Round and round

Round and round Sir, - Reading about the intra-Palestinian war in Gaza one can't help thinking that what comes around comes around again. They started with suicide bombings, which threw away lives for a dream of 70 virgins, and now their society is imploding. When the life of the individual is no longer of value, the death of the society is not far behind ("Hamas captures key security posts from Abbas supporters in Gaza - 25 killed, 300 wounded" February 4). BARRY LYNN Efrat Teddy knew better Sir, - I was very pleased with the magazine in memory of Teddy Kollek ("Legendary mayor of Jerusalem," February 2). However, my pleasure turned to dismay when I came across Arkadi Gaidamak's self-serving ad with Teddy's surname misspelled; and again when I saw the full-page ad for the Holyland Tower. This monstrosity, which disfigures the Jerusalem skyline - and which I live opposite - is the kind of structure Teddy fought against during his entire active life. Were he still mayor of Jerusalem this travesty of good taste and good architecture would never have been imposed on the Holy City. ANNA LEVIN Jerusalem Sir, - You have it wrong, Mr. Olmert ("Capital builder," February 1). Teddy Kollek's gargantuan achievements notwithstanding, his dream of a united Jerusalem remains just that - a dream. In his later years Teddy admitted: "We have failed to unite the city. Tell Ehud Barak that I support dividing it!" ("Teddy: Knight of Jerusalem," Moshe Amirav, January 4). JEFF PETROOK Herzliya Minding the store Sir, - What a great analogy in Evelyn Gordon's "A shopkeeper for prime minister" (February 1). This op-ed encompasses the 15 years since I made aliya, becoming a transient citizen full of disillusionment, bitterness and heartbreak over dismal leadership and management and the poor character of our prime ministers. Yes, we urgently need a "shopkeeper" to serve and protect the Israeli public, diligently and honestly. JACK DAVIS Sydney Can't compare Sir, - The fact that Turki Al-Faisal, the Saudi ambassador to the US, compared the Palestinian "Nakba" to the Holocaust is proof that he, and much of the Arab world, does not recognize or understand the horrors that occurred during the Holocaust ("Saudi diplomat tells 'Post' Holocaust was 'horrible' episode," February 2). During the war in 1948 the Palestinians were not rounded up, crammed into boxcars, taken to death camps and gassed and slaughtered by the millions. They were not forced to starve and live in inhumane conditions in labor camps for years. They were not the target of the most extreme case of genocide ever experienced in the history of the world. No one was trying to wipe the Palestinians off the face of the earth. The Palestinians had five Arab armies fighting on their side in 1948, something no Jew had during the Holocaust. The fact that the Arab armies lost is surely a tragedy for the Palestinians, but it cannot be compared to the Holocaust. Doing so minimizes both the Holocaust and the inexplicable hatred Jews faced simply for being Jews - the same hatred being spread throughout the Arab and Muslim world today, including in the ambassador's own country. KATE HALLGREN Jerusalem First things first? Sir, - "IAF chief: Israel must prepare for warfare in space" (February 1) brought this scene to mind: In the mid 1950s, during a period of increased tension between the Soviet Union and the US, Yigal Allon ran into Ben-Gurion's office in a panic. "Mr. Prime Minister,' he said, "I think we should start preparing for World War III. To which an exasperated Ben-Gurion replied, "You worry about the Arabs, and I'll worry about World War III." In short, one thing at a time.... STUART KATSOFF Tel Aviv Quaker support Sir, - It is sad when any expression of a deviation from the government-political line is seen as collaboration with those who seek to annihilate Israel. Some of us do honestly believe that the problems of this area cannot be solved by force of arms. The Quaker community has, in its long history abroad, always carried "peaceful coexistence" on its banner. In Israel, the Quakers have steadfastly supported groups who believe in the same approach to solving problems. There is no reason or justification now to paint them as "enemies of the people." The response of the spokesperson of Quakers Peace and Social Witness (QPSW) was convincing of their good faith in supporting the "Enough!" demonstration. One would like to see a more evenhanded and enlightened approach ("UK Quakers join new anti-Israel campaign," January 31). ELDAD KISCH ANNELIEN KISCH RONIT KADISHAY Ramat Hasharon Heck of a fuss... Sir, - I found myself in complete disagreement with your editorial "The Ramon verdict" (January 31). Haim Ramon tried to get smart, and whether he misconstrued "Heh"'s intentions or not, all she had to do was slap his face and he would have stopped. The police should have told her so, and sent her back to her mom. The disgraceful "trial by the press" and the very leaky Justice Dept. in the conduct of the Katzav case makes me wonder whether the police and justice departments haven't enough to do chasing terrorists, criminals, traffic offenders and corruptionists. B. GATOFF Herzlia Pituah ...over a buss Sir, - Though a sigh is just a sigh / a kiss ain't just a kiss / As time goes by / The fundamental things apply. LOUIS SCHAEFFER Jerusalem A bit of respect Sir, - I wrote to Naomi Ragan saying that although I usually agree with almost everything she writes, I very much disagree with her attack on the haredi bus routes ("Bestselling author... petitions court against segregated Egged bus lines," January 25). I am, I told her, a mature, "modern Orthodox" women who travels to Jerusalem regularly. The best route and timing I've found is Egged's 246, which starts in Petah Tikva in an area with many religious residents. On this line women are not expected to get on the bus from the back, but nearly all move to the back of their own accord if seats are available. If the back is full a women will sometimes sit in a vacant double seat and be joined by another woman. I have never seen any bad words or even looks passed. "Haredi" bus lines were developed to serve communities fed up with having to sit beside scantily dressed passengers listening to loud music. The fact that Ms. Ragen insisted on sitting near the front of an empty bus that she knew was a haredi line where, more than likely, men would be getting on, was provoking. Those using these lines should respect the feelings of those for whom they were created. On one point I do agree: There should be no need for women to get on via the back door (especially if the men stand back and allow the women to board first, thus avoiding unnecessary contact). All it needs is a little give and take. If we can't get along with each other in Eretz Yisrael, why should we expect the rest of the world to accommodate us? MARIAN PROPP Petah Tikva