December 1st: Bnei Brak II

It is very refreshing and reassuring to see that efforts toward democracy and justice sometimes actually pay off.

November 30, 2013 22:11

Letters 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )

Bnei Brak II

Sir, – It is very refreshing and reassuring to see that efforts toward democracy and justice sometimes actually pay off (“Weinstein to court: Order new election in Beit Shemesh,” November 28). If the campaign for mayor had been fair, without the lies and fraud that were rampant for months, the results would have been even more overwhelmingly in favor of Eli Cohen.

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Contrary to the whining of Mayor Moshe Abutbul and his supporters, this was absolutely not a fight between the haredim (ultra-Orthodox) and everyone else. It was Abutbul who stoked the fire from the start.

In my 18 years of living here I have never met a potential leader with more ability to unite all the different elements of a population like Cohen. He most certainly would serve the haredi population as much as he would everyone else, and everyone in our very diverse city would get the services they need. This was not the case for the past five years, when most of Beit Shemesh’s non-haredi residents were treated like second- class citizens.

The city would take a new direction under Cohen, a direction away from becoming Bnei Brak II and toward becoming an example to the whole country for progress and unity.


Creative finance

Sir, – In your editorial of November 27 (“Income taxes and ideology”) you speculate as to where the Treasury discovered a hefty NIS 3.5 billion surplus for the 2014 budget.

Maybe Finance Minister Yair Lapid found it “stuffed between the pages of liturgical texts,” similar to what was reported the same day in the news item “Metzger released to house arrest.”


Moral equivalence

Sir, – With regard to “PM convenes urgent meetings on stalemate over Horizon 2020” (November 26), permit me to alert your readers to the invidious differences between the way the European Union relates to the pariah state of Iran and how it treats Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.

Despite proven Iranian support and sponsorship of terrorism in many parts of the world, and the murder of many tens of thousands by Tehran’s puppet regime in Syria, the EU, together with other world powers, came obsequiously to Iran and went out of its way to sign a treaty that not only will cause no discomfort to the Iranians, but will effectively permit them to continue their enrichment program.

While not one of these powers dared challenge the Iranian leadership’s call for the elimination of Israel, they chose to reward Iran with the partial removal of sanctions.

In considering Israel’s request to show some flexibility concerning settlement guidelines that would permit its participation in the Horizon 2020 project, the EU’s response was callous and totally negative. Israel, whose scientific achievements are second to none, is forced to its knees because of Europe’s blind acceptance of the Palestinian narrative. Non-compliance with this political extortion would result in a huge blow to Israeli research.

The final score: Iran is given every consideration, including permission to continue violating years of UN resolutions demanding that it cease enrichment, and thereby is enabled to threaten the region with weapons of mass destruction – while Israel, the nation that “dwells alone,” is forced to curtail the research that has produced many of the major scientific and medical breakthroughs for mankind.


Sir, – As Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett has stated, people who invest in Israel have a right to decide where they want and do not want to put their money.

My problem is that the European Union dispenses hundreds of millions each year to the Palestinian Authority for purposes of development. I never heard the EU include safeguards to prevent those funds from reaching or assisting the infrastructure of terrorism by making sure they aren’t funneled to extremist religious institutions or used for pensions and bounties for prisoners or the families of terrorists.

Where is the EU’s moral equivalence?


Glick on Obama

Sir, – In “The goal of Obama’s foreign policy” (“Our World, November 26), Caroline B. Glick delineates the tactics US President Barack Obama has used to weaken the State of Israel. They are surprisingly similar to the tactics he is using to weaken US democracy and America’s position as a powerful nation.

It behooves Israel to look at some examples of his governing style to understand how he relates to the Jewish state.

Obama says one thing while meaning another. In the US he pushed through the so-called Obama Care program by insisting that anyone already satisfied with his or her health care would be able to keep it. This turned out to be such a blatant lie that even public broadcasters, that bastion of liberalism, replayed over and over again the speech in which he made his promise.

Glick observes that Israel’s appropriate “concerns over Iran’s nuclear behavior were belittled, ignored and derided….”

Now listen to one of Obama’s campaign speeches in which he belittled small businessmen in America by saying that if they had a business they couldn’t say they had built it – somebody else had made it happen.

It is not much consolation that what is happening to Israel is also happening to America.

It is not important if you are thought “small” in the eyes of the world. It is important that Israel not appear small in its own eyes.


Sir, – When Ms. Glick concludes that US President Barack Obama’s foreign policy goal is to “weaken the State of Israel,” I am both taken aback and feel that I am unable to take anything she writes seriously.

Glick’s charge that American foreign policy is informed by an animosity toward the Jewish state is no less ludicrous than the charge by anti-Semites that American foreign policy is controlled by Jews and Zionists.

Indeed, the massive financial, diplomatic, security and political support the US freely provides to us gives lie to her charges.

I am not denying her conclusion that America and Israel have different foreign policy interests. She is absolutely right that Israel has far more to fear from Iran’s nuclear program than does America or the European Union, and that military action will be needed to destroy the Iranian nuclear threat. But I would remind her that it is equally true that war in general is the worst possible solution to any problem and should be only the very last of options after all diplomacy and sanctions have failed.

But when Glick states that American foreign policy is intended to weaken Israel, that is where I leave.


Sir, – Come on, Caroline! Enough of the persecution complex! The goal behind Barack Obama’s Iranian strategy is not to weaken Israel. It might happen as a by-product, but the strategy also might weaken the US.

Obama’s lousy deal only illustrates the risks he is prepared to take from both from the US and Israeli perspectives. It is all because of his perception that he is invincible. So a little less hysteria on the subject of Iran is called for. So is considerably more wisdom than is presented in her column.

That Israel has no choice but to look to itself to safeguard its position, and not rely on the US, really should have been obvious all along. It is foolish to ever have thought otherwise.


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