January 22: Worst of all worlds

A ground-forces man will no doubt do a great job of preparing the IDF - but for the last war, not the next.

letters to the editor (photo credit: )
letters to the editor
(photo credit: )
Worst of all worlds Sir, - David Horovitz's "Accepting his share of the blame" (January 19) highlighted the tragedy of Dan Halutz's resignation and the appointment of a successor. It is a cliche in the making. The next war will be about long-distance missions in the air, whether against Iran or Syria, each of whose destructive potential far outweighs the pinpricks of the crude terror weapons employed by Hizbullah and Hamas. The man for the job is an Air Force commander. A ground-forces man will no doubt do a great job of preparing the IDF - but for the last war, not the next. While Halutz, after a mere half-year in the job, was not entirely blameless regarding the mediocre result in Lebanon, he was not the decisive factor in the failure, over many years, to prepare a counter-strategy to the Katyushas or fill the reservists' warehouses. A rational response would have been to allow him to learn from the errors and move on, strengthened. Now, as a result of a public witch-hunt spurred on by rampant ambition and jealousy at the Kirya, fueled by a media to whom national responsibility takes third-place to ratings and sensationalism, we have the worst of all worlds. We've lost the best-qualified man for the future, and we're left with the real culprits: a defense minister who should never have been appointed and who knows nothing about defense, and a self-serving prime minister who fiddled while Israel burned. ANTHONY AND JUDITH LUDER Rosh Pina Tell us, Mr. Ambassador Sir, - It was most surprising to hear US Ambassador Richard Jones say, "Now you are showing restraint… [b]ecause there is a cease-fire… The fringe groups can get away with violating the cease-fire… The policy of restraint is improving your security in the long run. You really haven't suffered that much [from the Kassams] in terms of loss of life and you have given Gaza a little breathing space." Does Mr. Jones not know that the Aksa Brigades, the military wing of Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah - hardly a "fringe group" - also takes credit for the 77 missile attacks on the Western Negev since the November 26, 2005 cease-fire? And does he understand that there has been no loss of life over the past two months only because these missiles accidentally missed their civilian targets? How is Israel's security "improved" when terrorists fire rockets to terrorize Israel's population in the Western Negev while Israel allows its adversaries in Gaza to regroup, rearm and reorganize? If Mexico fired 77 missiles into Western Texas, or if Canada fired 77 missiles into the Pacific North West, would any American suggest a policy of restraint? ("Pledge of allegiance," January 19.) NOAM BEDEIN Sderot Sir, - When Herb Keinon asked the US ambassador about US-Israel discussions on the Shaba Farms, he responded, "I think the UN might go ahead and try to work on demarcation of the border." Now Richard Jones may be relatively new to Israel, but he has many years of experience with the Arab side. He must surely have come across the UN decision that demarcated the international border and declared that the Shaba Farms, or parts of it, are Syrian territory, and that Israel left all of Lebanon. Does the ambassador's comment on this specific issue show a change in the US position and/or a denial of the UN position? A. GOLDBERG Hatzor Haglilit Thanks for caring... Sir, - Sitting here in the heart of the Muslim world, our opinion of Israelis and Jews is quite monolithic. Few of us know about Gush Shalom, Peace Now, the refuseniks and the positive thinkers and writers who comprise the hope for the future of a peaceful Holy Land. Having read "Stop the Jewish barbarians in Hebron" (January 17) by former MK and minister Yosef (Tommy) Lapid, what else can I say but "Thank you, Mr. Lapid, for caring to know and to see." I commend the Post for carrying such writings in defense of tolerance, and for promoting peace. A verse in Urdu states: "How can hearts be cleansed when there is no fairness; how can there be fairness when the hearts are not clean?" Almost 40 years ago my father and I spent six hours at Amman airport in transit to the US. Since the time was short we decided to visit the Holy Land on the way back. The Six Day War barred us from visiting. I do hope that the only exception on the validity page of my Pakistani passport - "Valid for all countries of the world except Israel' - gets removed within my lifetime. SYED AKIF Karachi, Pakistan Sir, - "Speechless" is the only word to describe my reaction to Tommy Lapid's diatribe against the Jewish residents of Hebron. There is absolutely no parallel between Hebron and Hungary except for the fact that Jewish life in both places has been murderously suppressed. His illogic and emotionality suggest a confusion about the justness of the existence of the Jewish state. JOSH MARK Jerusalem Sir, - My reaction differs from the negative comments you have printed following Tommy Lapid's provocative op-ed. In the past I got myself into trouble in debates on the settlements beyond the Green Line that I called our "land grab." One justification offered in defense of the settlements was that it was all being done strictly according to the law, including approval by our High Court, and hence was perfectly legitimate. I countered that at the time, in 1935, the Nuremberg Laws were also the law of the land. That analogy invariably resulted in outrage: "How can you compare etc., etc." The point I tried to make was that we tend to forget "that anti-Semitism only reached its height at Auschwitz." The pre-Auschwitz characteristics of Nazism were only comparatively less abhorrent than the death camps. I therefore appreciated this unexpected support from the former justice minister. ZEEV RAPHAEL Haifa ...thanks for nothing Sir, - In Tommy Lapid's op-ed much emphasis is placed on the "persecution" of Arabs by Jewish settlers (sic), to the point where Jews are equated with Nazis. Where were the police and the media when an Arab hit me in the head with a belt while I was walking peacefully through the market in Jerusalem's Old City? YAAKOV HERSCHBERG Mevaseret Zion Organ-ize for transplants Sir, - In his excellent "Transplant shortage? Get radical" (January 17) Jeremy Maissel made some very valid points and suggestions. It was extremely gratifying to learn about an 84% increase in Israelis carrying ADI organ donor cards, an increase from 4% to 7% of the population, though still well below what can be achieved. It is crazy and heartbreaking for poor patients suffering from life-threatening diseases to have to spend their life savings, plus borrowed money, so they can travel to China to have an organ transplant performed in a strange hospital by a strange doctor and staff who speak only Chinese. What a terrifying experience! Israelis, religious and secular, have an inherent fear of what will happen to their bodies after death and will never permit a law making organ donation compulsory. However, families and individuals should be coaxed via the message that, as registered donors, they will stand a far better chance of receiving an organ should the occasion unfortunately ever arise. The benefits to the public as a whole are enormous. DR. M.U. MILUNSKY Netanya