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November 22: Proportion?

How many people have to be killed for Peres to discard "proportion and perspective?" And what about the injured or maimed, or the children who wake up screaming at night because of the traumatic conditions of their lives in Sderot?

Proportion? Sir, - I read with disbelief Shimon Peres's call for "proportion and perspective" in responding to the continuing barrage of Kassam rockets on Sderot ("Kassam frustrations boil over at cabinet meeting," November 20). Explaining his restrained reaction, he said, "Until now thousands of mortars and rockets have fallen, and since disengagement only [my emphasis] 15 people have been killed." Only 15? And if the number were 30 or 60 would he feel differently? How many people have to be killed for Peres to discard "proportion and perspective?" And what about the injured or maimed, or the children who wake up screaming at night because of the traumatic conditions of their lives in Sderot? How can a former defense minister and prime minister advocate restraint in reaction to the deadly, daily terror from the sky that no self-respecting nation would ever tolerate? Imagine El Paso, Texas being struck by rockets from Mexico, or the French Riviera suffering under rocket fire from Barcelona. Does anyone doubt what the United States or France would do in response? As one who lives in the relatively safe environs of New York City, I hesitate to express myself so bluntly, but I wonder why Peres and the government of Israel are not making a clear military response to this continuing terror threat. What message are they sending to murderous enemies by maintaining "proportion and perspective?" More important, what is the message they are sending to the beleaguered citizens of Sderot? HASKEL LOOKSTEIN New York A national issue Sir, - Re "A woman's work is never done" (November 21). How long are we going to read reports about the disparity of wages between men and women and systemic discrimination against women in the workforce? When are political and economic leaders really going to redress the issues? When are these leaders going to realize these are not "women's" issues but national issues? If Israel is to increase productivity and wealth to be in the same league as our trading partners and reduce poverty, the education day can not stop at 1:20 or at 2 or 3, and real investment in education and training must be a national priority. Policies that penalize discrimination in the workforce must be given teeth and must be on the national agenda. In addition, real resources for training toward self-employment must be allocated. BARBARA SHAW Advancing Women in Business Jerusalem Out of touch Sir, - Re "Amar would deny automatic citizenship to converts" (November 21). This is just another in the growing list of examples of why the Chief Rabbinate is out of touch with the state and why we should abolish the chief rabbi positions. As a Masorati immigrant, I find it insulting that my tax money goes to aid the work of these men. If the Orthodox want to pay for chief rabbis, fine; the state should not. STEVEN TOLTZ Jerusalem Human shields Sir, - May I suggest how the IDF can combat the Gazans' use of human shields to protect the houses of terrorists ("IDF ready to use ground troops to overcome 'human shields' tactic," November 20). Flood Gaza with warnings every night. Perhaps the Gazans will tire of running to "rescue" dozens of homes every night. If not, it will, at least, keep them too tired to shoot at us. DR. DAVID FEIGENBAUM Netanya Sir, - The moment that a local resident willingly and knowing puts him/herself in or near a military target, be that target a person, a building or a weapon, he/she immediately gives up the status of "innocent civilian." That person becomes part of the enemy force and should be treated as such. RUTH ZIMBERG Beit Shemesh Sir, - Why should the IDF give a 30-minute warning before demolishing a suspect building? Surely it should give no more notice than the inhabitants of Sderot get - 20 seconds. The ideal would be if the warning were given after the missile was primed and could no longer be deactivated. Then let's see how well the "human shield" defense would work. ARIEL BROCH Shadmot Mehola Step down, Tzipi Sir, - Herb Keinon's article regarding Dan Gillerman and the French once again proved a long held belief of my own ("Gillerman's public censure of France criticized," November 20). The subhead of the article quotes a Foreign Ministry source as saying, "We don't need to fan the flames in public." This anonymous flack goes on to say, "We have ways to transmit to the French what we think." At least since Oslo days, our Foreign Ministry has operated by the "don't upset the goyim" rule of relations with Europe. They may spit on us in public, but perhaps we can appease them in private. Rather than declaring the French ambassador persona non grata for the statements he made of his love for Israel at the same time as his government was campaigning against us at the UN, our foreign minister chooses to attack (via an anonymous spokesman) a man who stands up for the self respect of the Israeli nation in that den of hypocrites. Tzipi Livni would do our nation a service by stepping down and allowing Gillerman to take her place. Then there might be a bit of backbone in our foreign relations. DAVID STAR Ma'aleh Adumim Sir, - When terrorism in the form of airplane hijackings first marched across the international stage in the 1970s, France was the first nation to cave in, earning the sobriquet "whore of Europe." Apparently nothing has changed. France is still lifting her skirts in the face of the Islamic countries, hoping to trade integrity for unspecified favors. JOAN O'CALLAGHAN Toronto No comparison Sir, - When I read the quote from Gideon Levy that "there is no comparison between Sderot and Beit Hanun," ("Demo at Erez calls for end to violence," November 19), I said to myself, "You tell them. That's for sure." I was shocked, however, when I read his reason that there is no comparison between the two towns: "Sderot is mourning one dead. Beit Hanun is mourning 80 dead." The real reason that there is no comparison is most of the 80 killed in Beit Hanun were terrorists. Those who weren't terrorists were killed accidentally. However, the victims in Sderot are all attacked intentionally and they are all civilians. MALKA FEDER Nof Ayalon Not needed Sir, - As a Spaniard I cannot feel more ashamed regarding the Middle East policy of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero ("Israel dismisses Spanish peace initiative," November 17). Zapatero, who is now negotiating with terrorists in Spain, threatening our national unity, selling our motherland to the nationalists in several places and weakening our standing in the Western world, is, above all, filled with hatred and revenge because of our Civil War in the 1930s. Israelis don't need his kind of goodwill attempts. Why doesn't Zapatero doesn't try to convince Muslims to respect the existence of Israel as the foundation for a durable peace? Because is more useful to show the anti-Semitic flag for his own electoral interests. When the global jihad strikes in our southern belly from Morocco, to whom will he turn? Israel? The US? Europe? No, he will plead friendship to the Muslims while he runs for his life looking for a haven in Venezuela, Iran, Bolivia or Cuba - all quite democratic, well-regarded countries. RAFAEL GALLARDO M laga, Spain Good coverage Sir, - Thanks for your excellent print and web coverage of the UJC General Assembly. All seem agreed that Israel is a mere appetizer for Iran's global ambitions as Islam's nuclear power. If the US is not prepared to take the required action, it must provide Israel with all the means necessary to do so. The only way to stop a glutton eating his way through to dessert is to have him choke on the appetizer. ZALMI UNSDORFER London