Sir, – In view of the latest round of accusations of political fraud and corruption, it is truly reassuring that Labor MKs have called for the establishment of a national authority against government corruption (“Yisrael Beytenu defiant despite corruption probe,” December 25). A good place to begin would be the very problematic role of their chairman, MK Isaac Herzog, in the illegal funneling of foreign charitable funds to the 1999 election campaign of Ehud Barak and his One Israel party.
Following an investigation, then-state comptroller Eliezer Goldberg related in his annual report that there had been a systematic violation of Israeli election finance laws, and fined the party NIS 13 million. He reported that most of the illegal funds had been raised by Herzog, an adviser to Barak’s campaign who delivered the funds by creating a web of non-profit organizations that served as conduits.
The matter is well known. The only reason Herzog was not indicted was his decision to take “the right of silence” and not cooperate with the investigation.
If Herzog now wants to campaign on the image of Mr. Clean, he should immediately make full disclosure of these alleged illegal acts. In view of the passage of time, the statute of limitations would probably protect him, but the public has a right to know about a candidate who is avowedly running to be the next prime minister.
While everyone suspected of a crime can invoke the right of silence, there is a critical public policy issue as to whether such a person is ethically suitable for high office.
Are we mad?
Sir, – With regard to “Danon launches campaign to ban Zoabi from running for Knesset” (December 24), have we gone mad? For the many traitorous statements that have emerged from Balad MK Haneen Zoabi’s lips over the years, she already should have been convicted as a traitor, let alone banned from the Knesset.
The singular act of sailing on the Mavi Marmara and associating with enemies of Israel should have been sufficient.
That this situation prevails is indicative once more of the lack of representative government.
The constant declaration that Israel is a democracy is ludicrous given the omission of a bona fide constitution.
Quoting Prof. Paul Eidelberg, who for almost a lifetime has dedicated his efforts to constitutional reform, “Israel’s entire system of government requires a drastic overhaul, and this can only be accomplished by means of a constitution.”
Needless to say, the current election chaos would not be possible were an effective system of governance in place.
Sir, – The destruction of the Second Temple was not due to external factors but to baseless hatred, one Jew against another.
The current political scene brings back this destructiveness.
Vitriolic language fills the media – and only for extra votes, another mandate in the Knesset.
The price? A greater and deeper division filled with terms that if expressed by an outsider would be called anti-Semitism.
It is time that we, the people, stand up and say enough already to the politicians. Explain your platform and not only what programs you propose but how they will be funded.
We need not destroy our country from within, as in the days of the Second Temple.
Jerusalem Who speaks for them?
Sir, – Bravo to Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, for helping and welcoming the Jewish immigrants from Ukraine (“226 Ukrainian immigrants arrive on IFCJ aliya flight,” December 23). But why is everyone turning a deaf ear and blind eye to the Ethiopian Jews who are actually waiting in limbo in transit camps for flights to bring them to Israel? These are Jews who are cut off from their former homes and jobs, and waiting to be united with the rest of their families in Israel.
It is not the fault of the Ethiopian authorities; they are not forcing them to stay there. It is our government, which time and time again has delayed their departure.
Where are all the do-gooders and demonstrators? Does nobody care?
Haifa Enamored of leftists
Sir, – I object to articles from the anti-Zionist New York Times, especially from writers like Roger Cohen (“What will Israel become?” Comment & Features, December 23). While he is enamored of leftists such as Amos Oz, “settlers” like me (I live in a middle-class community all of 14 kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea) and many other Israelis know that “twostates” is a dead issue.
What does Cohen mean by “virulent, Jews-first thinking?” Of course, we think first of us Jews, precariously living in the only Jewish state. What’s wrong with MK Danny Danon’s vision of “sovereignty over the majority of the land with the minimum amount of Palestinians?” The Palestinians demand all of the land with no Jews. Don’t believe it? Try reading the Arab leaders’ speeches in translation from the Arabic.
Cohen is troubled by “an Israel bent on Jewish supremacy.”
Without supremacy in our own land there can be no survival here for us Jews. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas himself declares that “Palestine” will be Jew-free.
Cohen gets all choked up over the Gazans. I wish they merited his concern. Does Hamas, or even Abbas, have one-tenth as much concern for Gaza’s non-combatants as he does? Hamas positively promotes their despair and destruction as a tactic to gain sympathy.
There is no ready solution for peace with the Palestinian Arabs. That’s no reason to try to force a two-state solution that can’t work. In any event, the region is so roiled by internecine Arab warfare that the idea is ridiculous.
Sir, – At crucial moments, Roger Cohen travels to distant places to visit complex societies in order to give his readers an eagle-eye, real-time view of their problems from an informed, objective perspective. In “What will Israel become?” he chooses to interview individuals whose collective statements create an atmosphere of “crisis,” providing support for his ominous conclusion that the March elections constitute “the pivotal event and a battle for Israel’s soul.”
For even sympathetic pundits like Cohen, it is never about showers of rockets or barbaric murders of civilians, but about keeping the Jewish state faithful to the supposed liberal views of the Zionist founders. While acknowledging that Hamas-Fatah divisions and the deep-rooted Arab ambition to eliminate the Jewish state no matter where its boundaries make the twostate idea “tenuous,” he nevertheless quotes with apparent favor the brilliant suggestion of Amos Oz “to first sign a treaty and then work on a gradual emotional de-escalation.”
The “soul of Israel” is indeed a work in progress. But having noted that Israel is “a remarkable and vibrant democratic society,” the results of the election will have to be acceptable to the pundits, even if we decide we want more of the same whose name is Benjamin Netanyahu.
Jerusalem Shameful retreat
Sir, – In “A dark day for Hollywood” (Arts & Entertainment, December 23), Noa Amouyal accurately describes Sony’s shameful retreat in the face hacker threats.
Isn’t it amazing how Hollywood, the purveyor of liberal and open societies, is so easily intimidated by the outside forces of evil and darkness? Maybe it should follow its own advice before it dispenses it to others.