June 11: Step forward

Why couldn't Moshe Arens himself lead Israel as prime minister?

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Step forward Sir, - Moshe Arens does not see a better candidate for prime minister than Binyamin Netanyahu ("Politics is the art of the possible," Interview with Ruthie Blum, June 5). But we know a humble, wise, old-fashioned leader he fails to mention who would serve the people and not himself. If a pope almost 85 years old can lead over 1 billion Catholics, why couldn't a healthy 82-year-old - Moshe Arens himself - lead seven million Israelis? M. VAN THIJN Jerusalem Doing... Sir, - The oft-repeated assertions by our squabbling triumvirate of an impending major military operation into the Gaza Strip remind me of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. In one scene, a bandit has cornered his target in a soap-filled bath. He draws his six-shooter and, with great glee, tells the trapped man how he is going to kill him slowly and painfully. Whereupon the intended victim draws his own gun, hidden under the soapsuds, and shoots Ugly, saying, "Some people talk, others just do." Sound familiar? ("As Israel mulls Gaza operation, Hamas transfers Schalit letter," June 10.) JOE FRANKL Savyon ...and talking Sir, - Condoleezza Rice is set to come for yet another unwarranted and fruitless visit. She is being sent by a lame-duck president to a lame-duck prime minister in order to negotiate with a weak, powerless and unwilling PLO entity. Why don't all the parties realize that any talks at this time are meaningless? Why is Rice wasting American taxpayers' money, and our time, on an illusory peace deal? HELA CROWN-TAMIR Mevaseret Zion Olmert's other side Sir, - In attempting to portray the humane side of our prime minister, noting that he is capable of mourning the loss of a dear friend, Larry Derfner provided us with a number of superficialities ("The other Olmert," June 5). I believe it is important to note that the humane Olmert, then vice president, presided over the disruption of thousands of lives in the unilateral disengagement from Gush Katif; also that after two years of his premiership, most of those who were uprooted have not found proper employment or permanent housing. And was it not Olmert who gave the orders at Amona that resulted in the indiscriminate beatings of teenagers and the wounding of several MKs? Research shows that many of history's most disreputable characters were good to their underlings, and to their pets. Prof. Robert A. Rockaway of Tel Aviv University has written a book entitled But They Were Kind to Their Mothers: The Lives and Crimes of Jewish Gangsters. ZEV CHAMUDOT Petah Tikva Sir, - I was amazed to learn that Olmert has a "good simple heart, is a loyal friend, and has time and regard for the cleaning woman." I was amazed, too, that Larry Derfner is able to see Olmert's deserved downfall for the "tragedy" it is. THELMA BLUMBERG Kiryat Arba Israel: Make your own peace offer Sir, - Frequently, international newspapers mention the Saudi initiative, or the Arab League initiative, as the most-recent "peace" offer. Perhaps it's time for the Israeli government to make its own formal offer of peace to the Arab League? If nothing else, all the papers could then say that the last offer was from Israel, and the Muslim world had yet to respond.... BRUCE PLEAT South Orange, New Jersey The only health plan America needs Sir, - Re "Bread and Bush-bashing" (June 5): For now, social change such as healthcare, education, job opportunities and housing must all take a back seat for Americans. President Bush must be allowed to finish the job of curbing Islamic fundamentalism. He should not be faulted that the job is not yet done - it's a hard job, and it's going to take a few more years to accomplish. Democrats want you to forget that they looked the other way as fundamentalism grew stronger with every passing day. They wanted to paint the world with happy colors. The atrocities of Sept. 11 were the result of neglect and pure dereliction of duty. Americans must elect a president who will make sure Islamic fundamentalism is eliminated - this is the only health plan America needs at this time, the only one that can assure the survival of the free world. Can we afford another 9/11? We cannot. The social issues Barak Obama speaks of are important, but the survival of America and the free world is a prerequisite. ADAM EYLAT Tel Aviv That's integrity Sir, - Did you know that Senator John McCain's action in the US Senate was cited in the book Profiles in Courage for Our Time, compiled by Caroline Kennedy? McCain and Democrat Senator Russell Feingold co-sponsored a bill for campaign finance reform. It went into effect in 2003, despite opposition. Many senators from both parties respect McCain's integrity and commitment to the American people. McCain does not favor change for its own sake, but for the benefit it will bring the American people. How refreshing! ("Obama vs McCain on the Middle East," June 5.) SIMCHA FRIEDMAN Betar Illit UCU meets its match Sir, - Re "Lawyer promises action if UK academic union fails to rescind 'anti-Semitic' boycott call" (June 5): It is probably no coincidence that Anthony Julius has taken on the task of representing University College Union members affected by the UK union's decision to consider another boycott of Israeli academic institutions. His reputation as a brilliant lawyer precedes him as the Mishcon de Reya attorney who successfully defended American Jewish author Deborah Lipstadt against the libel suit of David Irving, one of the world's foremost Holocaust deniers. The Mishcon de Reya firm was founded by the late Lord Victor Mishcon, member of the House of Lords, lifelong member of the Labour Party, personal attorney to the late Lady Diana, a proud Jew and philanthropist and one of Israel's strongest supporters. Though he passed away two-and-a-half years ago, Lord Mishcon's legacy of acting for Jewish causes obviously continues in Mr. Julius, who has once again taken up the challenge of defending Jews - and, indirectly, Israel - from a clearly anti-Semitic initiative. I dare say that with Anthony Julius at the helm, the UCU is navigating in very dangerous waters. More power to him! GERSHON HARRIS Hatzor Haglilit Last hope for the Jews? Sir, - I take exception to Shmuley Boteach calling Chabad "the last great hope for the Jewish people" ("Is Lubavich losing its heart?" June 10). If Chabad were to close up shop tomorrow, the Jewish people would live on. I think that the last great hope for the Jewish people, probably, is the State of Israel - although I also think that the attitude of most Israelis, and of the government, are in need of dire changes. On second thought, isn't the Messiah supposed to be the last hope of the Jews? MATTHEW BERMAN Herzliya