February 6: Taking sides

A clash of civilizations has now permeated even the Arab world, it is very apparent that Muslim governments that are inherently religious are a danger.

Taking sides
Sir, – Is there still a question in people’s minds about US President Barack Obama (“US condemns violence against Egyptian protesters,” February 3)? At a time when American support is necessary if the Muslim Brotherhood is to be prevented from taking over Egypt, Obama decides to desert a 30-year ally, President Hosni Mubarak, in the name of the “wishes of the people.” Why does he not support the wishes of the people in Iran? In China? In North Korea? He wants to negotiate – “engage” is his word – with those anti-human, anti-American, antidemocratic governments. But with Egypt he supports a revolution that might bring in the Islamists, as happened in Iran, Gaza and Lebanon.
Where is this man’s loyalty, logic, decency, democracy and support of Israel? Will Israel be thrown under the bus, as is now happening with Mubarak?

JACOB CHINITZ
Jerusalem
Sir, – How interesting that the Palestinian Authority has declared itself in favor of Egypt’s embattled president (“PA launches pro- Mubarak demo,” February 3).
A clash of civilizations has now permeated even the Arab world, and it is very apparent that Muslim governments that are inherently religious are a danger not only to Western countries and their values, but also to secular Arab regimes.
THELMA SUSSWEIN
Jerusalem
It’s not logical
Sir, – I found Ray Hanania’s “Bad News for Israel” (Yalla Peace, February 2) astounding in its naivete.
Hanania suggests that the end of Hosni Mubarak’s rule is bad news for Israel because the “average Egyptian does not support the peace accord,” and writes that even under the foot of dictators, “the Arab people are smart enough to see through the years of false promises and bad deals on Israel’s part.” He seems to be implying that were Egyptians given the democratic right to choose their leaders they would choose war with Israel.
Is there any logical reason why the Egyptian people, given the chance to create and partake in their first democratic government, would immediately vote to go off and die in a war?
BARRY LYNN
Efrat
The Galant fiasco
Sir, – Regarding “Barak, Netanyahu decide: Galant will not be next chief of staff” (February 2), the primary consideration for selecting a new army chief should be this: Can he build, train and arm a defense force able to deter war, and if another war is inflicted on us, can he win with the smallest loss of soldiers and tools? All other considerations should be secondary or tertiary.
Does anybody recall a certain one-eyed general whose moral behavior and ability to “collect” archeological artifacts would land him today in jail?
MACABEE DEAN
Ramat Gan
Sir, – Oh, to be 50 years younger and able to demonstrate in front of Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s home until he does what is right for the people, and not for himself! No one, not even an interim IDF chief of General Staff like Yair Naveh, can learn a job in 60 days.
It is time the country and the citizens were given priority, not the egos of those in office.
M. SCHAEFFER
Jerusalem
Sir, – The time has come for the Netanyahu government to rid itself of Ehud Barak.
Over the past few months, Barak has made so many blunders that we need him to step down before he causes further damage to Israel’s security. The fact that the man holding the highest position in the country’s security establishment does not know the identity of the foreign worker who cleans his home, or that she is illegally employed or where she actually lives, is reason enough to have him removed.
The personal feud Barak has had with outgoing Chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, and his method of choosing Ashkenazi’s replacement – and now his replacement’s replacement – do not strengthen the army.
Israel deserves a more responsible defense minister, and no better time than the present.
BENJIE AZIZ
Efrat
Through the Grapevine
Sir, – I always look forward to Greer Fay Cashman’s Grapevine column, where I’m exposed to the lives of famous people all over the world. It’s exciting reading.
However, I would like to add something to her description of Yehuda Avner’s lecture at Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue (“Cheers, l’haim!,” February 2).
She wrote that Avner “gave a spirited pep talk on national pride which earned him a standing ovation.”
I personally got up with a thousand other listeners, totally mesmerized by the soaring language, a turn of phrase rarely heard here in English.
Avner is one of the most gifted speakers. His message resounds because of his unfathomable ability to communicate.
JENNY WEIL
Jerusalem
Sir, – In her most recent Grapevine column, Greer Fay Cashman reported on a wine tasting event. In her opinion, featured speaker Daniel Rogov showed “courage” in announcing that “he never goes to the West Bank to taste wine.”
Having been present at the event, I would say that Rogov showed “poor judgment” by expressing his irrelevant political opinions to an audience that was far too polite to respond to his provocative remarks.
I considered returning the copy of his book I had purchased – maybe Rogov has a principled objection to it being carried across the Green Line.
FRED CASDEN
Ma’aleh Adumim
In India, perhaps
Sir, – Rabbi Ovadia Yosef forbade the use of exclamatory phrases involving the deity (“Ovadia: No ‘Oh My God,’ ‘Ya Allah,’” News in Brief, February 1).
So, all I can say about the recent extraordinary bovine behavior a few inches down in the same column (“70 cows caught near Haifa bay”) is Holy Cow!
YONATAN SILVER
Jerusalem
Walking the walk Sir, – I found Tzachi Hanegbi’s article “Yair Stern’s timeless lessons” (Comment & Features, January 31) powerful and uplifting, and cried inwardly that we no longer have people with such strength of faith and purpose.
But why, I would ask Hanegbi, did and do you advocate giving up the land for which Stern and the Irgun fought so hard? Where were you when 10,000 Jews were forcibly thrown from their homes in Gush Katif, and where were you when Netanyahu publicly agreed to two states for two peoples, thereby legitimizing a non-existent people who pray daily for our destruction? As we learned from Stern, strength is measured not only in weapons, equipment and manpower.
He, and others like Menachem Begin, not only talked the talk, they walked the walk, without surrender.
May their memories forever serve as an example of what we can be and do. I hope this truth will always guide our leaders, from all factions and world views.
YENTEL JACOBS
Netanya
Care with words
Sir, – A word of caution about using the term “religious” in describing people who wear black hats or kippot. For example, in “Rabbi threatens civil war at rally” (December 24), your reporters wrote “Speaking to several thousand demonstrators, most of whom were religious....”
Those who took part in the rally were Orthodox or haredi, and should have been identified as such. “Religious” implies that those whose concept of religion is different are not religious and even unauthentic, which is precisely how the haredim and many Orthodox prefer to describe them.
ELIEZER WHARTMAN
Jerusalem
CORRECTION
The photograph on Page 6 of the February 2 Jerusalem Post was of former Health Ministry director-general Dr. Eitan Hai-Am, and not of the current director-general, Ronni Gamzu, as was stated.