The Liberman move
The implication in the analysis by editor-in-chief Yaakov Katz (“Voting easier, diplomacy now harder,” May 19) seems to be that the Israeli voter will be unhappy with the latest coalition shake-up. I think the electorate will be very satisfied, and I hope the resulting government will not frustrate its constituents.
We all know that no Israeli government, whether Right or Left, can do anything to satisfy the appetite of the international community to force Israel into making concessions undermine its security. Oslo and other agreements, as well as the disengagement from the Gaza Strip, have proved this.
It’s about time that the media recognize why the only people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxis and cutting people’s hair. How about reporters start interviewing these citizens instead of politicians to get a feel of what the people want, and why they continue to vote Right in election after election.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon may not be charismatic, but he is one of the rare Israeli politicians who understands the essence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, having written a paper in 2008 calling for a new strategy.
In an interview with journalist and writer Ari Shavit in 2012, he demonstrated that he understood the apocalyptic nature of the Iranian regime. And he has often stood up to the clueless Obama administration.
This is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s most disastrous move ever. We just got a Donald Trump as defense minister! MLADEN ANDRIJASEVIC
In a recent discussion about making Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman defense minister, a professor of political science was asked what the effect would be on international opinion and policies. What a silly question, as if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ever considered the effect on Israel when he weighs what is best for him! STANLEY CANNING Kfar Hamaccabi Infallible rabbis Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman and the Council of Rabbinical Sages of the UTJ who control him are to be lauded for their partisan concern for the health of Israel’s secular and national-religious citizens.
Clearly, though, they have no such concerns regarding their own flocks. If obesity is a problem in the general population, it must be especially prevalent among relatively sedentary haredim. And they seem totally unperturbed by the staggering percentage of smokers among their adherents.
These infallible rabbis – whose slightest nod can put the kibosh on any product, behavior or activity – could easily ban smoking and excommunicate any vendor who sells cigarettes.
MacDonald’s only makes people fat. Cigarettes make people dead.
Further, there are countless men in the haredi world laboring in menial jobs because they were denied access to a basic education.
One can only imagine the medical breakthroughs our country could achieve if men in Litzman’s community were granted the sort of education that could yield scientific researchers.
Jerusalem Committee of 5
With regard to your May 19 editorial “Flag waver,” Culture Minister Miri Regev’s proposed legislation is merely a symbol of the frustration that she and the vast majority of the public feel toward a cultural establishment that demands public support for projects that in general run counter to public taste.
The bill addresses the display of state symbols at state-supported institutions, and support for cultural events or groups that disparage the state or encourage violence against it. These are legitimate concerns. However, it will not solve the problem, for there are hundreds of examples of legislation that are passed by the Knesset yet ignored in practice.
A much more radical approach is required. A committee of five should be established with the authority to approve or deny funding for any cultural activities.
The members would serve for five years on a rotating basis.
Each year, say on Independence Day, the culture minister would appoint a new member to replace the one due to retire.
Over time, such a committee would reflect the desires of the public, not those of the cultural elite – an outcome much to be desired. Not only would this limit public funding for objectionable institutions, but it would encourage support for Zionist projects that reflect the desires of the majority of loyal Israeli citizens.
This is not censorship, because any project that attracts private funding would be permitted. It would merely reduce or eliminate public support for actions that most people object to. Why should our tax money be allocated by people we do not trust to projects that we hate?
Ma’aleh Adumim Balaamic results
The parallels between Lord Sacks’s pronouncements about Israeli settlements and Balaam’s biblical pronouncements about the dwellings of Israel are just too funny (“Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: Livingstone should be fired from Labour Party,” May 17).
Balaam famously failed in his quest to denigrate Israel, instead praising “Israel’s dwellings” in ageless prose. Rabbi Sacks, too, strove to air, via The Jerusalem Post, his inexplicable opposition to Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. Despite his best efforts, the rabbi ended up saying: “However improbable you might think a settlement is, you must not act to make it impossible.”
Indeed! However improbable each Jewish settlement’s future may seem (in Judea and Samaria specifically, and in the Land of Israel in general), we must not act so as to make it impossible. To the contrary, in Bamidbar 33:53, the Torah instructs every Jew to “take possession of the land [of Israel – including Judea and Samaria] and settle in it.”
What a smashing, modern-day enactment of “He who set out to curse, found himself giving a blessing.”
At this year’s Eurovision song contest, Israel might well have joined Russia in complaining that “the contest had been hijacked by politics” (“Eurovision win lifts spirits in Ukraine, raises eyebrows in Russia,” May 16).
Perhaps prompted by the embarrassment of politically- based voting over the years, the broadcasters didn’t include a breakdown of the phoned-in popular vote, but the figures are on the Internet (see Eurovision- World.com), and whereas Israel received at least a point or two from 25 of the expert national juries, only three countries gave Israel any points from popular phone-in votes.
Such a discrepancy seems to hint that, politically, Israel has seriously lost the European street.
MARK L. LEVINSON
A point missed by Ben Hartman in his mainly satirical overview of the Eurovision song contest (“Israeli haircut disappoints in Stockholm,” May 16) is that the haircut was not the main disappointing factor. The cruelest cut came when Israel was invited to announce the country to which it was awarding 12 points.
The presenter showed off his expertise in speaking Swedish.
Very smart. But did he even say shalom? Was there, as in other cases, a peep at a historical Israeli site in the background? Not at all.
He simply followed his dissertation by plunging into giving our country of choice. Did he forget he was representing us? And what about a truly Israel song? Instead, songster Hovi Star’s “Made of Stars” ballad including the line “You ride a black horse in the rain,” which sounded more like he was riding a black hearse! Let’s all remember the wonderful song performed some years ago – “Am Yisrael Chai” – and follow that pattern in future.