May 31: One voice - please

If we are going to have different spokesmen for each government office, the new ministry will just be a waste of time.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
One voice - please Sir, - One would have thought that the establishment of the Information Ministry was a sign that PM Netanyahu, an expert in hasbara, was going to ensure that Israel "speaks with one voice." During WWII, Britain established a ministry of information as the country's only official voice. That ministry was also responsible for "psychological warfare," something so far ignored by all our hasbara people. If we are going to have different spokesmen for each government office, the new ministry will just be a waste of time. But if it is responsible for the government's "message" - if Yuli Edelstein becomes the "Voice of Israel" - he will have a chance of succeeding where all others have failed miserably all these years ("Who will speak for Israel?" May 27). EMANUEL FISCHER Jerusalem Best interests Sir, - PM Netanyahu seems to have learned a lesson from former PM Sharon. Where the latter gave orders and expected them to be followed to the letter, his mistake was that he never took the time to explain why he was making a particular move. As a result, the public was confused. Netanyahu has made it clear that illegal outposts must go to encourage US action on Iran ("IDF: Ramat Gilad could be evacuated," May 25). Now comes the test: Will the settlers put their interests ahead of the nation's? Will they be part of the solution, or part of the problem? Give the PM the opportunity to represent a united Israel. P. YONAH Shoham Sir, - Maybe the pressure from President Obama is the best thing that has happened to us. We took steps in the past that were not in Israel's best interest only because of pressure from the US and our wanting to show good faith. We did one-sided pullouts, stopped retaliating, targeted our killings of terrorists and risked our soldiers' lives to avoid harming innocent civilians, to no avail. Actually, things got worse. Now the pressure will be extreme; and maybe this time our prime minister will retain the strength to say "Ad kan" - "that's it, no more." Of course we should continue the effort toward peace; but, my goodness, not commit suicide. We can't have a two-state solution at this time because the Arabs can't even bring themselves to utter the words "One of those states will be a Jewish one" ("Construction in Jerusalem to continue, PM tells cabinet," May 25). MIRIAM GREENBERG Jerusalem My son Imri Sir, - Thank you for the excellent article by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook about Mahmoud Abbas's glorification of terrorists - which, as was pointed out, is largely funded by American money. Gail Rubin was not the only American killed in the 1978 Coastal Road terror attack. My son Imri, then in his 15th year, was another US citizen who lost his life that day. His father and brother were wounded as well, leaving a family shattered. To this day, people, mostly strangers, call me from here and the US with the news that they have just had a baby boy and named him Imri. Two years before that horrific event, we celebrated Imri's bar mitzva on his Jewish birthdate, and also on July 4, 1976. The day was further marked by the heroic rescue of the Israeli hostages at Entebbe. Euphoria gripped the world then. "See, Imri," I told him, "fireworks all over America today - and this is how the IDF celebrates your birthday!" His eyes flashed appreciation at my quip. With this year's Fourth of July not far off, will we see America continuing to turn a blind eye toward its funding of Palestinian incitement against Jews? ("Will the US follow its laws and suspend funding to Abbas?" May 26) SHARONA TEL-OREN Omer Hardly electrifying Sir, - Re "More blackouts on the way unless consumers reduce need for power, NGO says" (May 25): After 61 years of very hot summers in Israel, everybody knows that summer begins after the month of May - except, apparently, the Israel Electric Corporation. Yet to date it has not, and seemingly will not in the foreseeable future be increasing our electricity reserves. So while we're living in the 21st century, we'll go on having electricity outages - while paying exorbitant prices, summer and winter, for what electricity we do get. Comparing low electricity reserves with low water reserves is ridiculous, since the former is caused by nature. So - I see myself being stuck in the lift, again and again. Very nice indeed. JUUP SOBELMAN Petah Tikva Very Admirable Tax Sir, - Considerable opposition has been voiced to levying VAT on fruit and vegetables, for a variety of reasons. There is, however, a great advantage here to the treasury, which might lead to the resultant income being very much higher than the public has been led to believe. Large numbers of "unknown and unofficial" suppliers of produce to the market will suddenly be revealed to the authorities via newly mandated tax invoices, and will be obliged to start paying the income tax they have until now largely avoided. It's an ill wind that blows no good. Some of the strenuous opposition we've been hearing might be coming from this segment of the economy. DAVID GOSHEN Kiryat Ono Sir, - Rather than add VAT to healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, I'd suggest increasing it on beer and hard liquor and tripling the VAT on cigarettes. And though I love soda and candy and ice-cream and cake, let's up the VAT on them, too. It may make us healthier. And those found guilty of reckless driving and/or driving while drunk or on drugs should pay VAT at least double the amount of their fine. TZILIA SACHAROW Jerusalem Beacon of integrity... Sir, - Jonathan Swift's epitaph, in Yeats' translation from the Latin, reads: "Swift has sailed into his rest; Savage indignation there / Cannot lacerate his breast. / Imitate him if you dare, / World-besotted traveler; / he served human liberty." So one felt on hearing of the death of Amos Elon. Passionately devoted to truth, more deeply devoted to the authority of history than anyone I have ever met, he served with unswerving dedication the moral imperatives that should govern human beings. I understand that his leaving Israel was regarded as odd, discomfiting many who did not know him. But only someone who believed profoundly in the best vision of Israel's founders - of a nation unlike any other which would never sink to the depths the Europe in which he was born had sunk - could leave because the practical politics we so easily accept as "realism" were not sufficient. Elon - difficult, uncompromising - was a beacon of integrity in a world of partisanship and political posturing. We will not soon see his like again ("Author Amos Elon dies at 82,"May 27). HUCK GUTMAN Burlington, Vermont ...that was Amos Elon Sir, - Amos Elon wrote a book, The Israelis: Founders and Sons, which helps anyone understand the ethos of our nascent nation and the human character of the people of Israel. It remains required reading for any reporter, new immigrant or, indeed, veteran Israeli. DAVID BEDEIN Israel Resource News Agency Jerusalem