Sir, – Our prime minister initiated a Likud leadership race that
has been brought well forward to January 31 (“Netanyahu decides against general
election,” December 6).
Contrary to Gil Hoffman, who on the same page
says “Whenever you wonder why Netanyahu is doing something, the safest bet is to
offer three reasons: Iran, Iran and Iran” (“Looking into Netanyahu’s mind,”
Analysis), I think the safer bet is to listen to what the PM wants, as you
reported in “Netanyahu: Dilute power of Likudniks in settlements” (November
The prime minister is rightly concerned that Jewish residents of
Judea and Samaria will use the central committee to put obstacles before his
future diplomatic moves because these are the people who voted him into office
on a platform espousing exactly the opposite of what he is doing. Netanyahu
knows that if US President Barack Obama is re-elected, the pressure on Israel to
make concessions will increase to the extent that he, as he has on other
occasions, will just fold.
He does not need or want a strong right-wing
presence as his conscience.
YENTEL JACOBS Netanya
Sir, – After the Obama
administration has expressed its unabashed and uncalled-for anger with Jews and
Israel (“Scary US views,” Editorial, December 6), I would like to hear from the
Democratic Party’s representative in Israel.
He or she should tell us why
US expatriates should vote for the incumbent.
Sir, – The Obama administration obviously believes the defection of Jewish
voters has bottomed out, and now, having reached the hard-core who will vote for
the president regardless of his actions vis-a-vis Israel, it can lash out at
Israel without risking any more Jewish votes.
– Caroline B. Glick (“An ally no more,” Our World, December 6) grossly
exaggerates the present difficulties in the US alliance with
Glick bases her extreme conclusions on a few speeches by various
Obama administration representatives, speeches that were deeply and unfairly
critical of Israeli society and Israeli government policies.
The truth is
that the American alliance with and support for Israel are both intact and very
At the United Nations, America’s representative has been
unflagging in her defense of Israeli interests, often in the face of bitter
The American government remains Israel’s most
reliable defense supplier and supporter, and the American public is morally and
financially strongly supportive of the Jewish state. Furthermore, Israel enjoys
enthusiastic wall-to-wall support from Congress.
Thus, while Glick may be
correct in her assessment that Obama is “an ally no more” (not that he ever
was), it does not mean that the US is not our strongest and best
KENNETH BESIG Kiryat ArbaFlabbergasted
Sir, – I am seldom at a
loss for words, but when Shmuley Boteach calls for the country’s next chief
rabbi to distance himself from the establishment and be a thorn in its side
(“‘Jobs’ description for next British chief rabbi,” No Holds Barred, December
6), I am left flabbergasted.
Boteach must be aware that Moses was
Israel’s highest authority on Halacha and not its first chief rabbi. His
brother, Aaron, got that post, as the job description called for ambassadorial
eloquence and not overt activism.
And Britain is not choosing the next
rebbe of a minor hassidic dynasty. Its chief rabbi, serving the community as a
whole, is elected by a board of lay members, and rabbis have no place on such a
Outside interference, coupled with sensationalist shooting-off
at the mouth, is uncalled for in this case.
DANIEL ABELMAN Jerusalem
– Unlike Shmuley Boteach, I think Britain’s chief rabbi should be a chief rabbi
and educator, not just a social worker.
NITA WEISZ Jerusalem
Sir, – David Newman (“An academic lynching,” Comment & Features,
December 6) may be right: The the people who leaked the report by the Council
for Higher Education (CHE) on the functioning of the Politics and Government
Department at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) may have a political
agenda. However, this in no way lessens the devastating criticisms contained in
the report – that the department is biased, its academic standards are dismally
low and its publication record meager.
Newman’s hysterical reaction shows
that he is incapable of understanding, much less accepting, the findings of the
CHE report. This would not matter too much if the criticisms were limited to
that specific department. However, BGU allowed the situation to develop and must
therefore share some of the blame.
Inevitably, the academic standing and
reputation of BGU has been tainted. The only solution now is for the university
president, Rivka Carmi, to fully implement the findings of the CHE report and,
if necessary, dismiss the lecturers involved.
Batya Which witch?
Sir, – I find great difficulty in understanding statements by
Jeff Barak in his latest attack on the Likud and its leader (“Stop the anti-Left
witch hunt,” Reality Check, December 5).
Barak details the recent
proposal of a bill that would prohibit funding from foreign governments of NGOs
that deny Israel’s right to exist, incite racism, support armed resistance
against us, support putting Israeli officials on trial in international courts,
call for insubordination in the army and support boycotts against Israel. By his
criticism of the bill, does he imply that such actions are acceptable to the
Left and that the bill indeed constitutes a witch hunt? MONTY M. ZION Tel Mond
Sir, – The hysterical campaign against the present bills relating to NGOs that
receive money from foreign governments and reforming the method for the
appointment of Supreme Court justices only goes to show that the Netanyahu
government is doing something right.
The fact is, no other democratic
country that has regular elections with the peaceful transfer of power from one
party to another would tolerate interference by foreign governments in the way
it governs itself.
Sir, – Reporting on UK
government funding to NGOs in Israel has generally left unclear the fact that
these funds uniquely come directly from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office
(Foreign Ministry) rather than the Department of International Development,
which is the normal channel for the provision of financial aid.
has publicly admitted (in the House of Commons on September 6, 2010) that
funding to Israeli NGOs is provided for several reasons, including to influence
the nature and quality of public policy debate and ultimately Israeli policy in
line with political options for a sustainable two-state solution; to record,
highlight and challenge settlement expansion activities through legal action,
public advocacy and dialogue with Israeli officials; and to ensure that due
legal process is adhered to.
Were boot on the other foot, no doubt there
would be a hue and cry from the UK government, opposition and
COLIN L. LECI