September 18: Who will pay?

The world is in the grip of an economic crisis. Governments everywhere are increasing taxes and cutting social programs.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Who will pay?
Sir – We have been reading reams and streams of articles and letters telling us how the proposal to verify and remove Syrian chemical weapons could change the face of the Middle East. However, I haven’t seen a single paragraph telling us who is going to come up with the money to undertake this massive task.
The world is in the grip of an economic crisis. Governments everywhere are increasing taxes and cutting social programs.
The job of finding, moving and destroying the Syrian arsenal will be gargantuan. I can’t imagine that it will cost less than tens of billions of dollars. I also can’t imagine for one second that the Russians, who proposed this compromise, will step up and offer to pay.
The UN will probably be carrying the burden, which, after all, will eventually devolve onto its member states, of which the US is by far the largest contributor, at nearly one quarter.
Will President Barack Obama stand up and tell his people that they are going to have to cough up this amount? I suspect that if he gave them the choice between paying and delivering the punishing blow he originally threatened, they would opt for the latter.
Cough it up
Sir, – I have followed with interest the articles and letters about new olim and the difficulties they face. The latest is by Chaim Friedman (“Abandoned aliya: Don’t blame your missing house,” Comment & Features, September 16), who, I see, is managing director of a mortgage brokerage firm.
Friedman makes one statement that is the underlying reason as to why young couples here cannot buy their own homes: “[T]he minimum down payment is a high 25%.” That is the crux of the matter! Unless young couples have very wealthy parents or are themselves very high earners, how on Earth do they raise this amount? How many years would it take for them to save $50,000 for a deposit on what is now a modest apartment costing $200,000? Many young couples are able to afford the mortgage payments, which are probably the same as a rental commitment.
But it is the crippling deposit that prevents them from ever owning their own home. If Friedman can offer a mortgage that doesn’t require 25%, I would be delighted to hear about it.
I would also love to hear about the bank where “an initial negative decision can be readily reversed, especially if you have someone at your side who knows the ropes... and the law.”
What does that mean? Come on, Mr. Friedman. You are obviously one who knows the ropes and the law, so cough up the relevant information that so many young couples need to know!
LINDA SILVERSTONE Herzliya Pituah Those illusions
Sir, – With all due respect to the honorable professor Ian S.
Lustick, (“Two-state illusion,” Comment & Features, September 16), he might be a historian but he should go a little deeper into history. Then he might come to the correct conclusions.
Lustick is not comparing apples with pears – that might be too close. He is comparing apples with bananas and worse.
Ireland was occupied by Britain. France occupied Algeria.
The Soviet Union conquered its neighbors and imposed communism.
South Africa imposed apartheid on the original inhabitants, who were an overwhelming majority but were second class citizens with no rights in their homeland. Where is the comparison with Israel? Jews lived continuously in “Palestine” for thousands of years. Zionism is a return to our ancient homeland, Israel. After several wars, when we defeated our neighbors who wanted to annihilate us, we are here in larger numbers and stronger than ever.
We have a large majority of Jews who were ingathered from exile in many countries. The minorities of Muslims, Christians and others who live here have full rights and, as citizens, participate in every aspect of life.
They are in the Knesset, they are doctors in hospitals, they are lawyers and judges, etc., etc.
Hopefully, there will be a “two-state solution” when we can live in peace. It is as much in the other side’s interest as ours.MIKE AYL Ashkelon
Sir, – Ian S. Lustick would have us believe that “the Palestinian Authority needs its people to believe that progress is being made toward a two-state solution....”
Not so.
The Palestinian Authority has drawn a curtain down on what is happening in the peace talks and is doing little to bring its people to believe in a two-state solution. On the contrary, it continues to indoctrinate toward the future elimination of Israel and the glorification of Palestinian terrorists.BARRY SHAW
Sir, – Prof. Ian Lustick puts forward a very strange argument.
He says that Israel-Palestine should be a single state – the “state of all its citizens.” This would result in a bloody mess, and the mess would force the great powers to step in and cut Israel down to size, which, of course, would be very small.
The consequences of the mess would be totally unpredictable.
There is a fatal weakness in Lustick’s chain of reasoning, which smacks of Israel-hatred.
Smash Israel at any price!
Let them know
Sir, – Referring to the letter headlined “Lousy ambassadors” (September 16), my first thought was that it should be translated into Hebrew and placed on the front page of all Hebrew newspapers and all the popular Israeli travel sites, blogs, whatever. Travel agencies should give it out with each flight ticket.
A lot of our young Israelis who travel do not have the maturity to realize that they truly are our ambassadors. We are criticized constantly for almost everything we do, and when we do have an opportunity to do the right thing in a small way – which is a mere matter of showing decent and respectful behavior to a host country – we blow it.
Someone has to tell the young travelers, but someone has to think of a way how.
Yedidya Governor’s murder
Sir, – Stephen Gabriel Rosenberg questions whether Gedaliah ben Ahikam was so important, his murder so significant, that we have to introduce another fast day just a week before Yom Kippur (“The murder of Gedaliah, governor of Judea,” Comment & Features, September 8).
Rosenberg concludes that perhaps the assassination was for the better in the long run and that Shakespeare should have written a play about it. “[T]hen we would all have acquired in school a somewhat better knowledge of this lurid tragedy.”
In fact, our children and grandchildren did learn in school about Gedaliah’s tragic death and its disastrous aftermath.
They know that it forced Jews to flee, putting an end to the prospect of the land’s resettlement.
The Babylonian exile was made absolute and Judea was left bereft of its children.
Had Shakespeare known he’d be thrilled. But that’s not why we fast on Tzom Gedaliah. It is why we send our kids to Jewish schools to allow them to learn and appreciate our heritage.
CHARLES MARCUS Jerusalem CLARIFICATION The Jerusalem Post wishes to clarify that the statements by MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta’al) at Monday’s Knesset Interior Committee meeting on Jewish visits to the Temple Mount (“Tibi tells MKs: The crusaders and the British passed, and so will Israel,” September 17) referred to Israel’s presence in east Jerusalem, specifically the area surrounding and including the Aksa Mosque.
He was not referring to the entire State of Israel.