With Israel in control of the Golan high grounds, its border with
Syria is the quietest border this country has patrolled over the past
By LEO GIOSUÈSyrian securitySir, – Alon Ben-Meir says that “as long as Syria has territorialclaims against Israel, Israel will never be secure on its northernborder” (“Syria must be a top priority,” February 15).However, just the opposite is true. With Israel in control of theGolan high grounds, its border with Syria is the quietest border thiscountry has patrolled over the past 42 years. In addition, it isAdvertisementwell-documented that when Syria was up on the Golan, the Israelifarmers working the land around the Kinneret below were targeted bySyrian sniper fire.Ben-Meir goes on to state that “the prospect of regaining the GolanHeights will assume national priority over other tactical ties thatSyria has with Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas.” If that is the case, whyhaven’t the Syrians ever stated their intention to distance themselvesfrom terrorists in a peace deal? Perhaps it’s because they have beentoo busy building secret nuclear facilities.JOSH HASTENJerusalemNo uproar for Afghanistan...Sir, – It was a throwaway story on Yahoo News and the major papers andnetworks: A NATO missile missed its target and killed 12 Afghanicivilians (“NATO rockets miss target, kill 12 Afghan civilians,”February 15). No calls for emergency sessions of the UN, no Goldstonereports, no war crimes charges in The Hague. Now imagine if Israelkilled 12 Gazan civilians, by mistake or in the course of a battle. Itwould be the lead story in every newspaper and news show in the world.The US and NATO will not let this “accident” deter them from theirultimate goal: wiping out the Taliban. Israel can take a lesson.ABE KRIEGERHighland Park, New Jersey... or Bil’inSir, – Friday’s Jerusalem Post informed us that “in a boost to thePalestinian protest movement against the West Bank security barrier,the IDF began laying the groundwork to reroute 1,700 meters of the ofthe security fence in Bil’in” (“IDF moving 1,700 meters of thesecurity fence in Bil’in,” February 12). This was the result of fiveyears of weekly demonstrations by villagers joined by foreign andnative leftist groups against a security barrier that was erected tostop suicide bombings that have killed more than 1,000 Israelis in thelast decade. The protests themselves often ended in violence andinjuries to border guards and soldiers.We cannot help comparing the above with the vociferous threat issuedby Ehud Barak to “use all the might of the combined armed forces ofIsrael” against those who attempted to protest the overly harshapplications of the “building freeze” in Judea and Samaria.It is both painful and disheartening to note that the minister ofdefense finds it difficult to identify the country’s real enemies.ZEV CHAMUDOTPetah TikvaSettling the wildernessSir, – I would like to comment, belatedly, on Tovah Lazaroff’s articleon Pinhas Wallerstein’s retirement (“Time to pass on the baton to ayounger leadership, says Wallerstein, as he takes leave of YeshaCouncil,” January 15).I salute him for what he has accomplished, and agree that the IDFshould not be involved in settler evacuations. If Israelis read thehistory of early America, they would see a great similarity with thesettler movement here. It was settlers of every nationality, includingJews (pioneers) moving westward, against terrible conditions, thateventually settled America.Where possible, the US Army protected the covered wagon trains. Whennot possible, the settlers had to protect themselves. At almost notime did settlers have confrontations with the military. Their purposewas the same – to settle the wilderness.STAN R. HAYESNahariyaFull disclosureSir, – The fact that the cabinet will be behind the full disclosurelaw for NGOs operating in Israel is something to be heralded (“Cabinetbacks bill to register NGOs funded by foreign countries,” February15). The United States has a Freedom of Information Act making itimperative that sources of funding be disclosed. It is vital forIsrael to know that the NGOs that operate so freely here use moniesthat come from foreign countries.Democracy in Israel is certainly undermined when NGOs have as theirsource of funding money from foreign countries that serve their owninterests. It is high time that all NGOs registered in Israel berequired to acknowledge the source of their funds.H. WILLIGJerusalemPalin and American JewrySir, – Though I voted for the McCain-Palin ticket in the USpresidential elections, mostly because of their stance on Israel,Caroline Glick’s idea that American Jews must move to the Right andleave their traditional Democratic-liberal attitudes for Israel’s sakeis naive and simplistic, at best (“Sarah Palin’s friendship,” February12).First of all, Palin was seen by many McCain supporters to be the wrongchoice at the outset, and this certainly had little to do with herfriendship for Israel. In fact, many who had originally planned tovote for John McCain were so distressed by his choice of Palin thatthey either switched to Obama or simply abstained. Second, whether wein Israel understand it or not, her right-wing positions on manydomestic issues scare most American Jews and are often perceived byliberals in general and Jews in particular as being an assault onbasic American values like democracy and freedom. Third, as we knowall too well, pre-election rhetoric does not necessarily translateinto real policy after the winner takes office. Fourth, a major splitin American Jewry was revealed in the election. Large segments ofOrthodox Jewish Americans – who, in addition to their traditionallystrong support for Israel, are usually more receptive to politicallyconservative attitudes than the Jewish liberal majority – as well asall types of Jews for whom support for Israel was a major factor, didvote for McCain-Palin.Finally, American Jewry has changed in many ways. The older generationthat remembers what the world was like with no State of Israel and whoalmost unconditionally supported that state, is dying out. Theirchildren and grandchildren hold much more detached, critical and evennegative attitudes toward Israel. In this age of post-Zionism andworld hostility, it is indeed comforting to hear Palin’s position onIsrael, and may we be blessed with many more like her. Unfortunately,however, Palin will have to overcome almost insurmountable obstacleson the home front before there can be any significant shift intraditional pro-Democratic party and fiercely liberal US Jewishattitudes.GERSHON HARRISHatzor HaglilitShuttle diplomacySir, – George Mitchell’s flying back and forth between Washington,Arab states and Israel (“Mitchell fails to convince Abbas to dropJ’lem freeze demand,” January 24) recalls the famous quip from when UNmediator E. L. M. Burns was shuttling the same route: “The SecurityCouncil fiddles while Burns roams.”Another shuttle story has it that Henry Kissinger flew from Washingtonto Arab capitals, occasionally stopping in Israel, after the YomKippur war. On one occasion, meeting in Jerusalem with prime ministerGolda Meir over a cup of coffee, she asked him, “Henry, who are you?”Kissinger thought for a moment and replied, “First of all, I’msecretary of state; second, I’m an American; and third, I’m a Jew.”Meir mulled this over for a while and replied, “That’s okay Henry, butjust know that in Israel we read from right to left.”ELIEZER WHARTMANJerusalem
var cont = `Stay Informed
As the war against Hamas unfolds, our unwavering newsroom remains committed to covering Israel's most profound crisis.
Sign up for our newsletter to get real-time news and in-depth analysis from our top reporters.