March 1: Quite another thing, O king

I sincerely hope that John Berks, the king of South African radio, is not trying to bring Israelis and Palestinians to make a connection in the manner that he made white and black South Africans connect.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Quite another thing, O king Sir, - Re "Peace is in the air" (February 28): I sincerely hope that John Berks, the king of South African radio, is not trying to bring Israelis and Palestinians to make a connection in the manner that he made white and black South Africans connect; for it is important to remember that when the walls of racial segregation - apartheid - came crashing down in South Africa, so did the Afrikaner nation and its language. If John Berks has to question whether "it is right to say two nations," apparently he is not absolutely sure whether the Jews are a nation. Should that be the case, I would like to paraphrase his Afrikaans: Ek dink dat ons hier het ook gatvol gehaat van al heerde dongerei angaan - I think that we over here, too, have had an arseful of all the bullshit going around: i.e., of the Israeli-Palestinian situation being erroneously compared to that of the blacks and whites in apartheid South Africa. And that is no laughing matter. LILY POLLIACK Jerusalem About equality Sir, - Not long ago I visited an 83-year-old lady in Kfar Saba's Meir Hospital. She had fallen and dislocated her hip, breaking a bone, but had to wait almost two days for surgery. This was because accident victims entering the hospital were presumed to be more urgent cases. Quite a lot of these victims, and other patients, were Israeli Arabs, who seemed to be the majority in the hospital, and got absolute first-class treatment. There were also many Arab members on staff. In any Israeli hospital, Arabs get the attention they seek. In any shopping mall, you can see them buying clothes and household items alongside Israeli Jews. Walk down the street in major towns and you will see Israeli Arabs drinking coffee and enjoying themselves. My husband, a pharmacist, has worked with Arabs in various health clinics. In Israel they have the same employment opportunities, maybe even better ones. So I'd really like to know what Jimmy Carter means about apartheid in Israel. I invite him to visit Meir Hospital so he can eat his words - or choke on them ("The apartheid libel," February 15). STEPHANIE TAYLOR Ginot Shomron Hudna, shmudna Sir, - Daoud Kuttab's "Support the Mecca agreement" (February 27) was severely off-base from beginning to end. However, one statement stood out for the breathtaking perversity of its claims: "The fact that the Islamic leaders have agreed to a long-term hudna, provided that a Palestinian state is created within the 1967 armistice lines, shows that Palestinians, Arab countries, the US and the international community are all in agreement about the two-state solution." Let us leave aside Kuttab's illogical attempt to say that if Islamic leaders agree to this thing called a "hudna" it proves that the US and the international community support a two-state solution. Let us, instead, ask what "hudna" really is, for here lies the crux of the matter. A hudna is a temporary cessation of hostilities requiring neither disarmament nor commitment to a final cessation of hostilities. Modeled after what Muhammad did to the Quraysh tribe in Mecca, whom he defeated in battle after signing a peace accord, hudna is a ruse that provides time for building up resources so the enemy can be hit again. In this instance it is proof-positive that "the Islamic leaders" are not committed to a genuine two-state solution. If all they offer Israel in return for going back to 1967 lines is a hudna, we know their intention: to reduce Israel's potency toward the time when she can finally be taken out. ARLENE KUSHNER Jerusalem Sir, - Perpetual motion machines violate the laws of thermodynamics. So people who try to construct them are not taken seriously. Yet politicians trying to solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem by offering the same solution over and over again without considering the basic tenets of Islam are hailed as peacemakers. Hamas follows the path of jihad. To them it is their religious duty to wage war against the unbelievers and they can, at most, offer cease-fires lasting 10 years. Why? Because Islam permits a 10-year truce, if the Muslim side is weak, after which jihad must resume. MLADEN ANDRIJASEVIC Beersheba <> Sir, - Re E. Alshech's "Cyber space as a combat zone" (February 28): The ability of terrorist groups to change and distort facts, manipulate major corporations' financial stability and make countries and people believe they are under attack has become a huge threat to the existence of Israel, the United States, and Europe itself. While major corporations have tried to deal with this phenomenon in a limited way, countries have been slower to react. The ability to use technology in this way is, to borrow Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's words, the true "runaway train," and its aim is to bring about the collapse of the civilized world. There is every indication that it can be a real danger even now, in its beginning stages, to all peoples who think differently from the Islamists. This is a real wake-up call, which commands the utmost attention. And this is a war we must win for the sake of ourselves, our children and future generations. TOBY WILLIG Jerusalem Fanatical supporters Sir, - Is it only among Jews that you can find traitors like Natorei Karta, so proud of their deeds? It seems that extreme religion can lead to the commission of treason ("Natorei Karta joins Islamic protest," Photo, February 28). PIN TEITEL New York Come home Sir, - I would like to offer two pieces of advice to Vladimir Rozengurten ("Torah scrolls confiscated from Ukrainian community") and Serge Cwajgenbaum ("Jews are a detriment to Europe, Polish politician says," both February 20): 1. When you arise in the morning, repeat three times the prophetic words of our forefather Abraham - "I am a stranger in a strange land"; 2. Come home to your one and only true home, Eretz Yisrael. JANE S. HIRSCH Kochav Yair Converts, bide your time Sir, - To alleviate "Conversion pains" (Letters, February 26), I would like to tell the spiritual yearners who want so much to turn to Judaism that their situation demands, on their part, first and foremost, time and patience. Please do not point fingers at the rabbis for being bureaucrats during the conversion process. They are duty-bound by Halacha not to welcome any convert speedily, and obligated to analyze and assess the validity of each individual's aspiration to become a Jew. They must make sure there are no hidden motives, such as wanting to marry a rich guy or enjoy Israeli citizenship benefits. SIMI SCHWARTZ Netanya Turning a blind eye Sir, - It wasn't much of a surprise that Defense Minister Amir Peretz reviewed troop activities through capped binoculars. It just confirms the fact that politicians often don't want to see what they are looking at! ("Peretz mocked for binocular gaffe," February 25). MIRIAM APTER Tel Aviv Hanging offense? Sir, - Re "Hapoel Tel Aviv hangs Hapoel Kfar Saba" (Sports, February 27): Wow! Who will be the next victim? EZEKIEL GAHTAN Ramat Hasharon