More problems The article’s headline says it all: “IDF struggles with rising influence of national-religious troops,” April 18.
If only Israel had more of such problems! Incidentally, what is not discussed, and is at least as noteworthy, is to the extent why there has been a lessening of representation of officers and elite soldiers from the secular kibbutzim.
My strong sense is that, despite a subtle insinuation that religious-Zionists have somehow muscled out the kibbutznikim, the religious-Zionists are in fact filling a leadership vacuum.
The implication of a threat from religious-Zionist troops is akin to the secular hand-wringing over the friendship of Christian Zionists for the State of Israel.
Both reflect a bogeyman syndrome, a fear of the other, a fear that we might someday be taken into dark places.
However, in the world we actually inhabit, we should be thankful for both. Religious-Zionist troops bring a depth of understanding and awareness to the holiness of their task in defending the people and State of Israel, which promises to strengthen Israel’s backbone for hopefully many years to come.DOUGLAS ALTABEF Rosh Pina
Stick to facts I’m not sure what upset me most after reading the April 15 front page article, “UNICEF: Israel’s child poverty rate surpasses Mexico and Chile,” about the high rate of childhood poverty in Israel: was it the reporting or the early, inappropriate political response the authors included? Consistent with the “poll infatuation” so common in our local media, we are bombarded with a confusing array of statistical percentages with minimal (if any) explanation of the methodology employed.
Any Web search will confirm that the term “threshold of childhood poverty” is controversial.
In my cursory review I learned that recent UNICEF reports have used two different sets of metrics to determine how to set this threshold.
It’s worth noting that one of the US presidential candidates (Bernie Sanders in a recent CNN interview) has asserted that the US has the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country on earth.
What he meant by “major” and how he derived this statistic was left for his audience to decipher.
It seems to me that we have a desperate need for reports that define terms and stick to the facts. We are exposed to enough disagreement in Israel! And instead of including gratuitous political self-flagellation in their article, reporters can provide additional, well-researched, factual material to help the reader better understand the issues involved.RON SPIRO Jerusalem
No remorse In her Think About It column on April 18, “The commemoration of Rehavam Ze’evi,” Susan Hattis Rolef cited indignation against Ze’evi’s party joining the government because it advocated “voluntary transfer of Arabs who refused to accept Jewish supremacy in western Israel.”
She also mentioned the involuntary transfer advocated by Meir Kahane.
I wonder why she, and other like-minded Israelis, never condemned the involuntary transfer of Jews, first from northern Sinai (Yamit et al) and, later, from the Gaza Strip (Gush Katif et al).
Those were termed “evacuation” and were intended to “save” them from the fate of living in an Arab-controlled area, even though it took a large military force to perform the operation.
Proponents of a two-state solution have every intention of proposing the same thing for Jews who currently live in areas that would belong to a future Palestinian state, and they feel no remorse or hesitation about that.
Apparently, forcibly expelling Jews is okay whereas doing the same thing to Arabs is despicable.
If the Arabs insist that no Jews can live in their countries, why can’t Israel relate the same way to Arabs in its domain?
HAIM SHALOM SNYDER Petah Tikva
Scrap it Regarding the April 15 front page article (“Ryan: US Budget constraints affecting Israel aid talks”), I am going to use my Jewish chutzpa to give US Speaker of the House Paul Ryan some suggestions as to how to resolve his problems.
First, within your country you should try to live within your means. Start by removing the reams of tax breaks available to businesses. Net profit should be income, less expenses – that is it.
That an individual is entitled to a tax refund for his bond repayment on his home but not if he pays rent is also ridiculous.
Instead of increasing the minimum wage, scrap it! Yes,scrap it.
Let people work for whatever they are prepared to earn. Ryan needs to reduce costs of production, not increase them. The US cannot keep on importing $48 billion per month more than it exports, when China last month, with a supposed decrease of 25% in exports, still had a $32b.
trade surplus balance! Scrap the medical aid bill. I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, I’m just saying the country cannot afford it now. It was really introduced at the worst possible time in the country’s history.
Externally, I fully understand that Ryan make ex-gratia payments to keep some countries happy or “in-line.” However, $400 million per year to UNRWA is a complete waste of money with zero return.
I don’t know how much the US pays to the Palestinian Authority, but that is also a waste of the country’s precious money – and as Ryan probably knows, a large portion of that money ends up in private Swiss banking accounts. Same goes for many other payments, especially to African countries.
As for the Israeli aid package, if I remember correctly 70% must be spent in the US. So part of it goes back into the government’s coffers through income tax and company tax.
And the US gets a fantastic return on working with Israeli ingenuity. Think again, Mr. RyanLOUIS ZETLER Hoshaya
Fresh air At long last I am able to attribute kudos to Shmuley Boteach.
In the past, his columns have exhibited bombast and egocentrism in his importance at Oxford University and his influence over the “high heid yins” he met there and in his other walks of life. (For those who do not come from Scotland the phrase means “important people.”) At last, in his latest No Holds Barred column from April 19, “Is there an Obama doctrine?” he displays intelligence and accurate political analysis on the troubles of the situation in Syria and Europe due to US President Barack Obama’s failure to act correctly.
A veritable breath of fresh air. If he keeps it up henceforth I shall look forward to his articles instead of treating them with scorn.EDWIN HOFFENBERG Haifa
Decomposed The use of the letters column to publicize a Jerusalem Post journalist’s opinions is to be deplored (“The multi-talented,” April 15).
We have ample opportunity to admire Ury Eppstein’s overweening pride in his own scholarship when endeavoring to find an account of a performance, without having to read his opinions of a notable conductor/composer’s comments.
The composer Hector Berlioz was in fact the very first “orchestral conductor” as understood by today’s definition, prior to which the beat was maintained by either the soloist (who was occasionally also the composer – e.g. Beethoven) or in the absence of a soloist, by the concert master (or leader – as they say in the UK).
STANLEY COHEN Jerusalem