December 7: Value of Life

We will never be safe unless a serious message is communicated to everyone who ventures out onto Israel’s roads.

Letters 521 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Letters 521
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Value of a life
Sir, – I found the article “Drunk driver sentenced to 7.5 years for manslaughter” (December 5) very disturbing.
Naor Danino-Levy killed his 23- year-old girlfriend and injured two people. He received a seven-and- a-half-year prison sentence, a 15-year suspension of his license and was ordered to pay NIS 50,000 in compensation.
What were his crimes? Drunk driving, no driver’s license and driving without insurance! What is this? A life is equal to such a short time in prison and such a small sum of money? Where are our society’s values? Where are the court’s values? When these are the punishments people receive, how do they act as deterrents? We will never be safe unless a serious message is communicated to everyone who ventures out onto Israel’s roads.
Defining identity Sir, – One can agree or disagree with this or that element in “A misunderstanding” (Editorial, December 5), but claiming that a definition of Israeli identity “more in national terms and less in religious terms... more readily accommodate[s] the idea of ‘portable homeland’” seems totally illogical.
The State of Israel, with its very creation, was defined in national terms. In religious terms, no principal difference exists between an Israeli and a Diaspora Jew – only the bind with the land, its people, its mentality and traditions (here, unlike in the US, Memorial Day is not a big shopping bonanza) is what defines a true Israeli identity.
Tel Aviv
Butt out
Sir, – I really must protest your inclusion of some American rabbi who obviously doesn’t have the vaguest notion of what goes on in Israel but puts himself forward as an “expert” on our highest court (“Supreme Court is a danger to Israeli democracy,” Comment & Features, December 5.
David Eliezrie has the utter chutzpah to claim that the court is controlled by a small clique of judges and others who have no connection with democracy and, therefore, should go. This is an obvious ploy to counter Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch in her attempt to keep the court clean.
It seems to me that Beinisch is best qualified to know who should be included in the next group of judges. More power to her and to those who are trying to do the right thing.
The damn table
Sir, – The appearance of Leon Panetta at the Saban Center in Washington (“Panetta on peace talks: We can’t get to the damn table,” December 4) provided a real life enactment of the legendary instructions added to the printed speech a speaker was about to deliver.
The notes appearing in the margins of the speech stated, “Here my argument is weak, so shout and pound the podium.”
Panetta’s emphatic repetition of “getting to the damn table” likewise served as a pathetic attempt to mask the anemia of his message.
In the face of the Islamic upheavals in our area and a totally recalcitrant Palestinian Authority, it is a patent absurdity to urge Israel to make concessions in order to “get to the table.”
Both the anti-Israel and anti- American nature of the regional developments demand a much more sober and formidable response to its very real dangers.
Petah Tikva
Sir, – I, for one, never realized that there is a table somewhere at which the Palestinians – and apparently the Americans – are sitting, impatiently awaiting the arrival of an Israeli delegation, and that the Palestinians are ready, willing and able to reach and implement a comprehensive peace agreement.
Denver, Colorado
Sir, – When US Secretary of Defense Panetta criticizes what he describes as Israel’s “isolation” the way he does, we should have the most effective public relations effort to counter this.
Who better than Dan Gillerman, our very successful former ambassador to the United Nations? I feel he should be given the portfolio of cabinet minister in charge of PR.
This role is a close second in importance to that of the minister of defense. While we have a strong army, our diplomacy is not the caliber it should be. We need it now.
Herzliya Pituah
Natives are restless
Sir, – You report that British parliamentarian Paul Flynn questioned the wisdom of appointing a Jewish ambassador to Israel by voicing concern that there was a risk that Matthew Gould had “gone native” (“MP questions ambassador to Israel’s allegiance,” December 4).
According to accepted definitions of “going native,” this involves adopting the lifestyle and outlook of local inhabitants. I myself, also British by birth, have been living in Israel for almost 30 years and still think, act and behave like a right proper Brit – and am proud of it! If Ambassador Gould could manage this act of “going native” in the very short time he has been here it would be nothing short of miraculous. But then again, this is the area for miracles!
Mevaseret Zion
Sir, – Having heard Matthew Gould speak in Israel, he made it abundantly clear that he is in Israel to promote British interests.
The two-state solution that Gould advocates as the only course of action – and which unfortunately Prime Minister Netanyahu, unable to stand up to pressure, has accepted – is in fact the course of action that is going to destroy the State of Israel, putting in its place the Arab state of Palestine, which in Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s words will be judenrein.
Therefore I say to Flynn, rest easy. Gould is first and foremost a British citizen and has only British interests in mind.
Sir, – Like Paul Flynn MP, I am a proud Welshman. Even my most English of clients has never questioned my professional commitment to representing them.
Indeed, without unduly raising the “West Lothian Question,” I doubt that Flynn’s capacity to serve the UK as a whole has ever been questioned on account of his Welshness, whether as Labor’s social security spokesman under fellow countryman Neil Kinnock, or on the Public Administration Select Committee, where he dropped his now infamous clanger.
I’m sure that many were relieved to read about Flynn’s holidays in Israel. Perhaps now, when we hear outrageous comments regarding Jews, we can expect to hear more often the disclaimer that “some of my best beach holidays were taken in Tel Aviv.” After all, it’s not as if any person harboring racist attitudes has ever holidayed in the Caribbean.
Sir, – Paul Flynn opened a can of worms. He should have inspected its wriggling contents more closely before speaking. Let us follow his logic.
Would he object to a diplomat who happened to be a Roman Catholic from being appointed to a country whose predominant religion is Catholic? There are plenty of such countries in South America, not to mention Spain and Italy.
And what about such a diplomat’s responsibility to the Pope, his Holy Father? Flynn should remember that many well-bred Brits go native without ethnic ties. It is called the T.E. Lawrence Syndrome, as we here know to our cost. He could learn from the Yes, Prime Minister episode on the subject.