormons ("On Jews and Mormons," Letters, Up Front, December 21). It "all fits together," he tells us, since a mixed Jewish-Mormon family influenced Kofi Annan to condemn Holocaust denial. As a Holocaust survivor I prefer to forgo such "benefits." Rejoicing in our Jewishness and having lots of beautiful children is a better way to cope with and condemn the Holocaust. So thanks but no thanks to Mormon missionary zeal. ALFRED INSELBERG Ra'anana Rise up Sir, - Isi Leibler has it right ("Outright defeatism," December 21) - and Israelis should be shouting from every street corner and public forum his accusations of our prime minister's willingness to appease and make huge concessions even before negotiations have begun. What is left to negotiate if we have already declared our willingness to negotiate under fire, to return to the '67 borders with minor modifications, and to cede the Temple Mount to the Palestinians? What is left for us if our prime minister fails to protest the implied moral equivalency of "terrorism and incitement" of both Palestinians and Israelis? What is left for us when Olmert speaks only of concessions at Annapolis while Abbas reiterates the Palestinians' red lines and their suffering which can be satisfied only by the right of return? What is left is to raise our voices in opposition - to protest loudly and firmly this destructive path built on the perception of our loss of resolve. Yes, we should negotiate with clear understanding of our inalienable rights to this land and our determination to demand justice and reciprocity. R. EHRLICH Jerusalem Jews down under Sir, - The first part of "Recasting the past" (December 14) discusses a tour I recently conducted of Jewish Carlton, a suburb of Melbourne, and in which writer Andrew Harris participated. Many otherwise well informed people believe that Orthodoxy did not truly begin in Melbourne (and Australia) until after World War II. The purpose of the tour was to dispel that myth. However, it is wholly inaccurate to say that any part of Carlton was an "ultra-Orthodox" community. Carlton was no miniature Mea She'arim or Williamsburg; only a minority of the Jews were completely observant. But even the Jews who were not completely observant led traditional lives. True, on the tour there was only "a passing mention of anything secular" - however, this was because the focus of tour was Orthodox Carlton. I certainly did my best to be objective and not to "recreate" Carlton through "fables and myths," nor, as the title of the article contends, was there an attempt to recast the past. There was never a "stipulation" that participants "keep Shabbat." I take great exception to this. Whilst the tours were likely to appeal more particularly to Orthodox Jews, any member of the Jewish community was welcome to participate. As it happened, both the men's and ladies' tours had participants from all segments of the Orthodox community, and there were also some non-observant Jews. The atmosphere on both occasions was exceptional and everyone got on very well together. DAVID J HAVIN Melbourne