September 11: You're in my seat!

We couldn't believe our ears, especially as the synagogue we had recently left always welcomed strangers with open arms.

letters to the editor 88 (photo credit: )
letters to the editor 88
(photo credit: )
You're in my seat! Sir, - Herb Keinon's "Sitting tight" (September 10) about people coveting a particular seat in shul even if there are other empty seats nearby, reminded me of our last Shabbat in England before making aliya nearly 30 years ago. Having packed up our home ready for the off, we were staying with our eldest son, who then lived in an area of London that Jews were rapidly moving away from. The congregation was so small that it didn't daven in the main synagogue, but in a part formerly used for children's classes. My daughter and I, arriving early, found the small women's section empty. As it was cold and there was a small electric fire going, we decided to sit near it. Halfway through the service a woman entered, and her first words to us were: "You're sitting in my seat." We couldn't believe our ears, especially as the synagogue we had recently left always welcomed strangers with open arms. FLORA ATKINS Beit Shemesh PM's retractions... Sir, - The prime minister has still not learned to think a problem through before making a statement. Two recent pronouncements he was forced to retract: 1. He would not lift the blockade on Lebanon until the two kidnapped soldiers were released; 2. He would not talk to President Mahmoud Abbas until Cpl. Shalit was released. Mr. Olmert seems to forget that changing his mind every five minutes calls his credibility into question. And the signal to the Arabs is that everything is open to negotiation. Unless he learns how important it is to measure his words carefully he may end up sitting on the back benches faster than he expects ("30,000 demand state inquiry into 'mismanagement' of war," September 10). PAUL BERMAN Shoham Sir, - Even after previously stating that he would not meet Mahmoud Abbas before the release of Gilad Shalit, Ehud Olmert now says "the first priority with the Palestinians is actually the immediate release of Corporal Shalit" ("Blair puts Palestinian issue at center stage in Jerusalem," September 10). The impression is that our premier goes to sleep blissfully believing we understand him - while increasingly we identify with Alice, who scolds the March Hare: "You should say what you mean." Israel is being made to seem ludicrous in the eyes of the world. Without Olmert's statements, crawling before world opinion, perhaps our soldiers would already have been freed? TOBY WILLIG Jerusalem ...and back to the old cliche Sir, - Tony Blair's vision has evaporated. Instead we hear the same old cliche - "the Palestinian issue." Let's get two things straight. First, nothing will be gained by giving people what they don't want. For nearly 30 years the Arabs have repeatedly declared that their claim to a Palestinian state is a ploy to provide them with a secure base for destroying Israel. That Israel cooperated with this tactic in 1993 is yet another example of her march of folly. Secondly, it is the height of hutzpa for Blair to lecture Israel, when his country's actions between 1917 and 1948 were the root cause of everything that has happened since in the Middle East. This "original sin" has been well documented, never more convincingly than in The Forsaken Promise, the three-hour documentary recently released by British film producer Hugh Kitson. MEIR ABELSON Beit Shemesh Five-year review Sir, - Five years have passed since September 11, 1991, when Islamic terrorists murdered 3,000 people on US soil; and for all we know another attack is imminent. Instead of waging a real war against Islamic terrorism, which would have involved ending the dictatorial regimes that sponsor it, President Bush tragically switched focus to "bringing democracy to Iraq." That has killed more than 2,600 American soldiers, undermined public support for fighting terrorism, and looks like plunging Iraq into civil war. Meanwhile, Iran has been free to sponsor terrorism, support the insurgency in Iraq, wage a war against Israel via Hizbullah and pursue a nuclear bomb while its mullahs chant "Death to America" and its president calls for a new Holocaust. The West must stop appeasing such evil dictatorships and start terminating them before it's too late. GLENN WOICESHYN Calgary The Cytryn case Sir, - I was appalled at Larry Derfner's article "Shimshon Cytryn and other 'innocents'" (September 7) in which he decided to "set the record straight" regarding an earlier article by Caroline Glick ("Shimshon Cytryn and Aharon Barak," September 5). Mr. Derfner would have us believe his credibility lies in the fact that he was a firsthand witness to the event Ms. Glick describes: "I'm writing about this because I was one of the reporters on the Moassi beachfront on that June 28 that the column describes, and the behavior of the young settlers there that day wasn't innocent at all, which is what readers of Glick's column would conclude. One of those settlers did in fact try to murder that Palestinian teenager, and he had help." It is only toward the end of the article that he suddenly admits he wasn't there at all during the event, but only arrived after it was over. But, oh, he heard the stories and saw the "raw footage." Had Mr. Derfner checked his facts he would have discovered that there are huge discrepancies surrounding the event, including a report by the Arab youth himself, who said he was not injured by a "settler," but by a soldier. Mr. Derfner's desire to set the record straight showed only his bias against the religious settlers. MARCIA FREMONT Jerusalem Sir, - The question is, do we have an Emil Zola to exhort the cause of justice in Israel? DAPHNE BURDMAN Jerusalem Sir, - Once again Caroline Glick has gotten to the heart of the matter. We look forward to her sane voice in a world that is in turmoil. The horrifying story of how Shimshon Cytryn's life is being destroyed through distortion in the media and injustice in the so-called justice system is just too terrible for words in a country that aspires to be thought of as a democracy. DR. AND MRS. CHARLES LEVI Jerusalem Sir, - Isn't it wonderful that we have not only a newspaper columnist but an expert politician, a military strategist and a learned chief justice all rolled into one? Having all the answers to our woes, Ms. Glick could initiate a putsch and become prime minister, minister of defense and chief of staff, and thus savior of the country. Think of the money that would be saved by paying the salary of one minister instead of four. It would not only turn Israel into a veritable paradise but be a bonus for our overblown budget as well. GRETE ROESLER Nahariya Spirit-raiser... Sir, - What an uplifting article about Dr. Anthony Galea ("Suddenly it's a whole new game," Health, September 10). It's about time we had something positive to read. Good for Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, and hurray for the doctor! JESSICA FISCHER Michmoret ...stomach-turner Sir, - "'Bring on the gyozas, and let the feeding frenzy begin'" (September 10) about competitive eating created an entirely new etymological dimension for the word "disgusting." DAVID STAR Ma'aleh Adumim