Letters to the Editor
Israeli Arabs get fair share of state land
In response to “Why an ultra-Orthodox town in Wadi Ara?” (Opinion, by Ziyad Abou Habla, September 3)
Harish is not in Wadi Ara as Ziyad Abou Habla claims in his article. Harish is closer to Pardes Hannah-Karkur and is adjacent to Kibbutz Ma’anit. It is not in the heart of Wadi Ara. Natural growth is not the birth rate; the data in the article referred to the birth rate and not to natural growth. Birth rates are not defined in percents but in births per thousand.
What does Harish have to do with the Judaization of Wadi Ara? The area of Harish is already quite Jewish. Harish will be ultra-Orthodox because the ultra-Orthodox need a large space for themselves and that is a good thing. Harish is a place that is suited to them, given that 22 years since its founding, it has not flourished and it has the infrastructure to serve 150,000 people.
The fact that Harish is not far from Wadi Ara is connected to the reasons for its creation. In 1990, Harish was part of Ariel Sharon’s “Stars Program” to build 12 Jewish communities, all of them inside the Green Line and adjacent to it. Modi’in is another such place, as well as Shoham, and there are no Arabs there and no considerations of making the space Jewish, rather the considerations are about strengthening the Green Line in the face of political developments brought about by the fall of the Soviet Union. And what is the connection between a Jewish city in, say, Wadi Ara and the decrease in natural growth among the Arab population? After all, Arab natural growth has been on the decline since the early 1970s and is continuing to decline.
There are around 800 settled areas in Israel, of them 100 or so are Arab and some 700 are Jewish (including cities, moshavim and kibbutzim) and not thousands as noted in the article. For example, Rahat, Kseifa, Hura, Aroer and Bir al-Makhsour − a total of some 50 Bedouin towns.
The article also stated that only 3.5 percent of state lands are Arab-held and that is correct. But if we deduct the desert (60 percent of the state’s land), 10 percent for the military zones north of Be’er Sheva, nature reserves, beaches and archaeological sites, we will find that around 80 percent of the state’s area is not populated. Therefore, of the remaining 20 percent, 3.5 percent of the land being Arab-held means 17.5 percent of the entire area, approximately the percentage of Israeli Arabs in the total population of the country. This is a fair and normal situation.
I agree with the author that “the challenges being faced by the Arab population are harsh and numerous,” but it would be the right thing to rely on correct data.
Prof. Arnon Sofer
Chaikin Chair in Geostrategy
University of Haifa
Bleeding hearts of the world, unite!
We built a fence that protects us from the entry of millions of labor migrants and terrorist elements. It was the right thing to do; all of Europe is trying to protect itself from such a mass invasion. But we cannot remain indifferent to the fate of the people crowded along the length of the fence in the no-man’s land between Israel and Egypt. I do not think they should be let into Israel in order to be put on a bus to the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station as the government recently did. They should be jailed and transferred to another country.
The world looks at us with disgust. I read the foreign papers and the stories in it about the expulsion of foreign workers’ children born in our country. I am the son of Jewish immigrants who was born in France before World War II. I was saved, like many others, by French bleeding heart liberals acting according to humanistic principles, despite the propaganda, the danger and the laws of the time. Today I live in a country where the concept “bleeding heart liberal” has become a derogatory term. On the scale of values, bleeding heart liberal is well below even such categories as “socialist,” “human rights,” and “humanist.”
Being a liberal does not mean we are “suckers.” We are not turning our cheek to get another slap in accordance with Christian morals, but we also cannot remain indifferent to what is happening on our doorstep.
We also were on the other side of the border fence and pleaded for someone to allow us passage to freedom and life. If I am capable of writing this letter today, it is thanks to the local liberals who opened their door to rescue me. This is not a fictional story from thousands of years ago, but something that happened 70 years ago.
Demagoguery will not spare us from the necessity of making courageous decisions. The real problem of the liberals is that we are a minority. Bleeding heart liberals of the world, unite, before it is too late.
Was my gas mask designed by a pinhead?
When I received the new gas mask in anticipation of our next boomerang war, I took it out to examine; the one distributed to me last time around had been a defective one.
It turned out that the present model, assigned to people over the age of 75, is worse than defective − it is unwearable.
The opening for the head is far too small for a normal-sized head; did the person responsible for its design suffer from being “cranially challenged,” as modern euphemisms would probably describe “pinheads”? Or was it perhaps assumed that as people shrink with age, their heads also become progressively smaller?
When I asked for a regular-sized mask I was, first of all, severely reprimanded for having − unlawfully, I was told − opened the carton and that I was only entitled to the “over-75” mask and that was that.
It was yet another sign that Israel is great at performing great deeds for the country, but frighteningly inept and careless at small but vital acts for its citizens.
German circumcision ruling not anti-Semitic
In response to “German rabbis: anti-Semitic attacks not an unusual occurrence” (by Ofer Aderet, September 3).
Ofer Aderet links the court ruling against circumcision in Germany and the beating of rabbis on the street to the anti-Semitic atmosphere there. Attacking a rabbi on the street is an anti-Semitic act, whereas the court ruling is not. The ruling is based on humanitarian and logical considerations and is in line with German law and the German constitution.
Dr. Omri Beham