May 11: Unholy matrimony

I would like to add an important point to Sam Ser's "Married to the mob," on organized crime in Israel.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Unholy matrimony Sir, - I would like to add an important point to Sam Ser's "Married to the mob," on organized crime in Israel (Cover story, May 4). Half of our government ministers and a lot of happy MKs showed up at the wedding of Ze'ev Rosenstein's son. As a high Italian judge said: It's impossible to have organized crime in a country without political help. We will never get rid of the mafia here if it wields influence in some parties' central committees. In other words: Don't blame the police, blame corrupt politicians. DAVID WAINTRAUB Rishon Lezion Wounds heal Sir, - Saul Singer's "Sore winners" (May 4) approvingly quoted Amir Taheri's May 3 Post interview in which he claimed that last summer's war in Lebanon "destroyed" Hizbullah. It "lost about a quarter of its fighters... literally all of its missile launching pads in the south... manpower, territory and weaponry. What else do you want?" The Soviet Union also took heavy losses at the start of the Nazi invasion. Most Western experts gave it less than weeks before a final capitulation. North Vietnam successfully fought off American and, to a lesser extent, South Korean, Australian and other Allied forces for over a decade before defeating them. At the start of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel was so bloodied that Moshe Dayan told Golda Meir: "The Third Temple is about to fall." One might argue that while Hizbullah gave Israel a black eye, it received a broken jaw. But wounds heal, especially if Iran and Syria are supplying the "medicine." Even Bashar Assad has stated: "We no longer have to fear Israel." Syria is reinforcing its border with the Golan Heights to levels not seen since before the start of its 1973 offensive. Most Lebanese concur that Hizbullah threw Israeli invaders out of Lebanon for the second time in six years. Israel won the battle, but not the war. Your enemy is defeated only when his will to resist is broken. STUART KATSOFF Tel Aviv Give Nusseibeh credit Sir, - Ariel Sharon's 2000 visit to the Temple Mount and Marwan Barghouti's responsibility for the second intifada notwithstanding (Letters, May 4), we should give Sari Nusseibeh credit for outspoken and consistent support for a fair settlement of this ongoing conflict. In a reader's letter to this paper, Prof. Nusseibeh called for courage and wisdom to face reality, and to move toward an equitable settlement between Israelis and Palestinians. That was in 1984. Two weeks ago, in a review of Nusseibeh's book Once Upon a Country, Robert Malley wrote: "Nusseibeh... was a believer in Israeli-Palestinian dialogue long before it was in favor, an advocate of nonviolence when other Palestinians were glorifying suicide bombers, an embodiment of secularism as the Islamist Hamas movement was conquering new ground in Palestinian politics. In the late 1960s, when so many of his compatriots still dreamed of ridding the land of those it considered intruders, he argued for coexistence among Arabs and Jews in a secular, binational state. When he later came around to the idea of a two-state solution, with Israel living in peace alongside Palestine, many Palestinians were clamoring for a single state. Even now, one senses that his commitment to splitting the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean may not be everlasting. "If a two-state solution is not reached soon," he writes, "Palestinians will fight for 'one man, one vote' in a unified Arab-Israeli state - a comment one can take as warning or wish. Not a few Palestinians consider his moderation traitorous; a respectable number of Israelis consider it their most potent threat" (Washington Post, April 15). Could Malley's evaluation be accurate - that some of us consider Nusseibeh's moderation our "most potent threat"? If the Nusseibeh-Ayalon formula (or the Geneva Accord, or the Arab-League Initiative) ever materialized, it would mean the end of our presence in the West Bank. Could it be we are not ready to pay such a price to achieve our integration into this region and, finally, to enjoy living in good neighborliness with the Arab world around us? ZEEV RAPHAEL Haifa Third time Jewish Sir, - In "Out with the old, in with the 'Jew'? (May 4) you wrote "If the polls are right... France will have a Jewish head for only the second time in its history...." Why not "only the third time"? 1. Leon Blum; 2. Pierre Mendes-France; 3. Nicolas Sarkozy. MOSHE IVRY Jerusalem Kind words lubricate Sir, - Re "Japs and hos" (Samuel G. Freedman, May 4) on how hate-filled speech comes back to haunt: I only listen to one talk show, The G Gordon Liddy Show. Mr. Liddy has broadcast from Jerusalem... and I like his motto that the lubricating oil of kind words and civility makes individuals and societies interact more smoothly. Too bad Don Imus didn't heed that advice. JAMES A. MARPLES Longview, Texas Let them die? Sir, - Leigh Turner's "China's transplant tourism" (May 27) wants to discourage countries from sending their patients to China for organ transplants, as if that will influence China's outrageous wholesale application of the death penalty, the source of the organs. Organ sales are merely a byproduct of the policy, not its cause. It is a macabre irony that Israel has one of the highest fatal traffic accident rates and one of the lowest organ donation levels in the world. It is easy to expound on the immorality of going to China for a transplant - if you are not the patient. In Israel we outlaw commerce in transplant organs, and rightly so. But we also refuse to encourage organ "donations" from the deceased by a government policy of retroactive insurance payments to families donating organs; that's too close to the immorality of commerce. From our moral high ground the only course of action is to simply let patients die for lack of organs. Before we castigate the Chinese for their policy of trading in the organs of the doomed we should examine our own preference for burying organs rather than using them to save lives. ALLYN ROTHMAN Jerusalem May 9: Victory Day Sir, - For Hatzor Haglilit, May 9 is much more than a "Russian Mimouna" (Nelly Gootin, May 4). Since immigrants started coming here in 1990, "Victory Day" has been celebrated by all. The first year, locals couldn't understand why the "Russians" needed their own Memorial Day. But when we explained the significance of Jewish soldiers fighting in the Soviet Army against Hitler and their contribution to the rise of the State of Israel, attitudes changed - including among the war veterans themselves, who hadn't usually thought of the Jewish significance of their heroism. Every year a ceremony is held by a small monument in a local park. Local politicians and schools participate, including not a few of the veterans' grandchildren, now IDF soldiers. And since the event is organized by our own immigrant and veteran committee, together with our community center and teachers, May 9 has become a recognized event in Hatzor Haglilit. GERSHON HARRIS Director of Absorption Local Council Hatzor Haglilit Not appreciated... Sir, - "The royal mikve" (April 27) was a distasteful attempt at humor concerning an age-old custom. Brian Blum: "Going to the mikve is supposed to be discreet...." He was annoyed at a receptionist for telling one security guard that Mrs. Blum was going to the mikve; so what did he do? He told the entire country. I would appreciate him keeping his most personal experiences ("expensive foreplay") to himself in future. NIK SARADUHEY Jerusalem ...much appreciated Sir, - It was a boost to the spirits to read Barbara Sofer's "59 more reasons why I love Israel" (April 27), and a relief to be assured that there are still positive aspects to living here. I copied this article to share with family abroad. SUZANNE LIBENSON Givat Shmuel