Settle the land
Sir, – On November 24 The Jerusalem Post ran a JTA article
entitled “New initiative aims to put Jews back in touch with the land.”
was amazed that the Jewish Agency hadn’t heard about this.
families want to leave the big cities of America and want to settle on the
Which land? Haven’t they heard about Israel? Hundreds of kibbutzim
would love to welcome them. Where is the Zionist movement in America? The family
should come here for a week or two and look around.
Wake up, Jewish
Agency, and bring them over.HILARY GATOFF
Herzliya Pituah Living in the
Sir, – Uri Savir, president of the Peres Center for Peace, castigates Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as living in yesterday’s world, while US President
Barack Obama lives in a new world (“P5+1 for the Middle East,” Savir’s Corner,
Observations, November 22). Unfortunately it is Savir, our brave “chief
negotiator for the Oslo Accords,” who lives in yesterday’s world – the world of
“peace in our time.”
Unfortunately today’s world (the world of
appeasement), is chillingly parallel to the world described by Sarah Honig in
the very column above Savir’s (“Why die for Danzig (Israel)?” Another Tack,
Observations). We have been warned.HERSH COOPER
Sir, – Since I usually support the views of Isi Leibler, I was surprised to find
myself at odds with him in his advocacy of greater cabinet loyalty. (“Chaotic
government undermines Israel’s global standing,” Candidly Speaking, Comment and
Features, November 21).
It seems to me that when a prime minister changes
political direction, he forfeits the right to take for granted the loyalty of
his ministers. As an opposition politician, Binyamin Netanyahu was known for his
hawkish views, which reflected Likud’s ideology, opposing the release of
prisoners and also opposing a two-state solution. But when he became prime
minister he quickly moved leftward (with his Bar-Ilan speech) and did an
about-turn on these and other issues.
Furthermore, as a supporter of
Likud (though disappointed in Netanyahu), I found it especially galling that a
leftist like Livni, who has scant support in the country and is not averse to
making territorial concessions, should have been chosen by Netanyahu to be chief
negotiator in the peace talks with the Palestinians – in addition, of course, to
being appointed justice minister.
Unlike Leibler, I am grateful to
ministers like Elkin, Danon and Bennett, who show loyalty to their electorate by
staying true to the Likud line, even if it means speaking out against government
policy. If there is indeed chaos in the government, the responsibility lies not
with such men of integrity but with Netanyahu himself.
Sir, – Isi Leibler writes that a “Chaotic government undermines
Israel’s global standing.” I disagree.
What undermines our global
standing is our over-the-top desire to please, which gives out signals of such
weakness that we will do anything asked of us if only the world will like us. It
hasn’t worked before and it wont work now.
Why should anyone believe that
this is the Jewish land, to which we returned after 2,000 years, when we are so
ready to give it up to an enemy sworn to our destruction? Leibler is right in
castigating Naftali Bennett for agreeing to the terrorists’ release and then
campaigning against the second release which they knew had been agreed upon. His
reason, and that of Uri Ariel also from Bayit Yehudi, for opposing it was a
sound one, but the door had already closed. He is also right in what he says of
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud), when he spoke out against the
The time to have spoken out and made a difference was
when Netanyahu spoke at Bar-Ilan University and went against everything he
Leibler writes “Israel cannot function as a respectable
democratic nation state unless its leaders subordinate their domestic ambitions
to the national interest.”
Unfortunately our national interests are being
subordinated to Obama’s vision for our land.
Therefore the bottom line is
that everyone must come out against the two-state solution and the release of
convicted terrorists that have brutally murdered our men, women and children,
and we must keep up the pressure until some sanity is restored in our
Netanya Pitfalls of power
Sir, – The two side by
side news items on page four of The Jerusalem Post on November 19 regarding the
Chief Rabbinate – “Gov’t committee backs bill for one chief rabbi” and “Metzger
arrested again, held on suspicion of accepting bribes, illegal payments,” –
bring to the fore once again the urgent need to abolish entirely the Chief
As is well known the very concept is foreign to Judaism. Their
“special” authority as chief rabbis has no halachic standing and their function
here is largely ceremonial.
Like the appendix in the human intestines,
once it becomes infected it is best removed since it is largely vestigial and
serves no real function.
What has fatally diseased the Chief Rabbinate is
the system by which they are chosen which has become completely politicized –
that is, considerations other than learning, character, leadership, vision and
the ability to communicate decide which candidates will be chosen. Thus, the
road is open to all sorts of mediocrities unable to withstand the pitfalls of
power. In the absence of chief rabbis, halachic matters can be handled by the
Supreme Rabbinical Court, which should choose their own chairman and be given a
technocrat to administer their affairs. Our best hope for the next 10 years is
that the incumbents lie low and do not create any hillul Hashem.
The writer is the former rabbi of the Young Israel of Cleveland
Sir, – Thomas Friedman of The New York Times writes that West Bank
settlements are “devouring Palestinian farms and homes in the West Bank in ways
that are ugly, brutal, selfish, and deceitful” (“Something for Barack and Bibi
to talk about,” Comments and Features, November 18).
Friedman’s words could be described in such a manner, but the settlements should
be described as model communities and cities built on barren land.
bizarre, ludicrous and magnanimous to a fault to suggest that an Israel from the
Mediterranean to the Jordan is too large (about the distance between southern
Brooklyn and mid-town Manhattan), while the American distance of 3,000 miles
between the coasts and territory in Alaska (near Russia) and Hawaii and Guam
well into the Pacific (encompassing many time zones), isn’t.
The Land of
Israel, according to the Torah, was given by God to the Jewish people 4,000
years ago, who have had continued their historic and legitimate claims to the
land through settlements since then. It was considered to be a role model by
America’s founding fathers who had at one time considered Hebrew as its official
Settlements should not be described in a pejorative
All of Israel – including the settlements – should be described
as, in Friedman’s words, “one of the most amazing political experiments in
modern history.” Their existence has and will continue to make Israel more
secure, despite their detractors.
IRA NOSENCHUK Jerusalem