September 5: Do it now

PM Olmert has to put his money where his mouth is NOW, before another tragedy occurs.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Do it now Sir, - Re "Waiting for babies to die is no strategy" (Amir Mizroch, September 4): PM Olmert has to put his money where his mouth is NOW, before another tragedy occurs. As first steps he must turn off the electricity we send to Gaza, stop fuel deliveries and cease the transfer of tax revenues. JESSICA FISCHER Michmoret A rethink's in order Sir, - It surprises me sometimes to realize how long I have lived in Israel - and how short a time Seth Freedman did before waxing so indignant about the plight of the Palestinians ("Checkpoint checking," September 4). I made aliya well before a naive and misguided but perhaps well-meaning government welcomed Yasser Arafat and his terrorist band with open arms. In those good old days many Jerusalemites did their shopping and had their motor cars repaired in Bethlehem. My son and daughter-in-law, who lived in Netivot, near Sderot, went to the dentist in Gaza City. When I lived in Ma'alot in Galilee (after the terrorist attack there) a huge lorry from Gaza would come on market day loaded with goods for sale. There was no "Separation Wall" or Mahsom Watch. Palestinians flocked to work in Israel with no barriers, checkpoints or restrictions; their cars were seen in all parts of the country. With Mr. Arafat's arrival, things changed. Mr Freedman can ask anyone who's spent Pessah in Netanya, visited the Dolphinarium or Mike's Place in Tel Aviv, or the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem; he can ask bus passengers in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Then perhaps he will think again. CYRIL ATKINS Beit Shemesh Peace, justice... Sir, - Re "US terms ministerial outpost committee a step forward" (September 3): The search for justice by Peace Now focuses on Jewish communities across the Green Line. PN spokesman Yariv Oppenheimer says Peace Now is turning to the High Court of Justice… to renew its call… to evacuate those outposts constructed after March 2001." Since justice calls for equality before the law, this is fascinating. How does the Peace Now crowd reconcile one and a half million Arabs living in Israel and only 240,000 Jews living across the Green Line? By all rights, equality calls for another million and a quarter Jews to live among the Arabs. In the past, when no Jews lived across the Green Line (until 1967), Arabs in Judea and Samaria attacked Israel. There was no peace then, so why should uprooting settlements bring peace now? On the contrary, won't peace be assured when Jews live everywhere in Israel? CHAYIM SEIDEN Jerusalem...and land Sir, - I think that Israel should not give up any more land for a false peace. I believe that Israel has a Holy Covenant with the Land Given by God. I believe Israel is being led on the road to big trouble by leaders who do not know or believe God's word. The Arabs have yet to fully and sincerely honor any agreement. The real objective of "Land for Peace" is not peace, but to place Israel in position for a second Holocaust, a nearly indefensible position, as she was in 1948. If the opposing party was sincere about peace, there would be no suicide bombings or rocket fire. DENNIS E. STOCKS Kinston, North Carolina Almighty provocation Sir, - Re "Kashtan cautious, Gershon confident ahead of England" (Sports, September 4): As far as I know, Israel is still supposed to be a Jewish state, and yet on Shabbat Nitzavim - when the Almighty leaves no doubt that the continued survival of the Jewish people, particularly in relation to their occupancy in the Land of Israel, is contingent on the observance of the Covenant made with the Patriarchs and confirmed at Sinai - upwards of 50,000 Jews, many of them Israeli, will be participating in the flagrant violation of Shabbat. The Israeli government, no doubt represented by its ambassador, will permit the playing of "Hatikva," thereby participating in this public desecration of God's Name. Is a football match sufficient justification for provoking the Almighty to withdraw His protection from the Jewish people at a time when they are threatened with physical danger as never before? All that would have been necessary would have been a simple refusal to play this match within two hours of the end of Shabbat - a small price to pay for keeping faith with the commandments, which constitute our link with our Creator, and which we violate at our peril. Even now it is not too late to do the right thing, whatever the financial implications. MICHAEL M.H. GROSS Herzliya Pituah/London Just staggering Sir, - Most heartening in these difficult days was "The ripple effect" by Haviv Rettig (September 4) on the "staggering success" of the Tafnit program, which "takes the school's lowest achievers and brings the vast majority of them to the level of their fellow students... and dropouts to matriculation certificates." But the flip side of that program is the staggering failure of our education system it reflects. If Education Minister Yuli Tamir ceased her staggeringly successful efforts in promoting her leftist, anti-Zionist school program - as demonstrated by its negative effects on IDF service by graduates - she could then put her nose back to the grindstone, as it were, by sticking it into what ought to be her main concern: promoting the academic success of our high school education. This will require much better and, necessarily, better-paid teachers; which our currently highly successful economy, national debt included, could well afford. The Tafnit program would then become unnecessary. HILLEL BLONDHEIM Jerusalem Rowdies in Cyprus Sir, - As a founding and very active member of the Israel-Cyprus Friendship Association, I found "Cypriot officials boot out four Israeli tourists for inappropriate behavior" (September 4) very disturbing. Israel is not the most popular country in the world, and we in the association have worked for years to present a positive image of Israel to the people of Cyprus. It is scandalous that the unruly behavior of a small number of louts can destroy what we and other organizations have worked so hard to do. I know for a fact that the Cypriot authorities and hotel owners have been very generous, tolerant and understanding in coping with these rowdies. However, enough is enough; and left with no other alternative, they are fully justified in expelling the offenders. In the US, youngsters behaving in this way would be blacklisted and denied entry for life, and they would face huge fines and even jail sentences. The root of the problem is improper education. The Ministry of Education would be well advised to teach our high school students the basic norms of civilized behavior, especially when in a foreign country. The vast majority of the 50,000 or so Israelis who visit Cyprus every year are quiet, law-abiding tourists who respect Cypriot sensitivities and, in return, are made to feel very welcome. We should not allow small bands of hoodlums to destroy this. ELI MINOFF Israel-Cyprus Friendship Association Safed Sir, - Kol hakavod to the father of one of the Israeli youths deported from Cyprus for unruly behavior! He was absolutely right to claim that there is obviously no vendetta against these youths, more a problem with their acceptance of authority. Most parents will throw up their arms and accuse others of acting wrongly rather than admit that it is their children in the wrong. This father's determination to rebuke his son is also commendable. What a shame more parents don't feel their children's behavior is ultimately their responsibility. CAROLINE SELIB Tel Aviv