December 8: Internal strife

Why has this right-wing extremist movement grown to the level it has? Why has the level of violence against police and Palestinians increased substantially?

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Internal strife Sir, - While your editorial "Playing with fire" (December 5) had great merit, I felt something very important was omitted. The real issue is: Why has this right-wing extremist movement grown to the level it has? Why has the level of violence against police and Palestinians increased substantially? This observer sees several reasons: • While the large majority of settlers are law-abiding people, as the editorial noted, the media has gone out of its way to demonize them. • The Arutz 7 radio station was taken away and the "open-minded, liberal" sector has done everything it can to prevent its return, leaving the settlers with no viable forum to express their views. • The courts have gone out of their way to rule against the settlers - for example, imprisoning them for lengthy periods. • Time and again, the settlers have been been betrayed by the political establishment using democracy as a tool to outflank them. • the expulsion from Gush Katif and the failure of its aftermath; • the brutality of the police at Amona in February 2006. For all these reasons, we are headed for increased violence and internal strife. MATTIAS ROTENBERG Petah Tikva Unnecessary trauma Sir, - Regarding the Supreme Court's role in evicting the Jews from Beit Hashalom in Hebron, the question should be: Why did the court permit the evacuation now if the ownership of the building still has to be adjudicated? The violence and trauma of the eviction might have been prevented had the court, that repository of legal knowledge and wisdom, allowed the Jews to stay until the final verdict and appeal process. Only then, if the court found that the building was still Palestinian-owned, would the Jews have to leave, agreeably or forcibly. Now we could have a situation in which the Jerusalem District Court rules that those same Jews who were pulled out should be allowed back in! No wonder the Supreme Court is held in such low repute, and why there is such an urgent need for judicial reform ("What happens now to the Hebron house?" December 5). DOUG GREENER Jerusalem Next in line? Sir, - Now that Israel's security forces have shown the quality of their use of intelligence and appropriate force, initiative and surprise in taking Beit Hashalom in Hebron, may we expect to hear of the successful rescue of Gilad Schalit? ("Schalit activists demand end to visits for Palestinian prisoners," December 4.) JOHN TRESMAN Haifa Admit Feiglin Sir, - I found your portrayal of Moshe Feiglin inaccurate ("Let Feiglin be Feiglin," Editorial, December 4). I attended some of the early meetings of Zo Artzeinu. Mr. Feiglin never espoused violence; exactly the opposite. We were earnestly requested by him and other organizers to remain absolutely non-violent. I personally demonstrated with Zo Artzeinu and did not witness any violence. Most of the demonstrators did not even participate in blocking roads. If some demonstrations involved sporadic violent incidents, these certainly were not with the movement's endorsement. Mr. Feiglin's views are somewhat reminiscent of Berl Katznelson's. Katznelson was a socialist Zionist who, unlike many of his comrades, believed in building a state while maintaining Jewish values. He was noted for promoting some level of Shabbat observance and kashrut and other traditions even on social Zionist kibbutzim. Unlike Feiglin, Katznelson was respected by other socialist Zionists for his singular opinions in their party. As a Likud member, I would wish to see the present Likud leadership demonstrating a similar open-mindedness and not ostracizing Mr. Feiglin for reasons that appear to be based on narrow political interest. ALLAN FARBER Hashmonaim Minister of de fence Sir, - I sincerely believe it is high time for our minister of defense to stop strutting around like a little Napoleon, get "off the fence" and take some real action to defend our people ("Gazans fire rocket barrage on Negev. Despite escalation, Barak not in favor of large-scale operation," December 7). His repeated statements that we will not continue to accept the terrorist attacks, and his tiresome empty threats that he will take meaningful action, are no longer believed by anyone - least of all the terrorists, who no longer fear us. MIKE AYL Ashkelon Make time for love & marriage Sir, - It's always heartbreaking to read of people who run into great difficulty finding a spouse. That is why venues such as Bar-Ilan University's recent conference devoted to the lovelorn members of the modern Orthodox community are so important ("Libido and the Lord: Conference tackles sex and the religious single," Matthew Wagner, November 27). As a psychotherapist and teacher intimately acquainted with this group, I urge that the larger Jewish community be mobilized to make the societal changes necessary so these wonderful young people can marry and raise families of committed Jews. Chief among the necessary changes is communal attitudes toward career development. Young Orthodox Jews have every right to pursue a satisfying and rewarding career; yet the more parents and teachers, and society in general, encourage single-minded focus on career and material success, the less likely that any time or energy will be available for love and marriage. Something simply has to give. JOSH MARK Jerusalem Ties that blind Sir, - Ilya Meyer's "Equal value of all human life?" (December 7) provided an excellent synopsis of the damage caused by the activities of Diakonia. The Swedish Aid group also provides significant funding to the Palestinian NGO Al Haq, a Ramallah-based "human rights" organization that focuses almost exclusively on alleged Israeli human rights violations and carries out a broader (unstated) concerted political agenda to isolate and demonize Israel. This organization, a major participant in the 2001 Durban Conference, spends significant resources on lobbying against Israel in the UN Human Rights Council and is a leader in bringing lawsuits against Israel in Europe and North America. Diakonia itself hosted a conference on anti-Israel "lawfare" in September. The head of Al Haq has been denied exit visas by Israel and Jordan on account of his alleged ties to the PFLP. In addition to significant support from Diakonia, Al Haq is funded by the Canadian, Norwegian and Irish governments, and the British Christian Aid. The time for an independent review of government funding for NGOs like Diakonia and Al Haq is long overdue. ANNE HERZBERG, Legal Adviser, NGO Monitor Jerusalem CORRECTION The first paragraph of Ilya Meyer's op-ed "Equal value of human life?" (December 7) should have read: "Is it unreasonable to provide information about the Holocaust without at the same time providing information about the Nakba - the 'catastrophe' of the Palestinian Arabs who became refugees in Israel's 1948 War of Independence?" and not as it appeared.