November 7, 2018: All aboard

Our readers have their say.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
All aboard
Regarding “Peace train to Oman?” (November 5), maybe MK Katz should get his own house in order before spreading his vision further afield,
Once the trains in Israel are up and running to schedule then maybe he can turn his attention to fantasy. On each of the last three occasions that we have traveled on the “fast” train to Ben Gurion airport, there were delays (up to 4 hours), stoppages and trains that don’t go all the way through to destination.
Really Mr. Katz – get your own house in order first.
Kfar Bialik
Black South
It was good to see the distress of Israeli residents in the South acknowledged in “Students launch ‘Black South’ campaign in solidarity with residents” (November 5). Sadly, these high school students have grown up conditioned to run to bomb shelters in school and in the middle of night in their homes.
Southern Israeli border communities have been on the front line of a war zone, under attack from Gaza, for more than 17 years. After surviving some 25,000 rockets and missiles, these residents now must additionally endure firebomb balloons and incendiary kites from Gaza, designed to cause damage to civilians and the environment.
The end of the article states, “On October 26, Islamic Jihad fired 34 rockets at Israel, 13 of which were intercepted by Iron Dome, causing no injuries.”
No casualties? Perhaps no physical damage. However, after 17 years under fire, with so many residents suffering and being treated for PTSD, it is incorrect to say “causing no injuries.”
The best defense
I write in support of Adam Milstein (“Antisemites seek to destroy us,” November 4). The murderous attack in Pittsburgh had nothing to do with US President Donald Trump or the current climate of opinion, it had to do with enemies of the Jews who are always there, waiting for the moment to crawl out from under a stone and do us injury.
People forget that Zionism was not only an ideology about establishing a Jewish State, it was also about building a new Jew, prepared to defend himself, throwing off the passivity and dependency of past generations.
When I lived near Washington DC, Jewish demonstrations and marches were constantly being harassed by the Neo-Nazis who had their headquarters in Arlington VA. We organized a group of Jewish college youth from the area and when we learned that a group was coming to disrupt one of our marches, we prepared for them.
We watched where they parked and when they left, we slashed their tires. When they approached our march, we were prepared and we attacked them. The police were unable to intervene until the Neo-Nazis actually caused physical harm to us; we were not prepared to wait for that, so we responded in self-defense. So unexpected was our prepared defense that they were routed and then had to walk all the way home. They never came back.
Our survival is in our own hands.
US President Donald Trump is correct when he speaks out denouncing “racism, hatred and bigotry,” but he is wrong saying that gun control had nothing to do with the recent massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Once again, as we remember in Parkland, Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Orlando, Florida; and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the Pittsburgh assailant used an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle to murder 11 and seriously injure six.
Automatic and semi-automatic rifles are needed only by people doing target practice, inhumane animal hunters and murderers. Doing away with automatic and semi-automatic weapons of mass destruction will not infringe on the Second Amendment rights to bear arms.
Zichron Yaakov
Gaza reality check
In “Toppling Hamas is not the solution” (November 5), Jeff Barak writes, “According to a Lebanese newspaper report over the weekend, there is a 10-step incremental accord on the table, including a prisoner swap toward the end of the process, to ensure long-term quiet.”
Long-term quiet? Barak should read what Prof. Raphael Israeli writes about the Islamic understanding of the term hundna (cease-fire) and or tahdiah (calm). A hudna cannot last more than 10 years, a tahdiah up to 1 year.
As Israeli explains: “Since a peace plan is out of the question, Hamas resorts instead to the Hudaybiyya precedent set by the Prophet himself, when, constrained by his weakness at the gates of Mecca, Muhammad consented to a 10-year hudna. Unlike Western cease-fires, which hinge on consent from both parties, hudna is unilateral and the party implementing it can reverse it anytime they like.
So much for the dream of long-term quiet with Hamas. Hamas will break the hudna whenever it likes.
The November 5 article “Will the Gaza deal include return of missing IDF soldiers and civilians?” contained an alarming phrase: “United Nations infrastructure and energy projects would move forward under the deal.” This says that we are again going to send fuel to people who have sworn to destroy us.
This implies appeasement and it has been tried over and over in history.
One of my all-time favorites in historical fiction is Herman Wouk’s masterpiece The Winds of War. Two of his characters were discussing the agreement weeks before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. In that agreement, the US agreed to sell to Japan fuel and scrap metal. Yes, they tried appeasement then also. One character says to the other, “I fully expect the Japanese battleships and aircraft carriers to come steaming towards us out of the mist, burning Texaco oil and shooting at us pieces of old Buicks.” Whether that was fiction or true, it could very well sum up our ludicrous try at appeasement today.
By now, we should know better.
Petah Tikva
Talking Turkey
A recent news article by Seth Frantzman (“US facing crisis in Syria as Turkey shells Kurds,”, November 4) discusses the increasingly problematic dilemma of NATO ally Turkey working at cross-purposes to our goals. This crisis will only worsen as Turkey continues its devolution into extremism.
 One consequence of this extremism has been racially motivated nationalism that has manifested itself in violent suppression of our Kurdish allies, pro-Western moderates whose help has been so crucial in the fight against ISIS. In addition, the Kurds provide valuable stability to the areas they control; attacking them undermines our basic strategy in Syria.
 Another consequence has been Turkey’s quiet effort to aid ISIS in Iraq. According to Iraqi general Aref al-Zebari in an October 25 report in Breitbart, Turkey has permitted foreign agents to pipeline support to the remaining recently defeated ISIS fighters in Mosul to help them regroup.
As hard as it is to accept, Turkey can no longer be considered a reliable ally and should be expelled from NATO. We should cut off all military aid to Turkey, withdraw our bases and cease intelligence sharing. Turkish President Recep Erdogan is hell-bent on transforming Turkey into a Sunni version of Iran. As future confrontations will be inevitable with such a state, we could come to regret having helped arm it.
Charleston, South Carolina
Strike one
In the “Academia on sale? Why public colleges are on strike” (November 4), Amit Gal makes an impassioned plea for higher salaries and resources for the academic colleges. Gal correctly describes the profound achievements of the colleges as a dominant cultural, social and employment center that has immensely aided in closing profound social gaps.
But then Gal takes a wrong turn. He wants the lecturers at the colleges to be treated like first-class academics. He claims that college lecturers are just like university faculty except for one thing, their salaries and employment terms.
Not quite! The universities have graduate faculties that grant M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees. Much of the research in the universities is centered around the training of these thousands of future scientists and academicians in post-graduate programs. These do not exist in the colleges. Israel does not have the resources to convert the colleges to centers of research. It barely has enough resources to maintain the universities at the highest international standards. So, Gal is “barking up the wrong tree.”
The salaries of the college lecturers should be determined by their other admirable and profound achievements. Their salaries and promotions should be judged on the basis of teaching skills.
Professor Emeritus of Radiation Physics
Multiplying rapidly
The article “A desperate call to lower the Egyptian birth rate... from an Egyptian” (November 2), reminds me of Egypt at the time of Moses. The ruler asked, “What can we do to the Jews who are multiplying so rapidly and their women folk are giving birth, six at a time under the apple trees! Let’s get rid of the Jews, drowning the baby boys and give the Jewish work force harder labour!” Pharaoh’s way of sorting out the economy was to heavily control Jewish birth rate.
The luxurious life style of Pharaoh and his court are long gone. There are no Jews to blame, yet harsh measures must be taken. The current ruler and his advisers have to do something about Egypt’s birthrate and mounting economic problems, but they can’t impose the harsh punishments that our forefathers sustained there.
Welcoming enemies
Regarding “Michael Oren: Detaining BDS activist causes Israel political damage” (October 10), I’m surprised at Deputy Minister Michael Oren’s rationale for not stopping BDS and other anti-Israel activists from entering our country. He’s worried it will cause us “diplomatic harm” throughout the world.
Applying that same standard, Israel would be defenseless against every enemy encamped on our borders and those that live within. Every move Israel makes in self defense is condemned by the rest of the world and the existential harm all our enemies potentially carry is much worse than any diplomatic harm that might come our way.
Protecting, coddling and welcoming our known enemies into the country is self-destructive and beyond the pale.
Los Angeles
12,000 then and now
This year’s March of the Living with 12,000 participants indeed had special significance. Take a good look at all of these people, for 12,000 is also the number of Jews killed daily at the peak in 1944; a live measure of the Holocaust’s savagery.
Holocaust survivor