January 2: Perilous madness...

Israel is currently bolstering, arming and allowing the training of Fatah/PA "security" officials, who time and time again turn their weapons on the Jewish citizens of Israel.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Perilous madness... Sir, - Page 1 of your Wednesday issue reported that the Arab terrorists who murdered two Israelis last week near Hebron were affiliated with the Palestinian Authority. The same holds true for the terrorists who murdered Ido Zoldan near Kedumim last month. Despite these facts, our government continues to differentiate between the "good terrorists" of Fatah and the "bad terrorists" of Hamas. In fact, Israel is currently bolstering, arming and allowing the training of Fatah/PA "security" officials, who time and time again turn their weapons on the Jewish citizens of Israel. In other words, our leadership is enabling the murder of its own citizens, carried out by the "good terrorists." When will this madness end? ("Killers of 2 hikers affiliated with Fatah and Palestinian Authority," January 2.) JOSH HASTEN Jerusalem ...indeed! Sir, - Hamas and Fatah have just been handed, on a silver platter, an easy way to kill Israelis: Mingle with the crowd waiting for a bus and get on, undetected ("Sign of the times: security on buses ends," January 1). TAMAR KAGAN Jerusalem Selective memory Sir, - Much emphasis has been placed on Haim Ramon's "evacuation compensation" plan ("Ramon backing of compensation plan for settlers called 'litmus test.' Avital: We hope to give them a chance to leave on their own terms," December 23, 2007). What selective memories our leaders have. Was not Meir Kahane charged with sedition for suggesting a similar atrocity? DANIEL ABELMAN Jerusalem Push for peace Sir, - On the same day you reported that "Ha'aretz editor says Israel 'wants to be raped'" (December 28) - David Landau's outrageous way of telling the truth that pushing Israel would be good for peace - you also reported Daniel Pipes's view that "a Palestinian economic collapse would be good for peace." So Landau and Pipes were reportedly saying essentially the same thing: that it will require pushing to get to peace. But, ironically, although Landau's phraseology was deeply offensive, his idea was benign, that a friendly US should push to help get peace and security for both peoples; while both Pipes's language and idea were offensive, that for one side (the Palestinians) to suffer an economic collapse would be good for peace. In order to see how callous it would be to wish this upon either people, consider the reaction if anyone said Israel needed an economic collapse to bring peace. Ha'aretz's Landau, when freed of his insulting and offensive mischaracterization of his own idea, is correct that a trustworthy and honest friend, the US, is needed to push both sides forward a bit to help bring peace and security for everyone. This American step is, indeed, indispensable to Israel's future. So there is no telling how much Landau, by so crassly mischaracterizing it, has inadvertently set back peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians alike. JAMES ADLER Cambridge, Massachusetts Amazing failure Sir, - In his interview as previewed in your January 1 issue, Ehud Olmert calls it "an amazing achievement for Israel" that President Bush assents to some Israeli presence in the West Bank. The amazing achievement was Israel's conquest of the West Bank, in a defensive war against an enemy determined to deny us the right to live. It is Israel's sole prerogative to decide whether, when and on what terms it will permit its enemies' successors to assume sovereignty over the territory they lost - the same prerogative claimed by the West after both world wars. It is in fact an amazing failure on the part of Olmert and his predecessors that the US recognizes that prerogative far less than wholly, far less than loudly, and on conditions that undermine Israel's future welfare. MARK L. LEVINSON Herzliya Wise man Sir, - I really admire Oded Katash as a man who knew that in order for his team to improve, he had to leave and allow someone else to take over. It would be nice if some of our politicians realized that in order for our country to improve, it would be best if they stepped aside and let someone more capable run things ("Oded Katash quits as Mac TA coach," January 2). CHAYA HEUMAN Ginot Shomron Courage & hutzpa Sir, - What will it take before we wise up to the real problems facing our education system today? Yes, we teachers are underpaid and classes are overcrowded, but isn't it about time to address the more serious issues? Are your children bouncing out of bed eager to get to class - or are they, like mine, despondent and disinterested? Don't get me wrong. These same children enjoy surfing the Internet; go to bed reading encyclopedias and atlases; and enjoy nothing more than a good conversation or quiz. Yet we, as parents, blame them for failing, rather than the boring, irrelevant and outdated system, and, I hesitate to say, the tired and burnt-out teachers. Juvenile suicide and "violent" behavior is no longer aberrant but has become the norm. Faced with the tensions in our society, our children are forced to grow up pretty quickly, but are we preparing them for our global world? It's an exciting and innovative one, full of intrigue and potential, yet our school system does little to address its possibilities. A education revolution is overdue. We need to make the changes that will help our children to become passionate, forward-thinking, independent and responsible adults, thriving in and contributing to the world they inhabit. The 64-million-dollar question: Do we have the courage and the hutzpa? ("On the same page?" Ehud Zion Waldoks, December 28, 2007.) DEBBIE SANDLER Ra'anana Why Reform's irrelevant here Sir, - It was surprising that an article summarizing why the Reform movement has failed to take off in Israel made no mention of the main reason for its success in America ("Religious strains," December 28). The US is a very religious country and to be socially acceptable a person would have to subscribe to a God-centered religion. The Reform philosophy provided Jews with the potentiality of assimilation, without the need to convert to Christianity ("Be a Jew in your home, but a person in the street"). These Jews built temples that emulated churches, adopted family seating, and some even changed their Sabbath services from Saturday to Sunday. In Israel "the street" is Jewish, and the Reform agenda is irrelevant. TUVIA MUSKIN Rehovot Zionist of the year Sir, - I read with interest Michael Freund's "The 'Zionist of the Year' award" (January 2). TELFED, the South African Zionist Federation, is arranging a Yakir Zion Award - a longtime dream of mine - to be held at Beth Hatefutsoth on March 6. The public is invited to nominate ex-Southern Africans who have made a contribution in any of three categories: Strengthening the Israel-Diaspora Dialogue, Enhancing Social Awareness, and Furthering the Zionist Identity. Nominations will be considered by three independent "judges," and one candidate in each category will receive the prestigious award in the presence of a guest of honor, the nominees and their families, and members of the public. Call (09) 744-6110 (ext. 201 or 219) or email [email protected] TEDDY EDELSTEIN Tel Mond