February 11: For next time...

Yesterday I rushed to my polling station for the 7 a.m. opening, and had to wait 15 minutes until the workers were ready.

letters independence day (photo credit: )
letters independence day
(photo credit: )
For next time... Sir, - In "Our broken system" (Editorial, February 10) you call on "Israel's political, judicial, media, business and spiritual elites to come to their senses." In truth, it's down to the general public to start using their votes in a more mature and sensible way. When the Israeli voter walks into the polling booth he is faced with a veritable supermarket of choices, from the older, known brands to the newer ones. Israelis, known for their love of shopping, often "try out" lesser-known brands. We have to understand that a vote for the smaller parties just leads to the same government paralysis we have become used to. A vote for the bigger parties is the best way to avoid it. Too late for the 2009 election - but no doubt the next one will be held much before 2013. MARK KAHAN Efrat ...yeah Sir, - Yesterday I rushed to my polling station for the 7 a.m. opening, and had to wait 15 minutes until the workers were ready. Why is being on time such a problem in our culture? When this nation gets professional regarding other people's time, then it will truly beoutstanding. SID SKIPPY MARCUS Jerusalem Wrong on all counts... Sir, - James Adler has it all wrong ("Why the 1967 borders work," Letters, February 8). His selective history and facile argumentation echoes those who want to dismantle Israel piece by piece. Adler, like many on the Left, artificially picks 1967as the beginning of Israel's serious problems. The pre-1967 "borders" were not internationally recognized ones. They were the cease-fire lines at the end of the 1948-49 War of Independence. That there was a previous war disproves your correspondent's main argument. Other inaccuracies: He implies Israel's borders were more secure pre-1967 than post-1967, citing the contrasting results of the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War as if added territory was responsible. But the critical difference was preparedness and decisiveness among Israel's leaders and generals in 1967. The "extra" territory, post-1967, saved Israel on the Golan Heights in 1973, when unpreparedness and indecision allowed Syrian forces to advance into Israeli territory. Contrary to Adler's claim, demographics have always been part of the equation, even pre-1948. Finally, every major war fought since WWII has proved that wars are ultimately won on the ground by controlling territory, not by lobbing rockets. Wars fought only from the air ended inconclusively. The Second Lebanon War is a blatant example. NURIT HARPAZ Jerusalem Sir, - I'm sorry to disagree with the argument that if we went back to the 1967 borders there would be "peace on earth," but I'd like to remind your reader that the PLO was founded in 1964, when the Palestinians had the whole of the West Bank and Gaza and, thanks to their ethnic cleansing after the War of Independence, there wasn't one Jew on "their" territory. The "liberation" in the name Palestine Liberation Organization refers to the bit that was Israel, and they tried their best to achieve that in 1967, and failed. But they have never given up their aspirations; and even though they talk of accepting our existence if we return to the "1948 borders," they haven't given me any reason to believe them. Every time we've given them something, they've seen it as another step toward their goal, and gone on to their next demand. It seems they will never be satisfied until they've driven the Jews into the sea. Until they realize that won't happen, despite the encouragement they're getting from the West, there will never be peace here. The only thing we can hope for is a cold peace while they decide they're better off improving their own country than trying to "liberate" ours. CECILIA HENRY Kfar Bialik ...and somewhat naive Sir, - The suicide borders of pre-June '67 Israel were in no way safe or free from terrorist attacks. And the only reason we were attacked from the post-June '67 borders was that Golda Meir and her advisers foolishly relied on foreign assurances instead of paying attention to the facts at their disposal. Mr. Adler's naive advice to us would never match his attitude if Brookline was firing missiles at Cambridge. CHAIM A. ABRAMOWITZ Jerusalem Healthy self-interest Sir. - Amitai Etzioni tries to introduce the element of selflessness into the economic and political messes of our time ("Regulating the pursuit of self," February 5). He calls it "communitariansim," not communism, for obvious reasons. I suggest that after the failure of Marxism in the Soviet Union, and the reduction of the role of the kibbutzim in Israel, intellectuals who cannot speak in the old vocabulary, yet cannot rid themselves of a residue of admiration for the old socialist ideas and notions of "selflessness" for human worldly salvation, use a new vocabulary to oppose the honest theories of selfishness which have brought prosperity and progress to the world. Etzioni and his colleagues forget that within an officially selfless and communitarian society particular and individualistic selfishness remains. On the other hand, a society based on open utilitarianism and legitimization of the desires of the ego may yet produce saints and social-minded individuals, and groups that find satisfaction in moderation, cooperation and peaceful relations among nations and citizens. JACOB CHINITZ Jerusalem Brzostek Jewry remembered Sir, - A project is under way to memorialize the Jews of Brzostek, Poland. We are fencing the Jewish cemetery and formally rededicating it while also erecting a Hebrew-language monument there and reinstalling some 30 old headstones that have come to light. We are also formally dedicating a plaque in the town center, in Polish and English, in memory of the former Jewish residents of the town. The project is being carried out with the full cooperation of both the chief rabbi of Poland and the Brzostek town council. The formal ceremonies are to take place in Brzostek on the afternoon of June 14. The town is regarding it as a major civic event and organizing various exhibitions on Brzostek's Jewish history. Everyone with a Brzostek connection is invited to participate. Buses will be arranged to and from Krakow on the Sunday, and arrangements have been made for kosher food both on the day and during the preceding Shabbat in Krakow. For more details, e-mail connie01@globalnet.co.uk CONNIE WEBBER Oxford, UK 'One on one' is A1 Sir, - I want to thank Ruthie Blum Leibowitz for her excellent and informative One on One interviews. Her questions are right on, and I never fail to come away with a better sense of the person being interviewed and the critical issues being addressed ("'With no likelihood of American use of force, that leaves Israel,'" Interview with John Bolton, February 6). MARIA LISSITZ Jerusalem