July 29: Bit of a reach

Supermarket shelves constantly present a problem; one always needs to ask for help. I would caution against doing what I once unthinkingly did.

Bit of a reach
Sir, – Being somewhat vertically challenged myself, it was easy for me to relate to Judy Montagu’s delightful article (“Sizing things up,” In My Own Write, July 27). Supermarket shelves constantly present a problem; one always needs to ask for help. However I would caution against doing what I once unthinkingly did – I approached a nice young man and asked him if I could take advantage of his inches!
We have neither
Sir, – It seems silly to talk of Turkey’s Plan A and Plan B when there is only Erdogan’s plan – to end the alliance with Israel (“Turkish PM threatens to further downgrade diplomatic ties with Israel,” July 26). However, the loss of Turkey is compensated by the warming of relations with Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus and Armenia. Israel may have even benefitted.
What is disturbing is that the president of Israel was publicly insulted by the prime minister of Turkey, a supposed ally at the time, at the international economic summit in Davos.
What self-respecting country would not have withdrawn its ambassador until an apology was forthcoming? To paraphrase Winston Churchill, we paid with dignity for friendship and we shall have neither.
Tel Aviv
Sir, – Turkey’s acts and insults are reminiscent of past Ottoman “manners.”
In our region, insults carry deep political weight and significance.
An Israeli apology is not only ridiculously inappropriate but will not pacify Turkey. Rather, it will encourage more antagonism to promote its regional image and status, which is Turkey’s real goal. It is not looking for better relations with Israel.
Once and for all, Israel must not negotiate when threatened or under pressure.
Not only is it undignified, as we have repeatedly seen it does not work.
Strong marriage
Sir, – Regarding “Obama and the Jewish vote” (Candidly Speaking, July 24), Isi Leibler, Dick Morris and Frank Luntz are all wrong – liberal, secular American Jews are as wed to President Barack Obama as they were when they voted overwhelmingly for him in 2008.
The only way Obama would lose a significant percentage of that vote is if he outlawed abortion. He could cut off all aid to Israel and not lose 5 percent.
Why? Because liberal Jews see it as an act of self-mutilation to vote for a Republican, and especially against an African-American.
It would be more useful to write off the majority of US Jews as potential Republican voters and supporters of Israel. That train left the station years ago. Better that committed Jews strike alliances with Christian, Asian and white ethnic groups that share our values.
Highland Park, New Jersey
Stay on the beach
Sir, - I’m confident that I will never drown on an Israeli beach. The lifeguards won’t let me. They are adamant about keeping me alive. I wish I could say the same about Israeli drivers.
When I get off the beach, the very first pedestrian crossing is a near-death experience. Drivers seem more than willing to knock me down. They turn into hunters – any pedestrian is prey.
Inside an Israeli taxi I feel equally vulnerable. The driver is transformed into a speed maniac as soon as we hit the road. Bumper-to- bumper, swerving from lane to lane. One hand on the wheel, the other holding a cellphone. Shouting is required to drown out the high-volume noise from the radio.
Do I exaggerate? Not much. The annual number of deaths on Israeli roads is terrifying. The statistics mostly report just the deaths; in addition come those who are seriously injured and crippled for life.
Road fatalities are, in principle, 100 percent avoidable.