July 3: Telling our side

An Israeli guard served as a much better presenter of the Israeli view than our foreign minister has been.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Telling our side Sir, - As usual, we turned to foreign TV channels yesterday to watch their handling of terror in Israel and caught an interview in Jerusalem between a bank guard who was near the lethal tractor and the correspondent from Al-Jazeera. This guard was, as it happened, a much better presenter of the Israeli view than our foreign minister has been. He simply appealed to the foreign press to show the Israeli side of events - and what better place to do this, he asked, than Al-Jazeera? ("Bulldozer driver shot dead after going on rampage in capital," On-Line Edition, July 2.) BARBARA SHAMIR Beit Horon Tip 'em, they deserve it Sir, - Re "A sweet thank-you" (Letters, June 19): Giving guards outside cafes and restaurants a candy bar is a sweet gesture, certainly, but I go a step further: I give a tip. These guards deserve it at least as much as the waiters and waitresses seeing that they do a dangerous and very much underpaid job. NOMI KALISCH Givat Ze'ev Bordering dishonesty Sir, - June 23 marked 26 years since the disastrous tank battle at Sultan Yakoub during the First Lebanon War. To date, three soldiers from that battle are still listed as missing in action - Zvi Feldman, Yehuda Katz, and my son Zecharia Baumel. Both the IDF and Israeli governments have tried to have these boys declared dead, but to no avail. Using techniques that border on dishonesty they have succeeded in creating the impression that they were killed in battle. Yet, over the years, much information has accrued from diverse sources that at least some of them survived years later. With all that is going on in the Schalit, Goldwasser and Regev cases, I would like to put on record that Israel soldiers are abandoned for political reasons, and the fear of those families is understandable. This is not to imply that I favor paying any price for a hostage, or that I envy those who must decide. Considering the fragility of our position here in Israel and our dependence on the IDF to provide security, more openness and honesty toward soldiers and their families would go a long way. It would also benefit the "people's army" if the populace scrutinized the activities of our political leadership more closely. The fact that our sons have fallen prey to unscrupulous generals and politicians doesn't mean it has to happen to you, too ("Readers react to the deal with Hizbullah," Letters, July 1). YONA BAUMEL Jerusalem Some advice... Sir, - The problem of Samir Kuntar and others like him can be solved. Israel must institute the death penalty for terrorist murderers. Israel executed a Nazi. Who says Kuntar and his like are any better? In this way Israel can trade body for body ("A very Israeli decision," Herb Keinon, June 30). URI HIRSCH Netanya ...from an outsider Sir, - As an outsider, a non-Israeli, I'm sticking my nose into someone else's business. As a supporter of Israel, I think it fair that I make this observation: The policy of the government to recover MIA remains and obtain the freedom of war captives is commendable. All civilized governments have acted thus, usually at the end of hostilities. However, the way Israel pursues this aim seems to be driving both domestic and foreign policy, giving its enemies an additional bargaining chip, to Israel's detriment. BOB STAINMARK Manalapan, New Jersey Elephant in the room Sir, - Carolyn Glick's arguments on Tzipi Livni's unfitness for national office are all correct and to the point; however, she is ignoring the elephant in the room ("Livni the leader, or Livni the lamb?" July 1). Livni, her former and current bosses, Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, and all the other Likud rebels who bolted the party to form Kadima were guilty of the most massive voter fraud in the history of the state. Elected on the Likud's stated platform, they subverted the will of the voters by imposing a radically changed agenda on the country. This fact alone should be enough to disqualify Livni from public office. MORRIS KARLIN Mercaz Shapira Claim your place Sir, - Further to "Conversion and marriage: A call for civil disobedience" (Barry Schlesinger and Yizhar Ness, July 2): When, for Heaven's sake, will the religious Zionists reclaim from the non-Zionist (and sometimes anti-Zionist) haredim their rightful place in the rabbinate, in education, in the hearts and minds of the Jewish people? Recent haredi pronouncements on shmita, conversions, teenage girls covering their hair, etc., will one day be judged by an authority much higher than anything we have on earth. HAIM M. LERNER Ganei Tikva Place your claim Sir, - It constantly amazes me that in a Jewish country education is not paramount ("English bagrut exam graders go on strike," July 2). These dedicated men and women are trying to show the government, the public at large and, most of all, the parents that the system is short-changing their children, future leaders of our beloved Israel. NORMA KURAS Petah Tikva Sir, - Re "Reports of rise in tuition irk students" (On-Line Edition, July 2): As a student myself, I cannot figure out why my fellow students get so angry about a legitimate rise in tuition. We all agree on the need for improvement, but do not want to pay for it. Israeli students feel we should have free tuition, paid for by the government, like in Sweden. What they fail to realize is that income tax in Sweden is between 60-70%. Nothing is free. So isn't it better we give our money directly to the universities to guarantee that it goes to education, and not some other government project? AMIAD HOROWITZ Givat Shmuel/Ma'aleh Adumim Can't fool me Sir, - "How much pride can anyone have if he or she feels compelled to demonstrate its existence publicly year after year?" asks Hillel Halkin in "Confessions of a heterophile" (July 2). As a child growing up in New York, I marched year after year in the Salute to Israel Parade, publicly demonstrating great pride in Israel's existence. Frankly, I can't understand Halkin's arguments as anything less than homophobic. I am sick of hearing people cite the holiness of Jerusalem as an excuse for bigotry. Even worse are those who believe that the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade is a secret plot to "convert" heterosexuals or destroy the future of the human race. For a self-proclaimed secular Jew to declare that same-sex marriage "mocks the image of God" seems like pure hypocrisy. Calling it "heterophilia" doesn't fool me. NAOMI BLOOM WURTMAN Jerusalem Artful voices Sir, - As a voice talent working in Israel and beyond, via the Internet, I would like to point out that onscreen acting and voice acting are two different arts ("A familiar voice... is celebrity really necessary to market cartoons?" Arts & Entertainment, July 2). Onscreen actors use the whole body to portray a character, voice being but one element of their art. Voice actors, on the other hand, who must rely entirely on vocal nuances to convey meaning, are therefore specialists in the use of the vocal tool. Little wonder that a voice actor is often able to produce more effective voiceovers than an onscreen actor. If you needed heart surgery, would you go to a general practitioner, or to a cardiologist? VICTORIA FEINERMAN Petah Tikva