November 13: Missed opportunities

Here in Jerusalem, the haredi and Arab populations are not happy about the secular Zionist State, but how differently they express those feelings.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Missed opportunities Sir, - What a contrast! Here in Jerusalem, the haredi and Arab populations are not happy about the secular Zionist State, but how differently they express those feelings ("Jerusalem Arabs' election boycott continues" and "Haredim turn out to fulfill Porush 'mitzva' " November 12). Haredi leaders from Chazon Ish to Brisker Rav call on haredim to use the democratic process to make sure the Kol Torah is heard in the halls of city government, while the Arab leaders issue threats against any east Jerusalem Arab who votes in elections! And then they go on to complain that none of the candidates do anything to help them. Like Abba Eban said, the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. JOSEPH FELD London Stand for something Sir, - Regarding the article discussing Binyamin Netanyahu's concerns about Moshe Feiglin and Likud, I believe someone like Feiglin, who has the courage of his convictions, should be a source of strength for Netanyahu ("Bibi worried Feiglin will top Likud list," November 11). It was very disconcerting to hear Netanyahu's speech at the Knesset's Rabin memorial ceremony where he attacked those on the Right who have been blamed recently for rumors about G-d forbid, another assassination. He himself was the victim of such character assassination 13 years ago. His name was reviled by all major media outlets on the Left. Now, we see an instant replay, but this time, Mr. Netanyahu has joined the pack of those who accuse the Right wing of plotting dastardly things. This is a country of law. Everyone serves in the army whether right, left, or center, and everyone has a stake in Israel's survival. If Moshe Feiglin can bring integrity to Likud, then so be it. The menace to Likud is that it must not be the party that is willy nilly and stands for nothing. THELMA SUSSWEIN Jerusalem Bibi like Begin Sir, - In Larry Derfner's article "Rattling the cage: It's Israel's turn now," (November 6) he wrote that "Tzipi Livni is the closest thing we've got to Barack Obama." He then goes on to trash Binyamin Netanyahu as an "Arab basher and a liberal basher who combines the arrogance and zealotry of George Bush with the cynicism of Richard Nixon." We would like to suggest that Bibi Netanyahu is the closest thing we have got to a Menachem Begin. Derfner also informed us that we have a cease-fire with Gaza, conveniently overlooking the multitude of rockets fired into Israel anyway. He told us that we had made peace with Egypt, again conveniently overlooking the fact that Mubarak has turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to the multitude of tunnels being dug from Egypt so that arms can be smuggled into Gaza. With all due respect to Mr. Derfner, we have to wonder what planet he lives on? JERRY AND SYLVIA DORTZ Ariel All washed up Sir, - If you look at the names of the activists that were on the boat to Gaza from Cyprus supposedly "breaking the blockade," you will note that they comprise a group of faded has-beens in search of a cause ("Official: Israel won't give Gaza-bound boat PR," November 10). These vainglorious latterday revolutionaries are simply reliving their youthful rebelliousness. Let them have their silly fun and bask in their myopic idiocy for a few days. As time goes on they will realize that they have achieved nothing, except a bolstering of egotistical self- righteousness, and then faded back into obscurity. JEFFREY MARLOWE Leeds, UK Still seeing guilt Sir, - Sarah Honig's article "Another track: Pius's pious pretention," (November 6) could have mentioned that the canonization of Pope Pius XII is payment for his saving the Catholic Church from Hitlerian wrath by concurring to the murder of six million Jews and in agreeing that the Aryan race was superior to other races and had the right to dominate them, two steps that undermine the very essence of Christianity. Canonization is just a step in "whitewashing" the Holy See's anti-Christian activities. Since the end of World War II the Holy See has adopted a course of trying in some measure to "compensate" its victims. It has chosen a Polish pope to show that the Slavs are equal to all other races; it has chosen a German pope to show that it has forgiven the Germans for following Hitler; and it has so kindly lifted the "collective guilt" from the Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus. DEAN MACABEE Ramat Gan Disputing the Brits Sir, - Although I agree with Michael Freund about British hypocrisy as to its "occupied territories," we could cut them some slack over the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar ("Fundamentally Freund: Britain's occupied territories" November 11). Gibraltar was ceded by Spain to the Crown of Great Britain in perpetuity, under the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, so the Spaniards don't have much of a case there. Control of the Falklands was disputed by several nations during the 18th and early 19th centuries, including bids by France, the Netherlands, Britain, Spain, and Argentina (even the USA had a hand in the pot to some extent). The Falklands were never really occupied, except for by pirates until the Brits established a permanent settlement there in the 1830s. Over the years plebiscites taken in Gibraltar and the Falklands showed an overwhelming desire by the inhabitants to remain under the British Crown. And here's the rub: when it comes to British territory, the inhabitants' desire is paramount, but when it comes to those "uppity Jews"….well, that's a horse of another color. TREVOR DAVIS Asseret Why hold back? Sir, - It has been over seven years that Hamas has been bombarding the South with mortars and Kassam rockets, when it all could have just been nipped in the bud at the very beginning ("Hamas shells Sderot, Ashkelon after IDF strikes 'ticking tunnel,' " November 6). If Israel would have warned Hamas that for every Kassam fired, the IAF would destroy an entire neighborhood, that is after giving its inhabitants three days to leave, the rocket attacks would have stopped immediately. If Hamas leaders were to forbid the residents of the targeted areas from leaving, the IAF could still go ahead with the plan, starting with Hamas headquarters, and then continuing on to pulverize Gaza's infrastructure. The world would probably condemn such action, but it was the Western powers who did precisely the same thing to Nazi Germany during World War II, without any prior warning. We are at war, and all that it entails. Why are we holding back, clinging to obviously less effective measures? If Hamas wants to destroy Israel, why shouldn't we destroy Hamas? ELIEZER WHARTMAN Jerusalem