July 13: What a win!

What a great two days for Israeli tennis!

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
What a win! Sir, - What a great two days for Israeli tennis! It was wonderful to watch the uninhibited reaction of both spectators and players in the unfamiliar venue of the Nokia Arena. Congratulations to all concerned. I wish I could have been there, even though Channel 55 gave excellent coverage ("Israel crushes Russia, makes history," July 12). SALLY SHAW Kfar Saba What a sportswoman! Sir, - Steve Linde conferred accolades on male Jewish athletes through the years, ignoring the many achievements of their female counterparts ("Go, Jason! A Maccabiah message for us all," Steve Linde, July 10). I could name many, but will suffice with a wonderful human being whom I have the honor to call a friend. Angela Buxton (b.1934), a top-ranked player for Great Britain in the 1950s, overcame pervasive anti-Semitism in the elite tennis world to become the sole Jewish woman in history to win at Wimbledon. Denied membership in premier tennis clubs and rejected by other British tennis players, she found a kindred spirit in African American player Althea Gibson. Together they became one of the greatest duos in tennis history, winning the women's doubles at Wimbledon in 1956. Buxton went on to win the French Open doubles with Gibson in 1956; she won the Maccabiah singles title in 1953 and 1957, as well as the English indoor and London Grass Court singles championship. She also played an important role in founding the Israel Tennis Center under the enduring leadership of its president, Dr. Ian Froman. GISH TRUMAN ROBBINS Pardesiya Wrong target Sir, - Asher Meir's contention is misplaced ("Unfair water rates hurt us all," July 10). Israeli agriculture is not responsible for our water shortage. On the contrary, not only is it probably the most efficient in the world in water use efficiency, nearly 70 percent of the water used by agriculture in Israel is recycled water, not fit for home use. Nor is agriculture the main water consumer in Israel; over the past decades, the urban and industrial sectors have consumed most of the potable water in the country. As to price, most modern countries - with the exception of the few blessed with unlimited fresh water resources - subsidize water used in agriculture, whether by the massive construction of dams, reservoirs and canals, as in the American West, or via massive subsidies. Israel subsidizes water for agriculture because agriculture is vital to our economy, not because it is just another "interest group." JERRY AVIRAM Tel Aviv 'Haredi' jokers Sir, - As a rabbi in a wonderful Modern Orthodox school, I distance myself from the terrible behavior of these so-called haredi protesters ("Haredi protesters block roads as Shabbat parking feud continues," July 12). So many Jews stay away from further Torah observance when they see these jokers turn Orthodoxy into an ugly representation of what humanity should be. I hope this condemnation will remind the world that the vast majority of Orthodoxy is sickened by this behavior. MOSHE SHIELDS Olney, Maryland Sir, - Your letters column of July 9 carried 15 letters denying the legitimacy and effectiveness of these riots ("Orthodox readers react strongly to the haredi rioting in Jerusalem"). Twelve of the letters - 80 percent - were from writers outside Israel. Is this a true representation of the proportion of letters you received? Does it demonstrate the lack of interest, or backbone, in the local Orthodox or haredi communities? M. VEEDER Netanya Sir, - Would that haredi rabbis here heeded Rabbi Yakov Horowitz's courageous advice and condemnation of these violent Sabbath demonstrations, a terrible desecration of God's name perpetrated by so-called "zealots" for the Jewish faith ("American rabbi urges haredi leaders to condemn violence in Jerusalem," July 8). I vividly recall the Lubavitcher Rebbe's outspoken praise for the IDF as the messengers of God's miracle of the Entebbe rescue in 1976. In a landmark radio address emphasizing the miraculous nature of that world-inspiring event, Menahem Mendel Shneerson declared that should any of the freed hostages ever have occasion to return to the Entebbe airport, they needed to recite a special, rare blessing thanking God for having "performed a miracle for me in this place." His position totally contradicted the full-page ad in The New York Times taken out by members of the Satmar hassidic sect and others declaring the Entebbe rescue operation "the work of the devil" because of the wanton desecration of the Sabbath involved and the fact that it was performed by the evil Zionist State of Israel! The extremists took their zealotry to the streets, including throwing all kinds of debris at the Rebbe's house in Brooklyn. Sound familiar? GERSHON HARRIS Hatzor Haglilit Sir, - I'd like to add my voice to the thousands of Orthodox Jews who condemn the haredi hooligans who have thrown rocks and diapers, spat in people's faces and burned garbage cans over the past few weeks. As a hasidic Jew, it pains me that this is the new face of haredi Judaism. The excuse that these atrocities are done by "fringe" haredi groups has been put into great doubt when leaders of the Edah Haharedis not only did not condemn the violence, but also visited these arrested criminals, thereby providing legitimacy for their horrible deeds. Although the desecration of Shabbos by secular Jews is painful, it is much more excruciating when so-called religious Jews engage in such horrific behavior. It is my hope that Jerusalem Mayor Barakat will not offer positive reinforcement by giving in to the Edah. C. HOFFMAN Brooklyn, New York 'Normal' belligerency Sir, - So Syria's foreign minister wants the Golan "on a gold platter," claiming "it's our land and to have it back is the most normal thing in the world"? When the Syrians did have the Golan, "normality" for them was to launch rockets and fire bullets down at the Israeli kibbutzim, and on fishermen in the Kinneret, and to divert resources from the Kinneret in an attempt to deny Israel its main source of water. Is there any reason to believe Syria would behave differently today? My advice to Mr. Moallem is: Don't hold your breath! ("Syria's Moallem: We want Golan on a gold platter," July 8). DAVID S. ADDLEMAN Mevaseret Zion More precisely Sir, - Gershon Baskin ought to consider a more appropriate mantra than "It's the occupation, stupid!" (July 7) in defining the one issue preventing real progress toward a political solution between Israel and the Palestinians. An obvious suggestion that comes to mind is: "It's the right of return, stupid!" DAVID GILAD Beersheba CORRECTION The report by the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute referred to in "30% of haredi teens - hidden dropouts" (July 9) dealt with the hidden dropout rate among junior high and high school students nationwide, and not with the hidden dropout rate in haredi schools. Haredi dropout rates were extrapolated from the nationwide figures by ASHELIM, an arm of the JDC.