Presidential race

Sir, – So, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu finally makes up his mind and chooses to support a candidate for president (“PM’s support for Rivlin shocks presidential race,” May 29). Reason given? He feared a “backlash in the Likud if he did not support the party’s only candidate.”

It is now clear, if it was not before, that the whole process of choosing the next president is simply a matter of political choice to ensure that existing parties will survive the process.

Over the weeks and months leading up to the final naming of candidates, there was no mention whatsoever of the qualities and virtues required. This is proof, without doubt, that MKs do not care who wins the race as long as their party will be with us after June 10.

Surely it is time for presidents to be chosen by the people.

MOISHE VEEDER
Netanya

Sir, – I graduated law school some 50 years ago and like to think I have a nose for good people.

With regard to your headline” Itzik could surprise in presidential contest” (May 23), I would like to add my name to the list of her supporters. I have watched her closely for many years and liked what I see. That she would grace the office of our presidency with great honor and style is the least I could say.

I hope she wins it.

ALEXANDER ZIMMERMAN
Ra’anana

Jerusalem Day

Sir, – I sensed that something was missing from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Jerusalem Day speeches. If Jerusalem is the heart of our people, the Temple Mount, former site of the Holy of Holies, is its very soul – and we are relinquishing our soul as long as Jews are denied full access and the ability to pray there.

A final Israel-Arab agreement must ensure the return of Israel’s full sovereignty over the Temple Mount. We will then experience the fulfillment of the prophetic words: “For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Isaiah 56:7).

FRED GOTTLIEB
Jerusalem

Sir, – I personally and wholeheartedly endorse the proposal made by Bayit Yehudi lawmaker Yoni Chetboun (“MK’s bill seeks to make Jerusalem Day a holiday,” May 28). However, I don’t think it goes far enough.

Simply making Jerusalem Day a national holiday will only mean a day off for children and some parents in which to have yet another barbecue. For religious Zionists, whether it is a national holiday or not, it is a day of reciting additional prayers and holding youth marches to the Western Wall. Making it a meaningful national holiday for the rest of the country requires a bit more.

I suggest that the day become a national celebration of “Identifying with Jerusalem.” The entire country should be encouraged to spend the day in the capital.

To accomplish this I suggest that all Jerusalem museums and municipal institutions be open and free of charge that day, restaurants and food vendors offer their goods at half-price, and Egged provides free transportation.

This will encourage people to plan and make their pilgrimage once a year. It will be a boon to Jerusalem and a sanctification of God’s name for all Israel.

AHARON ZIEGLER
Jerusalem/New York

The papal visit

Sir, – Regarding “Pope Francis’s unfriendly visit” (Our World, May 28), Caroline B. Glick tells it like it is. It reminded me of the tale of the emperor’s new clothes – but everyone knows the ending so I don’t have to elaborate.

We very well could have done without all the simpering and hugging. When will we ever learn?

LIBA HIRSCHMAN
Beit Shemesh

Sir, – The recent whirlwind visit of Pope Francis to the Middle East failed to meet expectations for bringing about a breakthrough in the peace process. In his effort to keep things fair, balanced and morally equivalent, the pontiff made a mockery of the principle of fair-mindedness (“The papal message,” Editorial, May 27).

Like previous popes, Francis made meaningless platitudes, that Israel has the “right to exist,” Jews and Arabs should put aside their differences and “pray for peace,” etc. But he tipped his hand when he stopped in the Bethlehem area at the security barrier (erected to thwart Arab terrorism) and offered a silent prayer in sympathy for Arab hardship.

He also took a snipe at alleged Jewish graffiti on some churches in Israel while failing to single out Israel in praise as the only Middle Eastern nation to provide complete freedom of worship for all religions. Much worse, though, was his refusal to confront Arab leaders for allowing Muslim fanatics to run amok, bombing churches and murdering Christians.

One cannot deny that the style of the new pope is gracious and pleasing. But the Vatican’s deep-rooted antagonism to Israel and Judaism has not dissipated after 2,000 years. Those sentiments cannot be erased by an amiable South American pope.

ROBERT DUBLIN
Jerusalem

Sir, – There is an old joke about a man who murdered his parents and when brought to trial asks the judge for leniency because he is an orphan.

Is anyone else reminded of this joke by the Palestinians’ insistence on wringing tears, sympathy and condemnation of Israel out of the useful idiots of the world because of the security barrier, erected after their murderous spree of blowing up citizens of this country in buses and pizza parlors? NAOMI SANDLER Jerusalem Sir, – It was disappointing to see one of your articles stating in 2014, without any qualification, that “the bloody and protracted second intifada... was the result of former prime minister Ariel Sharon’s September 2000 visit” to the Temple Mount (“Francis beseeches Grand Mufti to disavow Temple Mount strife,” May 27).

It is pretty clear by now that the second intifada was an armed uprising, preplanned by the bloodthirsty Palestinian leadership of that period and fueled by the intolerance and hatred that are constantly instilled in the population.

OSCAR VOLIJ
Meitar

Sir, – In the item “For the ultimate humanitarian tourist – an alternative agenda for the pontiff’s Holy Land visit” (Comment & Features, May 25), the example of the delivery room scene at Hadassah Hospital made me recall my own experience of the absolute absence of discrimination there (and, I am sure, at all Israeli hospitals).

A few years ago my daughter, after being hospitalized for a month at Hadassah for pregnancy complications, was informed that her twins would be delivered by Cesarean section that day. After waiting for a number of tense hours, preparations began and she was taken into the operating theater. After a few minutes, though, she was brought back out because another delivery had become more urgent than hers.

An Arab woman was given priority over my daughter because urgency of treatment is, of course, decided solely on the basis of medical considerations.

Had the situation been reversed, I am sure some people would have jumped at the opportunity to call it discrimination.

In my long experience of Israeli hospitals and medical centers during the more than 50 years I have lived here, I have never seen discrimination, nor have I expected it. Arab and Jewish doctors, nurses and auxiliary staff work together, and patients of all communities and religions share rooms and services.

PAULINE SHOMER
Har Adar

Royal silence?

Sir, – I find it interesting that there was no reaction from Belgium’s royal family to the recent terrorist attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels (“Brussels Jewish Museum shooting leaves four dead,” May 25). Any explanations?

TOVA TEITELBAUM
Haifa

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