December 30: Electoral negativity
I would like to hear why I should vote for a party or a prime minister, rather than why not to vote for another one.
Letters Photo: REUTERS/Handout
Sir, – I am a citizen and a voter, and I am already tired
of the negative election campaign and the mud-slinging from each and every one
of the parties, their leaders, members and sympathizers (“Likud members to PM:
We want Bennett, not Livni in future coalition,” December 27).
want, for a change, to see some positive thinking. The negatives I can see by
myself, without assistance. I would like to hear why I should vote for a party
or a prime minister, rather than why not to vote for another one.
country faces many existential problems: security, economics, education, health
care, cost of living, affordable housing, haredim in the army and workforce, the
The list goes on and on. It should be clear that
not all of them can be fully solved at one time.
Each party seems to
dwell on a single issue, as if the others are not important or, worse,
nonexistent, without admitting that all are interconnected, at least by the
availability of funds. If you take a larger piece of the pie, the others will
get a smaller serving.
It is not enough to state one’s preferred issue –
I want to hear how each candidate would approach it in the context of the
others. The key word is “how,” not only “what.”
I know I am not alone. I
hope the parties listen, plan accordingly and let us, the voters, know about
No place like home
I take exception to Rabbi Benny Lau’s assertion that “only Orthodox worshipers
feel at home at the Western Wall....” (“2 national-religious rabbis propose
provision for non-Orthodox prayer at Western Wall,” December 27).
only the ultra-Orthodox who are comfortable with the degree of separation. I
know many, many Orthodox worshipers who also do not feel “at home” there. Any
woman who has had to stand precariously on a plastic chair (if she’s lucky
enough to find one) in order to hear or see her son chant his bar mitzva portion
would, perhaps, choose a stronger description than “not at home.”
Sir, – I am shocked beyond belief at the
chutzpah of Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein, who feels it his personal
privilege to unilaterally override the decision of the Central Election
Committee and allow the treasonous MK Haneen Zoabi to run again for Knesset
(“State refuses to defend disqualification of Zoabi,” December 27).
gave this man the right to decide against the will of the people? This one man
has the power to single-handedly overturn a democratic decision by the
democratically elected Knesset! If Weinstein feels he cannot represent the
state, he should recuse himself or resign. If he refuses, the prime minister
should fire this leftist apparatchik who represents nobody and abuses his power
to further his own personal political agenda.
Sir, – “30 million Israeli flowers meant for Christmas in
Europe left unpicked” (December 27) was depressing to read. Are we living in
Chelm? We are short 5,000 flower pickers.
The housing for them
All the facilities are in place. A little bit of brainpower: Give
5,000 African migrants a chance to help the flower growers and the Israeli
We used to be the most dependable close source of flowers for
Europe. We are throwing away our credibility.
Sir, – With all the discussion regarding Christmas trees and
New Year’s Eve (“’Tis the season,” Letters, December 27), maybe we should adopt
the celebration “Festivus,” like the father of George Costanza in a Seinfeld
When we make issues of such things, it is not surprising that
the really serious disputes in this country cannot be resolved. Will 2013 be any
Sir, – Ouch! Why does Gil Troy have to resort to
name-calling, or rather complete haredi bashing (“Haredi grinches should stop
shouting ‘Oy to the world,’” Center Field, December 25)? “Jewish Talibans?” I am
not haredi, but I, too, am offended by a Christmas tree being placed at the
Jaffa Gate, the main entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem, the Jewish capital
of Israel. Likewise, I was offended last year and the year before when I visited
the Old City and was greeted by Santa Clause and signs all over the Jaffa Gate
wishing me a “Merry Christmas.”
I was used to this in North America,
where for 35 years I was bombarded with all things Christmas, from Thanksgiving
through New Year’s, literally everywhere I went. It was a breath of fresh air
the first year after I made aliya when I realized that the holiday had come and
gone without my knowledge! Preferring not to have holiday symbols of other
religions displayed so close to where our holy Temple once stood does not make
us anti-Israel or anti-Zionist – it makes us... Jewish! The fact that the writer
somehow connects this to haredi resistance to the draft is just another way to
take a jab at a part of the population he views only with contempt, referring to
haredim (all haredim it seems, as he makes no apparent distinction between any
groups) as “Jewish deviants,” “Jewish extremist Talibans” with “nasty,
narrow-minded and narcissistic” interpretations of Judaism.
Wow! I’d say
the writer himself is displaying just these characteristics.
Who’s a Christian?
Sir, – Your article “Christian population in Israel
growing” (December 26) appears to categorize all immigrants from the former
Soviet Union who are non-halachically Jewish as Christian.
immigrants from mixed marriages who do not meet halachic criteria are
I can appreciate that this follows rabbinically guided
government regulations, but it probably results in distorted information. I
would assume that some of those categorized as “Christian” would claim to be
non-religious or actually identify themselves as Jews.
Death and dying
Sir, – “Thou shalt not kill; but needst not strive
officiously to keep alive.” These best-known lines from Arthur Hugh Clough’s
poem, written 150 years ago, are even more applicable today, when patients can
be kept alive almost indefinitely by means of modern technology.
Corn (“Can preparation make death less daunting?,” Perspectives, December 26)
raises some vital issues. In my opinion, being able to discuss this inevitable
event with one’s family and friends, and making plans go a long way toward
mitigating the fear.
Most people are far more afraid of prolonged
suffering and being a burden to their loved ones than they are of death. For
peace of mind, the answer is to make a living will, a document officially drawn
up and witnessed by a lawyer in which one states that in an end-of-life
situation, where the vital signs are fading, there is no longer a possibility of
living any kind of meaningful life, and one is unable to voice his or her own
desires, heroic measures are not to be undertaken.
This needs to be
discussed with one’s children and grandchildren, who should be given copies of
the document. While they might try to avoid talking about such an emotional
issue, this planning could well prove to be a source of great help and comfort
to both the patient and the family when the time comes.
LOLA S. COHEN