November 30: Mixed messages

November 30 Mixed messa

Missed messages Sir, - It is extremely regrettable that you neglected to highlight the beauty of Saturday night's march and demonstration ("Barkat, vowing to run for one or two more terms, says Intel dispute is now being solved," November 29). Thousands of Secular, Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Masorti Jews marched together peacefully down the streets of Jerusalem, demanding freedom and mutual respect in the city. The demonstration wasn't anti-ultra Orthodox Jews. The message was positive. The demonstrators called for religious pluralism in Jerusalem. Their message was that when Gen. Motta Gur proclaimed that "the Temple Mount is in our hands," he never thought to exclude women wearing talitot in the Kotel plaza. The message articulated on Saturday night was that the Jerusalem's silent majority has opened its mouth - loud and clear. RABBI BARRY SCHLESINGER Rabbi of Kehilat Moreshet Avraham Jerusalem UN dialogue Sir, - Last Friday you published a letter from UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness ("Fundamentally flawed," Letters, November 27), inter alia explaining why there is still an Arab refugee problem notwithstanding the billions contributed to their settlement, and the number, space and wealth of so many Arab countries where they could and should have been settled. Consider his explanation which I quote: "What perpetuates the refugee crisis is the lack of a durable peace [my emphasis] deal under which, according to all internationally accepted paradigms, the refugees plight must be resolved." Israel, a small, poor country with limited means, attacked by five major powers on its birth, accepted and successfully settled many thousands of refugees, notwithstanding continuing aggression and terrorism. This was done without enormous sums of money being donated to achieve this humanitarian goal - and, Mr. Gunness, without a durable peace. N. HERTZEL KATZ Ramat Hasharon Outraged by animal suffering Sir, - I was outraged and deeply saddened to see the photo of the donkey covered in sticky tape so it would look like a zebra, and all this done to celebrate a religious festival ("Dressing up for the holiday," Photo, November 29). Anyone who has tried to take a band-aid off a hairy part of their skin will understand. The donkey's whole body has been covered, and the tape will no doubt be ripped off when the festivities have finished. A short article on animal suffering in the name of religion would have been more in keeping with the standard of your newspaper. NATALIE GILBERT Jerusalem Enough cliches Sir, - I was disappointed that Friday's editorial, "It's not enough" (November 27), repeated the cliche that the Palestinians reject any Jewish State. In fact, the Palestinian Authority and Arab League have repeatedly called for two states, while Israel has been building settlements with the declared purpose of precluding a Palestinian state. ZVI SCHREIBER Jerusalem Bibi bullied into a bad week Sir, - Sometimes you have to pay protection money to a Chicago bully, but I would think that such payment would get you at least the appearance of protection. I mean, the idea is that the bully says he will protect you from "others," when he actually means he will refrain from beating you up himself. Then at least he keeps his end of the deal. Caroline Glick and others ("Bibi's bad week," November 27) tell us that Netanyahu essentially paid protection money to the Obama administration and is now surprised that the supposed protector is coming back for more. There was an easy solution to this. State in advance that the freeze on building becomes null and void the moment the Obama administration demands more. This clarification can still be made. Yes, it makes us look bad, but no worse that we look already. ISRAEL PICKHOLTZ Jerusalem Sir, - Caroline Glick is almost certainly right when she states that release of many hundreds of Palestinian prisoners will result in further IDF hostages being taken in the future and possibly many Israelis being murdered in further terrorist attacks perpetrated by the released prisoners. However, her condemnation of Prime Minister Netanyahu for agreeing to such a prisoner exchange does not take into account the actions of previous heads of state in agreeing to similar unreasonable prisoner exchanges, such as the "Jibril deal" in 1985 or the exchange in 2004 for businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum and the bodies of Israeli soldiers. Morally there is no way Netanyahu can now refuse to agree to a similar disproportionate exchange, and there is no reason the Schalit family should be punished. What she should have stated was that the proposed exchange be undertaken, but immediately followed by an Israeli declaration that it will continue to do everything in its power to return captive Israeli soldiers to their loved ones - not including, however, a release of hundreds of convicted terrorists. Instead, appropriate punitive action would be applied. ROBYN ROTBERG Kfar Saba A sad departure Sir, - My favorite columnist, Judy Montagu, a writer whose articles sparkled with her wit, her flair for language, and the personal message she imparted, is no longer at her desk because of cutbacks at The Jerusalem Post. She will be sorely missed by all those who, upon opening the paper, looked first for her articles. MARNA SNYDER Jerusalem Another tactic Sir, - After reading Charley J. Levine's article ("One for one," November 26) it occurred to me that there is another possible tactic that our government can use to secure the release of Gilad Schalit. Palestinian terrorists who have been caught, tried, convicted and sentenced to prison should, as long as Schalit is held captive, no longer be released when their prison terms are completed. This policy should be well-publicized so that the Palestinian street knows why their terrorists are not coming home after their sentences are up. I know that people will say that this is harmful to our legal system, but is this more harmful than releasing them before their sentences have been completed, as was done in previous prisoner exchanges and may again be done in the present negotiations with Hamas? STANLEY BARASCH Ra'anana A great and modest man Sir, - Mr. Baruch Tenembaum presents a largely unknown and exciting facet of Angelo Roncalli ("A tireless friend," November 29). While Roncalli earned a well-merited reputation as Pope John XXIII, who opened the dialogue with the Jews, his blessed role as rescuer of Jews during the Holocaust - and a few years later, his intervention in favor of the creation of the State of Israel - are certainly less well-known. Congratulations to the Wallenberg Foundation and to the International Angelo Roncalli Committee for shedding light on the deeds of this great and modest man. One can only hope that Yad Vashem will posthumously grant him the title of Righteous Among the Nations. MARIA ERRECARDE Tel Aviv