June 23: Own Goal

Without the withdrawal we would not have Hamas in control there for the long term, backed by Iran.

letters (photo credit: JP)
(photo credit: JP)
Own goal
Sir, – Barry Rubin says that “easing” the Gaza blockade is the inevitable outcome of Western policy (“So this is the future,” June 22).
Is it not more appropriate to treat it as the West’s revenge on Israel for Sharon’s disastrous unilateral disengagement from Gaza? After all, it never asked Sharon to do this, and without the withdrawal we would not have Hamas in control there for the long term, backed by Iran.
What a price we’re paying for our huge own goal! PETER SIMPSON Jerusalem
What’s the big deal?
Sir, – I strongly disagree with Judy Prager (“Backbone needed,” Letters, June 21), who criticizes Prime Minister Netanyahu for giving in to the demands of the blockade breakers.
He has done no such thing! What Netanyahu has accomplished is an adroit political move.
He has accepted the proposal of Quartet representative Tony Blair to alter the blockade from an inclusionary one to an exclusionary one.
Instead of a list of foodstuffs allowed through, Israel will now list the military items to be excluded.
Also, there are provisions to ensure as far as possible that any building materials allowed into Gaza will be directed to peaceful, and not military, purposes. This is in fact only a minor, lateral change in that it allows civilian and humanitarian aid to enter Gaza – as has always been the case – while explicitly excluding war materiel.
Thus, the situation remains unchanged. Blockade breakers cannot deliver goods directly to Gaza but must dock in Israel, where the goods and people can be checked and the non-military items transferred to Gaza.
Netanya Cup,
Shmup, Pt. 2
Sir, – Regarding “Lionel Messi, kabbalistic messenger?” (June 21) – a front page article? Whose idea was that? A nonsensical story about a football genius taking up a third of the front page and half of Page 2? Most of the facts – drawn from thumbsucking ideas and gematria magic – should have been condensed into two paragraphs and printed surreptitiously on the sports pages, and not splashed out with a big picture just because of the World Cup.
Turkish irony
Sir, – Am I the only one to note the irony of three of the articles on Turkey in your June 20 issue? First comes “Erdogan: Our problem is with the Israeli government, not people.” I guess that justifies the Turks’ act of war in sending armed mercenaries to break Israel’s legal and justified blockade of Gaza.
Then there’s The Travel Adviser (“The sound of silence: Will Turkey become like Iran for Israeli tourists?”), which relates the frustration (whining) of Turkey’s tourism industry over the fact that Israelis have stopped coming to their resorts and supporting their economy.
To my dear friends in Turkey: We have no problem with the Turkish people or any of your resorts. We just don’t like or trust your elected government.
And finally there is “Turkish jets raid northern Iraq.” I suspect that the same leaders calling for an international inquiry into this incident are also calling for an independent state of Kurdistan.
Welcome news
Sir, – The government’s approval of the Soreq desalination plant is very welcome news (“World’s 2 biggest reverse osmosis desal plants okayed,” June 20).
Hopefully, these plants will cover household water consumption as planned by 2013. Meanwhile, it would be wise to close pipe leaks at the local level and give priority to upgrading the existing water pipelines that provide our water.
Tearing ourselves apart
Sir, – I find it loathsome that certain elements will go to extremes to keep a girls’ school Sephardi-free (“Haredi masses hail Emmanuel fathers en route to jail,” June 18). I find it no less loathsome that some residents of Ramat Aviv are attempting to keep their neighborhood Chabad-free.
Perhaps these two groups have different motives, but the fact is that for some reason, they both feel that their children are being threatened by an influence not to their liking.
Despite being observant, my husband and I have chosen to live in mixed neighborhoods. I strongly believe that in terms of promulgating essential Jewish values of tolerance and respect for fellow human beings, homogeneous schools and neighborhoods are significantly more impoverished than heterogeneous ones.
More’s the pity that with so many external threats to our continued existence in this tiny land of ours, we have to tear ourselves apart from within.
Sha’are Tikva
Sir, – In reference to your June 18 editorial (“The lost Jews”), either you do not comprehend the basic problem in Emmanuel or you are just anti-haredi.
Beit Ya’acov does not wish to have girls who do not dress modestly and whose homes have TV learn in their schools. This has nothing to do with racism. As a matter of fact, there are a number of Sephardi fathers who went to jail for the same reason.
Sir, – The Supreme Court made a grievous error in sentencing the parents to jail. After all, they do not make their own decisions. All they are doing is obeying orders from their rebbe. Hence, it is the rebbe who should sit in jail.
Learn from the women
Sir, – It was wonderful and very positive to learn that the new agenda for the Jewish Agency will concentrate on forming Jewish identity throughout the world (“Jewish Agency to move its focus from state-building to identitybuilding,” June 21).
The fostering of Jewish identity will require new and innovative programming.
One program, which has been used by World Emunah in all of its constituent countries, is called Midrashot. It inspires Jewish learning by women from all backgrounds and levels by using excellent texts and materials, and masterful teachers.
The Jewish Agency now has the ability to project a sense of urgency about the need for Israel to be one of the cardinal principles of Jewish identity. If it does so with enthusiasm and intelligence, it will be the most innovative and positive Jewish Agency in history, and everyone will applaud its efforts.
Why provide a platform?
 Sir, – Most people are now aware that millions of ordinary people around the world fall for anti-Israel propaganda. This is hardly surprising considering that Islamist propagandists spend more than even the USSR did during the Cold War.
Therefore, I was extremely saddened to read “One less friend” from a Massachusetts reader, without any connection to previous articles, repeating the standard lies against Israel (Letters, June 18).
Do we really need such feedback from our enemies in our newspaper?
El Al, please acknowledge
Sir, – I recently (post-flotilla incident) traveled to Israel from South Africa, flying El Al in both directions.
I was more than surprised to note that the bottled water served with all meals on both flights was of Turkish origin (“Unions call for boycott of Turkish goods,” June 10).
I doubt very much whether any products sourced in Israel are currently being offered to passengers using the Turkish national airline.
I would appreciate some comment from El Al.
Knysna, South Africa