May 24: Tourists beware

Actions of Egyptian people are responsible for drop in tourism.

Tourists beware
Sir, – Regarding “ElBaradei: Egypt ‘disintegrating’ as tourism drops” (Business & Finance, May 23), CBS foreign correspondent Lara Logan was sexually attacked by a mob while reporting on the uprising there. The crowd shouted (incorrectly) that she was Jewish – and therefore fair game.
This incident does more to show the Egyptian people in their true colors than hours of media coverage of events. How can they be surprised?
Salary to kill for
Sir – Murderers, bombers and terrorists held in Israel’s jails are rewarded with monthly salaries (“New Palestinian law said to grant all convicted terrorists monthly salary,” May 20). What a new twist to the phrase “blood money!” I hope the EU and US take note that their financial assistance is being spent in this way to the detriment of ordinary Palestinians who have no work, no running water and no sewerage. What a real incentive this gives the crazy idealists who can now be rewarded for their fundamentalist actions.
Will common sense ever be restored?
Sir, – I looked up the word “salary” and found that it means “fixed compensation for services, paid to a person on a regular basis.”
Services? Obviously they are the murder of Israelis by any means.
My closest friends have lost loved ones to people now jailed for such “services,” a sad, long list of the terrorism-bereaved.
Self-evidently, it isn’t possible to even think of real peace with paymasters such as these.
Sir, – The phenomenon of paying salaries to convicted terrorist murderers underlines that the Islamic Jew-hatred there is indeed deeply embedded and not superficial.
It is an action that exceeds normal behavior and goes the extra mile to show support, community and encouragement for the murder of Jewish people.
It also underlines that there isn’t one drop of good will in the Palestinian camp.There can be no peace or coexistence with people who have no good will.
Tel Aviv
Sir, – The PA should be advised that such salaries are subject to Israeli income tax and National Insurance Institute payments. This will be quite an expensive matter, but our Treasury, I’m sure, would be happy to deduct these commitments from funds due the PA.
Kiryat Ono
Playing for Gaza
Sir, – Reading Daniel Barenboim’s “The human lesson of Gaza” (Comment & Features, May 19) left me wondering whether we live on the same planet.
Nowhere did Barenboim mention the civilized people of Gaza attacking Israel with a barrage of deadly rockets almost daily. Nor did he dwell on the Hamas leadership’s adroit military strategy of using women and children as human shields, and embedding its military equipment in residential areas when there are battles with the IDF.
As a woman, I strongly object to Barenboim’s praise for enlightened Gazans when the lofty goals there are only for men. There are no women’s rights. With only rare exceptions, women must wear sweltering, full-length garments, are subject to the laws of Shari’a and have no hope for equal rights.
Barenboim notoriously pushed the envelope of respect for Israel when he chose to foist Wagner’s music on a captive audience of Jews in 2001 during one of his concerts in Jerusalem. Some people were so upset that they left.
So I have a challenge for him: At his next Gaza concert, he should play a piece of music by any Jewish composer, not even Israeli.
Leonard Bernstein or Gershwin come to mind. It would be most salutary to see how his highminded, enlightened audience reacts.
Sir, – Daniel Barenboim criticizes “the injustice and short-sightedness of the Israeli blockade which attributes guilt to a whole people – it’s most harrowing consequence is the detrimental effect on the Gazans’ quality of life.”
Just as a government has a responsibility to serve its citizens, the electorate must take responsibility for the government it empowers. A population cannot claim to be absolved of all blame for the actions of a government it elected. You must expect ramifications.
Hamas won an overwhelming majority of legislative seats in the last election. The voters did not elect it solely to keep the streets clean. They must have known that Hamas stood for violent “resistance” and the annihilation of the neighboring Jewish state.
If Gazans truly object to Hamas’s terrorist ways, they must remove it from power. Failing that, they are complicit in its murderous activities.
Zichron Ya’acov
Sir, – Daniel Barenboim notes that a large percentage of Gazans are under 30 and that he has long wished to express solidarity with the population, as he considers its “confinement one of the most disturbing aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
I looked in vain in the article for any reference to the confinement and unbearable circumstances faced by Gilad Schalit. I wondered if the maestro thought Schalit could remain “hopeful and active.”
Barenboim’s dream is to “return [to Gaza] frequently and to contribute to... a remarkable and dynamic society.” For many of us, our dream is to see Gilad Schalit released from his unjust and illegal captivity.
Perhaps the two dreams could combine and Barenboim would insist that the soldier be freed before he returns to delight the populace with his music and support.

Different aims
Sir, – MK Einat Wilf states, incorrectly, in “For the Palestinians’ sake” (Comment & Features, May 18) that the “Palestinian national movement was about resisting Zionism and its program of building a state.”
In fact, the movement was part of a general upheaval in the Ottoman Empire centered around the Young Turks movement in 1908, which was a protest against Ottoman rule. The history is well described in the book 1913 by a young American Jewish journalist, Amy Docker Marcus.
Unfortunately the movement coincided with the rise in Jewish nationalism and the two inevitably clashed, though there were attempts at synthesis. But the primary cause for the Arab movement was anti-establishment. It also enabled T.E. Lawrence later on to mobilize the Beduin of the Hejaz to fight the Turks.
Anti-aliya policy
Sir, – While I believe that conversions need to be conducted to the highest standard of Orthodoxy, the decision to refuse citizenship to Thomas Dohlan is baseless (“Interior Ministry sued for not recognizing Orthodox conversions,” May 13).
The Ministry of Interior is enforcing a double standard by rejecting an Orthodox conversion performed by the RCA while accepting non-Orthodox conversions.
This is clearly discriminatory and leads to religious matters being decided by the High Court of Justice, which in my opinion should not happen.
The Chief Rabbinate needs to openly define its standards and clarify its decisions in individual cases.
This would also encourage, as opposed to dissuade and hinder, individual decisions to make aliya.
As ITIM founder and head Rabbi Seth Farber said, “On Independence Day Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called on every Jew in the world to make aliya, while in practice the Interior Ministry is preventing it.”