January 10: New reality, oy vey

This "new reality" is akin to the new reality for Sderot and Ashkelon following the cease-fire.

New reality, oy vey Sir, - Was it destiny that juxtaposed the announcement of the Peretz-Sneh plan to "restart the peace process and.. 'create a new reality'" ("Sneh: Road map has hit dead end") and the Palestinian plan to acquire Katyushas "with an estimated range of more than 35 kilometers" ("'Gaza terrorists are pursuing Katyusha know-how abroad,'" both January 9)? This "new reality" will put Tel Aviv, Haifa and Netanya within range of Ramallah and Nablus, just as the cease-fire has given Sderot and Ashkelon their new reality. AVRAHAM BERKOVITS Haifa Digestion problem Sir, - Gershon Baskin thinks Israel "will have to pay the price of [releasing] 1,000 Palestinian prisoners," even those who have killed Jews, to gain Gilad Shalit's release ("Cut a deal for Shalit," January 9). He also ridicules those who fear that paying such a price will only encourage more kidnappings "because if Hamas could kidnap more, they would." His logic escapes me. They did kidnap more. They worked hard to dig a long tunnel across the border to abduct soldiers because they knew Israel's heartfelt policy of making unbalanced deals for their release. So it goes on and on. Does Baskin think our enemies would dig tunnels for kidnapping if they knew they'd get absolutely nothing in return? Sharon's and Rabin's past kindness is what put Shalit in captivity and keeps him there today. Most people know this, but it's the emotional pull to save a Jewish boy that leads us astray. Defending our country involves risks. That fact must be digested by anyone living here. AVIGDOR BONCHEK Jerusalem One on one Sir, - Your editorial "Prisoners dilemma" (January 9) recounted the tragic mistakes of numerous prisoner exchanges, resulting in the release of hundreds of terrorists "with no blood on their hands" who subsequently committed repeated terrorist attacks causing Israeli casualties. When will we learn? Israel has the intelligence and the ability to grab the heads of Hamas and of the PA. Next time, let it be just one Palestinian leader for each kidnapped Israeli soldier. FRED GOTTLIEB Jerusalem Fahima for Shalit? Sir, - In seeking a solution to the return of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit the government is reportedly willing to release thousands of Arab terrorist prisoners, many of whom have perpetrated the most heinous crimes against Jews. Though high-ranking military spokesmen have warned that such action would only encourage further terrorist attacks and cited statistics proving that a large percentage of formerly released terrorists have returned to wound or murder Israelis, the "negotiating process" between Israel and Hamas continues. Instead of freeing innumerable convicted Arab terrorists and endangering more Israelis, here's a thought: Why not exchange unrepentant renegade Tali Fahima for Shalit? After all, she has defiantly expressed her intention to continue her anti-Israel activities and would undoubtedly feel much more at home with Shalit's captors ("Terrorists 'always return to terror,'" January 8). SHIFRA HOFFMAN Founder, Victims of Arab Terror International Jerusalem Tongue in cheek Sir, - Kudos to Ron Dermer for the op-ed boasting the biggest tongue in the biggest cheek I ever read ("The nerve of Bibi," January 9). It reminded me of the campaign, years ago, when Netanyahu ran for prime minister and Chabad had the hutzpa to raise a banner reading "Bibi is better for the Jews." It's almost as bad as American political candidates who argue that voting for them is better for Americans. SAMUEL SAMUELSON Jerusalem Key to the door Sir, - One episode in "Keep an eye on our children" (January 8), related by the father of a close friend of Shmuley Boteach's, was not picked up on. It began "Devorah called him in hysterics to say that she had taken a girl from her class to the family apartment." Would someone explain how responsible parents can give their teenage son or daughter free access to an apartment 7,000 miles away from home, without any adult supervision? Are such parents so naive as to assume that friends, and friends of friends, will not frequent the apartment? Send your adolescent to Israel with a Visa Gold Card, a bundle of cash and keys to the family flat - and then complain about the yeshiva or seminary! CHANANYA BERZON Jerusalem Sir, - Shmuley Boteach seems to think he has made a discovery among a single sector of our youth. He's wrong! Drugs and alcohol are terrible curses affecting many of our young people these days. Jews and gentiles, yeshiva day school graduates and Catholic parochial students, men and women on college and university campuses - almost all of them seem to be caught in this horrible stranglehold. HERBERT LEVINE Los Angeles Running commentary Sir, - Re the ongoing saga of marathon runner Mushir Salem Jawher: The only crime Mr. Jawher committed was his strong desire to perform as an athlete and pursue his love for running in the Tiberias Marathon. Although Israel has no legal obligation to help this athlete, it does have a moral one. If for some reason his problem cannot be solved through the International Athletic Association in Monaco, Israel should offer Mr. Jawher an opportunity to become an Israeli citizen and continue his training in this country, even if this means passing a special law just for him. To turn our back on this man in his time of need would be totally unacceptable ("Boycotts backfire," Editorial, January 8). PAUL BERMAN Shoham Sir, - Since Kenyan-born runner Mushir Salem Jawher has had his Bahraini citizenship revoked and the Kenyans may bar him from participating under their flag for two years, why not offer him temporary Israeli residence or citizenship during that time? This would show that we care what happens to visitors to our country, and that we do not practice apartheid. What's more, we would get a top athlete bearing our colors. Who knows? After the two years are up, he may want to apply for permanency. JOE FRANKL Savyon Sir, - Mushir Salem Jawher has experienced a major setback in competing as a Bahraini in the Tiberias Marathon, and Israel's athletic union should have warned him that he was endangering his status. We are keen to encourage internationally-recognized athletes to participate in events here, but this should not be done if there is any danger to the participant. I think we should, in the circumstances, try to help this athlete as he is suffering because of our peculiar diplomatic problems that many in the world do not understand. Possibly we could offer him citizenship, or at least help him reinstate himself. DAVID GOSHEN Kiryat Ono Yes and no Sir, - YES has not wiped out BBC Prime, but it cheats its subscribers by showing the same old movies again and again - some more than 20 times by now. Subscribers should demand a reduction, or be able to pay just for news and sports channels ("Get tough on HOT,YES," Editorial, January 7). THEODORE COHEN Jerusalem