January 30: We aren't savages

There isn't much question that this government of ours has made serious errors. Which government hasn't made errors ?

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
We aren't savages Sir, - There isn't much question that this government of ours has made serious errors. Which government hasn't made errors ? But where Jack Cohen and I part ways is when he says, in response to "Israel restoring Gaza fuel supply" (January 27): "There is no reason why we should supply our enemies, why we should be concerned about their humanitarian needs when they are not concerned about ours" ("Consistency's the thing," Letters, January 28). It's difficult to live under the threat of Kassams and other missiles, but during the seven years that Sderot has suffered, their actual losses in lives and property have not come up to the numbers of Gazans eliminated. We are living in difficult times, and we must face problems that we probably never dreamed of, but we are not savages, and I don't believe we want to live as they say the denizens of the jungle live. Think again, Mr. Cohen. L. ZURAKOV Netanya 'What buck?' Sir, - I hope that when the final Winograd report is released today, Ehud Olmert will heed the words of Harry Truman: "The buck stops here!" ("Olmert delays negotiations on Jerusalem - PM vows to stay on after Winograd panel publishes report on Wednesday," January 29.) JESSICA FISCHER Michmoret Grab the high ground Sir, - From the perspective of an American Jew, I respectfully think that the time has come for Israel to again attempt to seize the high ground of world opinion. What has happened over the last few days at the Rafah border has changed the paradigm. As the capitalist axiom teaches: "When goods cross borders, troops don't." To grab the high ground again, all Israel has to do is open her borders to the merchants of Gaza and the West Bank to buy and sell goods at the border markets. These merchants and the distribution system they create will employ the working class and allow the schools to stay open and essential services to again be provided. The reason American capitalism has been so successful is that the honest merchant class creates a win/win result that rewards good behavior and hard work. Respectfully, Jews, I think, are special and being special we need to always be ready to seize the high ground when the opportunity is presented. Peace and Love from an American Jew ("Fatah, Hamas fight for control of Gaza border," January 29). NORM BLUMENTHAL La Jolla, California Paradox Sir, - Arun Gandhi's statements on Jews and Israel demonstrate that espousing an ideology of non-violence is no guarantee of a non-violent attitude ("Gandhi resigns his peace role after blasting Jews and Israel," January 27). YOAV J.TENEMBAUM Tel Aviv Democracy usurped Sir, - Evelyn Gordon is to be congratulated on an excellent article about the arrogance of the former president of the Supreme Court ("The Third World according to Aharon Barak," January 24). Barak has no one but himself to blame for Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann's bid to restore sovereignty to the Knesset and to restrict, if not abolish, the right of the court to declare laws of the Knesset null and void for being unconstitutional. No such action would have been needed had Barak not arrogated to himself (i.e., his court) the right to broaden standing before the Supreme Court to anyone and everyone, and asserted that when he nullifies the legislative will of the Knesset he is acting in defense of democracy. The Knesset, in Lincoln's definition of democracy, is elected by the people and represents the people. Aharon Barak and the other members of the court were never elected by the people and are, therefore, not accountable for their decisions. Did the Knesset explicitly authorize the court to exercise judicial review? Is there any legislative act saying that the court shall decide the validity of the actions of the government or the Knesset? There is none; Barak's conduct thus represents an act of usurpation and denial of democracy which should have been corrected via determined action of the Knesset. The Knesset was, and is, sovereign and no individual, however distinguished, may set himself up as a tribunal of last resort. SARA STERZER Beit Shemesh Right to remember, mandate to not forget Sir, - January 27 marked the 63rd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, with representatives of countries worldwide citing the need to remember the atrocities carried out in the name of hate, and the need to stand witness in order to make sure it never happens again. Apparently our Education Ministry feels that the European countries that perpetrated these crimes are perfectly capable of bearing witness on behalf of those they murdered, and that Israeli students need not attend. It recently announced that the price of trips to Poland to participate in memorial ceremonies was not high enough, and that it had decided to raise them by another 33 percent to $1,500 - far above the average Israeli salary. Thus to send their child on this experience a family must donate an entire month's salary. Parents have stated that they will not be sending their children to represent their cities, schools and, more importantly, country. Unless the ministry takes drastic action, the number of students who will bear witness to the European nations for their actions will continue to dwindle. Can anyone really expect the guilty to give accurate testimony? And why should they, if the Israelis themselves don't feel it worthwhile to make an appearance? With the number of Holocaust survivors declining daily, now is the time to send our young to walk the killing fields, together with those who survived them. Time is running out. JOHN DALY Ashkelon Missing... Sir, - Re your interview with Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog ("We are becoming an indifferent society," January 18): It was with great surprise that I noticed the name of Emunah was not included in the list of organizations providing social services in Israel. It is true that not all the organizations and non-profit organizations providing great services to the community can be listed; however it is important to note that Emunah - the largest religious women's movement in the world and the third-largest women's organization in Israel - provides services ranging from daycare centers, children's homes and high schools to women's college, family counseling services, communal projects such as Golden Age clubs, assistance with conversion, food distribution for the needy, and much more. Without the untiring dedication of our workers and volunteers, together with those of all the other organizations mentioned in the article, Israel's social services would collapse. DINA HAHN Chairperson World Emunah Jerusalem ...and mixing Sir, - In your quick crossword of January 27, the two left-hand columns were missing. And next day you mixed up "equinox" and "solstice." HANNA ZLOTNICK Jerusalem The Editor responds: We regret the omission and the error.