Sir, – We have, unfortunately, become accustomed to dishonesty
and prevarication from our politicians. Thus, the candor of Naftali Bennett’s
responses to television host Nissim Mishal were shocking to viewers. However,
the resulting brouhaha (“PM: Anyone who supports refusing army orders won’t be
in my government,” December 23) added nothing positive to the standing of any of
our less-forthright leaders. Their attacks were as specious as they were
Citizens in Western democracies acknowledge the right to
conscientious objection. Most tend to admire people who have the guts to so act.
We all respect people who not only have have an ideology, but are willing to act
on their beliefs – and to take whatever consequences legitimately
(And one would hope we all decry the forceful uprooting of
families from their homes. Even Jewish families!) Bennett did not call for a
refusal to carry out orders in the IDF. He stated his own inability to carry out
an order for reasons of conscience and cited an acceptable path he would take in
the hypothetical event that he were to find himself in this untenable position.
To assert, as other political and media figures did, that this was a call to
rebellion or disobedience in the army is scurrilous. Furthermore, it obfuscates
the fact that the issue is a very serious one.
We have an army of young,
conscripted, citizen-soldiers who are proud to defend their people and their
country. To be asked to act against their people in order to retreat from their
country is an intolerable conflict.
I contend that such a task, if truly
unavoidable, should never be given to soldiers. Rather, it is the police, Border
Police, special operations units or even a volunteer corps that should be called
on. That this was recognized by the army itself before the Gaza disengagement is
clear from the fact that the IDF instituted a controversial program of
psychological preparation for our young troops – which some called brainwashing
– in order to help them carry out the task.
These traumatized young men
and women, as well as the traumatized evacuees, continue to pay a heavy price
for an evacuation that in fact failed to bring any of the benefits that might
have mitigated the pain.
Jerusalem The writer is a
Sir, – The statement made by Naftali Bennett that he
personally would not eject Jews from their homes was more a discretionary error
of judgement than a political error.
Of course it aroused left-wing
peace-seekers and was a political gift to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who
sees Bennett as a threat because he can remove votes to his
religious-nationalist party that otherwise might have gone to the
The real drift of Bennett’s contention is that there should not
and cannot be a two-state solution.
Netanyahu’s “drive” for a two-state
solution is an empty balloon meant to assuage world opinion; so far it has been
a total failure, as the world’s censure of Israel has vehemently
I cannot see that if we become honest with ourselves and the
world that their hatred will become any greater. As I see it, in the words of
Ben-Gurion we have to worry more about what’s good for the Jews and not care
what the gentiles will say.
Sir, – We now see that
hypocrisy is no longer the exclusive domain of the Left.
Binyamin Netanyahu and the Likud could not find the moral courage and
sensitivity to prevent the unnecessary uprooting of Migron and Givat Ulpana, as
well as the countless pre-dawn expulsions of Jews from outposts throughout Judea
and Samaria. But when a political threat such as Naftali Bennett dares to speak
his mind and take a controversial stand, they suddenly wake up and quickly
calibrate their moral compass.
Perhaps Bennett did err by the rash words
he uttered, but Netanyahu is far more guilty of the shameful deeds he repeatedly
committed. Never should the pot call the kettle black.
Sir, – Shame, shame, shame on all those who pounced on Naftali
Bennett because they fear the numbers he is about to receive in the upcoming
He will certainly get my vote.
Sir, – I was incensed to read the notification on Page 8
of your December 23 issue that the election debates planned for Haifa and
Beersheba had been cancelled “due to the lack of sufficient participation of
I challenge you to open your columns to these
egotistical snobs to explain why we should vote for them. At the moment I can
see no good reason to do so.
Beersheba Matter of identity
Sir, – Regarding “Christmas tree at Jaffa Gate fails to produce yuletide cheer
for haredim” (December 23), there is no positive reason for the Jerusalem
Municipality to display a Christian symbol in an area where Jews congregate and
which serves as a main thoroughfare for Jews going to the Kotel, the site for
worship by Jews from throughout the world.
Those who want the Jewish
nation to give up its holy city are aiming at the heart of the Jewish nation.
Those who choose to diminish its Jewish identity likewise aim at the heart of
It’s not a haredi matter. It’s an identity matter. There is
no place for a Christmas tree in the courtyard of the Holy Temple as well as in
its antechambers. The photo of the people celebrating Christmas at the Mamilla
Mall likewise galls.
I just returned from America.
Christmas features prominently in all malls and public places. America is a
Christian country with a minority of Jews, and that is appropriate. But here, in
the homeland of the Jewish people, it is inappropriate to create a spectacle of
The Jaffa Gate is a public area.
Mayor Nir Barkat’s
policies in diminishing the Jewish character of Jerusalem through so many areas
is unfortunate. Jews of all persuasions should react to the diminishing of the
Jewish character of Jerusalem. Placing a tree near the Jaffa Gate is one such
YOCHEVED MIRIAM ZEMEL
Sir, – On perusing your front
page of December 23, the tenth of Tevet, I read a report about the Christmas
tree at the Jaffa Gate and saw a picture of people dressed up as Santa
But there was not one mention of the significance of the date here
in the one Jewish country in the world.
The fast day the tenth of Tevet
commemorates the start of the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon,
which culminated in the destruction of the First Temple and the conquest of
Judea. There was no mention that the State of Israel designated this day as an
official day of mourning for victims of the Shoah and for those whose date of
death is unknown.
Jerusalem Exchangeable robots
Sir, – With
regard to “Pnini back in training for Mac TA ahead of Ashdod game” (Sports,
December 23), when I settled in Jerusalem in 1974, practically everybody was
familiar with Maccabi Tel Aviv and its players.
Who does not remember Tal
Brody, Mickey Berkowitz, Earl Williams and others? Today, the players seem to be
just a bunch of exchangeable robots unless they do something very good or
something very bad. They have no personality whatsoever. Maybe this is a sign of
the times, but it is very sad.