Look to the east
Sir, – It is wonderful to note that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has come to Israel with an entourage calling for meaningful trade relations (“Netanyahu: We must open Asian markets because of anti-Semitism in Europe,” January 19).
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments on anti-Semitism in Europe might be true, but it is also important to develop trade with Asia for its own sake. Asia is booming. Israel is strategically located. It remains what it always was in history – a land bridge between the Far East, the Middle East and Europe.
Asian minds are eager to learn, not fixated on the past. Asian people are delightful to meet and have a wonderful culture. This is the time for Israel to develop great knowledge of the Asian peoples and move ahead accordingly.
Trade is most important. I hope that from this day forward trade will blossom into real friendship.
Sir, – With regard to “Danger: Dishonest politicians could be up ahead” (Analysis, January 19), could be? What the article describes is almost a given. One gets the feeling of “same old, same old” when reading it.
Much more disturbing than what’s up ahead is the number of politicians across the political spectrum who have been convicted of crimes of one sort or another and are running again in the current elections. It is frightening to know that they are contributing toward decisions that affect our personal and national lives. It is upsetting to see the rotten example being set for younger generations.
I never understood why such people have to wait seven years before being eligible again for a position of national influence.
The punishment should include a permanent ban, even assuming that they’ve totally reformed.
Such a ban would hopefully serve as a deterrent for others while sending a message to our youth.
I’m tired of the national tsk, tsk and oh no over the scandal-of-the- day, followed by the ho-hum until the next.
Sir, – If the people of Israel and the State of Israel are not viewed, internationally, as being strong militarily, diplomatically and politically, we won’t be in any position to lower the price of cottage cheese or housing, let alone absorb all those immigrants we hope are coming.
I hope all the election rhetoric flying around will reflect these truths.
Not so official
Sir, – With regard to “Orthodox woman appointed to serve as communal spiritual leader in Efrat” (January 19), we wish to make a clarification.
Although we applaud the private initiative of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s decision to appoint Dr. Jennie Rosenfeld to assist him in dealing with halachic and religious issues in Efrat, she is not employed by the Religious Council of Efrat and has no official position as “communal spiritual leader in Efrat.”
If at some later date it is decided to officially establish such a position, it will be dealt with in the proper legal manner, including an official tender.
BOB LANG CHAIM SCHMELL
Efrat The writers are head and member, respectively, of the Religious Council of Efrat.
Sir, – I searched in vain for the word “communicated” above the half page of pro-Herzog bloviation by Jeff Barak – which issued forth under the rubric Reality Check no less (“The Herzog makeover,” January 19).
Dropping the nickname Buji will hardly do it for this lackluster wannabe leader. And his conjugal liaison with Tzipi Livni makes most of us gag, not only because she is guilty of serial political infidelity, but because her single accomplishment to date has been getting us into the Gaza quagmire that has cost us so much in life and treasure.
But what does it say about a man who already comes across as an adolescent-voiced wimp and then gives away half his kingdom to Livni when he could have purchased her for a whole lot less? Is this the sort of prime minister we want at the helm during serious negotiations with our sworn enemies – someone who overplays his opponent’s hand? Yes, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s expiration date may have come and gone. But the Bible warns us against the yoking together of a donkey and a cow.
With team Herzog we are all in deep trouble, Mr. Barak’s windy fulminations notwithstanding.
Sir, – Jeff Barak’s declaration that “Herzog has dazzlingly disrupted the entire political ecosystem with the masterstroke of this election campaign” is nothing short of astounding, if not whimsical fantasy.
Would any see-it-as-it-is Israeli realist vote for a Herzog-Livni disaster ticket, thereby putting first and foremost Israel’s most critical security interests in their enemy-appeasing hands? I believe and sincerely trust not.
The economy and high cost of living are certainly problems, but they are dwarfed by the ever-escalating genocidal Islamic threat, let alone the potentially suicidal Labor/left-wing goal of the creation of a genocidal, judenfrei, apartheid terrorist state in the heart of our country and within missile range of Ben-Gurion Airport.
The time is long overdue for liberals and left-wingers to abandon their ostrich technique and squarely face the critical priority, urgency and reality of Israel’s security and survival.
Sir, – Jeff Barak once again lauds Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog, this time for having “dazzlingly disrupted the entire political ecosystem” by aligning himself with Tzipi Livni. Wasn’t she, by most accounts, an abject failure as foreign minister and a total failure when it came to forming a new government in 2009? What’s so “dazzling” about that? JACOB HIMMELFARB Jerusalem Sir, – Has everyone completely forgotten Tzipi Livni’s “great achievement” – the infamous UN Security Council Resolution 1701? At the time, Livni expressed much pride in her “successful” negotiations to prevent Hezbollah from rearming after our last war in Lebanon. But unlike her firm conviction, we are now faced with a much greater threat from our northern border.
It reminds me of US President Barack Obama using the person who acted as negotiator with North Korea for his hopeless talks with Iran, trying to stop the latter from galloping toward the atom bomb. It is obvious that here, too, any agreement will be a farce.
I was amazed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put Livni in charge of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
How could he ignore her ineptness facing Hezbollah? If Labor wins the coming elections, party leader Isaac Herzog will undoubtedly allow his “partner” to wreak even more damage on Israel’s security.
Now that another round of missiles from Hezbollah-land might be imminent, Livni’s great part in enabling it to formidably rearm is even more relevant. I won’t hold my breath waiting to hear from her the slightest doubt that Resolution 1701 was a huge mistake.
Expect no less
Sir, – When reader Angela Formby states that “Israeli forces have been helping Syrian rebels from the Nusra Front for quite some time” and that the rebels are “being encouraged by the Israeli government” (“No Surprise,” Letters, January 19), she is seriously ill-informed or deliberately misleading.
It is well documented that Israel is supplying urgently required humanitarian aid to Syrian civilians near its borders and accedes to requests for medical assistance when necessary. Whether the casualties are civilians or combatants is irrelevant. I would expect no less from my own government.
Glasgow The writer is a member of Scottish Friends of Israel