Focus on IranSir, – In “Settlements or us” (March 15) David Horovitz writes: “But many Israelis think differently, and regard Israel, especially amid the current global battle against Iranian-spearheaded Islamic extremism, indeed to be a client state – to be existentially dependent on its relationship with the United States. Many Israelis, Washington may also gauge, would rather reconsider their prime minister than their ties to the US.”This would be true if the present administration put American interests first and believed it would not be in American interest to see a nuclear war between Iran and Israel. But the Obama administration seems either to care little about the warnings Bernard Lewis has been giving about the ineffectiveness of the doctrine of mutual assured destruction on the mullahs with their Shi’a eschatology, or the administration accepts Lewis’s analysis but believes that Israel is expendable.Either way, this is bad news. One can only conclude that this whole uproar with the Jerusalem apartment construction is a way for the US administration to blame Israel for the US not having the will to confront Iran and to justify its policy of accepting a nuclear Iran. Do the American people realize what they have done – whom they have elected? Do they want to be responsible for the deaths of millions of Israelis and Iranians? If not, they’d better do something about it. They have to pressure the Obama administration to let Israel defend itself. They have to demand to hear more about the rationale by which the administration would accept a nuclear Iran. This rationale must be discussed openly so its flaws become clear.The stakes are too high. The American people must never say they did not know.
MLADEN ANDRIJASEVIC Beersheba
Taking sides?Sir, – There was a time when being Jewish meant embracing the mitzvot – at least philosophically. Now, being Jewish seems to be some kind of competitive game (“Facing intermarriage,” March 16). There are “sides” – Orthodox, Reform, Conservative – and the aim seems to be to get more people on your team than the others.What is the point of having the greatest membership? Will it enrich everlasting Jewish values or dilute them to meet the needs of the participants? DR. L. BLASSJerusalemTiming is everythingSir, – In reference to Israel’s new research report on Operation Cast Lead (“Israeli NGO’s Cast Lead report sent out to envoys,” March 16): Why did they not do it when Goldstone was here? It might not have made any difference, but the timing would have been considerably more effective.STANLEY KERSEN Herzliya PituahDouble da VinciSir, – I read with particular attention the article “Da Vinci Knesset exhibit a missed opportunity” by Jonathan Beck (February 28). I would like to clarify his comments by bringing to the attention of your readers specific guidelines issued by the Abrosiana Library, which owns and preserves the Codex Atlanticus by Leonardo da Vinci.The Codex Atlanticus pages are kept unfolded, in vertical position, in especially designed passe-partouts which allow viewers to observe one or both sides of the pages (in those cases when both of the sides have been used). Consultation of both sides of the sheet is always allowed for research purposes. However, given the extreme fragility of the sheets and in order to avoid any risk of damage, only one side is displayed during exhibitions.At the Knesset exhibition, seven (not six) da Vinci pages were displayed and only two had something on the reverse side, which was of no relevance to the display.I hope these remarks will clarify the situation, and I wish to take the opportunity to acknowledge the high degree of expertise and the enthusiastic cooperation on the part of the Knesset staff in setting up the exhibition.LUIGI MATTOLIOAmbassador of Italy in IsraelTel AvivHebron’s significanceSir, – In his article “Deadly political babblings,” (March 2), Gershon Baskin states: “Without diminishing from the memory of those who were brutally killed, Jews or Arabs, there is nothing special about Hebron in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”There is something special. The Jews own the cave where their forefathers and foremothers were buried. The cave was bought and paid for by Abraham, as the Bible states, “for an inheritance for your descendants.” Yet Baskin writes that “the mutual claims on property must be dealt with at some time in the peace process.” What mutual claims?Baskin goes on to say, “Any peace process must entail religious tolerance, mutual respect and a large degree of civility when it comes to the holy places of all faiths.” Just what happened after the War of Independence? The Arabs shut off access to the cave, permitting Jews to reach only the fifth step leading to it. The Jordanians did likewise with the Western Wall.Baskin warns: “Hebron could explode into much larger violence any time.” Israel wants the Jews and Arabs to live peacefully side by side. But it is also aware of what happens to Jewish minorities living in Arab lands: They are persecuted, threatened, labelled “dhimmis” – second-class citizens –and their lives are made miserable.Surely Mr. Baskin, the co-CEO of the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information, knows the facts.ELIEZER WHARTMANJerusalemThanks for the laughsSir,– A big “thank you” to Yonatan Silver on his letter “A modestcompromise” (Letters, March 15). It made me chuckle and brought abreath of fresh air to my day and to this newspaper – something muchneeded in this pressure-cooker, politically minded country.MINA STERNRamat Beit Shemesh