Letters to the Editor: Respect the Hummus People

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A waiter serving hummus in Gaza. "You can’t make a book like this without hearing explosion," says Alexander.Credit: Mohammed Asad

Respect the hummus people

Regarding “Acclaimed hummus book 'will never come out in Hebrew, the language of the occupation'” (Moshe Gilad, July 24).

In light of the remarks of Dan Alexander quoted in the article, we must make some clarifications about our book. “On the Hummus Route” is the work of many people – writers and photographers – who took part in our quest after the golden legume that builds bridges between people.

We are the initiators of the project, the copyright owners, the people who invested the time, energy and money to bring the book to fruition. We therefore apologize to everyone who was involved in the book and anyone who has been harmed by Dan Alexander’s comments. It is vitally important for us to loudly say that these statements are entirely unacceptable.

We are proud to be Israelis and we personally do not think that Hebrew is “the language of occupation.” The decision to print the book in English is not related to any agenda. We believe hummus is a gift to humankind and we want to share it with as many people as we can. We believe the book will be published in Hebrew and other languages.

Furthermore, we would like to clarify and stress that we respect everyone (and their opinions, as long as they don’t harm others).

Alexander has a right to express his opinions, but not to speak in our name or to imply that he speaks for us.

We asked Dan Alexander not to speak in our behalf and in the name of the book, but he unfortunately keeps doing so. We truly apologize to the other participants in the project; this kind of behavior is antithetical to the spirit of the book, which fully respects the “hummus people” and all human beings.

Orly Peli-Bronshteinand Ariel Rosenthal

Tel Aviv

No judges in Jerusalem?

The recent case of an Israeli soldier who killed an innocent Palestinian man marks another nadir for the Israeli justice system.

As Haaretz reported (August 16), the soldier shot and seriously wounded a Palestinian man whose car had just been hit in an accident. The soldier said later that he thought the man had been throwing rocks at passing Israeli vehicles. The soldier then shot and killed the man who came to the driver’s aid, again in the mistaken belief that this man, too, had been throwing stones.

For this, the soldier will get away with three months’ community service, if the plea bargain is okayed by a military court. It is not clear from the reporting if the state will pay any damages to the family of the victims. This is totally unacceptable, since, as a Haaretz editorial (August 17) noted, there was no stone- throwing and the soldier did not shoot because he was in any danger or under fire.

This is a terrible tragedy for the families of the victims that illustrates some of the flaws in the Israeli justice system. Plea bargaining, whereby a defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a more lenient sentence, has become common in Israel but does not ensure that justice is served. In this case, the sentence was outrageously lenient.

The only explanation is that the case was brought to a military court because the defendant was a soldier on duty. Military prosecutors and judges tend turn a blind eye to crimes committed by soldiers and to sentence them to lenient punishments instead of sending a clear signal that all are equal before the law and that all lives matter.

A civilian court is independent of the military and might have been less understanding of a wrongdoing soldier though it is not certain. What matters also is the tone at the top. When politicians get away with corruption and incite against the justice system, the rule of law in the country is eroding and even judges risk losing their integrity.

Mose Apelblat

Kfar Sava

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