November 18: Perilous naivete

Although Palestinian leaders still can't utter the phrase "Jewish state," in a few years they may decide that the benefits of doing so outweigh the costs.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Perilous naivete Sir, - "The recognition sham" (November 15) said that for a true peace process to begin, the Palestinians must first recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The editorial noted that "Yasser Arafat recognized Israel's right to exist in 1988." This was considered so momentous at the time that a few years later, Israel gave Arafat military advantages that allowed him to wage the Oslo Terror War against the Israeli people. Although Palestinian leaders ca. 2007 still can't utter the phrase "Jewish state," in a few years they may decide that the benefits of doing so outweigh the costs. What will Israel give them in return? The Temple Mount? Sovereignty over hills overlooking Jerusalem and Tel Aviv? No country but Israel puts such stock in the utterance of phrases by its mortal enemies and prepares to surrender to them for a calculated sham. P. DAVID HORNIK Tel Aviv Equality, trust and respect Sir, - Someone has to answer Uri Savir, or else your readership might believe that all of us Israelis are as extreme as he is ("What the Palestinians must do," November 14). Your description of him at the bottom of his piece left out the most important thing - he was the architect of Oslo, which brought death to thousands of Israelis. "We must pursue a relationship based on trust, respect and equality with the Palestinians," he urges. Exactly how do you trust and respect an enemy that continues to shoot rockets at your towns, a leadership that supports terrorist activity? If Mr. Savir wants equality, perhaps he should move to an Arab country. They are big on equality. And trust. And respect. NACHUM CHERNOFSKY Jerusalem Sir, - Uri Savir's vision is not a bad one. Unfortunately, it is not going to happen. Regardless of what Mahmoud Abbas wants, there are too many factions for him to control. Regardless of what Olmert wants, many Jews don't agree with him. MICHAEL MELCHER Highland Park, Illinois Sir, - I am one of the many who hesitated over the disengagement from Gaza. I can't say I was for it, but neither that I was against it. However, like so many today I can't see what we gained by giving up what we did. Quite the opposite. We are not better off than we were before. So why are we continuing? I keep thinking we are like the unpopular kid in class who will do anything to be liked, no matter how much he is used and abused. LISA SCHWARTZ Jerusalem The family must watch, too Sir, - I feel badly for 96-year-old Sara, who was abused by her replacement caregiver. But what kind of family would believe a replacement could "pick up the reins" without guidance? If the apartment was so full of trash within a week, it's the fault of Sara's family. Where were they? Even if the worker was good caregiver, it was still only her first week! When my father had his stroke and lost his short-term memory, we needed live-in care. After trying two Filipinas, we now have a delightful young Nepalese woman "from a village, who has no experience in this field" (from the complaint of Shalom Ben-Moshe). So she learned. She learned in one week what one of the Filipino workers learned in a six-month caregiver training course. With each worker I took two days' vacation to ease them in. Not just for them, but so I could feel comfortable about leaving them. Before his stroke my dad needed some help, and was allotted 10 hours. We felt lucky to get a local Israeli woman with 25 years' experience and many "Outstanding Worker" certificates, who has helped many local elderly get back on their feet. Well, let me tell you, she was my dad's worst nightmare. Her first day she gave him a "pedicure," hacking away at his toenails until she drew blood. She left them unfiled, so the rough nails caught in the blankets and hurt. Instead of gentle massaging or exercises, she forcibly bent his legs up and his arm back, hurting his arthritic knee and possibly injuring his shoulder even more. Violent caregivers are like wife beaters - they come from all walks of life, and there is no connection with training and education, religion, financial status, etc. If a family loves its elderly member and is concerned, it must play an active role and check in every day or two, even if the caregiver is wonderful ("Someone to watch over me," Ruth Eglash, November 7). LOIS GREEN Kadima Betar boos... Sir, - Re "Betar & democracy" (Editorial, November 9): While due respect must be paid to our murdered prime minister, I think that in a democratic society, respect must also be given to the politically incorrect expression of the people's frustration to Israeli governments engaging in negotiations and agreements with our enemies that are seen as a betrayal of our right to live in peace and security. I believe the media are overreacting to people's legitimate right to express their frustration at what the government has done and is now doing in continuing to apply the good terrorist/bad terrorist paradigm, as was done with the failed Oslo Agreement. GIL LIEBERMAN Jerusalem ...and bus riders' views Sir, - Overheard on my pre-Shabbat bus ride to downtown Jerusalem, and reported without comment: "The Betar boos grow out of frustration," one rider noted. "Betar fans see (Yitzhak) Rabin as just another individual whose memory has been focused on sufficiently." Second bus rider: "In Tel Aviv there are so many Rabin sites - it is difficult to count all of them. Money needed for other purposes is used to spotlight the 12-year victim. Guess we have to live with it" ("Betar punished for unruly fans," November 9). DAVID GEFFEN Jerusalem