December 4: Crazy criterion

I am a recent oleh, and I may be hopelessly naive, but why don't we just elect someone whom we think would be best for us?

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Crazy criterion Sir, - After reading the "debate" on your op-ed pages about how well Binyamin Netanyahu would get along with Barack Obama, I wondered: What other country on the face of the earth, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, would consider its relationship with another country as a criterion for judging the merits of its candidates for premier? I am a recent oleh, and I may be hopelessly naive, but why don't we just elect someone whom we think would be best for us? ("Barack and Bibi won't mix," Jeff Barak, and "Yes, Netanyahu can work with Obama," Yuli Edelstein, December 1.) FRED CASDEN Ma'aleh Adumim Man to appreciate Sir, - I followed the campaign trail of the US election with great interest and had a gut feeling that Barack Obama would become president. Whatever one's opinion about the situation, his book The Audacity of Hope, which he wrote prior to even entering the Senate, is a remarkable reflection of America today. It reveals a man of intellect and integrity, unfortunately not appreciated by skeptical viewers of Fox News ("Team Obama," Editorial, December 3). SARA SHAW Kfar Saba Fear of America Sir, - Eyewitness Jonathan Ehrlich, a businessman who narrowly escaped death in Mumbai, has sent out an e-mail about his experiences. He concludes: "The people who did this have no souls. They have no hearts. They are simply the living manifestation of evil, and they only know killing and murder" ("American Chabad House victim laid to rest in J'lem," December 3). "We - all of us - need to understand that. Their target was, first and foremost, Americans. Why? Because they fear everything America stands for. They fear hope and change and freedom and peace. "Let's make no mistake; they would have shot me and my children point-blank tonight without a moment's hesitation. Most of us know that, but sometimes we equivocate. "We can't equivocate. Not ever." MEIR ABELSON Beit Shemesh Bombay Jews Sir, - Thank you for your in-depth coverage of the Mumbai tragedy. For this Bombay Jew, it is good that your paper has clarified that anti-Semitism did not exist there ("A rich history now stained with blood," Shalva Weil, December 1). We were honored by the Indian community. They protected us and gave us total freedom to flourish as a Jewish community. Bombay Jews know that the unwelcome madness was committed by people without shame. PEARL SOFAER Palo Alto The writer is the author of From Baghdad to Bombay. Help for a hero Sir, - Are readers aware of any fund set up for Sandra Samuel, the Indian nanny who saved little Moishe Holtzberg in the Mumbai terror attack? I am interested in donating to a reputable fund that would provide for the support and well-being of this brave woman and her family ("Two-year-old arrives, together with his rescuer," December 2). ANDREW GROSS Los Angeles No mercy for murderers Sir, - It is particularly grotesque that even as the Mumbai massacre victims were being laid to rest yet another outlandish article should appear recommending the release of jailed mass-murderer Marwan Barghouti ("The lesser of two evils," Joshua Gleis, December 2). The proper response to terrorism is resoluteness and stern justice, not capitulation or misguided mercy. I found it even more ironic that the writer is pursuing a degree in law: Barghouti's release would make a mockery of the principle of law and order. I pray that Barghouti and terror leaders of his ilk remain rotting in jail for at least as long as their victims remain in their graves. STEWART WEISS Ra'anana PA-Hamas unity? No Sir, - I was uncomfortable with a report from the Saban center recommending that the US work to promote a PA-Hamas unity government ("US experts: Dialogue with Iran needed," Internet Edition, December 2). Given that in the last elections it was Hamas that won in a landslide, such a recommendation is dangerous even in a democratic framework. I can't see Hamas ever accepting less than full Israeli withdrawal, and even that they only call a "truce." I can't see them allowing any Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, even in the vicinity of the Western Wall. Of course, all Israel would then be in the perilous situation Sderot is today. Was the June 2004 letter from George Bush to Ariel Sharon completely worthless, a trick to get Sharon to withdraw from Gaza? BEN KLEIN Brooklyn Pollard's turn Sir, - At the end of the Clinton presidency, Shimon Peres and other Israeli leaders pleaded for a pardon for fugitive financier Marc Rich. It was granted. Today Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is asking her Thai counterpart for his help in commuting to prison time the death sentences of two Israelis accused of drug crimes ("Israeli facing Thai death penalty was framed by police, brother says," November 27). Isn't it time a great effort was made to free Jonathan Pollard after all his years of imprisonment? SHLOMO ZVI Jerusalem Looks aren't all Sir, - Judy Montagu's "Beauty and the Beast" (December 3) was a timely reminder not to jump to conclusions about a person based on looks alone, without doing a bit of investigating first. Unfortunately, this takes a certain amount of effort and people are lazy by nature. How much easier to classify others by their appearance, or to racially profile individuals. On a personal level, I also have misjudged people on account of how they look because I didn't do my homework properly. I guess that's one reason we have a Yom Kippur. P. YONAH Shoham Five little agorot Sir, - During this economic crisis we are all being careful. I see my favorite jelly (jam) on sale for NIS 13.95. Yes, I know that in actuality it costs NIS 14, but the store still succeeds psychologically in convincing me that the price is "around" NIS 13. But how can it be legal not to give exact change? If stores don't want to deal in agorot, it should be made illegal to mark prices in agorot. And those who don't obey the law should be fined ("Purchasing locally," Letters, December 3). MEIRA SCHWARTZ Jerusalem Nice one Sir, - Congratulations on the headline that graced your report on the problems raised by the folding of the company that supplied much of the American kosher meat market: "US customers stew as kosher meat gets scarce. Agriprocessors collapse cuts some supplies to the bone" (December 2). The sub-editor who thought that one up must have strained every sinew in the effort. He certainly wasn't chicken about voicing his ideas. LESLIE PORTNOY Netanya