June 6: The real issue

The founding of Israel on a small sliver of land was a “catastrophe,” but the loss of Jerusalem, the West Bank, Golan and Sinai was just a “setback.”

The real issue
Sir, – Every year, the Palestinians and the descendants of Palestinians mark the “nakba” (catastrophe) of Israeli statehood. They now mark the 1967 “naksa” (setback), when Israel, in removing the existential threat of three Arab armies ready to attack its borders, took control of the West Bank and other territory (“PM vows Israel will protect borders with ‘determination and restraint’ as mass ‘Naksa Day’ marches loom,” June 3).
The founding of Israel on a small sliver of land was a “catastrophe,” but the loss of Jerusalem, the West Bank, Golan and Sinai was just a “setback.”
The root of the problem clearly is not how much land we can give away, but our mere existence in any borders.
Fodder for hate
Sir, – For heaven’s sake, stop all this coverage of American Jews backing away from President Obama (“Has Obama lost the support of some Jews – and their funding?,” US Affairs, June 5).
Of course, Jews are important in the Democratic Party, but not that important. Every Jew-hater and Israel-hater reads in this: “Jewish money rules American policy.”
Choose your risk
Sir, – While Larry Derfner criticizes those who fail to question assertions by Israeli security authorities (“Ours is not to reason why,” Rattling the Cage, June 2), he ignores the parallel blindness of members of the “peace camp,” who are equally unlikely to question dogma from the Left.
We were told that a pullout from southern Lebanon would lead to peace along the northern border. Many on the Left urged a Gaza disengagement as the first step toward a peaceful Palestinian state. Now it is being suggested that lifting the naval blockade on Gaza will have no impact on Israel’s security.
Neither side is immune to blind devotion to an ideology. But here is the difference: If those calling for more security are wrong, the result may be a delay in reaching peace. If those on Derfner’s side are wrong, many Israelis will surely die.
In a world full of uncertainties, which risk is more reasonable?
Zichron Ya’acov
Sir, – Larry Derfner has a point when he states that not everything can and should be attributed to national security. However he misses a greater point: Not everything that Israel is concerned about has to do with security. There is also such a thing as national sovereignty, principles and drawing red lines to prevent a security problem farther down the line.
Therefore, withdrawal from Lebanon made sense at the time, much against all our better instincts, but today Hezbollah is armed to the teeth and ready to use those weapons against us.
The withdrawal from Gush Katif made everyone besides residents of Sderot safer, claims Derfner, including the residents of Gush Katif themselves. But did anyone ask Gush Katif residents what they themselves wanted? Did they demand to be made safer? As to events like the Mavi Marmara, if Israel has imposed a legal blockade on a terrorist entity, why should it allow a ship full of foreign troublemakers to break that blockade, even if the flotilla itself does not directly impact on Israel’s security today? Are no red lines permitted for Israel?
Petah Tikva
Saying thanks
Sir, – In “A question of equality” (Terra Incognita, June 1), Seth J. Frantzman gives an excellent summary of the benefits of the proposed bill that would give IDF veterans preference for civil service jobs. However, the bill does not go far enough.
The proposed bill gives veterans preference only when two candidates are equal (and how would “equal” be defined?).
However, to properly compensate veterans, they should be given preference unless there is a large qualitative difference.
Further, this preference should apply to any and all rabbinical positions paid for by public funds. Thus, any proposed Jerusalem city rabbi who served in the IDF would automatically receive preference over a candidate who did not. I know it will never happen, but then again, many of the best ideas in this country never do.
Sir, – The points Seth J. Frantzman brings up make complete sense.
Equality is not an issue here.
These young men and woman put their lives on the line for us.
They protect our land and our citizens. They give up years of their lives to serve their country.
Why should they not receive special privileges and opportunities? While others who are not willing or able to serve have time to polish their skills and advance in their fields, those who see it as their duty to serve deserve as many rewards as possible.
It is ridiculous to think that those who do not serve –either in the military or national service – are on the same level as those who do.
Numbers game
Sir, – While I agree most heartily with what Kenneth Bandler has to say in “Making the refugees priority No. 1” (On My Mind, June 1), there exists one item with which I heartily disagree: the number “4.7 million” Palestinian refugees. That number is patently absurd and is a result of UNWRA having unilaterally defined the descendants of the original refugees as being refugees, too, and in perpetuity.
While there are many definitions of who is a refugee (the UN and various other organizations have as yet to come up with one final definition), only the Palestinians have enjoyed this unsanctioned and legally unrecognized privilege. The census taken in August 1948 by Count Folke Bernadotte, the UN mediator (and no friend of Israel), reported 330,000 Palestinian refugees who left for various reasons too numerous to mention here.
Through various manipulations and exaggerations, this number was raised to more than 700,000 by 1950. Since more than 60 years have passed since Bernadotte’s census, it is fair to say that at least half that number are now dead of old age. This means that those Palestinians who may be considered “refugees” by normal definitions cannot exceed 350,000 today (and that’s pushing it).
A “right of return” for these refugees has the same spurious value as that for the millions of Germans expelled from the Sudetenland and East Prussia after World War II, or the native Americans shoveled onto reservations in the 1800s, or the Armenians death-marched by the Turks almost 100 years ago.
While Germany and many other nations absorbed refugees of all nationalities, only the Palestinians have been forced into stateless squalor by other Arab nations. (Need we ask why?) So I respectfully request that when we write about Palestinian residents in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, etc., etc., we stop referring to them as refugees, especially when combined with that ridiculous figure of “4.7 million.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas himself doesn’t give a fig about any of them; if he did he would gripe to the UN about their treatment at the hands of his “brother” Arabs. It’s certainly not our problem, and we should stress that fact to anyone willing to listen.
Expensive education
Sir, – Regarding “Children to head back to school early, but will have longer autumn holiday” (June 1), considering the lateness of this decision, will the Education Ministry reimburse me for the $1,200 I must pay to change our flights so that our son can attend the first day of school on August 26?
Mevaseret Zion