January 8: Fallibly great

Teddy Kollek was a truly great man and mayor. But he was not infallible.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Fallibly great Sir, - Teddy Kollek was a truly great man and mayor. But he was not infallible. Following the Six Day War, when the government decided to create facts on the ground and construct new neighborhoods, a team of housing ministry architects was ordered to draw up plans for thousands of housing units near Nebi Samwil. Highly disturbed by the negative urban planning implications the architects objected, to no effect. In despair, they held a press conference to point out that errors that had caused havoc in major American cities were about to be repeated. I believe they were sacked. To his credit, Kollek declared that urban planning experts should be brought in to reexamine the project. But then a hostile editorial appeared in The New York Times. The following morning I heard Kollek on the morning news. He said: "Now we have no option but to go ahead and build. We can't allow The New York Times to dictate to us." The result was decades of misery, conflict and chaos for Jerusalemites ("Teddy, whose 'force of creation' built Jerusalem, is laid to rest," January 5). AMIEL SCHOTZ Metar Greatly fallible Sir, - Israel, and ultimately the West, is on the verge of annihilation by Islam. Binyamin Netanyahu's comments are not racist, but rational and ethical. There is no point in stressing the obvious existential issues driving his conclusions. But Larry Derfner should consider that PC self-righteousness prevents him from recognizing that a huge Arab population among a shrinking Jewish one will result in Israel's destruction. Please, Mr. Derfner, don't expect everyone else to rush to join your suicide pact ("A bigot called Bibi," January 4). JED WEST Culver City, California Business as usual Sir, - Gordon Brown has condemned the way Saddam Hussein was hanged as "deplorable." The British chancellor is correct for a Westerner. But the hanging wasn't deplorable to an Islamic court, in an Islamic country, viewed by Islamic peoples; it was business as usual. Punishments involving stoning, hanging, amputation of limbs, strangulation and beheading are shown to the Islamic public in newspapers, photographs, movies and on TV - as a deterrent. Educated Englishmen must remember that it took centuries for their people to stop public executions, and so it will be with Islam. "Democratization" does not automatically bring "Western Civilization" ("Saddam's execution: It's all in the timing," January 1). DOV SILVERMAN Ra'anana freethesoldiers.org Sir, - Every one of us must be concerned about kidnapped Israeli soldiers Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. The United Jewish Communities has developed a Web site - freethesoldiers.org - which contains photos, bios, information and a petition. Everyone is asked to sign the petition and forward it to every email address in their address book. The site also has links to photos and information on the other five MIAs: Zachary Baumel, Tzvi Feldman, Yehuda Katz, Ron Arad and Guy Hever. May they soon be reunited with their loved ones. JUDITH SHAPIRO Brooklyn Giant of an advocate Sir, - It was with a fair amount of nostalgia that I read Haviv Rettig's "Memorializing Shlomo Argov" (December 29). During the late 1970s and early 1980s I took up employment at the Israeli embassy in London as assistant to the information attache. Shlomo Argov was then ambassador to the Court of St. James's and I had many opportunities to meet and converse with him. Mr. Argov represented the State of Israel with stunning dignity. He had a genius for articulating and defending Israel's policies and vital interests. His succinct yet passionate and unflinching personal conviction of Israel's national interests left an indelible influence on those who met him. The assassination attempt against him robbed Israel of a giant of an advocate whose devoted and robust defense of his country made him a formidable opponent and most engaging representative. I remember my time at the embassy with undying fondness. The passage of time has not watered down my admiration, respect and recollection of Shlomo Argov, may he rest in peace. LEVI J ATTIAS Ma'aleh Adumim HOT's antics Sir, - It is really disgraceful that HOT cable subscribers are being ruthlessly deprived of the prime reason many of them chose this particular TV package. The classic music program Mezzo has already been taken off without prior warning ("Get tough on HOT, YES," Editorial, January 7). J. BERG Jerusalem Sir, - I fail to understand the fuss over HOT's decision to drop BBC Prime. As a HOT subscriber I phoned the company several times and sent them an email stating my objections. Speaking to their representatives was like talking to the wall; they replied to my email with a standard form letter stating their intention to drop BBC Prime. This was the last straw, so I did what every dissatisfied consumer should do: phoned YES. Within a day I was connected, and I shall now continue to enjoy BBC Prime. HOT seems to have forgotten that there is competition. Even in Israel. ELI MINOFF Safed Sir, - One wonders whether the threat to go over to YES is enough, or whether a class action against the combined TV concessionaires may not be a better way to go. EMANUEL FISCHER Jerusalem Not quite Sir, - Your headline read "A minyan in the Senate and three more in the House" (January 7). Not quite. One of our senators from California, Dianne Feinstein, was born to an Episcopalian mother and a Jewish father and brought up as a Christian. She does not deny that she is only half-Jewish. Since most Jews do not recognize patrilineal descent, the best you can report is that the US Senate has nine-and-a-half Jews. DANIEL RUBIN Napa, California Hilary Leila Krieger responds: There are now 13 senators, so even if you're down one, 12 remain - and all men for those who are really serious about a minyan. By the way, Feinstein describes herself as Jewish in the official Congressional guide. It turns out that there are actually two Jewish Republican senators. Norm Coleman of Minnesota is the second. Own goal! Sir, - As a regular reader of The Jerusalem Post for over 30 years, I have from time to time "howled" at some mistakes - particularly financial - printed in your newspaper. On the other hand, I have often appreciated and lauded some very clever and apt headlines to various news items. However, Sunday's startling headline "Liverpool knocks out cup holder Arsenal" (January 7) must have caught your sports editor napping and provides a howler that surpasses all previous records on both counts. EZEKIEL GAHTAN Ramat Hasharon The Editor responds: As an Arsenal fan myself, I also winced at the own goal. Apologies. Beegone Sir, - If you don't have a cartoon about this I will end my subscription (just kidding!): Israel Radio, Sunday, 07:44 - "IDF fails to retrieve 3 million bees stolen from Israel by Palestinians." M.M. VAN ZUIDEN Jerusalem