Anne Frank wax figure is appalling

I am appalled by the portrayal of Anne Frank as a wax figure in a Berlin museum, as reported by Edmon J. Rodman of JTA (May 4).

To create a lifelike figure of a dead girl who recorded her life before it was cut short, in the city where the Holocaust plan was hatched, is in bad taste.

As a teenage girl and a high school student myself, especially unnerving to me is the huge smile which has been plastered onto Anne’s Frank’s wax figure. I can personally attest that the beaming portrayal of Anne Frank is ludicrous — in the comfort of their own homes, teenage girls glower even in the best of circumstances.

Her smile belittles her pain and suffering, and mocks the horror of the Holocaust. The wax figure should be removed immediately.

Sarah Skootsky   |   San Francisco


Demolitions on solid ground

David Fisher asked for comments on his letter (“Answers on demolition found lacking,” May 11). Here are three:

Fisher said he reads yearly that Arab houses are demolished “to make way for Jewish residences.” I don’t know what sources he reads, but if he read reliable sources, he’d know that houses are demolished because they lack proper permits. I’d ask Fisher to research what would happen in his city of San Francisco if he built a house without permits.

Fisher doesn’t like the answer that “the laws are … complicated.” That’s the case where I live, too (in Piedmont). Anybody who has dealt with zoning and building rules knows that the laws can be complicated.

Fisher asked, “Who makes the decisions?” As in any democracy, decisions are made by the proper officials. All citizens of Israel can vote. Since east Jerusalem, as all of Jerusalem, is part of Israel (yes!), its decisions are made by the municipality. Isn’t that the way it’s done in San Francisco? (And in San Francisco, too, non-citizens can’t vote.)

I’m not sure why Mr. Fisher expects the way things work in Israel to be so very different from here.

Dan Fendel   |   Piedmont


Disgusted over funding

I am highly disappointed with how the money in this country is being spent. The United States is in a $15 trillion debt, and our government is aiding Palestine with $147 million to help with “infrastructure, education, humanitarian aid and health projects,” including a Palestinian version of “Sesame Street” (“Obama releases $147 million in aid to Palestinians,” May 4).

I have two huge problems with this. First, with so many Americans out of jobs or without health insurance, why isn’t this money being spent at home where it is desperately needed?

 Secondly, how can the U.S. government provide such a huge loan to a people who consider America their No. 1 enemy? It disgusts me to know that our taxpayer money is funding the people who have no respect for the country I love, Israel.

Katherine Popovich   |   San Francisco


Israel’s path to mending fences

I am a Jewish high school student responding to the article “Cyprus foreign minister: Israel’s path to alliance is through Cyprus” (May 11).

Yes, Israel has had serious issues with many Middle Eastern neighbors. But this article was fascinating because it presented the case that Israel must expand and continue to have positive relations throughout Europe and the West before it can fix its relationships with its Muslim neighbors.

Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, the foreign minister, noted that “in Israel there is a growing sense that the only sure corridor toward friendly states lies to the west, in other words through Cyprus to the rest of Europe.”

Although it is currently difficult to maintain positive relations with neighboring Mideast countries (due to religious tensions and negative sentiment toward Israel as a Jewish state), it is still possible for Israel to strengthen ties with countries all through Europe.

As Israel continues to gain political and economic influence around the world, they hope to one day be recognized by all countries (including those in the Middle East) as an ally country and not a sworn enemy.

Sammy Greenwall   |   Oakland


Israelis in the Bay Area

I was very surprised to see the figure in your editorial “Putting out the welcome mat for Israelis in the Bay Area” (April 20) that 40,000 Israelis live in the Bay Area.

Out of the roughly 7 million people who live here, that figure translates to about 1 in 175 people.

While the article mentions that accommodating for these newcomers is filled with conflict and challenge, the overall picture seems to be more of a success story. Israelis adapt remarkably well to the Bay Area, with high-tech serving as a bridge to opportunity. Nearly every Israeli family I know has a member who works in high-tech.

The greatest challenge is perhaps the channeling of Judaic culture to the Israeli-American community, as many Israelis aren’t religiously involved when they arrive in the United States.

Ben Hendel   |   Cupertino