Many concerned citizens voted optimistically for Kulanu in the belief that Moshe Kahlon would courageously exert a positive influence in a coalition, whether with Labor or the Likud, in which conscience would supersede political ambitions. We who voted for Kulanu looked forward to the party motivating a refreshingly clean government.
How wrong we were! It is galling to learn that despite Kahlon’s promises to manage our finances responsibly, every member of his party voted in favor of the retrograde bill undoing Yesh Atid’s achievement in reducing the size of our bloated cabinet. It is demeaning to see all Kulanu MKs vote – without embarrassment – in favor of creating expensive, wasteful, superfluous deputy ministers and ministers without portfolio. According to Amir Levy, director of the Budgets Department in the Finance Ministry, the cost will be NIS 2.8-3.9 million a year for each minister and some NIS 1.5m. for each deputy minister.
Moreover, despite Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein having ruled that funds may not be allocated to any specific party or faction, Kulanu MKs raised no opposition to coalition agreements under which NIS 120m. a year will be allocated to United Torah Judaism, and NIS 160m. a year to Bayit Yehudi. In effect, each of UTJ’s six MKs and each of Bayit Yehudi’s eight would receive NIS 20m. a year for unspecified purposes, in addition to the extra NIS 50m. that the Settlement Division under Bayit Yehudi’s Uri Ariel will receive.
Is it wishful thinking to cling to the hope that Kulanu will revise its unjustified support of the above travesties of good government?
MAURICE OSTROFF Herzliya
DAVID E. KAPLAN Kfar Saba
JULIET ROSTOWSKY Tel Aviv
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists that Arabs recognize Israel as the Jewish state. Yet his new government includes ministers who do not. Neither do they send their children to the army, as we do, nor do they even stand up on Remembrance Day to respect those of our children who died defending us...
This disgraces our country and the Judaism in whose name these privileged “ultra-pious” raid our treasury.
The implications of this appalling coalition were exposed and lamented by Rabbi Dov Lipman (“Clear and present danger: Netanyahu’s new gov’t,” Observations, May 8) – prompting reader Faigie Heiman to characterize him as a “sore loser” and “Johnny- come-lately immigrant from the United States.”
Rabbi Lipman was named as the most diligent member of the 19th Knesset for participating in all sessions, and for casting his vote more often than any other MK. Surprised to hear this, he modestly responded: “I just showed up to work.” We can certainly use many more people like that! Responsible citizens are not “sore.” They are furious.
ALFRED INSELBERG Ra’anana
Reader Faigie Heiman’s attack on Rabbi Dov Lipman must not go unanswered.
Firstly, her sneer at him for being a “Johnny-come-lately immigrant” is as crude as it is irrelevant – or are comparatively new olim meant to stay in their absorption centers and not speak until spoken to? Second, I would like her to provide one shred of evidence that the majority of voters – including, I would guess, most Likud supporters – are in favor of the wholesale surrender to the demands of the two haredi parties, deals that will have a profound and damaging effect on the fabric of Israeli society in the years ahead and which formed the central argument of Rabbi Lipman’s excellent piece.
ALAN GOLD Netanya
Dov Lipman, in the same breath, compares the danger posed to this country by the “ultra-Orthodox” to the dangers posed by Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah.
Huh? And he wanted to represent us in the Knesset? All I can say is it’s a very happy day for Israel that Dov Lipman is out.
Rabbi Lipman, get over it. No one is that interested in your opinion anymore.
JUDY ABIR Jerusalem Kafkaesque statement
Truly Kafkaesque is the statement by Fatou Bensouda of the International Criminal Court, that despite having received no information from either side in last summer’s Gaza conflict, she would be “forced to go with just one side of the story” if Israel did not cooperate (“ICC urges Israel to provide information on Gaza probe,” May 14).
Considering our experiences with international agencies like the ICC, we do not need to even ask which side the “one side” would be, and who in fact would be supplying the “information.”
We would do well in these circumstances to recall the famous quip by Warren Buffet: “If you don’t know who the sucker is, it is you.”
IRVING WIESEN Jerusalem
There are accusations that Israeli forces were given carte blanche to kill as many Gazans as possible in Operation Protective Edge. Yet Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Had the military been given this instruction, the death toll would have been 20 times higher. The IDF dropped over 100,000 leaflets, made over 15,000 phone calls and sent more than 10,000 emails to Gazans advising them where attacks were going to take place, and giving them ample time to move away.
The Israeli army lost men examining tunnels that had been expertly prepared by Hamas – tunnels leading into Israel. Rocket storage points were found in Gaza schools. Rocket batteries were placed outside mosques, playgrounds and hospitals, and even in a UN compound.
The first duty of any democratic country is to protect its citizens.
Given these circumstances, what action could Israel have taken other than the one it took? As it was, it endured 4,000 rockets fired at it indiscriminately by Hamas; it was due only to Israel’s brilliant anti-missile system that many hundreds of innocent lives – Arab as well as Jewish – were saved.
Even while the war was in progress, Israel was allowing essential supplies into the Gaza Strip through its checkpoints.
Also, its hospitals were ready to take Gaza’s wounded children alongside Jewish children for expert treatment by their doctors.
I regret that the many hundreds of Yemeni civilians killed so far in Saudi-led air strikes are not worthy of mention by many media outlets. I also notice the silence of the UN regarding the 78 people beheaded by Saudi Arabia since the beginning of the year, not to mention the lack of condemnation of Syria for the deaths of 11,000 of its citizens by the use of barrel bombs.
It would appear that only Israel can be considered guilty for defending its people. Other nations, especially Arab nations, can bomb and murder willy-nilly without any international criticism.
DAVID LEE Kingston upon Thames, UK Forced retirement
Regarding “Health Ministry takes a step toward accepting physician assistants” (May 14), this praiseworthy change in thinking seems to hinge primarily on “the shortage of physicians and the impending retirement of many doctors.” This should read “forced retirement.”
In a December 23, 2014, letter to The Jerusalem Post about the marked physician shortage in Israel, I wrote: “We should encourage doctors who are in good health and would like to continue practicing medicine to do so past the current mandatory retirement age of 67. Patients normally prefer doctors with great experience.”
To date, nothing seems to have been tried along the lines of this suggestion.
GARY STEINMAN Jerusalem
The writer is an MD who was forced to retire due to his age.