March 16: Hurva hypocrisy?

We have watched with fascination and delight over the years as the beautiful synagogue was painstakingly rebuilt.

Hurva hypocrisy?
Sir, – We have watched with fascination and delight over the years as the beautiful Hurva synagogue was painstakingly rebuilt, and admired the workmanship of the Arab craftsmen who clearly had no scruples about earning their living by working on the project (“Police brace for violence as Old City’s Hurva shul reopens,” March 15).
Are these the same men who are now violently protesting its existence?
All the fuss...
Sir, – Barry Rubin presents an excellent analysis of the ongoing saga following Israel’s faux-pas in announcing approval of construction in Ramat Shlomo (“What’s all the fuss about?,” March 15). I wish, however, that I could share his confidence when he states that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad think wrongly that the West is abandoning Israel.
The harsh language used by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in condemning Israel after Vice President Joe Biden had unconditionally accepted Netanyahu’s apology and explanation – followed two days later by President Barack Obama’s top adviser David Axelrod’s statement that the announcement of the building plans seemed calculated to undermine the proximity talks – makes me wonder if the ground is not being prepared for our eventual abandonment
Sir, – Hillary Clinton has called the Ramat Shlomo project “insulting,” and our prime minister, instead of fighting back, “called a meeting of his inner cabinet on Saturday night to discuss the continuing fallout and formulate a response... and come up with regulations to prevent a similar occurrence,” then assured “two of Israel’s closest allies,” Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, that he had apologized to Biden – the two closest allies having on previous occasions also condemned us for our policies (“Clinton terms Ramat Shlomo project ‘insulting,’” March 14).
Prime Minister Netanyahu, I would like you to know that as an Israeli citizen, I am also insulted and ashamed that the leader of the State of Israel allows himself, and by extension the Israeli people, to be treated without any respect and seems unable to grasp that the situation has arisen only because of his inability to take a strong stand.
My message to Obama, Clinton and all who are insulted by our policies: We do not need your approval now or in the future. Your insults would be better directed against those who have sworn to destroy us.
...and the ironies
Sir, – Let me get this straight. We Israelis/Jews are building houses for families (Ramat Shlomo) and reopen a synagogue that was razed to the ground by Jordanian forces in 1948. The Palestinian Authority names a square in honor of a murdering terrorist responsible for the deaths of 37 Israeli citizens and one American, and we’re the bad guys?
Is this Chelm?
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu needs to man up, as they say, tell President Barack Obama that he already apologized for the political gaffe, and move on!
Sir, – I find it ironic that in the whole discussion of the Biden-Ramat Shlomo fiasco, no one bothered to take the vice president to the neighborhood to see for himself that Ramat Shlomo has very little to do with Arab east Jerusalem. It is also worth noting that in discussions with the previous Olmert government, the Palestinian leadership understood that Ramat Shlomo would be swapped for a different area.Why doesn’t the Palestinian leadership understand that only through direct peace talks will there be clarity to the question of who builds and where?
Sir, – Friday’s paper reprinted Joe Biden’s speech at Tel Aviv University, in which he eloquently professed his love for Israel and the Jewish people (“‘Sometimes only a friend can deliver the hardest truth,’” March 12). So far, so good. However, I was baffled by his statement that “it was also difficult for the Palestinian Authority to take a step that it has to take to combat incitement.”
On the front page of the same edition, the Post headline reads, “PA puts off honoring Coastal Road Massacre leader.” If this despicable Palestinian Authority decision to name a square in El-Bireh after a terrorist does not constitute incitement, perhaps I need to buy a better dictionary.
K. FISCHER Jerusalem
The PM needs our support
Sir, – Unfortunately Israel made a stupid announcement regarding housing construction during the Joe Biden talks. This created an opportunity for the antagonistic Obama administration to attack us on a wide front (“US presses for Israeli concessions following Jerusalem housing flap,” March 15). Despite four apologies from Prime Minister Netanyahu, words such as “insult,” “outrage” and “affront” from Hillary Clinton and top Obama adviser David Axelrod flew in all directions, discrediting Israel enormously. All this to force more concessions from Israel.
Obama is determined to improve his poor foreign policy image by subjugating Israel during this tense confrontation. Our prime minister desperately needs the support of the entire Israeli public – religious, secular, left- and right-wing – in this time of crisis. The Jewish people dare not let him down!
Rules of the road
Sir, – Your editorial “Protection on the roads” (March 14) is not only apt, but of vital importance. Some years ago I obtained my certificate as a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists in England, which ends with a driving test that takes nearly four hours, the examiner being a former senior police officer. I remember the lessons and, indeed, adhere to them to this day.
One  basic rule is that the driver should, at all times, unless he or she needs one hand free for a moment to change gears or some such other use, have both hands on the wheel at “nine o’clock and three o’clock,” and other than parking, the hands must never cross. The effect of this is that in an emergency, the driver has full control of the vehicle.
I am always horrified in Israel to see that men drivers – women are only minor offenders in this respect – use only one hand on the wheel or, more likely, on one of the spokes. Not infrequently they have no hands on the wheel at all. The “spare” hand may be used for eating, smoking, drinking, or just resting on the door by way of relaxation. In the event of an emergency, such drivers would be unable, in the split seconds available, to control the car to the standard which is essential to prevent damage, injuries or tragedy.
You quite properly refer to the fact that the police in most cases disregard such poor standards of driving. One result is that more people are killed on the roads by fellow Israelis than are killed by terrorists and suicide bombers. I can only hope that the police and the government take note and enforce and ensure proper standards. Lives are at stake.
Sir, – I have been driving for 35 years in many countries around the world – so called Third World countries, Europe and the Americas – and I have to say that though Israel is not the worst I have seen, it comes very close.
The astonishing fact is that when, as a natural human reaction, you look to see who the homicidal driver is, it turns out to be someone of middle age, often with children in the vehicle.
A simple no-nonsense approach is needed to deal with this situation.
Kol hakavod, Dr. Binshtok
Sir,– The article “No pain, all gain” (March 14) gave me the mostheartwarming feeling, just reading Dr. Binshtok’s personal commentsabout being an Israeli. Kol hakavod lo!