Sir, – Much criticism has been levelled lately at
several MKs for having the political “gall” to initiate changes in the way we
choose Supreme Court justices (“Judicial selection reform bills pass preliminary
Knesset votes,” November 15).
Like it or not, the Knesset is our supreme
political body due to a simple fact: We have no framed and sealed constitution
that would be above its current primacy.
The Knesset combines the
functions of a constitutional assembly, a legislative parliament and a
quasi-executive body that includes the prime minister and almost all ministers
and their deputies.
Since its inception, the Knesset has passed Basic
Laws in order to establish orderly governmental procedures and lay the framework
for a future constitution.
These Basic Laws, including the Judicial
Authority, can be amended at any time by a majority of 61 MKs. This includes the
procedure by which judges are chosen.JOSH WIESEN
Sir, – The
proposed law requiring Supreme Court nominees to appear before the Knesset has
been described as a bad law, a violation of the separation of powers, and even
as an assault on democracy. Funny. I always thought the United States was a
democracy with a strong tradition of separation of powers.
was wrong, because American law requires a Supreme Court nominee to appear
before the Senate Judicial Committee and then the full Senate for
Is this a good idea? That point could be argued, but it is
certainly not a violation of the separation of powers or an assault on
On the other hand, it is a serious violation of the separation
of powers and a true assault on democracy when a court has a hand in choosing
its own members.
Forget the idea of Knesset approval – a better bill
would eliminate the Supreme Court from the selection committee.DAVID
Jerusalem The writer was an attorney in the United States whose
practice included appeals to the Supreme Court
Sir, – In her usual
and almost Pavlovian attack on the Israeli Left and especially the country’s
Supreme Court, Caroline B. Glick (“Defending Israeli democracy,” Our World,
November 15) reserves special anger and resentment for three of the Likud’s most
distinguished members – ministers Bennie Begin, Michael Eitan and Dan Meridor –
because they had the audacity to oppose the bills describes in her
She continues to dismiss and denigrate these ministers, and even
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, for giving “the radical left the necessary
political cover to torpedo previous parliamentary initiatives to protect
Israel’s democratic institutions from their foreign- funded
She obviously wrote the column before Monday’s Knesset votes
on the bills, because noticeably absent were several other very respected Likud
ministers, including the prime minister himself. While Binyamin Netanyahu’s
absence was apparently due to the recent death of his father-in-law, Glick will
obviously have to add quite a few names to her list of left-wing sympathizers
among a very obviously right-wing coalition.GERSHON HARRIS
Haglilit Defining a column
Sir, – Although I may not agree with him, I have
considered Shmuley Boteach a careful writer.
So his personal comment
while discussing the late co-founder of Apple (“Lessons from the brutal truth
about Steve Jobs,” Comment & Features, November 15) about being “orders of
magnitude less successful than he (as indeed I am)...” surprised me.
could possibly be Boteach’s definition of success? He may well have meant less
financially successful, but he didn’t say that. Freudian slip maybe, but
nurturing relationships and striving to leave behind a good name define success
Each of us can strive in some way to fulfill the purpose we have
been uniquely assigned. We can dedicate our energies toward attaining these
goals. But measuring one’s success against that of another on the money scale is
delusive and defeating.PESACH GOODLEY
Sir, – The topic of his
column is Steve Jobs, but at the end, Shmuley Boteach segues into what has
become a favorite for him of late – US politics. Which begs the question: What
qualifies him to be an expert on US politics? Boteach was presumably given his
column based on his unique niche as an Orthodox rabbi willing to talk candidly
about sex, and on the knowledge and experience he has in that area. Yet he
engages in the time-honored but questionable custom practiced by many a rabbi,
that of using his bully pulpit to give weight to political views about which he
is no more knowledgeable than any layperson.
In this column, Boteach
argues that Jimmy Carter – intelligent but ineffectual – proves that being smart
doesn’t necessarily lead to being a good president.
This might be true.
But having worked at Oxford, the rabbi surely knows it doesn’t prove the
inverse, that lack of intelligence is an asset for a potential
On the contrary, common sense dictates that, all other things
being equal, we want the leader of the most powerful nation to be well-versed in
the complex issues affecting the US and the world.
Boteach’s belief that
for GOP hopeful Rick Perry, surrounding himself with “really bright people” is a
perfectly good substitute for intelligence, is a case of deja-vu: The exact same
argument was made for then-candidate George W. Bush, another Texas governor with
a lackluster grasp of national issues. (And we all know how that presidency
worked out.) Using Boteach’s own rabbinic advice – that we refrain from overly
blunt and hurtful remarks – I encourage him to continue writing about those
issues on which he is an expert! ERIC SOMMER
Oranit One man’s Top 10
Regarding “EU ministers divided over strike on Iran” (November 15), the
following are the top 10 reasons why bombing that country is moronic at best:
10. The Israeli intelligence services are dead-set against the idea.
Experts in field believe that, if successful, it would delay the program by only
8. Intelligence estimates say 100,000 missiles are now on
line, including many with advanced systems and enhanced range and accuracy, not
only in Iran but also in Gaza, Lebanon and Syria.
7. Israel can expect a
missile barrage on its major cities for 40 days and 40 nights.
commanders have woefully underestimated enemy resolve and capability over the
past five years.
5. As proven in recent forest fires, Israeli
firefighting infrastructure approaches Third World standards and would be
4. Iranian mullahs are not suicidal. Even if
they had a few baby bombs they would be in no hurry to launch them. They all
want to live to pray another day for the death of Israel.
3. Within 20
minutes of an attack, Iran is expected to shut down the very narrow Strait of
Hormuz. Almost a third of the world’s oil flows through this strait. Gasoline in
the US would jump to $10 a gallon overnight. The expected six-month
closing of this chokepoint would devastate the global economy.
2. Much of
the supplies for American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan flow through this
strait. America will not have time to procure alternate routes.
1. And as
to whether it’s “good for the Jews,” no way! Jews all over the world would be
blamed for the consequences of this action even if it succeeded and made Israel