March 23: Better they didn’t

If the Arabs had recognized Israel in 1948 I believe they would have made only a single request – to have an equal vote in the new state.

Better they didn’t
Sir, – Regarding “What if the Arabs had recognized Israel in 1948?” (Comment & Features, March 21), here is what I believe would have happened: Arabs would have made only a single request – to have an equal vote in the new state, which would have been granted in return for peace and an undivided country.
This would have meant that Arabs had a powerful representation in the Knesset and government.
Jews would have happily settled in Cairo, Amman, Beirut, and all other Arab capitals to make their fortune. This is what always happened in past generations.
There would have been little need for aliya because Israel would be a peaceful, bi-national country. It would have meant that the chances of an Arab being prime minister would be a real possibility.
To sum up: The dream of Israel remaining a Jewish state would have been on the downside.
MAX WEIL Jerusalem
Peace pipe needed
Sir, – “Arabs yearning for democracy are likely to look with less acrimony than in the past on the sole effective democracy in the region, namely the Jewish state,” claims Fabio Rafael Fiallo (“Why the Arab revolt might be good for democracy – and Israel,” Comment & Features, March 21).
Poppycock. In four decades of trying to improve relations between Arab and Jew worldwide I’ve yet to find a single Arab who does not see Israel as a mass-murderer of Palestinians and thief of their land – even if this Arab is willing to bury the hatchet.
Israeli democracy usually serves Jews well, but will never satisfy Arabs until both, together, smoke the pipe of a truly equitable peace. May that day come soon!
Meddle smartly
Sir, – I was disappointed to read Eliezer Whartman’s recommendation to American Jews that they limit financial support to Israel and even disassociate themselves (“Start meddling,” Letters, March 21).
As one who grew up in America, I know that there is no connection between the chief rabbi of Israel and the fact that 72 percent of American Jews do not see themselves as Zionists, according to the statistics mentioned in Whartman’s letter. Almost all of them have no idea who these officials are. Their connection to Israel was no stronger when there were no haredi parties in the government.
I would also add that anyone born to a Jewish mother is Jewish, according to all halachic standards.
We have honest and serious differences with the rabbinical leaders of non-Orthodox Jewry, who unfortunately are a prime cause of American Jewry being estranged from Israel and Jewish tradition since they justify in many cases anti-Israel activities and a general watering-down of traditional Judaism.
The time has come to deal with these painful issues instead of blaming those who have kept the candle burning.
The writer is chief rabbi of Dimona
The PM’s vision
Sir, – David Horovitz complains that Prime Minister Netanyahu does not give interviews and is not presenting a “vision” for what the “two-state solution” should involve (“Wanted: The PM’s vision for Israel,” Editor’s Notes, March 18). I think he is absolutely wrong to complain.
Such a vision would make sense if we had a true partner for peace and not one whose ultimate goal is the expulsion of most, if not all, Jews; if our partner were really interested in the cause of our problems, and not just symptoms; and if our partner did not address the whole situation from what appears to me as an anti-Semitic perspective.
Sir, – I agree with David Horovitz’s analysis. As a Likud voter, I’m very disappointed with Netanyahu – he has allowed others to frame the two-state debate and has not spelled out and defended a clear position.
If the Israeli consensus is to keep the major settlement blocs and east Jerusalem neighborhoods in any final arrangement (as was agreed to by the Bush administration), he has to vigorously defend their legality over and over again. All government ministers should give the same line.
Netanyahu should not be afraid to attack the Palestinians for their refusal to acknowledge the deep and historical Jewish connection to this land. And he should then say that despite this, and despite their racist remarks in calling the Western Wall a “Muslim site,” he is willing to negotiate a state where they can live in dignity.
The prime minister should also not be afraid to display a healthy dose of indignation at the hypocrisy of a world that ignores history and our deep connection to this land.
He’s not doing any of this, and it’s a disappointment.
As the saying goes, you either lead, follow or get out of the way. If Bibi doesn’t start framing the debate, it’s time for him to get out of the way.
LARRY BIGIO Zichron Ya’acov
Great courage
Sir, – I don’t remember ever reading a column that so blatantly told the truth how the Ashkenazi elite hates the lowly Sephardim (“The decline of the Israel Prize,” Terra Incognita, March 16). Others have come close, but Seth J. Frantzman says it like it is and doesn’t sugar-coat his words. He has great courage.
Frantzman narrows his column to the Israel Prize, but it’s a problem in every walk of Israeli life.
The problem is that so many Sephardim have bought into the lies and don’t recognize that they are still discriminated against! I would like to see more truth in reporting of the “class wars.”
Not on purpose, at least
Sir, – In “Free us from this bondage of violence” (Yalla Peace, March 16), Ray Hanania claims that both sides have suffered killings.
I have been living in Israel for 35 years and do not remember one incident of Palestinian children being murdered in their beds by Jews. There have been civilian deaths as part of military actions that Israel has taken in order to defend its cities, and several vigilante murders that are condemned by all Israelis. However, this kind of murder generally happens only on one side.
Hanania claims that settlers have created more provocation and conflict. If this were so, I have several questions: Why can Palestinians work in settlements freely and Jews are not allowed into Palestinian cities for fear of their lives? Why are Palestinian villages not surrounded by fences, but Jewish villages are? Why is it that when Israeli Arabs live next door to Jews in the Galilee it’s not considered a provocation, but when Jews in Itamar live near Palestinians it is?
Get what you need
Sir, – Regarding Gil Troy’s March 9 Center Field column (“Why do we need a Jewish state anyway?”), for me there is only one reason: Here we control our ability to defend ourselves.
Here, we have the guns. Here, the police will not side with the hooligans to beat up Jews in the streets. Here, we stand on our feet with a rifle in our hands and die, if needed, with dignity, killing our enemies, and not like emasculated, cowering slaves in the cities and backwaters of Europe.
Sure we want to be prosperous, successful, joyful and fulfilled, and to live satisfying lives.
But that’s what we want, not what we need.
First and foremost comes survival – as an evolved and evolving creature, and thereafter as the cultured and civilized being who can think of concepts like tikkun olam.
Gil Troy may be a historian, but unfortunately his philosophy has gotten in the way of reality’s hard-learned lessons.
Kiryat Ata