January 28: Bias showing

I think Hoffman needs to reevaluate the way he pushes his own opinions into news articles.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Bias showing
Sir, – Political correspondent Gil Hoffman doesn’t even try to hide his anti-Livni bias anymore.
In “PM suffers blow, Lapid emerges tall in election” (January 23), he called Tzipi Livni’s party “[o]ne of the biggest losers in the race,” despite the fact that this brand new party came in seventh out of 32 parties.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud Beytenu list dropped quite a few seats, so Netanyahu was not exactly celebrating.
Then, in “Grading the campaigns” (Politics, January 25), Hoffman gave The Tzipi Livni Party the worst grade, an F, despite the fact that Kadima, the party she left, performed abysmally, going from being the largest party in the Knesset to just barely crossing the electoral threshold.
I think Hoffman needs to reevaluate the way he pushes his own opinions into news articles.
MYRA OPIS Jerusalem
Gil Hoffman responds: Kadima was not expected to pass the threshold but did because of its persuasive campaign. The Tzipi Livni Party set its goal as serving as an alternative ruling party to Likud-Beytenu but finished with the same number of seats as Meretz. Anyone who has any doubts about whether I've been fair and impartial to Livni and her party should read my December 14 interview with her:www.jpost.com/Features/FrontLines/Article.aspx?id=295898
Not America
Sir, – Yesh Atid’s Dov Lipman (“An American in the Knesset,” Knesset Watch, January 25) is willing to give up parts of the Land of Israel for peace. How nice! Obviously, he believes this is America, where he can sit over a cup of coffee and speak common sense to his neighbor.
I want to know if Lipman would be willing to lead all the Jews out of their homes in Beit Shemesh for peace, or whether he wants to try for peace only with someone else’s home.
Platform of hate
Sir, – Ben Caspit (“The perfect Israeli,” Observations, January 25) says that “Yair Lapid is what we want the perfect Israeli to look like. The good old Israel, liberal, secular, pragmatic and polite....”
That’s all fine and dandy if you don’t read Lapid’s lips: “I hate haredim.” A bad habit he picked up from his father.
The younger Lapid can present so much hope for Israelis and bring much-needed fresh blood to the old, worn-out political system. So why did he have to base so much of his platform on hate?
Their first time
Sir, – Last Tuesday was my first time voting in Israel as a new immigrant, having made aliya in 2009. The experience was quite remarkable and a good way to discern how elections here differ from the US.
I got to my Israeli polling place at 7:00 a.m., when voting was to commence. The person asked my name and address, told me I did not belong at that polling station and to go away. I politely asked if he knew where I was to vote.
The answer was an abrupt no! I called my neighbor for his recommendation. He told me that since I had not received a postcard from the Election Committee informing me where I was to vote, I should go to a different polling place within walking distance from the first.
Well, I showed up there at 7:15 a.m. The people in charge were just setting up and said I had to wait 20 minutes until they got their paperwork and other paraphernalia in order. Their poll opened at 7:35, but not before I got a vocal concert from one of the poll watchers. He sang native Iraqi songs, as well as many Shabbat songs, to interesting melodies. He had a marvelous voice, but that was not the reason I had come to the polls.
Lo and behold, my name was on the list and I was given an envelope to take behind a partition, where I picked one of the many party slips and inserted it into the envelope. The poll workers thanked me for voting. I got another song and then went home.
Israel. Is this a great country or what?
Sir, – I was very proud to vote in Israel for the first time last week... until I saw the voting site in Talpiot: up a hill and down a lot of stairs. There was a gentleman in a wheelchair with his aide in the hallway. How did he get there? Did the aide bounce him down a step at a time or did two people have to carry him and his wheelchair so that he could exercise his right to vote? The next day I was on the bus alongside a woman in a motorized vehicle with a breathing tube. I asked her if she had voted and she answered that she could not get to the site assigned to her.
There might be sites that are suitable for the handicapped and there might be transportation for them, but if it is not publicized we are depriving our citizens of the right to vote. The information should be in several languages on the voting card sent to our homes, and publicized in the media.
It is also wonderful that soldiers, diplomats posted abroad, prisoners and those in the hospital got to vote. But others did not: airline personnel, emissaries, people working or visiting sick relatives abroad, and many more, including my cousin, a cardiologist, who was in the US explaining to a Hadassah group a grant request that would improve services in the hospital here.
If we are indeed a democracy, we should make voting available to all who are eligible.
What is ‘Israeli?’
Sir, – Uri Savir’s magnum opus “The Israeli” (Savir’s Corner, January 25) is, without any doubt, hesitation or reservation, the finest and most comprehensive definition of “Israeli” I have ever read.
In 1951, when I arrived in Israel, I came as a Jew. I was 18 years old. For the past 62 years, when asked to identify myself, I have replied: “I am Israeli.”
Being Jewish is understood.
Being Israeli is more difficult to define.
In my early childhood the most prominent colors were blue and black – marks placed on my body by non-Jews who called me a Christ-killer as they beat me. Since my aliya the most prominent colors have been blue and white, the symbol of my reborn homeland, its identity and glory.
We Israelis are often called one people despite our different cultures and origins. It is not our religion alone that unites or defines us. It is our Israeli-ness.
Now, at age 80, I know who I am, what I am and why I am – very proud, devoted and honored to be Israeli.ESOR BEN-SOREK Rishon Lezion
Irish oys
Sir, – The lesson we should learn from Sarah Honig (“That unwitting indecency,” Another Tack, January 25) is that we Israelis must choose our vacation destinations more carefully.
Many, if not most, Irish harbor anti-Semitic feelings. Having grown up in Rockaway Beach, an Irish enclave of New York City, I can personally attest to having fought off some of their gangs.Yet to be fair, there have been some exceptions and friends such as Paul O’Dwyer, Tip O’Neil, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Cardinal O’Connor, all Irish-American politicians or communal leaders.
World-wide? Anti-Semitism has increased considerably in the past few years. We know who our friends are, like the Czechs, the Canadians and the Americans, to mention just a few closer to home.
Let’s spend our converted shekels in countries that are more friendly to Israel and Jews.
Remember, boycotts work both ways.
Sir, – I must express my profound shock, dismay and revulsion at the “education” of Irish children in certain schools in County Kerry, Ireland. Even more so as an Irish Jew, and being Israeli-born.
I would hope Irish taxpayers express their disgust at the hate being instilled in Irish school children in Cahersiveen. Our minister for education, Ruairi Quinn, is a man who has previously expressed support and admiration for Israel. He wants to separate church and state in respect of education in Ireland.
It’s just a shame Honig did not name the schools.