September 13: Self-interest

This past week we had some insight into what determines the way one of our ministers.

letters to the editor 88 (photo credit: )
letters to the editor 88
(photo credit: )
Self-interest Sir, - This past week we had some insight into what determines the way one of our ministers thinks; and he is, unfortunately, not alone. Shaul Mofaz had publicly stated that he supported a national committee of inquiry into what had gone wrong in our war in Lebanon. When the prime minister next day criticized him for being painfully unaware of the way politics works - clearly implying that Mofaz himself would also come under a magnifying glass - he immediately retreated from his original position. Sadly, for too many of our politicians self-interest still rules ("Mofaz backtracks on war probe," September 12). ELAINE SARID Jerusalem National interest Sir, - I am appalled that three Balad MKs defied the ban on traveling to an enemy state - and Knesset officials have yet to announce whether the two will be penalized ("Enforce the law," Editorial, September 12). RIVKA ZAHAVY Jerusalem Any excuse will do Sir, - The Palestinians' plan to form a "unity" government is so transparently a ploy to collect international hand-outs that it will undoubtedly work. So inclined is the international community to act against Israel's best interests, it will use any excuse to do the wrong thing. In a larger sense, the proclivity to support, directly and indirectly, the worst sort of people reflects a standardless universe in which private interests trump moral courage every time. By the time we in the West are ultimately dissuaded from our current self-indulgence, it may be too late ("Hamas, Fatah to form national unity government," September 12). DAVID KROSS Columbia, Maryland Agreeing to disagree Sir, - I have to say that I disagree with almost all of The Jerusalem Post's foreign policy views, except the ethical idiocy of terrorism against Israelis. I don't believe there is any worldwide "jihad," and especially not one from whose clutches the US couldn't easily free itself by changing its basic Middle East policies. But always I am favorably impressed broth that the paper will occasionally allow me to write letters stating some of my own contrary views, and that it will sometimes also print whole articles that represent similar opposing viewpoints - to wit, Alon Ben-Meir's "A 9/11 scorecard" (September 11). This was a brilliant contrary piece. Many thanks for running it. JAMES ADLER Cambridge, Massachusetts 'Our World' Sir, - I would like to respectfully disagree with my friend Eric Zornberg when he says that what primarily motivates Caroline Glick is a "right-wing ideology" (Letters, September 12). What motivates her, and this is clear from every piece she writes, is a deep concern for the security of Israel and its people. Her columns are models of informed, carefully researched and passionately argued public writing. True, she focuses on the dangers and problems facing Israel, and it is often distressing to be confronted with those dangers, but my sense is that her columns are making a unique and distinctive contribution not only to journalism in this country, but to the future well-being of Israel and the Jewish people. SHALOM FREEDMAN Jerusalem Oily trap Sir, - As one who has followed the fortunes and misfortunes of Israel since its inception, and indeed lived in Israel for one year, I am amazed that you seem not to have the wit or wisdom to see that you are being used by the US to fight its oil wars for it. Once you have slaughtered each other and are totally weakened as nations, the US will "reluctantly" move in to "bring peace," and thereby control all the oil. Ancient cultures such as Jews and Arabs, I thought, would have more intelligence than to fall into such a trap. GINA BEHRENS Sanctuary Point, NSW, Australia Shocking lesson Sir, - Haviv Rettig's interview with Knesset Education Committee chairman Michael Melchior was deeply disturbing in its frankness and revelations ("'If the Torah isn't for everyone, it isn't for anyone,'" September 8). We are all fully aware that the teaching profession is grossly underpaid and underrated throughout the world. Nevertheless, it came as a great shock to learn that the starting salary for a teacher with a B.A. degree is NIS 650 less than the minimum wage. How can that be when these highly motivated people (they must be, to work for this salary) are of paramount importance in educating our children and grandchildren for the future welfare of the Jewish state? Our Knesset provides a perfect example of a number of politicians lacking in knowledge and a proper education. The teaching profession must be regarded as sacrosanct and treated as such. Rabbi Melchior's assessment of Israel today was extremely depressing: The gap between secular and religious Jews is forever widening. "We don't live, grow or exist together, whilst the secular have surrendered their Judaism and lost their Jewish connection, and religion is monopolized by the religious establishment." Consequently, tolerance is taboo between the two groups, and the whole exercise and dream of a Jewish state where Jews can live together in peace and happiness appears to be nothing but a pipe-dream. Heaven forbid. M.U. MILUNSKY Netanya Let them march Sir, - To comment on "Gays petition over J'lem parade" (September 11): Restrictions on gays and lesbians marching seem excessive and disproportionate. A march should be permitted in Jerusalem as soon as they return from their marches in the Vatican and Mecca. RICHARD A. ROSEN Mount Vernon, New York No fireworks for me Sir, - Over the last few months there has been a lot of publicity given to olim from the US and other countries coming here through Nefesh B'Nefesh and other programs ("Zionist arrivals," Photo, August 11). When they disembark they are usually met at the airport by the prime minister or chairman of the Jewish Agency, with parties and fireworks and musical bands. When I arrived in Israel some 20 years ago no one came to greet me. There were no bands, no parties and no fireworks. I just took a taxi to the immigrants' absorption center, and a week later I was in the army. My question is this: Is one oleh better than another? Is an oleh with $100,000 in his pocket more useful to the state than one who comes with nothing? Is an American oleh better than one from France? If we are all equal, why the special treatment and privileges for present-day immigrants? ("550 olim due today, marking 4,000 arrivals," August 16.) GABY RACHMANY Hertzliya Express Dairy Sir, - As a mother of four boys who were nursed, and grandmother of five nursed children, I applaud Shmuley Boteach's common sense and wisdom ("The day I became the breast-feeding monster," September 7). The health of a baby depends on the health of the family. However, one need not give up outings or work. Many mothers express milk and freeze it so that babysitters, day care center staff or grandparents can feed the baby. Also, an occasional substitute is not a crime. Rabbi Boteach: Please continue giving good, sound advice. PENINA KUTNER Jerusalem