May 9: More than a feud

The whole disgusting episode of charges and counter-charges between Minister of Defense Ehud Barak and former chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi should be investigated.

Sir, – The whole disgusting episode of charges and counter-charges between Minister of Defense Ehud Barak and former chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi should be investigated (“Barak accuses Ashkenazi of bribery as A-G mulls criminal probe into Harpaz affair,” May 7).
It is not only personal; it has to do with the functioning of the Ministry of Defense and its relationship with the IDF. It has to do with military options and controls, and with civilian authority. The charges involved, more than involving a mere appointment, has to do with the way future wars will be planned and controlled.
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein should reopen the investigation now and lay this ugly matter to rest. The Defense Ministry must clean house, and the lowliest soldier must feel confident in the commanding hierarchy.
Remember Haw-Haw?
Sir, – It’s about time that MK Haneen Zoabi stopped brainwashing herself and took stock of her surroundings (“Danon: Zoabi should be disqualified from next Knesset,” May 7).
If she so much as protested, as she does here, in Syria, she would be taken away with other demonstrators and shot. She could try her luck demonstrating for women’s rights in Iran or Saudi Arabia and see how far she gets.
My advice to Zoabi is to look around and appreciate the democracy she is living in. Of course, she could be told of what the British did to Lord Haw-Haw (William Joyce) at the end of WWII.
Not synonymous
Sir, – Faina Kirschenbaum writes about the dates of May 8 and 9, which commemorate the Allies’ victory over the Nazis and the signing of the surrender (“Israel needs its own ‘Home Front,’” Comment & Features, May 7). She states “The Allied victory is an important event to remember, not just to commemorate the end of the Holocaust, but also to celebrate and give thanks to the soldiers who rid the world of the Nazi evil.”
This statement is not accurate.
World War II did, officially, end with Germany surrendering on May 9, 1945, but the Holocaust did not end then. There were pogroms and other organized killings of Jews after this date. This means the Holocaust, as an organized action to kill Jews, continued after the war ended.
Many use the terms “WWII” and “Holocaust” as if they were the same. The two went in tandem for a good part of the time, but they did not start or end on identical dates. This has been pointed out in many analyses of that period.
Tainted Tiffany
Sir, – The exodus of Arab Christians from the Middle East (with the exception of Israel) is due to the reasons David Parsons points out (“The real root of the Christian exodus,” Comment & Opinion, May 7). However, what I find exceedingly troubling is the reference to Bob Simon’s 60 Minutes interview with the well-known anti-Israel Palestinian, Rev. Mitri Raheb, in which Raheb claimed that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank was the primary cause of this exodus.
Nothing could be farther from the truth, and both Simon and the brass at CBS News know this.
This highlights an irresponsibility on the part of some news media that causes irreparable damage not only to Israel’s image, but to the very foundations of a free press, is one of the basic pillars of a democracy. This kind of reporting is rampant these days and is inexcusable on the part of CBS News, whose reputation used to be impeccable.
HAIM M. LERNER Ganei Tikva
Skipping over facts
Sir, – For reasons known only to himself, reader James Adler (“In their shoes,” Letters, May 7) once again skips over important facts.
These include the wars against us by and for the Palestinians, which were of their making.
That 19 percent of land he mentions (if that is a true figure) is the result of their aggression, not our victory.
Because we have a strong sense of self-preservation, as a result of these wars we moved into positions strong enough to assure it will not be easy to attack us again. Some of the areas we acquired we returned, some we will not.
We glorify life in our country and don’t promise paradise to suicidal fame-seekers. We seek to achieve a country where there is dignity, peace and security for all.
Tomatoes, migrants
Sir, – Regarding “Price of tomatoes to reach NIS 16 per kg.” (Business & Finance, May 7), can someone please explain why, in a country that is one of the leaders in medical research and technology, sells advanced military equipment around the world and exports agricultural produce in vast quantities, it is not possible to organize a steady supply of tomatoes, a staple in the Israeli diet? The “reason” given is the lack of foreign workers. Surely, if we need able-bodied laborers capable of working outside in the heat, then the many Sudanese and other Africans flooding into the country could be given employment.
Sir, – Reader Chayim Seiden’s letter (“Raison d’etre,” May 7) suggesting agricultural training for African migrants is most constructive.
Jay Bushinsky’s plea for a more enlightened policy regarding these people (“A federated state for Israelis and Palestinians,” Observations, May 4) could, I believe be of much benefit to Israel with regard to its relationship with African countries.
I have been thinking along the same lines. It seems to me that educational facilities in Israel could be made available to migrants. For example, teaching them technical trades of value in agriculture and construction, and, for those with capability, university-level professions, would facilitate their return home, where their new skills would be appreciated.
Indeed, such a program could be coordinated with their home countries or with other states in the region so that their orderly return to the African continent could be organized.
These people have undergone many risks and hardships in order to reach Israel, where they had hoped to better their lives.
Such a program could change them from being dispossessed to employable, and make the goodwill ambassadors for Israel.
I believe that such a far-sighted program could find financial support among international agencies. It would be win-win situation and in accord with Jewish values.
Losing their religion
Sir, – Your April 29 editorial “Replacing Tal” misses the point.
There is an underlying assumption that by refusing to participate in military service, haredim are shirking their obligations and relying on others to protect them. This is not only incorrect, it promotes an antagonism against haredim that sometimes borders on racism.
To put it plainly, the vast majority of haredim are afraid not of losing their lives during military service, but of losing their religion.
Whether they are right or wrong, haredim feel that military service is regarded by many in positions of authority as an opportunity to water down the yiddishkeit of the haredim who serve. How else can they explain the attitude of those who must obey trivial rules that offend their beliefs? Your suggestion of economic incentives will not work. Haredim are prepared to accept comparative poverty to protect their way of life. This will continue at least until they are shown that the IDF no longer tolerates those who trample on their beliefs.