July 16, 2019: New reigning champion

Readers of the Jerusalem Post have their say.

July 16, 2019 22:12

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

New reigning champion

“A record beater with nothing to show” (July 15) asks, “Despite more than 13 years in office, what has PM accomplished?” This question can and should attract a most detailed response. However, let’s keep it simple. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as the face of Israel on the world scene, has projected and promoted Israel as a nation worthy of sitting at the top table.
He has also nurtured numerous contacts with many countries both from the first and third world, garnering highly successful diplomatic assets and trade contracts.

Lastly but not least he showed one president of the USA that we will not look the other way and remain silent when decisions instituted in a most arbitrary way might well affect our actual security. With that one’s successor he immediately instigated with a close relationship the moving of its embassy to our capital Jerusalem and recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Yes, love him or hate him or anything in between, a more dedicated front man for Israel will be a hard act to follow – and until then, long may he reign.

Tel Aviv

Jeff Barak’s latest column is insulting not only to your readers but also to the Israeli electorate as a whole.

One can argue whether or not Prime Minister Netanyahu should continue in office or whether or not you agree with his domestic or security policies, but one cannot seriously contend that over the course of his tenure he has accomplished nothing. The economy has been strong throughout his tenure; relations with the Arab world and many countries in Africa, South America and Asia have improved tremendously; and relations with the United States have never been closer.

But the most ludicrous portion of Barak’s column is to claim that Ehud Barak accomplished more in his very brief tenure as prime minister than Netanyahu has in the past ten years. Yes, Ehud Barak pulled us out of Lebanon but in such a helter-skelter way as to empower Hezbollah. He totally abandoned the South Lebanon Army, our allies who suffered terribly as a result of Israel’s abandonment.

He negotiated in such a poor way with Yasser Arafat that his own foreign minister was quoted as saying that it is not that Barak has no red lines but that he constantly crosses them. Moreover, his policies vis a vis the Palestinians led directly to the Second Intifada.

Finally, Jeff Barak wants us to believe that Ehud Barak is as clean as a whistle. No mention of the amutot affair in connection with the 1999 election when one of his chief aides refused to answer police questions; no mention of the $2.3 million Barak received from The Wexner Foundation allegedly for research when no one else ever received such a sum from that foundation; and of course his business ties to Jeffrey Epstein.

It’s one thing to make a case that Bibi doesn’t deserve reelection, it’s another thing to insult our intelligence by saying that Ehud Barak accomplished more as prime minister. Some columns are better left unpublished.


I would remind Jeff Barak that Ehud Barak did not successfully put an end to “Israel’s ‘misguided’ almost two-decade long occupation of South Lebanon.” In fact, Barak left Lebanon in the dead of night like a thief, leaving behind tanks and equipment that were made use of by our enemies, and even left behind prayer books. A humiliating rout if ever there was one.

The proof of his failure is that today Hezbollah controls Lebanon and they have thousands of rockets aimed at all parts of our land. They have cross-border attack tunnels and even though our military believes we have destroyed them, there is no guarantee of that or that more will not be built ready for infiltration into our land.

When a leadership leaves its enemy intact, as happened with Hezbollah as well as with Hamas, which has been allowed to grow stronger, there can be no “successful end.”


Pounding Peretz

Regarding “Peretz should go” (July 15), I wonder whether we are still a democratic state or we are a democratic dictatorship where only one side of the political map can express an opinion or an approach to any issue.

Our new Justice Minister, Amir Ohana, has also expressed certain opinions about LGBT and no one said that he should resign. Education Minister Rafi Peretz didn’t say he would enforce the gay conversion therapy, he simply discussed it, which also seems to be forbidden.

In addition, he had the nerve to speak about the dangers of assimilation, which is eating away at most of world Jewry, to which the foolish response was that it is not a critical problem. What then is critical, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz? Isaac Herzog, head of the Jewish Agency made similar remarks before he was silenced by the democratic dictators.

I believe in live and let live – but also in speak and let others speak.

Chief Rabbi of Dimona

I take issue with your editorial “Peretz should go.”

You have fallen into the trap of the general left-wing media for whom everyone who does not agree with their line of thinking is undemocratic and “everyone is entitled to my opinion!”

Rafi Peretz is a rabbi, a husband and a father of many children, an air force pilot, an educator and education minister. He has opinions that were developed and formed based on his experiences in all these fields. In my view, this demands that we give consideration to these opinions and not dismiss them out of hand with meaningless rabble-rousing platitudes such as (I quote your article) “he has scandalized the very notion of being an education minister” and “he has brought Israel into disrepute by slamming intermarriage and assimilation.”

So what is his crime? Well it is that these opinions and his “worldview” do not accord with those of the “enlightened” intelligentsia, with those who glorify the unnatural and condone the dilution and disappearance of the Jewish way of life that has held together our grandfathers and their grandfathers for over 2,000 years and has ensured our survival as a people. Can any Jew in Israel stand up and deny that his great grandfather was a God-fearing religious Jew?

Peretz is a man who has foresight based on hindsight and it is these eternal values of Judaism (not necessarily religious) and the sanctity of family and, yes, the Torah itself, which he justifiably wants to inculcate in the minds and manners of Israeli children now under his tutelage.

The media is still in the midst of the witch-hunt after Bibi, let it not now enter into a new one after Peretz. We still all remember the damage done to Yaakov Neeman, Yaakov Weinrott, the demise of both of whom was undoubtedly hastened by media witch-hunting.


I was shocked at the ferocity of your editorial.

You say Rafi Peretz “has scandalized the very notion of what it means to be an education minister.” On the contrary, he embodies what education should be – giving students the information and tools to learn how to think, yet setting certain red lines
None of this “society says... therefore it must be so.” There are different groups, and many do not toe the liberal line. People rant about kfiya datit (forcing traditional religious values on others), but the attacks on Peretz constitute kfiya chilonit, attempting to force super-liberal values on him.

Psychologists and educators say that children need boundaries and guidance to make proper choices in life. As Peretz has tried to explain, he wants youths who are dealing with certain personal issues to know there is more than one way to go. He wants kids to endeavor to understand themselves and where this issue has come from and what is right for them. Not that “society” should dictate what is right for them.

As for the second attack, “bringing Israel into disrepute,” intermarriage is not a welcome phenomenon by any means. “Holocaust” is a strong word to use, perhaps too strong, but there is a spiritual tragedy going on, where Jewish young people, who have had no real education as to what being Jewish entails besides bagels and maybe a bar/ bat mitzvah party, don’t know why marrying Jewish is such an important thing.

Peretz is espousing true Jewish values that kept us alive for 2,000 years of exile.

“Comments... more appropriate to a country of ignorance than the hi-tech Start-Up Nation.” What in the world is the connection between a higher moral standard and the technological advances Israel has made? What, not teaching that everything goes, laying down red lines, and sticking to them, is leading this country to ignorance? Oh, please, spare me the hysterics.

Peretz is a “moral beacon,” not for the relative morality of today, but for the Jewish ethics and morals of yesteryear and eternity.


One of 613 commandments

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (America’s Rabbi) is a truly positive person. He wants the Torah to be a source of Jewish unity rather than division. In his frenzied attempt to square the circle (“Orthodox Jews must not demonize gays,” July 16) Boteach explains that homosexuality is a religious sin but not a moral sin. There are 613 commandments in the Torah – only one is against gay sex. When attempting to aid gay couples, he tells them to create a kosher home, turn off the TV on the Sabbath, put on tefillin every day, etc.

Pity the secular gays who don’t want to do all these things. They want to watch TV on Saturday and also be gay. Boteach misses the mark entirely. The Torah will never be a unifying factor for all Jews until the Orthodox stop their endless proselytizing and interference with the views and lifestyles of the rest of us Jews.


Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s argument for viewing homosexuality as just another religious sin, akin to violating the Sabbath or eating on Yom Kippur, as opposed to a moral sin, is specious.

Boteach points out that homosexuality is categorized in the Torah as an abomination, as are many things. Neglecting to treat kindly the orphan, the widow, the stranger and the poor, too, is a moral and a religious failure – an abomination. A Jew who does that has failed to recognize the essence of Jewish behavior vis-a-vis one’s fellowman.

Eating on Yom Kippur because one has a craving or is secular is a religious sin in Boteach’s lexicon, not a moral one. The case of some leftist Jews who defiantly held banquets on Yom Kippur in the early years of the State of Israel is, however, another matter. Publicly violating a Torah stricture with flagrant disdain a la Zimri ben Salu (Parashat Pinchas) suggests a deep moral flaw and carries more weight. That is sinning for sinning’s sake; celebrating the sin – yet even that has nuances.

Boteach, however, erroneously claims that the practice of homosexuality is not immoral because no other innocent party (contrary to theft or adultery) is hurt by such behavior involving “two consenting adults in a relationship.”

“Two consenting adults” is a notion borrowed from 20th century non-Jewish sources of law and has little bearing on defining Torah principles.

More importantly, he’s wrong. The homosexual act by definition involves two individuals, just like adultery. Each individual automatically involves the other, presents the other with the opportunity and means to act. Had one of the two not been there, there would not have been a homosexual or sinful act. By providing the necessary second party – the condition, the kelim and encouragement to sin – each individual becomes the other partner’s means to sin. Willing participation in a homosexual act causes another to violate a Torah principle. Each is responsible not only for his own behavior, but also for his partner’s. Like adultery, the homosexual act involves betrayal – not of a marriage partner, but of God and His moral principles.

As such, homosexuality is a moral sin, using Boteach’s definition.


Friend or foe?

In “Attack on Democrats will be costly to Israel” (July 16), Yaakov Katz conveniently forgets that the partisan attacks on Israel started with Democratic president Barack Obama, who was openly antagonistic to Israel and to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel has been under attack by the BDS movement led by progressive leftists, unfortunately consisting of many liberal Jews probably belonging to the Democratic Party – definitely not the Republican Party.

The answer to Katz’s column cannot be better expressed than by the article appearing on the same front page “Huckabee: US is best served with Netanyahu as leader.”

Ganei Modi’in

Yaakov Katz rightly observes that support for Israel is declining in the American Democratic Party, as it drifts leftward onto the shoals of anti-Israel fanaticism and antisemitism. However, it is a mistake to attribute any part of this shift to Israeli support for the most pro-Israel presidential administration in recent history.

The far Left’s hostile preoccupation with Israel precedes Donald Trump, as Communists, socialists, and liberals of some stripes have been enemies of Israel for decades. One can look back far into the 20th century at the Israel-related positions and policies of this ilk and find a sea of anti-Israel rhetoric and actions.

It is important for Jewish American voters to face this reality directly, not to be reticent or afraid to vote for supporters of Israel, and to oppose those who pillory Israel illegitimately. If bipartisan American support for Israel is a lost cause, we need to face that reality unflinchingly.

Israel is entitled to support its allies and oppose its foes. If the American Democratic Party has become a home for some of those foes, Israel’s relationship with the party has to reflect that. Failing to acknowledge reality never works out well in the long run.

Williamsville, New York

Hi-tech imperiled?

In “Israeli hi-tech threatened by diplomatic success it created” (July 16), Dana Weiss warns that young scientists and hi-tech whizzes are leaving Israel in droves because of Israel’s domestic politics. The world once overlooked the Arab world’s miserable human rights record because of the need for oil, she says, and it is prepared to ignore Israel’s because of their need for our expertise in security solutions. This will not last, however, she maintains, and the antipathy of our talented young scientists toward the Netanyahu government is causing many of them to leave Israel.

Most of this invaluable but very small group (about 130,000 out of nine million) are residents of the liberal, left-leaning greater Tel Aviv area. Weiss links their outlook with the results of the last election in which the Likud received under 20% of the vote in Tel-Aviv.

While this may be true, I question whether their dislike of Israel’s policies is the main reason driving so many young scientists to leave the country. They are not going to liberal Canada or to most countries in Europe. They are going to Trump’s America and Germany. In America, they have a booming economy with even more opportunities than in Israel and is the hi-tech center of the world. In Germany, especially Berlin, they have a lovely cultured life that is affordable for young homebuyers (if you ignore growing antisemitism).

Before we accept Dana Weiss’s argument, we should be skeptical about the link between political outlook and the departure of our young scientists from Israel.


Related Content

August 22, 2019
Back to school: What we teach our children


Cookie Settings