September 8: No winner

There is no winner in a civil war such as in Syria. Either the UN or some clever politicians must solve it. No particular country should dare to interfere and assume responsibility.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
No winner
Sir, – I haven’t the same qualifications as Amb. Alan Baker (“Frustration and disgust,” Comment & Features, September 3), but I have the same views.
There is no winner in a civil war such as in Syria. Either the UN or some clever politicians must solve it. No particular country should dare to interfere and assume responsibility.
HILARY GATOFF Herzliya Pituah
True Republican?
Sir, – Shmuley Boteach wrote a discriminatory article worth countering (“Getting away with murder: Obama and the GOP’s vacillation on Syria,” No Holds Barred, September 3).
In Boteach’s world, it was “Republican opposition to Obama’s plans... that was so disappointing.” He wasn’t disappointed in members of Obama’s party? Democratic members of Congress are also vacillating. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut), Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D- Maryland), to name a few, have stated in interviews that they want more information before voting yea or nay. Rep.
Janice Hahn (D- California) has unequivocally decided she will vote nay. Additionally, 54 House Democrats sent a letter to the White House “demanding a vote in Congress.” Where’s his disappointment in them? On the other side of the aisle, Republican senators Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) and John McCain (Arizona) are virtually out there campaigning for a yea vote. I mention them specifically because even after all the media attention and interviews in support of Obama’s plans (even stating he should go further), Boteach mentions not a word.
Regarding the public, an August 27 Reuters poll revealed that 78 percent of Americans feel Obama needs congressional approval first.
I question Boteach’s assertion that he is the true Republican he claims to be.
Leave it or not
Sir, – I think I can hear all the thuds of email landing in your inbox in protest of Adina Siperman’s “Why I’m leaving Israel” (Comment & Features, September 2). Yet I feel I must add my own.
It’s hard to find a tactful way to say that Ms. Siperman never seemed to really make aliya in the first place.
It’s not surprising that a “Zionist-inclined Anglo” who thinks Israel begins and ends in Gush Dan would have trouble living in the style she seeks. It has been my observation since we made aliya in January 1972 that those who ask too many questions or plan too carefully usually do not come at all or have great trouble adjusting.
Happily, there are still trickles of olim who may not sing the words of our pioneers, but have them in their hearts: Anu banu artza livnot ul'hibanot ba (We came to Israel to build and be built).
I wish Ms. Siperman well and hope one day she will come to stay.
Sir, – Adina Siperman is very accurate in her view of life here.
The major reason is the fact that Israel has one of the highest levels of wealth concentration in the developed world.
There exists a multiplicity of pyramid-structured, family-dominated companies that literally control the marketplace and economy as a whole. Examples: Yitzhak Tshuva, Nochi Dankner, Shari Arison, Eliezer Fishman and the Ofer Family (which made one of the worst investments in Israel’s history, in Better Place).
The list goes on.
Only until these megaliths are broken up will the economic playing field in Israel be leveled.
Also, a significant sector of the population refuses to work, thereby increasing the tax burden on everyone.
Sir, – I feel sorry for Adina Siperman. Not because she cannot afford to own a house in Israel, but because she thinks she needs to.
She says she wants the security of a home – a security she thinks she can only have in Canada.
But a home is where the heart is.
It can be a house, an apartment or a yurt. It can be owned, rented or borrowed.
Security for Jews is to be found in Israel. Yes, Canada is still “safe,” but the world is changing all over.
Many people make visits to Israel looking for adventure.
Most who make aliya are looking for meaning in their lives – not because it’s easy or fun, but because there is more to life than making enough money to live in the suburbs of Toronto.
RUTH ZIMBERG Safed The writer is originally from Toronto
Sir, – In the more-than 41 years I’ve lived in Israel I have never talked down to people who were not as fortunate as my wife and I have been and felt they could not continue living in Israel for whatever reason. Until now.
My dear Adina Siperman, is there anyone forcing you to live in Israel’s most expensive city? Have you not heard of public transportation that enables you to live in the suburbs and work and play in Tel Aviv? Your dream of financial independence should remain a dream until you can afford to achieve it. Your desire for instant gratification is too trendy. While I agree that you might never achieve the family home you so desire because of the high cost of living in Israel, there are plenty of people in Canada (or, for that matter, all over the globe) who never achieve that dream either.
I recently met a former college classmate on a flight to Israel, someone I had not seen for 41 years. He reminded me of something I said to him back then: I’m going on aliya and if I have to sweep the streets in order to stay I will do just that.
Well, thank God, I am still here after all these years, a successful Talmud student, grandfather to 21, translator and, best of all, a volunteer traffic policeman (American accent and all) who actually does sweep the streets of Bnei Brak in an effort to clean up the traffic.
I wish Ms. Siperman luck and hope to see her back here soon.
Required reading
Sir, – I would like to ask the Ministry of Education if it can refute a single fact in Sarah Honig’s superb “So the world is against us” (Another Tack, August 30) or point to a single error. If not, I think the piece should be required reading for every single high school student in this country.
RITA STONE Petah Tikva
Blind spots
Sir, – Liat Collins’s morally decent “A new year in an old world” (My Word, August 30) contains three blind spots: 1. “French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius... still considers the Israeli-Palestinian dispute the region’s central problem.”
The Right constantly says people believe this. But nobody thinks the dispute causes the Middle East’s indigenous problems.
Instead, the point is that long Western partisanship prompts anti-Westernism and security problems – an undoubted and crucial fact and an entirely different matter.
2. Collins is “more concerned with the type of education my son is going to receive” than with her leaders’ “progress in their negotiations.” I understand about her son – and all kids who are our own – but in not caring about negotiations, what about the other children a few miles away under Israeli occupation, in their humiliation, frequent squalor, powerlessness and hopelessness? 3. “The world is not a safe place – but it has nothing to do with whether Israel continues to build homes in places like Ma’aleh Adumim or Ariel.”
Crossings of borders and occupations are usually what drive international conflicts and wars.
For Israel’s sake, the Right should look in the mirror and reflect a bit more.
JAMES ADLER Cambridge, Massachusetts