The extra mile Sir, - Having followed Calev Ben-David's career and writings for many years, I feel it's a pity that more immigrants like this fine journalist and others with "accents" from Western countries have not jumped into the political arena. We, the public and especially the activists, resent the fact that while mainstream-media journalists sound off their opinions, reaching thousands if not millions, they do not shoulder responsibility and almost never go that extra mile. Daniel Ben-Simon should be lauded as an oleh/journalist who, having dedicated himself to the issue of Israel's' weaker citizens and the discrepancies in our society, has taken the ultimate step to try bring about change. Sadly, Anglo-immigrants have failed to produce what the Russians and Ethiopians have in the Knesset. Issues such as conversion, so crucial to our future, could have benefited from their input ("A vote for journalists as 'guardians of democracy' - but not as politicians," June 13). LEON HARRIS Tel Aviv A question for Condoleezza Rice Sir, - My question to Condoleezza Rice: The 9/11 bombing of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, which killed more than 3,000 innocent people; all the Islamist jihadist terrorist attacks since then; the present war in Iraq (which happens to be against those same jihadist terrorists); the never-ending, farcical talks with Hamas and Fatah; the proclamations by Hizbullah, and by Iran's Ahmadinejad about nuking Israel; the rising cost of Saudi oil prices to the West and, finally, the daily bombing of Israel from Hamas-run Gaza - these are not harped on as obstacles to peace. But it is Jews building homes for their children in Israel that exasperates you, as reported in "Rice slams latest J'lem construction" (June 15)? How can a secretary of state become so utterly misinformed? The obstacle to peace is not Jews building homes in the holy land but Muslims perpetrating terrorism, war and belligerence; and teaching their children hatred, violence and intolerance. YUSEF HARRIS Chicago Sir, - The secretary of state berates us for building, but doesn't castigate the Arabs for destroying. CHAYIM SEIDEN Jerusalem Look at the facts.... Sir, - If there was a vestige of truth in what Profs. Walt and Mearsheimer claim - that "'Israel and its US backers are pushing us to attack Iran" (June 13) - how come it is Israel that always has to give up everything to the Palestinians, and get nothing in return except continuous bombardment from Gaza? How come every time Secretary of State Rice arrives, "painful concessions" are required from Israel and made, usually in advance of her arrival, to buoy up that weak failure, Mahmoud Abbas? How come the US is always asking Israel to "exercise restraint"? Rather than believing Messrs. Mearsheimer and Walt, look at the facts. I. KEMP Nahariya ...honored professors Sir, - It would seem that despite their distinguished US academic credentials, Profs. Walt and Mearsheimer have overlooked the fact that the substantial US aid to Israel originated as compensation to Israel for giving up the oil resources it enjoyed prior to giving up the Sinai - then worth some $2-3b. - when what has turned out to be a cold peace with Egypt was established. Based on current oil prices of some $130 a barrel, the US's contribution to Israel would require a dramatic increase to achieve the same compensatory effect. More importantly, while it would be legitimate for the US to threaten to withdraw its financial contribution if Israel ever threatened to break its treaty obligations with Egypt, such a threat has no place - contrary to the Walt-Mearsheimer thesis - in US foreign policy strategy vis-a-vis Israel and the Palestinians: the two-state solution. The two academics should rather be looking at an application of the same threat to Egypt for its negligence (or worse) in permitting the Egypt-Gaza border to become a paradise for those smuggling rockets and mortars used to attack Israel. That is clearly a breach of Egypt's treaty obligations. PETER SIMPSON Jerusalem Tragic mockery Sir - The headline in your June 13 edition "Israel still seeks truce after barrage of 50 rockets and shells hits Negev" left me in a state of shock. I personally witnessed the major rocket missile attack that struck the ocean in the vicinity of bathers at the Delilah Beach, Ashkelon, that day. People were in close proximity at the time, screaming, crying and panicking as they sought shelter. It was a horrible scene that again left one with a feeling of hopelessness. Surely there is something radically wrong when Israeli citizens must scramble for their lives while their government pays lip service to the state's commitment to provide safety for every Jew and makes a mockery of the lessons of the Holocaust? ALEX ROSE Beit Shemesh Mercy? Do me a favor Sir, - I've just read that the freeing of ruthless killer Susan Atkins is being considered so she can die at home and be comforted by her husband until she expires ("Manson follower seeks release from prison for terminal illness," June 15). This cannot, must not be allowed to happen. What comfort did Sharon Tate have while she lay dying in the midst of a bunch of drug-crazed, bloodthirsty killers? Atkins had the compassion of a black hole when she sucked Tate's life up off this earth. No, no mercy for Atkins, who told Sharon: You better get ready to die cause I'm gonna kill you. WESTLEY CRAFT Baltimore Powerful reading Sir, - I experienced such powerful emotions while reading your June 12 Comment & Features section. Reader Abe Krieger from New Jersey strikes again. First, we had his letter to the editor telling Michael Freund that he doesn't plan to come on aliya because "Israel no longer seems a place for practicing Jews to liveâ€¦ we see you as losers" (April 7). Has he ever heard of the mitzva to live in Eretz Yisroel? (I don't recall any mitzva to live in Highland Park.) Now he is pleased with Freund's article about our politicians ("Israel's big-mouth syndrome," June 11), writing, "There may not be another people on the face of this earth that talks more and backs it up less than you dear Israelis." Well, he now has another reason to remain in the comfort of New Jersey. Never mind that a further 100,000 Jews who love Israel can make a lasting contribution by coming here. P.S. I wanted to tear Larry Derfner out of the paper, as usual, but that would have meant losing three great articles on the other side by Stewart Weiss, Evelyn Gordon and Isi Leibler. It might also have torn into the magnificent Landes/Karsenty reply to Derfner re the al-Dura case. Somehow I feel much calmer now. SHOLOM GOLD Jerusalem CORRECTION The photo of a deserted playground that accompanied "Municipality pressured to restore east Jerusalem playground" (June 12) was donated to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) by photographer Rita Yurkovich.