Trumpeting Bennett

Sir, – When Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu mislabeled Bayit Yehudi as a “sectoral party” (“In the driver’s seat,” Politics, January 18), didn’t interviewers Herb Keinon and Steve Linde have a responsibility to point out that Bayit Yehudi’s main thrust is to unify all the splinter or sectoral parties to successfully advise him and reverse his Bar- Ilan change of direction in declaring support for the two-state solution? And when will The Jerusalem Post stop labeling Likud Beytenu’s Moshe Feiglin and so many others as extremist or far-Right? We expect an amazing turnout for Bayit Yehudi to support Feiglin and the rest of Likud’s strong leaders in steadying the prime minister’s hand on the wheel in the right direction.

PHILIP GILBERT
Jerusalem

Sir, – According to Yossi Klein Halevi (“The struggle for the Israeli Right,” iEngage, January 18), Naftali Bennett should be excluded from Prime Minister Netanyahu’s coming coalition.

I believe Halevi is definitely wrong. Bennett will only enhance and strengthen Netanyahu’s government, especially against US President Barack Obama.

Bennett deserves our confidence and vote.

ESTHER EHRENBERG

Jerusalem Truncating democracy

Sir, – David Brinn’s “Ringside seats at the great debate” (Observations, January 18) missed the objective. It was to be an election forum to inform the English-speaking public of the political stance of the respective parties in this vital election.

It was not billed as a debate, nor in the main was it one.

The meeting was scheduled for 8 p.m. but was delayed by public back-slapping by the chairmen of both the Great Synagogue and the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel that went on for approximately 12 minutes, with the former promising that the meeting would finish at 10 o’clock. The rest of the forum went on for 98 minutes, comprising 52 minutes for presentations by the panel, 27 minutes for eight questions and answers, and 19 minutes for panel summations.

Given that the latest polls have predicted that we are returning to some form of coalition that will be subjected to enormous international pressure to cede even more concessions, it was vital that the public be given as long as necessary to ask questions and not be cut short.

In Western democracies question and answer sessions during governmental elections continue until the last question is answered, despite the hour. With the eyes of the world focused on us it would have made more sense for this open forum to have permitted the public to express its concerns. That would be true democracy.

The current election system in Israel does not permit individual representation such as a constituency representative, so exactly how is the public to express its concerns? Certainly not to the party machines, which fail to acknowledge individual members of the public.

COLIN L. LECI
Jerusalem

Their fault

Sir, – There is one thing Michael Freund (“Barack Obama: Conceited- in-chief,” Fundamentally Freund, January 17) failed to acknowledge. While he asks, maybe even implores, American Jews to “speak out loudly and clearly against Obama’s insulting tone and aggressive rancor,” he forgets that it was American Jews who helped get Obama reelected.

How can we ask them to speak out loudly against a president they applaud and listen to with relish? They’re more likely to believe what Obama says about Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu rather than following the right path of believing in their brethren here.

There is a new revolution going on in Israel, and the peaceniks are going packing. Religious- Zionism is on the way in, and I believe that with this, the wonderful chutzpah we have been sorely lacking for so long will return.

Let’s pray that when Obama tells Netanyahu he has Israel’s back, our prime minister understands this means the American president has a knife in it.

RONDA ISRAEL
Modi’in

Sir, – As Michael Freund concludes in his piece, the expression of public will in the US, in which people are considered (even by our detractors) to be intelligent, will cause us great troubles for four more years. We reap what they voted for.

We should pray that the Arabs’ (correct) perception of the US as soft and cuddly will not convince them to think the same about us.

EDWARD WEINSTEIN
Kfar Adumim

Emasculated ministry

Sir, – Barry Shaw’s essay “Israeli diplomatic incompetence” (Observations, January 18) emphasizes the government’s failure to effectively present Israel’s case abroad. Actually, it is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that is mostly responsible for the catastrophic state of Israel’s diplomacy.

Israeli diplomats remain silent when representatives of the UN, EU or US declare that Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria are “illegal.” They should be responding emphatically that Israel has every legal right to build in the territories it freed from illegal Jordanian occupation.

Nor have I ever heard an Israeli diplomat mention, much less elaborate upon, “the legitimate rights of the Jewish people.”

Arabs obsessively allude to “Palestinian lands,” but Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokespeople feebly refer to them as “disputed territories” instead of the Jewish heartland. The Levy Report documenting the legality of Jewish resettlement in our ancestral homeland should be translated into many languages and widely distributed around the world, but the emasculated Foreign Ministry has, to the best of my knowledge, not done so.

Israel’s high-budget Foreign Ministry has totally forgotten that Jordan was originally part of the British Mandate in Palestine.

Indeed, a strong case can be made that Jordan is really Palestine, but this is repugnant to Israel’s diplomatic corps. Its website hardly mentions Jewish national rights, and its Arabic pages were created only about 10 years ago.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry in its actions and inactions reflects the mindsets of Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin. Just as the Oslo gamble bombed out, so does the foreign ministry bungle its crucial mission.

ZVI NOVEMBER
Jerusalem

Force française

Sir, – The president of France made a strong statement that should resonate in the ears of the world. He stated that the government of Algeria did the absolute correct and moral thing in storming the gas facility taken over by al-Qaida, although in so doing there was a great loss of life (“Algerian army stages ‘final assault’ on gas plant,” January 18).

Even though this was absolutely necessary, Algeria has to be faulted for allowing Islamic radicalism to become so prominent and powerful there. This should serve notice to all Western leaders.

Why are they so cowardly? Why hasn’t anyone, including US President Barack Obama, been able to speak out and state the obvious – that Islamic radicalism is a scourge and intends to destroy all segments of decent governments? By doing nothing and saying nothing, Western governments are bringing about their own destruction.

It wasn’t so long ago when the head of the Soviet Union sat in the United Nations and said that people in the West would sell the USSR the rope it would use to hang them. Is the Western leadership so abominable that it actually cooperates with Muslim radicalism so that it will be spared another year of destruction? What it should be doing is unite and state the obvious: It has tolerated such destructive terrorism for far too long and will no longer permit it from this time on!

THELMA SUSSWEIN
Jerusalem

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