Letters to the Editor (January 24, 2011)

Taking Bob Marley’s advice

In response to “The Gang of November 4,” January 19
Sefi Rachlevsky, in a piece I am grateful to him for writing, says the men of action have now begun taking action against their fellow citizens. This is an important step in the logic of his piece, which defends the necessity of thinking.
It is an easy moment to rethink one’s “place in the struggle,” as Bob Marley encourages us to do. How hollow is the left wing of Zion? By which I mean the specter of coexistence between Palestinians and Jews, including Arab Jews, inside the State of Israel.

“Fellow citizens” seems not to mean Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, for the turn against them isn’t what is new − and what is new is serious indeed, considering the damage being done to a political culture that might have been shareable beyond its present confines. A similar concern is − why on earth doesn’t Haaretz carry many more articles about life and politics as experienced by the Arab and non-Jewish fifth of Israel’s citizenry?
Mark Joseph

Gideon Levy redeems himself

Several weeks ago, I lost my faith in Gideon Levy when he wrote a piece praising Dr. Orly Innes [who last November filed sexual harassment complaints against former Public Security Minister director general Hagai Peleg and police Maj. Gen. Uri Bar-Lev].

Unlike Levy, I believe she harmed the cause of abused women by taking all the attention on herself. A woman with such vast life experience as Dr. Innes should have been able to take care of herself. Instead waking up three years after her “experience” with Bar-Lev, she seems to have gone out of her way to destroy his career, his marriage and his reputation.

Bar-Lev, a charismatic, attractive, appealing man who has done a great deal for his country, did not deserve her venom.

Levy redeemed himself in his brilliant piece “The sad case of Einat Wilf” [published January 20]. I met Einat while working as a volunteer for the Labor Party during the last elections − and I was very impressed. But during the last two years, I haven’t see any positive activity on her part, unlike the amazing Shelly Yachimovich.

I regret giving her my voice during the election, and am disgusted with her recent actions. But maybe she did the Labor Party a favor, as they have now found out sooner rather than later where her loyalties lie − obviously with Einat Wilf. I can only hope that the combination of Isaac Herzog, Avishay Braverman and others will bring back the Labor voters. I for one renewed my membership today, after having canceled it because of Ehud Barak.

Alice Krieger
Tel Aviv

The left has lost its way

One Saturday night this month I went to Tel Aviv’s Meir Park to demonstrate against racist laws and ideas that have recently infiltrated public discourse in the country. The protest was against admissions committees in small communities, the establishment of a parliamentary committee to investigate the funding sources of left-wing human rights organizations, and the tacit support of rabbis who oppose Jews renting apartments to Arabs.

I assumed that this demonstration would be staged by all forces that support equality, democracy and free speech from the right and left sides of the political spectrum, or at least from all parts of the left.

Instead, when I reached Meir Park I saw mainly flags belonging to small left-wing non-profits, the Hadash party and the Palestinian Authority. I did not see members of the Hashomer Hatzair, Hanoar Haoved or Hamahanot Haolim youth groups; nor did I see an adequate number of Israeli flags, or flags belonging to the Kadima and Labor parties; nor were right-wing supporters of equality and democracy anywhere to be found.

I went to this demonstration as a Jewish protester who supports the Jewish state, not to express support for a Palestinian state or for the partitioning of Jerusalem. I did not want to march behind a Palestinian flag and chant “One, two, Jerusalem’s division is long due.” I wanted to demonstrate in favor of democratic discourse in Israel, and for the cessation of racist legislation.

Is the torch being carried today solely by pro-Palestinian groups? Is Hadash the country’s main proponent of democracy? The left has lost its way. Instead of focusing on one, unifying social message, protesters jump straight to the diplomatic-political issues in a way that alienates would-be protesters from both the right and the left who thirst for a social, Jewish, democratic message.

The Labor party, which has now gone from eight to four Knesset mandates, must raise this banner. As “the party that established the state,” Labor must guarantee that the state does not slip from its fingers. Its focus should not be on foreign affairs and diplomacy, but rather domestic issues and the demand for equality and democracy.

Dror Katsav
Tel Aviv

The old woman in the corridor

A true story: One winter, the corridors in the internal ward of the hospital where I worked were, again, flooded with patients. Due to the overcrowding, it was hard to provide partitions and protect the privacy of each patient.

Making the rounds one morning, I spotted in the hallway an old, cheerful woman whose bag, with all her personal items, was perched on her bed. When I explained, apologetically, that the department lacked cabinets for each patient, she replied “No problem, doctor, I also didn’t have a cabinet in Bergen-Belsen.”
I stood, stunned.

Dr. Amalia Baumgarten
Soroka Medical Center
Be’er Sheva