February 8: Learn from the past

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is correct in pointing out to world leaders the dangers embedded within Islamic radicalism. He has done his homework.

Learn from the past
Sir, – Khaled Diab (“When the revolution comes,” Comment & Features, February 6) tries to allay Israel’s fears concerning the possibility that the Muslim Brotherhood will seize control of Egypt and turn it into a theocracy at the end of the Mubarak era. He does this by indicating that should the 1954 ban on the Brotherhood as a political party be lifted, it will participate in the upcoming democratic elections freely and fairly – and, who knows, it “could perhaps eventually morph into a sort of ‘Muslim Democratic’ party.”
The thing is, the history of the Muslim Brotherhood proves otherwise. Time and again it tried to overthrow the Egyptian government and establish an Islamic order until its main ideologue, Sayyed Qutb, was hanged by Nasser’s government in 1966. Ironically, this act ultimately allowed for the peace process between Egypt and Israel, one that could never have taken place had the Brotherhood been around.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is thus correct in pointing out to world leaders the dangers embedded within Islamic radicalism. He has done his homework.
Sir, – Just because Khaled Diab hasn’t seen any anti-Israel, anti- Semitic slogans on TV during the Egyptian uprising doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I saw placards of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak with a Star of David painted on his forehead.
I would like to see a peace deal someday. The problem is that the Arab world has not prepared its people by teaching peace, tolerance and coexistence.
Just look at “PaliLeaks.”
Sde Warburg
Headwear irrelevant
Sir, – In her latest My Word column (“The inelegant Galant affair,” February 6), Liat Collins writes that Yair Naveh “could become the first chief of General Staff ever – anywhere – to proudly wear a kippa and identify as a religious Jew, and that’s part of the beauty of having a Jewish state.”
While it now appears that Naveh will not serve as a temporary chief of staff, it is still worth remarking that Collins’s comment was off-target. There is enough “beauty” in the Jews who serve in the army and protect their country without having to focus on what they wear or do not wear on their heads (and I write this as someone who proudly served in the IDF with a kippa on).
Also, in her excitement, Collins overlooked medieval Torah scholar and communal leader Shmuel Hanagid, who served as the chief minister at the court of Granada and led its military forces. While he may not have worn a kippa (turbans where more in vogue at the time), he certainly identified himself as a religious Jew.
Hold the front page Sir, – For a long time I have been disturbed by advertisements that occupy large sections of the news pages, but your February 6 newspaper was the ultimate insult – a huge advertisement occupying four pages, and especially the fact that it replaced the opening page of the paper, which is traditionally reserved for topical news.
Rishon Lezion
Sir, – May I express righteous indignation. With all that is going on in Israel and worldwide, Sunday morning’s Post dealt readers an unprecedented blow by abandoning the traditional front-page news coverage format and replacing it with an exclusive four-page feature of trendy commercial ads.
Givat Savyon
Sir, – I particularly look forward to reading Judy Siegel’s highly informative health page articles each week, and although I fully understand that a newspaper needs paid advertising, maybe next time you could leave out the sports pages?
Kiryat Motzkin
A deal is a deal
Sir, – US President Barack Obama, as well as several members of Congress, have threatened to discontinue US aid to Egypt unless Mubarak leaves office and Egypt immediately transitions to democracy (“Obama calls for political transition in Egypt, February 5).
What right does the US have to discontinue aid that was granted on the basis of an international agreement, where all of the other parties did exactly what was required under its provisions? The US, under then-president Jimmy Carter, made a peace agreement that involved commitments by three parties: the US, Israel, and Egypt. Israel and Egypt have kept their commitments for more than 30 years.
The US is now threatening to abrogate that agreement. Why? The agreement was made with a dictator. It never made any reference to Egypt becoming a democracy in order for the US to keep its end of the deal.
How can anyone make an agreement with the US or depend on promises made by a US president, knowing that a future president can simply decide, unilaterally, to change the provisions? The threat emanating from this administration tells the international community that the US cannot be trusted to abide by its agreements.
Sir, – “Democracy is a dreadful way to govern a nation; but all the other ways that have ever been tried are worse,” said Winston Churchill.
The democratic Western governments look upon current developments in the Arab world and call upon the regimes there to implode and commit immediate “democracide,” submitting as they do to an overly simple interpretation of the great man’s words. Yet they are truly mistaken and typically shortsighted, not to say sanctimonious.
Free votes in undemocratic cultures may end up with grotesque consequences. After all, Hitler was “democratically” voted into power.
The results of Western-style democratic experiments in post-colonial Africa have mostly yielded generations of war, famine, corruption, pestilence and suffering. For example, Robert Mugabe was “democratically” elected in Zimbabwe.
Democratic Pakistan is anything but. One could go on. Even the shining example of freedom that is the United States took over 150 years to crawl out of the swamps of slavery, women’s disenfranchisement, eugenics and legal anti-black discrimination to reach its current disposition.
Churchill himself was against the premature imposition of Western methods on undeveloped nations. So how can mediaeval societies in the Middle East perform the same trick overnight? The very idea is absurd and fraught with peril.
Genuine democracy is a pearl that takes long ages to culture; synthetic copies are worthless and misleading.
The Western powers should wake up to their own history and reality.
Rosh Pina
Taxis for disabled
Sir, – We need to appeal to the various taxi services in Israel to fit some of their vehicles with ramps to accommodate a wheelchair, as well as a helper when necessary, as is done in all big cities in the UK and US.
Only three special services, called ambulances, are available to those of us in Jerusalem, primarily to take us to doctor appointments. They have to be booked at least a day ahead and you have to stipulate exactly when you are to be called for and exactly when you will be ready to be taken home.
Why shouldn’t people in wheelchairs be able to call a taxi on the spur of the moment like other human beings?