Ya’alon as PM?
Only four years ago, in an interview with journalist Ari Shavit, Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon said: “The regime of the ayatollahs is apocalyptic-messianic in character.... It will be impossible to accommodate a nuclear Iran and it will be impossible to attain stability. The consequences of a nuclear Iran will be catastrophic.”
Now, he says: “At this point, and in the foreseeable future, there is no existential threat facing Israel” (“Ex-IDF chiefs attack PM: ‘Time for Netanyahu to go,’” June 17).
Has the Shiite eschatology ceased to be an existential threat to Israel overnight? As US President Barack Obama himself told National Public Radio in April 2015: “What is a more relevant fear would be that in year 13, 14, 15, they [the Iranians] have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.”
Moshe Ya’alon cannot foresee 13 years into the future, and he wishes to be prime minister?
MLADEN ANDRIJASEVIC Beersheba
Engine has derailed
With regard to “The engine has derailed” (Observations, June 17), Zionist Union head Isaac Herzog has hijacked the train. Rather than leading an opposition with meaningful ideas, his rant offers nothing new – not in ideas and not in an obsessive blaming of the government for all our problems.
Herzog’s piece is a transparent load of rhetoric. If he had wanted to make changes, he could have joined the government as head of either the Zionist Union faction or his Labor Party. He could have done this over a year ago after the election, or even more recently, as it seems he was considering.
He could have taken the foreign affairs portfolio, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has held for him since forming the government. But he elected not to join the government, and in so doing has brought to new lows what it means to be head of the opposition – albeit that he is only barely head of his own faction and party.
Herzog is probably a good person and is certainly not stupid, but his behavior in general, as evidenced by the petulant blame game and lack of any creativity or new ideas, shows why he is in the opposition to begin with.
JONATHAN FELDSTEIN Efrat
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog, justifying the “land for peace” formula as the only way forward, resorts to dissembling and historical revisionism to promote this failed strategy. Thus, he says that former prime minister Ehud Barak made the right decision to withdraw totally from southern Lebanon, which “brought about a political settlement that may not be ideal...
but Israeli farmers on the border can till their fields every day....”
Hezbollah, which has developed a formidable army 10 times its size when Israel withdrew, is currently pouring arms into 200 Lebanese border villages in direct violation of UN Resolution 1701. And the world yawns.
There is certainly trouble ahead for Israel, and at a time of Hezbollah’s choosing.
Turning to Ariel Sharon’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip, Herzog writes that “Sharon understood that... many civilian and soldiers’ lives could be saved.” Really? In the 11 years since, there have been three wars forced upon Israel, thousands of missiles dispatched from Gaza and the building of the terror tunnels, directly threatening Israel’s security.
In lauding great prime ministers because they were willing to risk their personal standing by yielding land, Herzog omits Israel’s greatest prime minister of all, David Ben-Gurion, who, in 1948, steadfastly refused to yield one centimeter of land in the face of intolerable pressure and threats from US president Harry S. Truman.
His steadfastness won Israel the land within the Green Line in a defensive war that paralleled the Six Day War.
However, his argument is completely demolished by the Palestinians themselves. The Palestinian Authority charter repeatedly affirms that peace means the destruction of Israel, and senior PA officials and state propaganda are continuous testament to that.
Why can’t Herzog understand that the bride refuses to get into bed with the groom?
ROSLYN PINE London
Isaac Herzog and individuals on the Left and Center-Left live in La-La Land.
Then-prime minister Ariel Sharon vowed that if the terrorists in the Gaza Strip started rocketing Israel, we would reenter. His words were an empty threat, and we have paid in the blood of our soldiers in three miniwars.
As for Lebanon, withdrawing unilaterally gave us the Second Lebanon War, and Hezbollah has increased its rockets 10-fold. We have quiet in the North, but for how long?
MURRAY JOSEPH Kiryat Motzkin
Tolerating the other
Could reader Tallulah Mendlowitz (“Debacle of WoW,” Letters, June 17) please expand on Reform and Conservative movement “rituals” that have no basis in Halacha? Is it the fact that these Jews emphasize the philosophy of the religion and not the rituals, such as the system of corrupt rabbis giving kashrut authorization? Has she ever set foot in a Reform or Conservative synagogue? Has she ever looked into what these Jews really do and really believe? She sounds just like that important guy (whose name has slipped my memory) who said years ago that non-Orthodox Jews were really idol-worshipers. Then he got a big job here and had to backtrack on his comments.
Ms. Mendlowitz is an excellent example of why we will never make peace with our neighbors.
To do that, we have to develop a tolerance of people who are different from us.
GERALDINE THEMAL Kiryat Tivon
Unkosher kashrut “When kashrut isn’t kosher” (Comment & Features, June 16) by Rabbi Yakov Gaon, executive vice president of Tzohar, is inaccurate and misleading.
• The so-called kashrut monopoly of the Chief Rabbinate is no different from any other government authority that has control of its functions. We don’t have two court systems or two tax authorities.
• Kashrut is decentralized, since every local rabbinate controls and supervises those in its jurisdiction.
• Does anyone really think that two kashrut supervisors who, at best, earn minimum wage are the cause for the rates of Israeli hotels? • Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook was not alive when the state was established, as the piece implies.
Rabbi Kook loved every Jew, but not at the expense of halachic compromise. Those who mention his name in the context of compromise on halachic principles do his memory a serious injustice.
• The main reason for eateries being interested in breaking the Chief Rabbinate’s control of kashrut supervision is to lower the standards of kashrut.
Since Rabbi Gaon is a senior officer of Tzohar, I would respectfully ask him whether he would have written this had the head of Tzohar, Rabbi David Stav, been elected chief rabbi when he proclaimed his candidacy several years ago. I don’t think so.
YITZCHOK ELEFANT Dimona The writer is chief rabbi of Dimona.
• Unlike what was stated in “The Obama era is coming to an end” by MK Nachman Shai (Comment & Features, June 16), the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
• The author of Heart of Darkness was Joseph Conrad, not William Conrad, as was erroneously inserted due to an editing error into the June 14 letter by reader Robert Fine (“Turned on her head”). The letters editor wishes to apologize to the writer.