January 20: Choice of two

The true choice in these elections is between two potential leaders of Israel, Binyamin Netanyahu and Shelly Yacimovich.

January 19, 2013 22:58

Letters 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Choice of two

Sir, – Jonathan Rosen’s exhortation to Israeli voters (“Political courage and responsibility,” Inside Out, January 17) is itself lacking in political responsibility.

By singling out relatively insignificant members of party lists and suggesting a vote for these parties is primarily a vote for these minor players, he avoids the fundamental truth of this election. The true choice is between two potential leaders of Israel, Binyamin Netanyahu and Shelly Yacimovich.

Those who care for Israel will be focusing on the question of who can best lead the country in the years ahead. Taking responsibility in this case, as in so many others in life, means choosing not the ideal and perfect, but rather the best of problematic alternatives.

In my opinion, in this particular case it means voting for the present prime minister, who is far beyond the alternative in experience, qualification and ability to lead.


Not one example

Sir, – Gershon Baskin claims there is too much discrimination against the Arab citizens of Israel (“Close the gap in treatment of Israeli Arabs,” Encountering Peace, January 17).

I read through his column a few times and failed to find an example of what he claims to be governmental discrimination, for which he says we should be embarrassed. No one can deny the existence of personal discrimination, something that exists in all countries, but I contest his claim of governmental discrimination.

As a believer in true democracy, I am proud of the equal rights of all our citizens, such rights being protected by our judiciary. The Arab citizens of neighboring countries do not enjoy similar rights.

Tel Mond

Cheers to Khaled

Sir, – Although considering myself somewhere to the right of Center, it was with great dismay that I read “Facebook temporarily bans ‘Post’ reporter” (January 16).

Throughout the years, Khaled Abu Toameh’s balanced, truthful reporting has been like a tonic against all the jaded and warped semi-truths that abound. Kudos to him for honest journalism with a fair outlook that paints a dependable picture. May he continue for years to come.


Such a party

Sir, – Your January 16 editorial “The Arab vote” carries the hope that someone will emerge to steer the Arab electorate away from impractical, radical demagogues and toward a party that will join the government and improve physical and social conditions in the Arab sector.

It’s worth mentioning that the Hope for Change party is campaigning on precisely that platform.


Right... and wrong

Sir, – Prof. Avi Ben-Bassat, who attacks the country’s two-year budget, and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, who has trumpeted its virtues, are both right – and wrong (“What’s to blame for the deficit? It could be the two-year budget,” January 15).

A two-year budget could be an excellent tool if it were regarded as a strong guide (in modern terms, a “default position”) rather than immutable “Torah from Sinai.” If properly used in this way it would proclaim a clear sense of direction without the country being held hostage to sharp changes in economic and demographic facts on the ground.

Such a budget should be a rolling one, where necessary adjustments are made toward the end of the first year based on underlying changes in the local and world economies. The changes should be depoliticized, and thus in the hands of a non-partisan committee of experts from academia and other authoritative sources. This might be particularly difficult in a highly politicized country like Israel, but, if attainable, it would make us much better off fiscally.

The writer is an economist and, as a vice president at Citibank, played a key role in analyzing New York City’s budget after the city came to the edge of bankruptcy some three decades ago

Public spirit

Sir, – Regarding “Why there is no Anglo vote” (Comment & Features, January 15), if there were a million of us, as there are Russian-Israelis, we would have a party that represents us, the way Yisrael Beytenu represents immigrants from the former Soviet Union. But even that party is apparently being absorbed by the Likud.

I have had some experience trying to build an Anglo political base in Israel to represent the specific interests of Anglo Israelis.

My first attempt was with Natan Sharansky’s Russian-based Yisrael B’aliya. With others we formed an Anglo section and ran in the party’s second election run, when it gained only three seats.

After a few years we transferred to the Likud and formed an Anglo section there, but the party was not really interested in helping develop an Anglo section, and all support disappeared after it won the last election.

Now Jeremy Gimpel feels he has found the magic Anglo formula – young, enthusiastic and right-wing. But after the election, that will fade when Bayit Yehudi realizes there are simply not enough Anglos to warrant making them a central fixture of its party structure, even though we Anglos show more public spirit than most Israelis.


Bennett is like Bibi

Sir, – In “Likud or Jewish Home” (Comment & Features, January 15), Yoel Meltzer claims that Naftali Bennett opposes a two-state solution. I suggest this is not true.

Bennett supports a one-sided Israeli decision to annex Area C in Judea and Samaria, constituting about 60 percent of the area and covering all the settlements, including approximately 365,000 settlers. The 50,000 Palestinians living in the area would be given Israeli citizenship or residency permits, with Area A and Area B remaining under a form of Palestinian autonomy.

Wikipedia explains “autonomy” as follows: the capacity of a rational individual to make an informed, uncoerced decision or, in politics, self-government.

Self-government means that by annexing Area C and not all of Judea and Samaria, Bennett is actually giving the Palestinian Authority a state, and its own police force and army, in Areas A and B. And do we need another 50,000 Arabs with Israeli citizenship added to our voting roles? I think not.

What Bayit Yehudi really is saying is the same as what our prime minister said in agreeing to a two-state solution.

Any surrender of land to the Arabs in Judea and Samaria is surrender. It is the beginning of a two-state solution and, God forbid, an end to Israel.

Ma’aleh Adumim

Israel’s image

Sir, – I was very dismayed to read Atara Siegel’s “Why Israel is losing support from Jewish students on US college campuses” (January 13).

It seems to me that media bias is still alive and well in the US. Of course, there are dozens of articles discussing every disgusting incident or speech by a small minority of our people, which is later condemned by the rest of us. Yet when Jews are attacked it’s business as usual, so it’s hardly ever mentioned.

I’m not saying so-called price tag incidents are right or that two wrongs make a right. I’m referring to Siegel’s contention that they are a trend. They are not, and the media should not make anyone think otherwise.

As to her part about asylum seekers, it’s true that many people coming from Africa are seeking asylum, but not all. She should note that the reason we got into this situation is because we gave asylum seekers refuge. We are a small country.

We can’t absorb all those people.

Ma’aleh Adumim

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