November 2: Government failed

Given the appalling circumstances prevailing over the last week here, why did the government fail to connect similar emergency generators to the affected areas in the country?

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Government failed
Regarding “Storm causes mass power outages for fourth day” (October 29) – in 2011, when there was an explosion of munitions in Cyprus adjacent to a power plant, the government arranged for emergency electric generators to be shipped there by air. Given the appalling circumstances prevailing over the last week here, why did the government fail to connect similar emergency generators to the affected areas in the country? It would appear that the claim that we are one of the world’s leading “start-up nations” falls flat on its face because we are unable to ensure continuity of electric supply under emergency circumstances – and don’t appear to have made provisions for such a scenario.
In similar circumstances in Western countries, the minister responsible would have resigned.
Why not here?
Is it not time to lay our electric cables underground and end this scandalous situation? We are, after all, in the 21st century.
Gentle teacher
Richard Lakin (“American-Israeli Richard Lakin, 76, dies 2 weeks after terrorist attack in Jerusalem,” October 28) taught my three kids English some 25 years ago. He was a gentle teacher and one who had the gift to generate enthusiasm in his pupils. They enjoyed every moment and strove to please him by applying themselves.
Today all three are fluent.
Richard was not a soldier when casualties, however painful, are expected. Neither did he live in a war zone where collateral damage is a fact of the situation. He was murdered in cold blood for the simple reason that he was a Jew who chose to make his life in Israel.
It is the deed of the world of cruelty, disregard for human life and rejoicing in death that surrounds us. It is a disgrace that since 1947, the world that considers itself to be the world of values has not proclaimed forcefully that the hell bent desire to eradicate Israel has no place, and has done so little to prevent it.
Mr. Ban Ki-moon visited Richard and immediately engaged in the false notions of “dangerous escalation.”
Is riding a bus this escalation? Can he not say plainly that murder is unacceptable? And is it too much to ask that he do something about it?
New challenges
With regard to Caroline B. Glick’s “AIPAC’s devastating decision” (Our World, Comment & Features, October 28), AIPAC does not sponsor fund-raisers. It does not donate funds to candidates. It does not endorse candidates. It does encourage its members to be involved politically.
It is true that AIPAC faces new challenges in its mission of encouraging bipartisan support of Israel and a strong American-Israel relationship. This is largely due to the strident partisan polarization that has infected virtually all aspects of politics and policy in the US; the advent of J Street and similar groups; social media and 24/7 news coverage; the overwhelming bias against Israel by the Middle East Studies departments of many university campuses; and several other factors. It is not due to some decision by AIPAC to sponsor a fund-raiser for Delaware Sen. Christopher Coons.
Given the difficulties and complexities of today’s American political environment, AIPAC continues to be a very effective organization.
I was a lobbyist in California for 30 years, and I am a long-time AIPAC member. I would have given just about anything to have my clients be as committed and effective as AIPAC has been over the years.
Sacramento, California

Preaching to Israelis
I was disgusted to read Rabbi Seth Winberg preaching to Israelis about humanity toward barbarous terrorists from the comfort of his home in Chicago (“Killing a terrorist who is no longer a threat?” Comment & Features, October 27).
Winberg cites the Talmud, Rashi and Maimonides that it is forbidden to kill a person who comes to murder you when a lesser force can be used. Winberg should know that the Jewish sages applied this to a Jewish – not a non-Jewish – attacker. The one whose goal is to terrorize the Jewish polity certainly comes under the law of exceptional circumstances when the sages instituted exceptionally harsh rules to secure the well-being of the Jewish community.
If Israel had the death penalty for terrorists, there would be no need for shoot-to-kill declarations against terrorists. They would be captured, tried and swiftly executed.
It would also prevent the vigilantism of the “price-tag” settlers – who disgrace Israel before the world – who are enraged by the lax attitude of the Israeli judicial system towards Palestinian murderers, especially freeing them for captured Israeli soldiers.

In his recent op-ed “Debunking Myths” (Encountering Peace, Comment & Features, October 22), Gershon Baskin has the audacity to claim that “the Oslo agreements were not peace agreements.” It takes a special kind of chutzpah to make that claim, given that Baskin himself in an article he published in this very paper in 2007, unambiguously referred to the Oslo agreements as “peace agreements.”
But really, one does not need Baskin’s 2007 moment of clarity to recognize that all the agreements Israel signed with the PLO were designed to bring immediate peace, and not just if and when a Palestinian state were created.
This was obvious from, inter alia: Arafat’s 1993 pre-signing letter to Rabin stating “the PLO renounces the use of terrorism”; the preamble to Oslo II, with its “mutual commitment to act...
against acts or threats of terrorism, violence, or incitement; and Wye River’s “the Palestinian side will make known its policy of zero tolerance for terror and violence.”
These were not peace agreements? The whole point was peace. The painful truth that Israel signed peace agreements and didn’t get peace is no myth; it is a profound tragedy – a tragedy that could have been avoided by understanding that you can’t get to core issues if the Palestinians cannot deliver a sustained cessation of violence. Apparently unable to accept his own failure on this score as a key Oslo negotiator, Baskin prefers to simply “myth the point.” Self-delusion may work for Mr. Baskin, but Israel as a whole cannot afford to ever show such poor judgment again.
Image of God
Many people are questioning todays IDF orders of “shoot to kill” against knife-wielding terrorists.
Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, at the early days of the Yom Kippur War when Jewish soldiers were bleeding and dying on the Egyptian and Syrian fronts, said this: “What is the difference between the Arab soldier aiming to kill his Jewish enemy and the Jewish soldier aiming at his Arab enemy? The Arab wants his bullet to kill the Jew. He prays to Allah for true aim and the death of his enemy.
The Jewish soldier also wants to hit his Arab enemy. The difference is that, deep down in his soul, he, the Jew, prays that God intercedes to stop his enemy so that he does not have to kill a human being made in the image of God. This prayer is instinctive by all, whether he wears a kippa or not.”
I think of Reb Shlomo’s profound words today as the barbaric Arab enemy murders Jews throughout the Land of Israel. Let it not be said that the Jewish people in its land were too passive to resist the continued attempts to annihilate us. Just as the Jewish “neshama” keeps us humane in the face of daily butchery, our greatest asset is to remember our values even as we defend ourselves vigorously and aggressively.