February 26: No Purim shpiel, this

If we ever thought the Megilla exaggerated the threat to Jewish existence, today we have a whole world arrayed against us.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
No Purim shpiel, this Sir, - We are living the dangers of Purim today and have not reached the happy conclusion yet. If we ever thought the Megilla exaggerated the threat to Jewish existence, today we have a whole world arrayed against us. The Arabs, the Islamists, the liberal Christians, the UN, Amnesty International - which wants to embargo arms to Israel, but not to the Arab countries - are threatening us physically and morally, delegitimizing our very statehood. South Africa was allowed to remain even after apartheid was defeated. Germany was allowed to flourish even after Nazism. But we Jews - who are neither racist, colonialist, militaristic nor fascist - are not allowed to have a state because we are accused of being all those things. Instead of a wise Mordechai and a beautiful Esther, we have the likes of Avrum Burg and Noam Chomsky. And Tzipi and Bibi cannot unite in the face of the greatest danger to our existence since 1948 ("Kadima submits bills to embarrass Lieberman, complicate coalition talks," February 25). JACOB CHINITZ Jerusalem Sir, - I am not anyone important, but I can see you are in real danger from a variety of places. Your past people in public office are just not those who will protect Israel. No doubt they are good folks, but Netanyahu is probably the only one who can deal with your country's enemies. You don't have much time. We here know you can't negotiate with people who are intent on destroying you. For heaven's sake, unite your parties. THOM MAINS Lexington, Kentucky Passive-aggressive? Sir, - Reading the names listed within the various boards of benefactors and officials of Amnesty International and their contributors was illuminating ("No pardon for Amnesty," Editorial, February 24). Names like Hoffman, Klug, Waltz, Jacobson, Fuller, Abrams, Bachman, and so on - a veritable treasure trove of Jewish activists and intellectuals. While many of them may not agree with AI's constant delegitimizing and rather unique treatment of Israel, they are at best passive in their organization's actions. JOHN LALOR Dublin Win-win, not transfer Sir, - Umm el-Fahm resident Nabil Sa'ad obviously does not understand the proposal to move the border in the area of Umm el-Fahm to compensate the Palestinians for land Israel would theoretically acquire in a final border arrangement ending the Arab-Israeli conflict ("Arab Israelis worry about Lieberman's ideas on loyalty, transfer becoming real," February 25). He talks about the "frustration and anger" felt by the residents of Umm el-Fahm "that they are going to move them from place to place without anyone asking them." The plan does not call for anyone, Arab or Jew, to be moved from where they live today. The only "thing" that would move is the invisible, somewhat arbitrary dividing line between the State of Israel and a future Palestinian state. Mr. Sa'ad, his family and friends would finally be living as full equals in a state of all its citizens, a state whose national anthem would be one he could proudly sing. The flag flying over his local institutions would be one he felt was his own. No longer would he be challenged by a condition in which the beliefs of his people are in conflict with the interests of his nation. He would no longer feel discriminated against because of his religious, national or historical loyalties. And with his new passport, written in Arabic, he would have no trouble visiting any Arab state in the region, or doing business in Muslim states further away. It sounds like a win-win situation. YORAM GETZLER Moshav Aminadav Why the angst? Sir, - I find it very difficult to understand the criticism of Achinoam Nini and Mira Awad appearing together as Israel's representatives in the Eurovision song contest ("Vision of peace?" Entertainment, February 25). I should think this would be reason to rejoice: an Israeli Arab and a Jewess appearing together for Israel. Nini (Noa) has long been a peace activist, and Awad likely just wants to appear on worldwide TV - but both want to show that Jews and Arabs can live together in peace. Could anything be better? LEONARD ZURAKOV Netanya Yes, Ministers Sir, - Re "Netanyahu: A minister for every three MKs" (February 25): How about a minister for every MK in the coalition? Then nobody would feel left out. Or, even better for national unity, a minister for every MK in the Knesset? Sarcasm aside, I hope Bibi has the sense to choose his ministers based on expertise in their ministries' fields, and not on political considerations. ANNICE GRINBERG Rehovot The real problem... Sir, - In "The roots of the water crisis" (February 25), Hillel Shuval blames our water shortage on overuse by the agricultural sector - when the problem is really the needless underproduction of desalinated water. He ignores the natural asset that Israel's topography provides in the Dead Sea basin being over 400 meters below sea level. This difference in height makes it possible to channel water from the Mediterranean to produce not only 2,500 MW of clean hydroelectric power, but also an additional 1,333 million cubic meters of desalinated water per annum by reverse osmosis, (not to mention the revitalization of the Dead Sea). The plans for this project, known as the Koder or KMDS project, have been ready for a number of years and only need the political will to move them forward. Were they implemented, in about five years the agricultural sector could get all the water it needed, and the water crisis would be a thing of the past. ARIEL BROCH Shadmot Mehola ...isn't agriculture Sir, - I didn't find Prof. Shuval's post-Zionist commentary on the current water crisis helpful. Agriculture, which he blames for the crisis, is largely responsible for the distribution of the population out of the center; without it, Israel would contract to the greater metropolitan area of Tel Aviv. We have developed our water resources in order to maintain agriculture, and current planning of the future water budget rightfully includes an active agricultural sector. The ability to cut back agricultural water use in drought years has enabled us to get by during the current four-year drought capped by the worst drought year in the history of modern Israel. If we didn't maintain a normal water budget that includes agriculture, I suspect we would suffer more severe shortages this year. Agriculture has other benefits, and although its economic value to the GNP is low, we will certainly need food in the future. I am not sure for how long we will need newer and better products from the electronic hi-tech sector. A state inquiry is important, and farmers will soon be paying the full price of the fresh and recycled water they use. But I don't think that agriculture is to blame for our water problems. In some ways, we have it to thank for our hi-tech, extensive water system. SHEP COHEN The Volcani Center for Agricultural Research Rehovot