March 9: Apology, and a hope

I want to apologize, on behalf of the Swedish people.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Apology, and a hope Sir, - I want to apologize, on behalf of the Swedish people, for the decision of the Malmo local authorities to forbid spectators "for security reasons" at the Davis Cup tennis game between Sweden and Israel, March 6-8. My own opinion, as a friend of Israel, is that the Israeli Davis Cup team was very much welcome in Sweden. Some politicians feared violent anti-Israel demonstrations. Leftist and Muslim groups seemed to cooperate in their endeavors to stop the game ("Something rotten in Malmo," photo, March 8). I hope that the Swedish police will use adequate power to prevent any "legal" demonstrations again escalating into violent and criminal action against Israeli sports teams. I hereby declare my love and support for the State of Israel. AKE KLASSON Gamleby, Sweden Sir, - I sincerely hope that this sad, isolating situation for Israeli sportsmen and -women will not be replicated during the World Ice Skating Championships in Los Angeles, which start on March 23. The Israeli teams deserve to skate in a spectator-packed stadium. SALLY SHAW Kfar Saba Unhelpful editorial... Sir, - "Unhelpful reprimand" (Editorial, March 8) on the home demolitions planned for Silwan was misleading in its arguments and conclusion. You mentioned 88 homes, but not the fact that over 1,500 people live in those homes slated to be razed; nor that the land was owned by most of them before 1967. It is a fact that it is nearly impossible for Palestinians in east Jerusalem to receive permission to build homes - rendering any construction "illegal." What this editorial did was self-righteously argue that these biblical-era relics of "matchless historical significance" are more important than the well-being of 1,500 men, women and children, or "illegal squatters" in the editorial's callous language. Are the actions we take now, with possibly grave consequences, not too of "historical significance"? "Any American municipality" would do the same, it was argued - as if any American municipality annexes and discriminates against 250,000 of its residents. TAMAR HIRSCH Ra'anana a challenging Middle East Sir, - Anything and everything that the State of Israel does can be seen as a struggle between the Jewish ethnic and religious identity of the state versus the ethnic and religious identity of other peoples in the region. For example, land expropriations related to archeological or historical development projects, in Silwan and other places, would go unnoticed as typical state projects in any other country of the world. But not in Israel, because the state carries the burden of a Jewish identity. It makes you an easy target for the nationalistic emotions of other peoples inside and outside Israel. Labeling the constant flow of criticism "anti-Semitic" helps only little, as long as the global audience can see a government with a clear ethnic and religious identity acting among minorities with a very different identity. JOHN MITTLER Finland Unseating terror Sir, - Last Thursday's attack by an Arab worker in Jerusalem who drove his construction vehicle into a car and a bus should be the final wake-up call for everyone in control of the city's workers. The very first incident of this kind should have launched this policy: No longer will Arabs drive these potentially murderous vehicles. Put Jewish drivers into the driver's seat and eliminate these horror stories ("Bulldozer terrorist wounds 2 cops in J'lem," March 6). SID SKIPPY MARCUS Jerusalem A deal with scant appeal Sir, - "Likud did cut deal with Shas last year to thwart Livni, 'Post' learns" (March 6): If what this article reports is accurate, we now have a prime minister-designate who is willing to buy whatever he wants. His deal with Shas to prevent Tzipi Livni from forming a coalition in October cost the country the continued tenure of the current prime minister under police investigation; an unnecessary national election (how many hundred million shekels did that cost?); and NIS 2 billion to Shas, along with the Interior Ministry portfolio. Are we taxpayers expected to provide the NIS 10b. Netanyahu has reportedly offered various parties to join his coalition? There are much better uses for this money. EDNA OXMAN Beersheba Room service Sir, - Instead of putting Bibles in Israeli hotel rooms, as David Benkof suggests in "Proposing change for Israel" (February 26), I recommend Acts of God: A Primer for Atheists, Agnostics, and Those Who Have Lapsed. MAURICE WOLFTHAL Houston, Texas We'd like to help the old and needy Sir, - Our church in Canada is thinking about sponsoring or doing a fund-raising project to help elderly Jewish people living in poverty or underprivileged children in Israel. I was wondering if readers could send me some names and maybe a little information about a few worthy organizations that could use a helping hand. EDWARD NICHOLAS Campbellford, Ontario Unexpeckted Sir, - After all the hoopla about the hoopoe (duchifat) being elected our national bird, the caption of the current Billboard cover reads: "Shimon Peres with woodpecker." Please! RUTH SCHUELER Jerusalem Mahmoud the Great? Sir, - With the advent of Purim, permit me the following proposal: that the large Iranian community in Israel invite Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his ministers to a conference in Jerusalem devoted to a discussion of the historic friendship between the Persian people and the people of Israel from when Cyrus the Great allowed the Jews to return and rebuild Jerusalem. Coming at a time of high tension and hostility between our two nations, such a gesture could begin a thaw in relations, leading to a new understanding with tremendous repercussions for the entire Middle East. One might even entertain the possibility of Ahmadinejad and his retinue visiting Yad Vashemand having to admit that the Holocaust did take place. On Purim, as the Megilla tells us, the totally unexpected, the very opposite of the usual - nahafochhu - can occur. Might not such an invitation transform the face of the region, turning Iran into a respected member of the community of nations and rehabilitate Ahmadinejad, from being a modern reincarnation of Haman, into an updated version of Cyrus the Great? Crass capitulation, some would say. I prefer to see it as capitalization on a well-known historical fact - one small, bold step that could change the face of history ("Italian FM torpedoes Teheran trip," March 6). Happy Purim! DAVID HERMAN Jerusalem