Waiting for the inevitable
Your headline “Israel strikes six Hamas targets overnight Sunday after rocket hits home in South” (December 19) makes we wonder if anyone is noticing the similarities between what’s happening now and what happened in 2008, 2012 and 2014, just to name a few “operations” that were supposed to stop Hamas from bombing our civilians.
What exactly is Israel waiting for? Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assurances that Hamas’s firepower has been dealt with have proven wrong on so many levels – and now we have to contend with Iran, Hezbollah and who knows what other Arab countries that might decide to join the fray.
I believe that US President Donald Trump is the answer. Under his tutelage, Israel and the United States can preempt the inevitable and finally destroy the Iran-Hezbollah-Hamas axis. But time is running short. Rather than wait for the enemy to strike, we need to strike first – hard and decisively.
After living in Israel these many years, though, I’m a realist. I’m stocking up on non-perishables, waiting for the inevitable. Again.YAACOV PETERSEIL
Jerusalem Teva and gross incompetence
Teva’s tragic fall (“Teva workers hole up in factories, workers strike in solidarity,” December 18) is evidence of gross incompetence, not only by management, but also by politicians.
Any company that grows primarily through acquisitions rather than investing in itself should raise a red flag, especially as Teva only had one flagship product – Copaxone. It was growing in size, but it wasn’t growing more profitable.
As for politicians who obviously have no understanding of corporate finance to give Teva a NIS 20 billion tax break without having any say in its management, this is totally ignorant at best and criminal at worst.
The saddest part, though, is that the employees now losing their livelihoods are paying the price.ERWIN PAVEL
Ra’anana Worries about discrimination
With regard to “Cabinet ‘affirmative action’ plan reserves 7% of new civil-service jobs for Haredim” (December 18), will these employees work with and provide services to people like me – a female Reform Jew who might be scantily dressed?
As someone from abroad, where might I run into a Haredi civil servant? Two places come to mind: at the airport, specifically border control, customs, security, VAT return, etc.; and in other services such as information booths, state-run medical offices and state-run tourist sites such as museums.
I support employing all demographies equitably – with assistance for those who are under-represented – as long as this doesn’t result in discrimination within the workplace or in front-line service delivery.
I just hope the government ensures that this outreach to Haredim does not introduce yet more discrimination into Israeli society.
Scandalous police response
With regard to “Women who sued to remove Beit Shemesh modesty signs receive death threats” (December 18), it is not just these signs, but years of disrespecting women, even young female children, in every area: how they dress, where they walk, etc.
One of the women is a friend of mine. She is Modern Orthodox. I asked her why the police were not giving them protection and she informed me that they had been to the police station four times.
The perpetrators make calls from unblocked numbers and can easily be traced and arrested. However, the police are doing nothing. When my friend asked a policewoman if they were waiting until she and the others were hurt or murdered, she was told: “Are you trying to play on my conscience?” Nothing has been done. I think it is scandalous.
Toddlers in the region
Joel C. Rosenberg’s “Mr. Pence’s high-stakes trip to Egypt” (Comment & Features, December 18) states that President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem “has significantly complicated the trip.” Perhaps, but given the region’s psychopathology, recognition is a step in the right direction because the region has a pervasive toddler problem.
The Middle East’s denizens may appear to be fullgrown adults, but emotionally speaking, many of them are stuck in the terrible-twos. This is evident from their tendency to want their way, and when they don’t get it, they go into a rage. Most crucially, they have not yet learned to share.
Emotional maturation demands respect for the rights of others, and this means setting firm limits, as President Trump is doing.
Charleston, South Caroline
Hellenism in our time
Kudos to Hadassah Fidler for “The Hanukka story – check your motivation” (Comment & Features, December 18). She exquisitely explains how historically, members of Jewish communities in the Diaspora have bent over backwards to bow down to the trends of the times in an attempt to blend into the non-Jewish environment.
Whether out of fear or out of a true belief that assimilation will bring true equality and opportunity for those of Jewish lineage dwelling in non-Jewish countries, this tendency bears an almost identical characteristic to that of the Jews during the time of the Maccabees.
Inner political struggles within Jewish communities are nothing new. As Ms. Fidler eloquently points out, these struggles only deepened with the establishment of the State of Israel. Such conflicts of identity result in Jewish support for BDS, Jewish scholars against US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, and support for B’Tselem and other organizations. These are truly signs of Hellenism in our time.
Today, as before, those who are willing to stand up against the odds to maintain Jewish values and Jewish traditions, mitzvot and Torah study will be the ones who carry the torch of Judaism, while those who choose assimilation will become irrelevant and obsolete.
As small in number that they were back then, we owe a great deal to the Maccabees for their willingness to fight the mighty Greeks on the battlefield of values. Let us never forget in whose merit we are identified today as Jews, and may we continue to be inspired by their great spirit.MEIRA OVED
Suggestion for electoral reform
With regard to reader Philip Aaronberg’s letter of December 18 (“How we can transform Israel”), I have a possible solution as to how to implement this.
A political party must be registered, its sole platform being to change the voting system to personal representation. My reasoning is that there are a lot of voters interested in electoral reform, especially olim from western countries and Israelis disaffected with the current system.
It is very likely that such a party would garner enough seats to be able to join the ruling coalition and thus force the issue.ARIEL BROCH
Philip Aaronberg makes some very valid points. Government representatives should be fully accountable to their constituents, a cornerstone of any modern democracy, and not just adhere to the vagaries of patched-up coalitions.
This system should be introduced here at the earliest opportunity. However, don’t hold your breath, for while vested interests remain the norm, the powers that be in all strata of society will fight tooth and nail to maintain the status quo.
Until Israel breaks free from these procedures, MKs, monopolies and various other institutions, including religious lobbies, will remain locked in outmoded practices where the privileged few rule the roost and hold everyone else to ransom.STEPHEN VISHNICK