July 17: President Peres steps up to the plate

I'm sorry, Mr. President, your new position requires new thinking and new restraint - or you will rip the delicate fabric of the country further apart.

letters 88 (photo credit: )
letters 88
(photo credit: )
Sir, - He might chalk it up to a bad day at the office, but what our new "president of all the people" did was start off by disenfranchising some 40% of the population ("Peres expected to remain 'one-man foreign ministry,'" July 16). "Get rid of the territories." Surely he must know, with his 60 years in politics, that that is a party, not a presidential line. And it is surely not a unifying line. I'm sorry, Mr. President, your new position requires new thinking and new restraint - or you will rip the delicate fabric of the country further apart. If the nation held its breath when former president Weizman talked into an open microphone, I can only image the collective apprehension when the new president prepares to speak. HOWARD BURG Netanya Sir, - "You talk to people, you have dialogue," said President Peres. I am surprised that a man as erudite as he could make such a statement - philologically, socially and politically erroneous. When an individual uses words, it may be a monologue. Even if there is a listener, until that listener responds, it is still a monologue. This is not merely a semantic distinction. Where is Peres's evidence that the words spoken at Camp David and in Oslo, the words accompanying all the good-will gestures by Israeli governments and one-sided retreats from land - for whatever good reasons - were nothing more than forms of monologue? Regarding Jordan and Egypt, after swords were mutually sheathed, words were responded to, dialogues entered into and treaties signed. But felicitous phrases, even Peres's own, are not dialogues. DAN VOGEL Jerusalem Sir, - Kol hakavod to Guy Ziv who, in "The Peres presidency" (July 16), lays out a line of approach that might very well come close to what Peres will actually try to do in his new post. I believe he will push the prime minister to move forward with his promises to give more equality to Israel's Arab population, and to move us out of big chunks of the West Bank, as he intimated in his interview with AP. If the general idea is to arrive at a peaceful solution to our problem with the Palestinians, then Peres will act to stir things up in that area. Of course, a great deal depends on the Palestinians doing their part. They will have to finally decide that a state alongside Israel is better than no state at all. Once their leaders have made that decision things will get a lot better, and Peres will be there to help things along. So - long live the new president! LEONARD ZURAKOV Netanya Sir, - Guy Ziv appeals to Shimon Peres to work to "improve the Arab lot in society." I would venture that this is less dependent on Mr. Peres than on the Arabs themselves. I have worked alongside Arabs since my aliya over 20 years ago, and can attest to them having the exact same conditions as everyone in the workplace. Further, as they are exempt from army reserve duty they have, in effect, a better lot than their Jewish colleagues. It is my experience that in our society one's lot depends on individual talent, attitude and behavior, regardless of race or creed. Or, "As you sow, so shall you reap." DAVID ADDLEMAN Mevaseret Zion Sir, - This is to let you know that Uganda has sent warm greetings to the new president. H.E President Yoweri Museveni has despatched his senior adviser, who has been in training with NISPED/MASHAV, to address officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem to revamp our bilateral relations, government to government. Our relationship was severed by Idi Amin; this is a milestone. JOSHUA KANYIKE Kampala Charity begins at home Sir, - The outpouring of support by Israelis for the increasing numbers of Sudanese refugees ironically seems to have obscured the plight of countless Jews in Israel whose suffering is often overlooked. Reading "Doctors volunteer free care for Darfuri Refugees (July 10), one is struck by the absence of similar magnanimous gestures by members of our medical profession for the many Jewish men, women and children injured in Arab terrorist attacks. Despite both physical and psychological wounds, these traumatized victims must often pay out of their own meager income for costly treatment and medications. The humanitarian concern for the Sudanese, while neglecting the needs of countless terror victims in Israel, impels me to remind the good doctors of the wise truism "Charity begins at home." SHIFRA HOFFMAN Founder Victims of Arab Terror Jerusalem Jewish hooliganism Sir, - Matthew Wagner's "Beit Shemesh 'Casbah' on edge over controversial modesty demonstrations' (July 15) did not adequately reflect the violence of the residents toward their neighbors in Ramat Beit Shemesh Aleph and Beit Shemesh, for whom Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet is a main thoroughfare. Bricks - not stones - have been thrown at cars and buses; rocks have been hurled at modestly dressed women attempting to move the debris from the road. Public property has been permanently and severely defaced, and tens of trees have been uprooted. Unfortunately, these people ignore the fact that modesty is but one of the commandments. Others prohibiting the infliction of harm on people and property - never mind "Love your neighbor as yourself" - have been forgotten. The Temple, we should remember in this period leading up to Tisha Be'Av, was not destroyed because someone's sleeves were too short, but because of baseless hatred. LAURA MAJOR Ramat Beit Shemesh Few laughs now Sir, - The headline of Douglas Goldstein's "Do you invest or save? (Communicated, July 13) reminded me of my university days in Britain in the early 1970s and prompted me to ponder how life for Jewish students on campus has changed. The Christian Student Society used to put up posters all over the university proclaiming "Jesus Saves!" Taking advantage of the irreverent sense of humor that prevailed in the undergraduate mind, we Jewish students used to add to these posters: "But Moses Invests!" The entire student body found this very funny; it was up there with posters announcing "Apathy Society announces cancellation of function due to lack of interest," and was received in the same lighthearted manner. Alas, such student lightheartedness can no longer be indulged in. Today's anti-Semitic climate in Britain, especially on campus, is no laughing matter. ELLIE MORRIS Asseret They try harder Sir, - It is not true that a ticket bought at the airport is the same price as one purchased through an agency. My very reliable travel agent in Haifa finds me the best deals (El Al or BA - I don't take charters) and gives me easy terms on my credit card. When I bought a ticket for BA at Ben-Gurion Airport because I needed the first available flight to get to a family funeral, they charged me the maximum, and with no credit terms. I think that should be clarified. Travel agents just seem to try harder than the airlines ("Why would anyone use a travel agent?" Mark Feldman, July 15). WENDY BLUMFIELD Haifa