May 17: Naming names

Israel should really ask the Turkish government for full details about the 50-odd terrorists who were placed on board the vessel last year.

Naming names
Sir, – Regarding “Turkey asks for the names of ‘Mavi Marmara’ raid commandos” (May 15), Israel should really ask the Turkish government for full details about the 50-odd terrorists who were placed on board the vessel last year without passports or border processing at a completely separate location.
Ankara should also be given warning in advance that any terrorists or terror-promoting passengers participating in future flotillas will not enjoy the quick release given those aboard the Mavi Marmara, and that they will be prosecuted and, if found guilty of terror-related activities, sentenced.
Kiryat Ono
Pedestrian safety
Sir, – Your account of road accidents (“Arava road car crash victims laid to rest,” May 15) includes the elderly couple run over in Rishon Lezion last Friday.
Statistics say that about 70 percent of pedestrians injured or worse by oncoming vehicles were using crosswalks, as required by law. In our Jerusalem neighborhood of Bayit Vagan, I know of two such cases, in which one victim survived after a long hospital stay.
The root of the trouble is the false assumption that these crossings are safe because the law obliges people to cross there. The law, however, does not give vehicles the ability to stop in one second to avoid pedestrians who suddenly cross without looking.
The least that is needed is the posting a notices at crosswalks warning pedestrians to look before crossing. Extending the use of traffic lights might help.
Maybe your readers have further ideas.
Something has to be done, and soon.
Way to freedom
Sir, – For a very long time I was uncomfortable with the campaign to free Gilad Schalit. I do not believe there is an Israeli alive who does not want him back.
However, sitting and protesting in front of our Knesset or prime minister’s residence is not the proper address.
Finally, someone in the press has been able to express my discomfort with the tone of the campaign. Thank you, Liat Collins (“Protesting the protest,” My Word, May 15). Now, if more people were to realize that the proper address for any protest is the UN, Red Cross or Hamas, we might actually get movement in the right direction.
Nitzan 2
Sir, – I recently wrote in praise of Liat Collins, but this time I cannot agree with her great trust in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s wisdom.
Our leader, right or wrong? Not, I’m afraid, when it is Bibi.
He is certainly no Ben-Gurion or Rabin – not even Sharon. Thus, to assume that only the prime minister knows what is best for us is not sensible or even correct.
When fully 65 percent of the public believes that a way must be found, and quickly, to get Schalit released no matter what, our prime minister should perhaps listen.
Letters bring letters
Sir, – I write in reply to the letter from Abe Krieger (“Appropriate or not,” May 15).
I note with sadness that such a horrific series of words emanated from someone whose address is in the United States and not in Israel. He instructs the Schalit family to “suck it up.” Excuse me? He tells them to “pipe down.” Excuse me? He wants them to roll up their carpets, take their ball home and just wait passively! Mr. Krieger, as you sit thousands of miles away with none of your own sons sitting in captivity for five years, how dare you tell parents whose lives have been devastated what to do or not to do! People have the right to make alternative suggestions as to how to win Schalit’s freedom, but no one has the right to tell parents to stop doing something for their child.
I suggest you rethink your choice of words. In the meantime, might I suggest you pipe down and suck it up.
Ma’aleh Adumim
Sir, – The Yiddish paper Jacob Mendlovic cites in regard to the recent earthquake in New Zealand (“Understanding needed,” Letters, May 13”) is not alone in its reluctance to use the name Christchurch. Jewish oldtimers from Auckland and Wellington, the large cities on the country’s North Island, had the same feeling and would only allow themselves to say, “I have to go to Ch-ch this week.”
As I know from rabbinical visits to Christchurch, the small community there has a gem of a synagogue but got around the bizarre name “Christchurch Synagogue” by calling it the Canterbury Hebrew Congregation after the section of the city in which it was established.
In other countries, they have come to terms with incorporating Christianity-oriented names into those of synagogues. Examples include St. John’s Wood Synagogue in London and St. Kilda Hebrew Congregation in Melbourne, Australia.
The writer is a rabbi
Proposed speech
Sir, – As our prime minister prepares for his forthcoming visit to the US (“Big speech or big sleep,” Diplomacy, May 13), I would urge him for the sake of his supporters who may be intimidated by the constant barrage of big lies that have become “conventional wisdom” to clearly state what I believe is the view of the overwhelming number of Israeli Jews.
We are not occupiers of anybody’s land. State lands beyond the 1967 borders came into Israel’s possession as the result of a defensive battle. Palestinians never owned these lands and Jordan has relinquished all claims.
Both from the point of view of international law and historical association, Israel has the strongest claim. Nevertheless, it stands ready to make accommodations for a Palestinian entity as a neighbor living in peace, mutual respect and cooperation.
Israel owes the Palestinians nothing. It is up to them to articulate their vision of statehood, their role in the region and their relationship with neighbors.
Should they do so they will find a generous response on the part of Israel.
Binyamin Netanyahu will never have a more sympathetic audience than AIPAC and the US Congress, nor a more auspicious time as the present. Let these words be heard, for they are the words of truth.
Unfair portrayal
Sir, – I wish to express my dismay and disgust at your flawed and one-sided article, “Give us back our history! Austria’s Jews sue Israeli central archives” (May 6).
Most of the Jews in Vienna today are anything but Austrian, including Ariel Muzikant. There are many more Austrian Jews in Israel.
I was born in the Rothschild Hospital in the 2nd district of Vienna. We left in September 1941. We had to leave behind my grandmother and she was sent to Terezin, where she died.
The date of her death is listed in a document at the Central Archives of the History of the Jewish People. Please note these words: “central archives” and “Jewish people.”
The archives in Jerusalem are open to all, whether academics, students of history or individuals wanting to trace their forebears.
The Jewish community in Vienna unfortunately seems extremely reluctant to allow access to students and researchers to historical material in its keeping.
Quoting the necessarily adversarial opinions of the legal representatives of Muzikant without giving the Central Archives a chance to refute their allegations is most unfair.