May 14: 'Sorry - closed'

It is unbelievable that the authorities have not come up with a real plan allowing the city to function properly during President Bush's visit.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
'Sorry - closed'TOBY WILLIG Jerusalem One out of four Sir, - George Bush calls Abbas a partner for peace, says a Palestinian state is a must, and that Ehud Olmert is honest. Well, he's right on Iran being the biggest threat. One out of four is not bad. Welcome, President Bush, from a fellow Texan ("Bush to 'Post': Abbas is a viable partner for peace," May 13). RACHEL FORREST Efrat Sir, - American naivete is dangerous. Arab/Muslim warfare includes obfuscation and denial. The leaders can be charming and know what their interlocutors want to hear. But Mahmoud Abbas runs an educational system and media steeped in hate, denying Israel's very existence. That's a peace partner? Opinion surveys of Arabs by Arabs show that a majority of local Arabs supports the kidnapping of Jews and sending missiles into Israel. Is Mr. Bush advising Israel to again hand over real assets in exchange for more worthless paper? CHAYIM SEIDEN Jerusalem Power of words Sir, - Your editorials "Self-harm as a strategy" (May 9), dealing with Hamas, and "Bush & the Palestinians" (May 13) both, astoundingly, failed to address the case for Israel demanding an end to hate language and incitement by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority and, of course, by Iran and Saudi Arabia - on the air waves, in the mosques and in schoolbooks. This striking omission occurred in a week in which Iran's Ahmadinejad was quoted as referring to Israel as a "stinking corpse destined to disappear" and Hizbullah went to war to protect its telecommunications systems and destroy the TV station of its enemies in Lebanon. If words are required to organize genocidal killers and frighten bystanders, they are even more important in motivating the world to prosecute and punish them. ELIHU D RICHTER Jerusalem Come off it! Sir, - New Profile activist Lotan Raz says: "The more we've used military force, the more it's caused violence on both sides. If Israel chooses to live in peace, (it) can make that choice" ("Anti-enlistment ad spurs lawsuit," May 13). Does Raz think it's Israel's choice to make - as if Israelis feel peace is not needed to raise children or live a healthy life? Does he believe Israelis love war, like the Spartans did, and that if war were not forced on us we would go looking for it, just for enjoyment? NAOMI KUBITSKY Ganei Omer Boteach vs Dawkins Sir, - Reading Shmuley Boteach's "An open letter to Richard Dawkins" (May 13) and "Richard Dawkins responds," on the same page, I found both wanting. Dawkins's attempt to excuse his Hitler reference in talking about Boteach's "yelling and shrieking" reveals a basic flaw in his character and way of seeing things. He reads the world in linear terms, and does not see hidden implications and connections. Were he slightly wiser, he would understand that attacking a Jewish teacher by invoking the name of the evil arch-destroyer of the Jewish people to win points is worse than insensitive - especially in a time when academic anti-Semitism is not unheard of in Britain today. Boteach, whose YouTube debate appearance I viewed, disappointed in another way. Despite his conviction in teaching the first principles of Judaism and his great appeal as entertainer and showman, he did not rebut Dawkins with sound factual or logical, point-by-point argument. So while my heart and soul are with Rabbi Boteach, my head tells me he should have done a more intellectually respectable job. SHALOM FREEDMAN Jerusalem Sir, - Dawkins himself has to learn some more about biology and evolution. In science, origin-questions are speculative extrapolations from laws which are relational, not causal or time-dependent. As yet, there are no laws of the Life-system in the sense of the mathematicized laws in Relativity and Quantum. The truth - or falsity, or incompleteness - of Dawkins's empiricism must await this advance in science. The biblical story of creation does not "easily accord with evolution," as Boteach says. Were this so, it should have said "Let there be water," which is essential for the evolution of life. The reason water is taken as a given (second verse) is because the story is about the meltdown of the last Ice Age and the beginning of the Agricultural Revolution. Much of the land-mass of the planet was covered with water; hence to see the land, God pushed together the water so that the dry-land (not earth) was seen. This has nothing to do with evolution and long time-scales. JOSEPH DAVID Jerusalem Sir, - I was surprised at Richard Dawkins's lack of courtesy, and of content. His response to Shmuley Boteach was replete with accusations of ranting, yelling and shrieking like a madman, and little else of substance. As Dawkins himself noted: "Anybody who has something sensible or worthwhile to say should be able to say it calmly and soberly." Good advice, Prof. Dawkins. ERNEST WINOCOUR Rehovot Litter hitter Sir, - Thank you for keeping us informed about the tragedy of litter, pollution and the sense of neglect that, unfortunately, is a characteristic of our people here in Israel ("Park ranger decries Independence Day litterbugs," May 12). I am so glad you are keeping environmental issues in the forefront of our minds. My eye then travelled to the left of the page: "[Gideon] Ezra named tourism minister," and two things came to mind: 1. Our government seems to put everything ahead of the environment, for short-term gain; and 2. The only way to bring about the paradigm shift needed is legislation and enforcement, apparently the only way Israelis will pay attention! Enforcement of the law against using hand-held cell phones while driving, and of the law against smoking in restaurants, for example, seems to be working. Where is the "community" needed to take action on these issues? One would appreciate a list of environmental groups with phone numbers and Web sites so that those of us who want to help can contact them. K. BRONSTEIN Petah Tikva Thanks, letter-writers! Sir, - Although The Jerusalem Post is delivered to my home every day, I am usually too busy to do more than skim through it. However, the first thing I always do, however little time I have, is avidly read your readers' letters, most of which relate to recent articles of enough interest to have impelled readers to express their sentiments to you. I then retrieve the relevant pieces from the previous day's edition and digest the articles responded to. So thank you all, letter-writers worldwide. You save this translator and administrator a lot of time! LINDA STERN Safed