June 8: Yes we can

We can and must trust and work together with this man of integrity, stature, wisdom and dignity.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Yes we can Sir, - Where now are those who have baselessly been predicting ad nauseam that President Obama would be so much worse for Israel than his predecessors? That he would secretly identify with Arabs, follow the Koran, etc.? His speech in Cairo showed what nonsense this is. And don't gimme this "he could still turn against us." We can and must trust and work together with this man of integrity, stature, wisdom and dignity, who had the stamina and courage to brave the lion in his den and confront the wrongs of the Muslim world - from stereotypes about Americans and Jews to the lack of women's rights and democracy. I suspect that this dislike of Obama is rooted in (unintentional) prejudice, and it would be fitting for these prophets of doom to say sorry ("The settlement canard," Charles Krauthammer, Online Edition, June 7). M.M. VAN ZUIDEN Jerusalem Sir, - Unfortunately, for approximately 30 years, American colleges and universities have been a major source for teaching relative and equivalent morality. A product of this education is now president of the US. Many Americans easily equate and equalize the leader of Israel with the leader of the Palestinian people or the leader of an Arab nation, disregarding that the first is the product of a long-term democracy, and the latter of feudalism. So it is practically a given for Americans to discuss Israel and Palestine on equal terms. It will be up to Israel to clearly point out these differences at every step of the way, lest we forget them ("Five years of campus watch," Daniel Pipes, September 20, 2007). SAÚL BALAGURA Houston, Texas Saying no, nicely Sir, - Now is not the time for our elected leaders to buckle to US pressure ("As Obama offers Muslims 'a new beginning,' Israel gives a wary pledge to play its part," June 5). The current Israeli government was voted in specifically because Israelis were tired of giving concrete concessions for unfulfilled promises. To date, the Palestinians, hard-line or moderate, have not given us the confidence that they want to make peace or live side by side with us. They want two states: one Arab with no Jews, and the other Arab with some Jews. Real concessions and not promises must be made by the Palestinians before we do anything more. Stopping terrorism, stopping incitement in their press and schoolbooks are not negotiable items. They are a must before any serious negotiations take place. Our leaders should know: They are allowed to say no to the US, maybe in a nice way, but with strength and conviction that our cause is right. They should also know that the nation is behind them. They must not fail us in this most critical time of our existence. VEL WERBLOWSKY Jerusalem Let's not panic Sir, - Much of the comment on Barack Obama's Cairo speech was fair and proportional ("Cairo scorecard: The good, the bad and the omitted," Herb Keinon, June 5). However, before we panic - this was only one speech, however important its delivery in an Arab capital. That it omitted much and that some of it was illogical - like mentioning the Holocaust and Palestinian suffering in the same breath - I put down to ignorance and bad advice from people who should know better. Obama has as many Jewish advisers, if not more, than any previous American president. Yet America cannot impose peace, only help facilitate negotiations. In spite of unprecedented concessions made by Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, the Palestinians and other Arab states do not really want peace with Israel. That would be a de-facto acknowledgement of our historic right to live in the Land of Israel, and will not happen any time soon. HENRY TOBIAS Ma'aleh Adumim What matters Sir, - Prime Minister Netanyahu, MK Yisrael Katz and others claim that there was an American commitment to natural growth in existing settlements ("Israel rejects Clinton claim of no settlement agreement," June 7). Under American law and the Constitution in the area of foreign policy, it doesn't matter if government officials and president Bush approved this verbally or in writing, as in Bush's letter to prime minister Sharon; it has no legal standing. Only if Congress approves such matters is it binding. There are international treaties that American presidents and secretaries of state signed that aren't worth the paper on which they are written because Congress didn't approve them. KEN KALCHEIM Dimona Wait a minute... Sir, - I commend MK Litzman on his initiative to spot-check early mornings at hospital ERs ("Litzman says he plans to shake up medical system" June 7), but suggest he checks at odd times to discover the ridiculous amount of time people have to wait there. An elderly relative of mine was recently hospitalized six times for a gall-bladder condition and an infection which she contracted in the hospital. Each time she was discharged she had to return after a few days as the problem had flared up again. And every time she had to start afresh in the ER, with tests, etc. The last time she was made to wait for 13 hours! Her family was told she would be readmitted but as they had only one ultrasound technician, it would be a one-to-five-hour wait. Why not admit her first? This was refused. On the other occasions, she was in the ER for between four and six hours. It is unacceptable that any patient be treated in such a way, especially when a recent problem has recurred. This is taking bureaucracy too far. JUDY PRAGER Petah Tikva Stitch in time that wasn't Sir, - Greer Fay Cashman did not mention that Israeli TV personality Dudu Topaz physically attacked Ma'ariv reviewer Meir Schnitzer in 1999, breaking his glasses and causing him to need stitches - because Topaz did not like what Schnitzer had written about him. There was little outrage at the time. The local press was too willing to overlook Topaz's attack on the reporter. The fact that the entertainer was not then suspended by Israel TV Channel 2 is what should now be discussed ("The media's new football - Dudu Topaz," June 2). DAVID BEDEIN Israel Resource News Agency Jerusalem Cool camp Sir, - Re "Jewish summer camps in US feel financial pressure" (May 17) portrayed trying times for Jewish summer camps and Israel summer tours in general. While the economy has obviously created significant challenges worldwide, I feel compelled to correct an impression of selective quotes by our executive director, Rabbi Ira Spodek, regarding Camp Morasha that were taken out of context. While we are deeply concerned with the state of the economy, we are in fact enjoying a summer in which camp - including our Sulam Israel program - will be operating at near capacity for the 45th consecutive summer. We believe we're weathering the storm so well because we deliver a very high-quality program that parents consider essential for their child's development as a Torah-centered Jewish citizen of the world. GOTCH YUDIN, Director Camp Morasha Beit Shemesh