July 8: Wrong apology

David Azran is just one of many Israelis who have grown up in a permissive society that tolerates an attitude of "I can do what I want."

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Wrong apology Sir, - "Jeep driver apologizes for running over Swedish tourist on Haifa beach" (July 7) was the wrong apology. David Azran is just one of many Israelis who have grown up in a permissive society that tolerates an attitude of "I can do what I want." It's the government - which allowed Azran to have "dozens" of traffic violations and yet not only stay out of jail but still be able to drive - that owes the victim an apology, and that deserves to be sued by the victim of Azran's action. DAVID TEICH Rehovot We're all Israelis... Sir, - Re "Police arrest two settlers for allegedly beating a Palestinian" (July 7): In the eyes of the Palestinians, all Israelis are settlers - even the Peace Now activists. So why must the media label people who live past the Green Line differently from other citizens of this country? We are all Israelis. Isn't that enough? TAMI SIMON Jerusalem ...but not Jews? Sir, - Further to "Olmert: FSU Jews could vanish in a generation" (July 7): Obviously the prime minister does not mean physical disappearance; he is worried about Jews in the former Soviet Union losing their Jewish identity. But why isn't he worrying about Israeli Jews "vanishing" in the same way? I and many others fear that is what is happening in this country. When Sabras echo Shulamit Aloni ("I'm Israeli - period.") by declaring: I am Israeli, not Jewish; when professors in our universities claim that the establishment of Israel was a mistake; when a former president of the Supreme Court stresses democracy above Jewishness; when our TV stations are flooded with material inimical to Jewish culture and religion; when liberals demand that Israel no longer be a Jewish state but "a state for all its citizens;" when those planning Israel's constitution consider removing the words nefesh yehudi (Jewish soul) from our national anthem and changing our flag with its Star of David - then it's time to worry about Israelis' Jewish identity. JACOB CHINITZ Jerusalem Facts and figures Sir, - During the 60 years of the State of Israel, why has it taken so long for the government and Israeli embassies abroad to learn something about PR and get Israel's history across to the world in all its aspects? Irwin Cotler's "The double Nakba" (July 1) was such a model of effective public relations that I had to cut it out of the newspaper and save it. Members of the English-speaking friends of Tel Aviv University had the pleasure of hearing Prof. Cotler speak at a Friday morning meeting. The content and delivery of his lecture was one of the best I have heard there, so it is no surprise that he became a leading member of the Canadian government. His balanced explanation of the Arab-Israeli conflict was the answer to many questions, or would be if the world understood all the facts. That is, if it was even prepared to listen. HILARY GATOFF Herzliya Pituah Terms of reference Sir - Your headline "PA official: Israel's actions on the ground 'tantamount to acts of war'" (July 7) and the report underneath it made me wonder: How would this official categorize Kassam and Katyusha rockets on civilian targets in Israel? LESLIE PORTNOY Netanya Candid camera Sir, - The AP photo captioned "Border policeman stoned at Na'alin" (July 7) was a masterpiece. It showed a muscular, aggressive Palestinian threatening a small, thin, Israeli soldier, behind him an NCO looking equally cowed. The photographer deserves a medal for snapping the most truthful photo of the conflict. Betcha he was a Palestinian! JOSEF GILBOA Jaffa Sir, - Finally a picture that is not the stereotype we see time and again in the international media of Israeli soldiers confronting Palestinian demonstrators in a way that is hard to equate with what we know locally. I would just hope this picture gets worldwide circulation, even if we did get blamed for the guy's rage. M. VAN THIJN Jerusalem No grace like home Sir, - It seems a decision has been made to build some badly needed new homes in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem ("Jerusalem municipality gives tentative approval to new building in Sur Bahir," July 7). But will it really happen, or will the current hard feelings against Israeli Arab citizens persist? Instead of destroying homes, thus making new terrorists, let's do the right thing and, perhaps, give Israeli Arabs the feeling that they are Israeli citizens just as we Jews are, no matter what certain sections of our population may think. Israel's founding fathers made the decision to treat Arab Israelis who lived in Jerusalem at the time equally with all other citizens. While it hasn't always happened, at least we know the decision was made. Now let's do it! LEONARD ZURAKOV Netanya Martyr complex Sir, - Reporting on the terrorist who killed three people last week, you wrote that his relatives and friends were surprised at his conduct ("Jewish mother of bulldozer terrorist's child speaks out - he didn't really hate Jews. It's insanity, but the motivation was not nationalistic," July 6). Yet "the morning after the attack, female relatives began shouting 'martyr' outside Dwayat's home, but his father, Taysir, quickly silenced them." This shows the education and conditioning these women get. They automatically treat every killing of Jews and death of the perpetrator as an act of martyrdom, even if it could bring retribution by Israel. AHARON GOLDBERG Hatzor Haglilit Too nice Sir, - I always look forward to reading your editorials. They are intelligent, objective and do a wonderful job of analyzing the topic. However, I was disappointed in "Out of context" (July 4). I felt it was too conciliatory toward the British newspapers. They have always been anti-Israel, and this terror attack was another opportunity to vent their spleen. SYLVIA ZILBEBERG Gan Yavneh Respect for a name Sir, - Please, when you want to print any Dutch name, don't guess it from the Hebrew press. Ask any Dutch person - there are 20,000 of us in Israel. Batsheva Unterman's maiden name was obviously not Lubenstein, but Leuvenstein. I got this confirmed. Many Dutch here are connected. Not to mangle a name is the respectful thing to do ("Baby whose mom died saving her is reunited with dad," July 4) M.M. VAN ZUIDEN Jerusalem Water waste! Sir, - How is one to take seriously the bemoaning of the dreadful state of our national water supplies ("Drip, drip... drought, Editorial, July 6) when public water fights like the one in Tel Aviv's Kikar Rabin are held, appearing in full color in the newspaper ("All wet," photo, same date) and water fountains are erected in Jerusalem's Paris Square? Even if only a small amount of the fountain's recycled water is lost to evaporation, and even if these water-fights are held only once a year, the public gains the impression that we are a water-rich country with plenty of the stuff to throw around. If the water situation is as bad as is claimed, then it's high time we started acting as if we were in an emergency, and not just writing about it. YEHUDA NEUMARK Ma'aleh Adumim