June 3: Shun this guy

Gai Assulin, who has decided to forgo playing for Israel's national squad in favor of resting ahead of his coming season with Barcelona, is to be roundly condemned.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Shun this guy Sir, - Gai Assulin, who has decided to forgo playing for Israel's under-21 national squad in favor of resting ahead of his coming season with Barcelona B, is to be roundly condemned ("Barcelona's Assulin snubs under -21 squad," Sports, June 2). This in direct contrast to Yossi Ben Ayoun, a valued Liverpool player, who did not forsake his national team in a recent match against Greece. For displaying this total lack of commitment and non-identification with his home team and country, Assulin deserves nothing less than to be shunned. DAVID S. ADDLEMAN Mevaseret Zion Sir, - As I read about our young soccer star Gai Assulin passing up the opportunity to play for the Israel national team, I was reminded of John F. Kennedy's famous quote from his inaugural address: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." JFK must be turning over in his grave today! MICHAEL D. HIRSCH Kochav Yai'r Toward reconciliation Sir, - I don't know which is more reprehensible and self-defeating: Israeli Arabs commemorating the "nakba," or legislation to make such commemoration illegal ("Public behavior, private thoughts," Letters, June 2). I would like to suggest some small symbolic steps toward reconciliation. Our Independence Day ceremonies, including the Israel Prize ceremony, were devoid of any mention of the 1.1 million Arabs who live here. Granted, they did not fight for Israel's independence; but surely we could have used the opportunity to recognize the achievements of an Arab doctor or educator. These omissions were very insensitive, notwithstanding the token appearance of a young Arab girl jointly lighting a beacon with a Jewish girl. Perhaps we could also issue some stamps dedicated to Arabs who have contributed to the State of Israel. BEVERLY LEWIN Ramat Hasharon Shared civic life Sir, - The Nakba law "is a pearl of stupidity," says Prof. Ruth Gavison. I agree. However, I would recommend another law to our eager lawmakers: one mandating compulsory national service, the same length as army service, for every citizen of Israel whether he or she is Jewish, Christian, Muslim or atheist. There is nothing in religion that forbids working as a teacher, counselor, nurse or hospital orderly. Only by passing such a law will we, in Gavison's words, "transcend the history and go together toward a joint shared civic life within a Jewish, democratic Israel" ("Prof. Ruth Gavison: Loyalty laws misguided and harmful," June 2). MYRA KARSEBOOM Haifa 'Contra legem' Sir, - I would like to express my full support for Evelyn Gordon's "Court to state: Ignore the law" (UpFront, May 28). Unfortunately, the decision of the Supreme Court concerning the financing of conversion programs is not the first one without clear basis in law. There are previous judgments which are "contra legem" or "per incuriam" and thus should not have any binding legal effect. A way to prevent such judgments would be establishing permanent watch committees both in the government and the Knesset, which would immediately initiate legislation aimed at annulling Supreme Court judgments that have no legal basis. It has been done in the past, though not regularly. Those who worry about democracy must bear in mind that in a true democracy, Montesquieu's theory of separation of powers must be implemented and respected by the judiciary as well as by government and legislator. Disregard of this principle by any of the said branches does not strengthen democracy. HARAN A. FAINSTEIN Judge (ret.) Rehovot There is reason... Sir, - Larry Derfner seems to believe that Israeli leaders Netanyahu, Barak and Livni are arousing unfounded alarm regarding Iran's nuclear weapons drive. Since we are already surrounded by hostile forces bristling with missiles, he claims, there is no reason to worry if Iran adds some nuclear weapons to the array ("The Iranians are coming, the Iranians are coming," May 21). This is careless analysis. Various Arab parties do not attack Israel with their impressive arsenals of missiles because they can expect massive Israeli retaliation. Israel has some deterrent power. But that calculus does not work with Iran: As the doyen of Middle East historians, Bernard Lewis, has pointed out, for this Iranian regime, "mutual assured destruction is not a deterrent, it is an inducement." Successive Iranian leaders from Ayatollah Khomeini on ("I say let [Iran] burn. I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the rest of the world") have spoken openly of the virtues of inviting obliteration if Islamic goals are achieved. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's predecessor, Akhbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, said that using an atomic bomb "would not leave anything in Israel, but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world." And Ahmadinejad never misses an opportunity to say that Israel must be wiped out. Derfner should heed the words of Giora Eiland, Israel's former national security adviser: "Ahmadinejad has a religious conviction that Israel's demise is essential to the restoration of Muslim glory, that the Zionist thorn in the heart of the Islamic nations must be removed. And he will pay almost any price to right the perceived historic wrong." MORTON A. KLEIN National President Zionist Organization of America New York ...to worry Sir, - A few days ago, I flew by helicopter over the entire country of Israel. It took approximately an hour. At almost no point are its neighbors out of sight. This democratic nation is under permanent siege, bordered not by peoples with whom it has commonplace geographical disputes, but by ruthless enemies. Rockets and mortars have rained down on its citizens and children, with lethal risk, and its right to exist is widely questioned. Now the primary state sponsor of its adversaries is going nuclear, having declared it wants to wipe Israel off the map. The moment of truth is overdue. As with Iraq and, more recently, Syria, this nation has been left to defend itself and take preemptive action to deny its enemies their nuclear intent. It must do so now. ROBERT F. AGOSTINELLI Jerusalem Settler rage Sir, - Every driver is aware of a condition called road rage in which a small percentage of motorists lose total control of themselves and can cause untold damage. We are now experiencing what I call "settler rage," and it must be faced in a direct manner, not swept under the carpet ("Settlers, security forces clash in northern Samaria," June 2). One possible solution would be to use the jail time these offenders very often face to bring in psychologists and rabbis who will present them with the other side of the argument - the cause of their present problem. The object of this approach would be to teach these people not to cross red lines that end in jail. Every one of us wants to see the survival of Israel at a time when we are being threatened from all sides. If we can stand united, our chances of survival are much greater. P. BERMAN Shoham