July 16: Heartless H&H

Once again Hamas and Hizbullah are trying to play victim and are crying out for the prisoners held in Israeli jails.

Heartless H&H Sir, - Once again Hamas and Hizbullah are trying to play victim ("Nasrallah: Captured soldiers will only be released in prisoner swap," July 13). Once again they're crying out for the prisoners held in Israeli jails. I cannot say if those prisoners are innocent or guilty, or whether they deserve to be released. But what I can guarantee is that they are better treated, better fed and in a better all-round position than the innocent Gazans suffering under Hamas's and Hizbullah's terrorism. A victim is someone who is helpless and has no control over his future. If H&H release the soldiers they have kidnapped they may spare the lives of hundreds of Arabs and Israelis caught in the crossfire. But they would patently rather watch their people suffer so they can cower under big, bad Israel and attempt to show international moderators how the Zionists make them suffer. H&H have the power to change the situation and save Palestinians and Israelis more heartache, but they simply choose not to. Clearly they are not the victims, but heartless aggressors. SHIRA MAZOR Jerusalem Appease no more Sir, - It all started with Oslo. Rewarding the arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat sent a clear message to the world: Terror pays. Next came the ignominious midnight flight from Lebanon - an encouragement to further terror. The last straw was the removal of Jewish life from Gaza. This brought Hamas to power, with the ensuing disastrous consequences. The Jewish people have to unite in supporting the government of Israel in its fight against our enemies who are trying to destroy us. It is about time we recognized that appeasement does not pay. ERIC GRAUS President, Likud-Herut London Shoe on the other foot Sir, - On the same day Israel is attacked by Hizbullah - "an act of war" according to our prime minister - the Histadrut declares a work dispute in the public sector which could lead to a general strike in two weeks ("Histadrut threatens general strike," July 13). Our minister of defense, until recently a leader in declaring such disputes, now finds himself in charge of the response to our national security. I look forward to hearing him condemn the action of the body he previously headed. MONTY M. ZION Tel Mond Finish this silly mess Sir, - I don't usually agree with Israel's tactics. But this time I say, don't just keep this silly mess going on. Get your earth-moving machines and shovel those terrorists out of the Middle East. The world will scream; but make it scream all at once rather than continually, in a constant drip. The world is slowly growing to hate you - so end this, for your sanity and the world's. Yes, the world will freak out; but then it can calm down and forgive you. Which it will. I am not a Jew, but I think it's time for Israel to finish this. JIM EAGLE FEATHER Boulder, Colorado Firing up the public Sir, - In "No case to answer" (Letters, July 12) Yehudit Collins raised some interesting legal points about the "Katsav affair," but one peculiar aspect has not been mentioned, namely the timing of these accusations on TV's Channel 2. For six years Katsav was a good, caring and popular president. Then suddenly, in this last year of his term, and especially after the Likud's loss in the election, some "good soul" started the rumor that, after completing his term, Katsav may return to politics - and might even restore the Likud to prominence. Then came the interview in your paper in which the president dared to criticize last year's fiasco in Gush Katif and speak out against another such fatal mistake in Judea and Samaria. And along comes Channel 2 with its scoop of sexual harassment and blackmail. What else can so fire up the public imagination? EMANUEL FISCHER Jerusalem Sir, - In my opinion the president is clean. If he weren't, would he have gone to the attorney-general and told him about the blackmail? No, he would have found some way to cover it up. JUDY FORD Petah Tikva Room for all Sir, - Re "Birthright slams Masa for wasteful duplication of efforts" (July 5): I was surprised to see a gulf growing between Taglit-birthright and Masa. The impression one gets from the current dispute is that Taglit-birthright views Masa as an interloper in the field of bringing young Jews to Israel. Who gave Taglit-birthright the veto over Masa's activities? The Alisa Flatow Memorial Fund has been providing scholarship assistance to college-age men and women seeking to study Judaism in Israel since 1996. Named in memory of my daughter who was murdered by Palestinian Islamic Jihad while she was a student in Israel, the fund has helped about 100 students over the past 10 years to attend yeshivot, seminaries and other institutions throughout Israel. Let's face it, Taglit-birthright, Masa, and even a small program such as Alisa's have room to operate simultaneously and work toward their common goal - creating a generation of Jews who know who they are, and imparting an appreciation of the State of Israel and of what Judaism is all about. It's time for Taglit-birthright to move on and give Masa the space it needs. STEPHEN M. FLATOW West Orange, New Jersey Downsizing Sir, - Re "MKs ignore TV show's weighty issue" (July 11): What might attract our heftier parliamentarians' attention is a Downsizing program featuring those MKs themselves, offering viewers sound-bites with a more culinary bent. B. ABRAHAMS Tel Aviv