July 2: Whose side are you on?

Meretz head Haim Oron's dislike of Lieberman led him to make the stupid comment "Lieberman is bad for Israel, and I don't need the president of France to tell me that."

letters 88 (photo credit: )
letters 88
(photo credit: )
Whose side... Sir, - Meretz head Haim Oron is purposely ignoring the major issue. His utter dislike of Avigdor Lieberman and his poor political acumen led him to make the stupid and ugly comment "Lieberman is bad for Israel, and I don't need the president of France to tell me that." Oron's extreme left-wing ideology obfuscates all his sense of reason and pride in his country. No country's political parties, whatever their political views, would tolerate the sheer arrogance of another country's leader interfering in its internal affairs and the makeup of its cabinet. Unfortunately, diplomatic etiquette prevented Netanyahu from banging on the table ("PM rallies behind Lieberman after Sarkozy's criticism," July 1). M.U. MILUNSKY Netanya ...are you on? Sir, - You reported former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak as saying that if we can't live in peace with our Arab neighbors, "we will not find a way to live in peace with ourselves." Surely he should have said, "If we can't find a way to live in peace with ourselves, we will never live in peace with the Arabs!" ("Aharon Barak: W. Bank is occupied territory," June 25). EALLAN HIRSHFELD Ra'anana Childish boycott Sir, - I was extremely disappointed at your running on the front page of your July 1 edition "Likud's Danon calls for boycott of [America's] July 4 celebration" - by an MK unknown to most. It gave undue prominence to bland politicians who owe their presence in the Knesset to an electoral system that invites mediocrity, people who would not get elected in a system such as the UK's. If this great man wishes, along with his eminent colleagues, to boycott the event, I recommend the following additional measures: Boycott US aid, financial and military; recall our ambassador for "consultations," etc. - that would indeed warrant front-page news. The true beneficiary of the July 4 boycott will be the ambassador, who certainly won't miss these politicians' presence. The Obama administration, like all previous ones, is against settlement-building; the change is it seems Obama is taking matters seriously and intends to act in what he perceives to be US interests, shared by the EU. His views are closer to Kadima than to the Likud, and the sooner we understand and try and adapt, the better for us. As Martin Indyk correctly stated: If we want continued US support, which is deemed vital, we must take that into account, albeit without endangering ourselves. This childish Likud boycott could, if at all, have been mentioned in a few lines on an inside page. HENRY WEIL Jerusalem Sir, - At last, two MKs - Danny Danon and Otniel Schneller ("Schneller: US call for settlement freeze is 'extortion,'" June 30) - are saying what so many of us feel. We send our fathers and sons into battle over and over again to fight off Arab Muslim aggression. We hardly have time to bury our dead, and the US and their EU allies are pressuring us to return to the aggressors what they lost. There is no international law to justify this. It is time some other coin was found with which to acquire those hungered-for Arab money and markets. This latest round of "extortion" is just too much! It is tantamount to destroying the State of Israel. Our important biblical heritage apart, anyone who stood on one of the Samarian heights and viewed the whole of our coast without binoculars would realize that putting them into the hands of terrorists with rocket launchers on their shoulders is suicide. MALKA HILLEL-SHULEWITZ Jerusalem Together, or not at all Sir, - Israel should respond to the continuing US calls for a settlement freeze by throwing out the following challenge: We will cease settlement construction simultaneously with the Palestinians halting all anti-Israel and anti-Semitic indoctrination - in their media, mosques and schools. Both sides would be closely monitored, and any deviation by one side would relieve the other of its obligation ("Barak tries to move US focus off settlements," July 1). JAC FRIEDGUT Jerusalem Hope triumphs, but reality trumps it Sir, - Martin Indyk is an example of the triumph of hope over experience. He admits his previous peace diplomacy came to naught, but claims that if only this or that had been handled differently‚ all would have been fine. In the debate between Left and Right in Israel, each preemptive attempt to appease the Arabs by the Left has brought forth predictions of disaster by the Right. And each time the Right's view has been vindicated, the Left has found some excuse. Indyk believes with perfect faith that if the right combination of leaders pursue policies that will allow the Arabs to create yet another state, all will be sweetness and light. If the Arabs had wanted a state, they could have had one in 1948, or any year after that. Israel has leant over backwards time and time again, offering a little more or a little less, but to no avail. The answer is always no; sometimes it's no, no and no ("'The Right is wrong,'" Interview with Ruthie Blum Leibowitz, June 25). STEPHEN COHEN Ma'aleh Adumim Wandering shepherds Sir, - I read with interest your editorial regarding two ex-ministers sentenced for corruption. What I found interesting and sad was the reaction of their respective political parties. While Kadima understandably wishes to distance itself from its former member Avraham Hirchson, the Shas Party continues to claim, after two trials, that its disgraced member Shlomo Benizri is innocent. Several Shas party members have been found guilty of corruption over the last few years, and Shas claims to be the religious leader of Israel! God is proved right again when, in Ezekiel, He states: "Woe to you shepherds of Israel, who only take care of yourselves!" Shas MK Nissim Ze'ev termed Benizri a victim and called for a jury of his peers. Why? So their corrupt friends will be let off? ("Corruption in perspective," June 28). AVISHAI TUCKER Haifa 'The non-Jewish Jew' Sir, - Thanks to Judy Montagu for "Seeing is believing, most of the time" (July 1), pointing out the inconsistencies in Israeli Jewish identity. In the days of Fiddler on the Roof, people knew who they were and what God wanted of them; now the only thing many Jews are certain about is that God doesn't come into it. They admit that, historically, God and religion were the central dimension of Jewish identity, but now it seems that scholar and rabbi Arthur Hertzberg was right that most Jews are "absent with leave" from God and Judaism. In the Diaspora, we used to hear from the Israelis that we needed the synagogue, otherwise we would have no Jewish identity; but in Israel, it was enough to be in the Land. Then we came to Israel and were surrounded by "Hebrew-speaking Canaanites" - but this is not why we made aliya. Most of us olim are religious and have chosen to live in Israel because this is where the Bible has come true and where we hear the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. We simply can't understand why late Friday nights in bars and discos are a Jewish fulfillment, or why a pork-and-prawns cuisine is an expression of Jewish identity. Isaac Deutscher's phrase "The non-Jewish Jew" has come to haunt us with a vengeance. RABBI RAYMOND APPLE Jerusalem