Yitzhar vs IDF
Sir, – It is really disgraceful that our defense minister accuses young, disillusioned “settlers” of being “terrorists” (and thus incites against them) because they have been forced – yes forced – to commit certain “attacks” on the IDF, even though these acts are never, and hopefully never will be, perpetrated with lethal weapons, as is done by real terrorists (“Ya’alon: Settler attacks on IDF acts of terror,” April 10).
When Arabs firebomb a disco full of Jewish teenagers with Molotov cocktails, no one, certainly not the above-mentioned, calls the attack “terrorism” or the perpetrators “terrorists.”
Indeed, Jerusalem’s deputy mayor simply met with members of both the city’s Arab and Jewish communities to discuss the matter (“After firebombing, J’lem deputy mayor meets Arabs, Jews,” April 9).
In Judea and Samaria, the IDF (where “settlers” also serve) has too often treated its fellow Israelis with a hard hand, as if they are the enemy.
Sir, – While I personally consider the government’s actions in Yitzhar – the destruction of what it considers illegal buildings – morally and ethically repugnant, I consider the use of physical violence against Israeli security forces to prevent that demolition purely criminal and feel it should be condemned by every decent Israeli Jew, rabbi and religious or political leader (“West Bank settlers ransack army post after demolition of illegal structures,” April 9).
This violence is also a clear violation of Jewish law of the most severe kind, and the fact that there are actually rabbis and Jewish political or religious leaders who condone and even incite this ugly, highly illegal and truly dangerous behavior by the residents of Yitzhar should deeply disturb and embarrass every decent Israeli.
There is every chance that an Israeli law enforcement officer or resident of Yitzhar could be badly injured or even killed because of this violence, and I doubt very much that any responsible Jewish settler or leader wants this outcome.
Thus, it is very important for government ministers other than Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon – especially those like Naftali Bennett who are close to the settlements and their residents – to publicly and firmly condemn this criminal behavior by a dangerous minority.
Sir, – I am disgusted by the continuing harangues and attacks on Sara Netanyahu (“3rd worker alleges bad treatment by PM’s wife,” April 10).
In all my 99 years I have never read anything as crude as recent stories concerning her. I am surprised that The Jerusalem Post gives so much publicity and coverage to this and wonder who is behind it.
This lack of derech eretz (decency) has no place in our Jewish state.
ESTHER LEVIN PORATH
Sir, – With regard to “Making kashrut kosher” (Comment & Features, April 10), it is sad that the people we ought to be able to rely on the most are actually employed to do the job they don’t do.
Sir, – With regard to “Gabai Committee: Outside board should run Hadassah’s hospitals” (April 9), if one takes managerial control of any undertaking from those who own it and moreover expects them to transfer some or all of the assets of that undertaking, you can call it what you like.
But the fact of the matter is that you are nationalizing that undertaking if the new entity is controlled by the government and the government is not paying full market value.
The minister of health had better be careful that she is not buying a whole host of legal actions if she goes ahead with the conclusions of the Gabai Committee, never mind imperil Israel’s membership in the OECD. Little wonder that Hadassah leaders have expressed shock at the committee’s conclusions. The government had better realize that overseas donors are likely not to be so beneficent as in the past.
And while the Health Ministry might want us to believe that Shaare Zedek Medical Center capably filled in to treat patients denied care during the Hadassah hospital strike, this might not be true in all medical situations, as Shaare Zedek simply does not practice some of the areas of medicine that Hadassah does.
Poverty over identity
Sir, – Two recent items in your paper have prompted me to respond.
The first (“Feeding a nation,” Editorial, April 9) quotes State Comptroller Joseph Shapira, who makes every effort to appeal to the political leaders and the population at large by outlining the disgraceful poverty that exists in Israel today.
We have 21 percent of the population living under the poverty line and use only 15% of GDP for social spending, some 50% less than the OECD average and much less than most of the enlightened economies of Western Europe. It appears that we are now dependent on volunteers collecting unused food from restaurants to distribute to the hungry.
The second item (“Cabinet to approve World Jewry Joint Initiative,” April 8) concerns the project of Naftali Bennett.
With the poverty levels outlined above, Bennett’s initiative to spend one billion shekels on instilling Jewish identity, and to spend that money in the richest country in the world, is in my opinion an absolute disgrace and designed more to fan the ego of Bennett’s messianic views than to seriously install Jewish identity to those who have already rejected it. Surely the money would be far better spent to kick-start a social program to help unfortunate people already living here.
Sir, – In “Sofo situation appears likely to become classic Greek tragedy” (April 9), sports correspondent Allon Sinai describes at length the sad incident where Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball player Sofoklis Schortsanitis exploded in rage at the end of his game against Hapoel Tel Aviv after being taunted, cursed and vilified by a Hapoel fan. He fails to mention, however, that this was a culmination of years of disgusting behavior by Hapoel fans.
Had management taken steps a long time ago to quell this practice of cursing opponents, the incident might never have occurred. It is safe to say that the Hadar Arena in Tel Aviv is not a place to visit should you wish to see a sporting game.
DAVID S. ADDLEMAN
Good on Shmuley
Sir, – Kudos to Shmuley Boteach for his excellent rebuttal (“Tom Friedman equates Adelson with Iran,” No Holds Barred, April 8) of Thomas L. Friedman’s “Sheldon: Iran’s best Friend” (Comment & Features, April 7), in which Friedman compares Sheldon Adelson to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini.
Friedman is known for shooting from the hip at anything that moves to his right, but this obscene comparison was truly bizarre.
Adelson is the target of Friedman’s wrath for the sin of daring to challenge the term “occupied territories.” Perhaps he could explain to simple-minded folk like myself: Who exactly is the rightful owner of this land? Jordan? The Palestinians? Anyone with an iota of knowledge of the history of the Middle East conflict ought to know that Israel’s legal and historical claim to these territories is no less than that of any other party to the conflict.
Friedman assures his readers that Khameini was delighted when he read about the “Adelson primary.” Unlike the New York Times columnist, I don’t claim to have psychic powers, but I’d bet my last dollar that Khameini does smile every time he reads another Friedman column.
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