February 6: Those gestures

"Perhaps I have missed your reports that list and detail the confidence-building measures the Palestinians have offered us."

Letters 521 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Letters 521
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Those gestures
Sir, – Both Quartet envoy Tony Blair (“Blair working with PM on economic steps to enable continuation of low-level talks with PLO,” February 3) and UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon (“Ban calls on Israel to ‘empower’ Palestinians who want peace,” February 3) tell us to provide confidence- building gestures to the Palestinians.
Perhaps I have missed your reports that list and detail the confidence-building measures the Palestinians have offered us. Do you think you could reprint them?
Waste of talent Sir, – It seems such a shame that two outstanding people like MKs Zehava Gal-On and Ilan Gilon have to face each other in a runoff for a Knesset seat (“Meretz aims to revolutionize electronic voting,” February 3).
It’s really a shame that they feel they must stay with the almost defunct Meretz party. Both would have been much better off had they left and joined Labor, where their views and activities could have brought them, very possibly, a place in the party leadership, where they could do so much good for Israel.
Maybe next time.
Sorry state of affairs Sir, – What an amazing confluence of events.
On Shabbat morning, before leaving for services, I read “The shofar blowers” (Editorial, February 3), which discussed how Israeli police and the court system had worked in tandem to ban women’s prayer groups at the Kotel. Less than two hours later, I was listening to the Torah reading, which described Miriam (Moses and Aaron’s sister) forming a women’s group to perform their own “Shir Hayam” (Song of the Sea).
I thought to myself how fortunate it was that Miriam did not live in modern Israel – she might have found herself in jail! What a truly sorry state of affairs.
Sir, – I write in praise of your February 3 editorial and in puzzlement over what has happened in this country.
I once saw a film that showed how the British arrested Jews for blowing the shofar at the Kotel (Western Wall). Have we become British? Their tactics did not stop our fathers and grandfathers.
Arrests by a Jewish government should not stop us now.
I grew up in America, where a tradition of nonviolent disobedience to unjust laws is strong.
Especially in Israel, where there is no democratic way of overturning unjust rulings via the ballot box, peaceful civil disobedience is the only way to fight for justice.
I urge everyone to blow the shofar at the Kotel Hakatan (a section of the wall near the Kotel) as a sign of our freedom. Surely the police have more important things to do than arrest shofar blowers.
DAVID WILLIG Safed The writer is a rabbi
A Canadian forest Sir , – Letter writer James Adler and I have been ill-served by the Post’s zeal to preserve forests, thereby having him answer (“Explaining itself,” February 2) a truncated version of my letter (“‘Hasbara,’ and how!,” January 30).
I originally listed some of the major molders of public opinion in Canada, not “just one article.”
And I did not “dig” these things up. I lived them to the extent that the perception of a time when I might find myself conflicted by the policies of my native land and the survival of the land of my forefathers became one of the forces motivating the moving of my family to Israel.
These were early harbingers of a shift in the “liberal” perception as to who was the underdog here, long before the project of populating Samaria, Judea and the empty sands of the Gaza Strip.
Ironically, it is with pride that I see Canada today, alone among the Western democracies, refusing to be swept up by the momentum of the rest in their urging Israel to undertake suicidal actions.
Sir, – “You have no better friend in the world than Canada,” Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird recently told your president, Shimon Peres (“Delegitimization of Israel is the new anti-Semitism,” January 31).
But most Canadians believe Baird’s pro-Israel rhetoric is simplistic.
Baird sidestepped any direct condemnation of Israel’s continued practice of building settlements in Palestinian territories, but the majority of Canadians feel their government is biased too much toward Israel. In fact, our government’s strong support of the Jewish state may have resulted in the historic loss of a temporary seat on the UN Security Council in 2010. We do not take that lightly.
We care about Israel, but we also care about the Palestinians.
They need their own state. Obviously, it would not be a strong state or a threat to Israel. Please, Israel – show Canadians and the world that you are strong enough and have enough heart to make that happen.
GLADYS TESKE Sherwood Park, Canada
Trusting Gantz Sir, – It was both heartbreaking and uplifting to read “Signs of the times” (Security and Defense, 0February 3) – heartbreaking to be defensive because we are hated by so many in the world only because we are Jews, yet uplifting to have a strong, young, honest chief of staff of whom we can be proud.
From the day I saw Benny Gantz stride to the platform with such assurance to accept command of our IDF, I felt my confidence rise. His “surprise drills” and establishment of the “Depth Corps, a new unit that will oversee operations deep in enemy territory,” confirm my continuing trust in these escalating times of instability.
No enthusiasm Sir, – In his column “Tunisia as a model” (Savir’s Corner, February 3), Uri Savir initially astounds us by relating that he carried condolences from Israel’s leaders to arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat in 1994! Was that in response to the many expressions of condolence that Israel had received from Arafat after PLO terror attacks? Then Savir notes “an affinity between modern Tunisia’s and Palestine’s [sic] way of life and aspirations,” and in the next sentence describes Tunisia as a moderate country. Does Savir really think the Palestinians are moderate, which means they observe reasonable limits? I wish I shared the huge enthusiasm of Savir and his mentor, Shimon Peres, for the “new” Middle East. Unfortunately, reality leads me to believe that there will be no “important academic, professional and touristic links” between young Tunisians, Palestinians and Israelis until the Arab masses cease being brainwashed from birth against Jews and Israel.
Please spare us the weekly nonsense from Savir.
STEVE KRAMER Alfei Menashe
Broken bridge Sir, – I was saddened to read “National-religious community gets new kashrut authority” (February 2).
I understand (but do not condone) why the ultra-Orthodox community requires a multitude of kashrut authorities purporting to provide for the varying levels of stringency. Each community has always considered itself exclusive.
The national-religious community used to pride itself on its inclusive character. It was always the bridge between communities and as such never divided itself by levels of observance.
Now, at the misguided initiative of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, it will lose yet another of its attributes.
As the saying goes, these rabbis would do us all a service if they worried as much about what comes out of their mouths as what goes in.