April 23, 2018: Independence Day festivities

Our readers weigh in.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Independence Day festivities
Growing up in Sydney, Australia, I was taught from a very early age the expression “Come on, fair go.” “Fair go” applied to sports, of course, and for that matter to anything, including kids fighting in school. It has stayed with me through over 50 years of living in Israel, so it is with deep sorrow that I witnessed the spectacle that took place on the eve of Independence Day (“Netanyahu- Edelstein fight carries on after torch-lighting celebration,” April 20).
To be honest, I didn’t actually witness Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu give his 15-minute speech, as I had decided well in advance that I would boycott that particular item in protest over the unfortunate treatment given to Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein over the past few weeks.
Culture Minister Miri Regev decided that the prime minister would keep his speech to six or seven minutes, as the event would be running too long. Sadly, I was proved right, as shown in the appearance of the above minister and the wife of the prime minister acting like two giggling teenagers and mocking the whole process of “fair play” and the 15 minutes the prime minister actually took for his speech.
The next day, I spoke to quite a few people who, like me, had boycotted the speech – either by turning to another channel or just turning down the speech altogether. There are many citizens in this country who are just as appalled as I was.
Sadly, we have to speak out to a completely dishonest group of members of Knesset who put their seats first and do not condemn this blatant abuse of power.
Tel Aviv
Shame on both Culture Minister Miri Regev and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. What an unnecessary show of contempt toward the Knesset speaker.
What a way to overshadow a unique date and performance for petty politics. (I assume it was influenced by Sara Netanyahu – see how she and Regev huddled together during the ceremony.) It was the low point of the day.
We should not be surprised by Regev’s style or actions. I fail to see her attributes toward what is considered culture. Instead, she is noted for her uncultured outbursts and loud mouth. Even when she is right, her conduct is, to say the least, quite unbecoming.
As regards Bibi, his demeaning show of contempt should not be the behavior of a man who intends to lead us in our coming confrontation with Iran.
Our wonderful celebration this year was absolutely the best ever. I have lived here over 50 years and this year was the best.
I have only one suggestion for the future: The announcer at the Independence Eve ceremony spoke only in Hebrew and English. I modestly suggest that it should also be in Arabic.
I do believe that the majority of Arabs living here realize they have the most freedom of any Arabs in Arab states. We must let them share our pride in the wonderful state in which we all live together.
Amidst all the self-congratulation, I was glad to see that South African Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein gave thanks where thanks are due: to the Almighty, Who has fought and will continue to fight our battles until the coming of the Messiah (“Israel at 70,” Comment & Features, April 18).
Unconscionable support
The late Jerusalem Post reader Toby Willig would never have let you get away with the editorial about the joint Israeli-Palestinian Remembrance Day ceremony (“Mourning differently,” April 17). You write: “We should not pass judgment on what are clearly the heartfelt emotions of mourning families....”
We have to pass judgment. We have to be clear about right and wrong. We have to differentiate between the killers and the victims.
We will not be a moral society if we blur the distinction between good and evil. That is exactly the purpose of the people organizing the joint ceremony: They want us to doubt our righteousness.
They want us to question ourselves and ultimately lose the ability to believe in our just path.
Would those people organizing the event also support having memorial services for Jews killed in the Holocaust together with dead SS soldiers? It is unconscionable that you support the initiative.
The ZOA on Boteach
Shmuley Boteach demands that American Jewish leaders must support all Israel government policies (“When American Jewish leaders go off the reservation,” No Holds Barred, April 10).
Is Boteach proud to have supported the Oslo Accords, which led to the murder of 1,500 Jews and the maiming of many thousands more, and the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, which led to 20,000 Hamas rockets and the forced removal of thousands of Jews from their homes? Is he proud to have supported the offers of then-prime ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert for Palestinian statehood on 95% of Judea and Samaria and large parts of Jerusalem?
The Zionist Organization of America can never support Israeli government policies that it strongly believes to be dangerously mistaken. Time, painfully, has proven us right.
Rabbi Boteach is also critical of American Jewish leaders who were invited to make a 14-hour trip to Qatar to meet the emir and other top officials. I presented the ZOA’s policy concerns and its pro-Israel, anti-terrorism agenda. (Contrary to Boteach’s false speculations, my trip was unanimously approved by the ZOA Executive Committee and I have been democratically elected by the ZOA membership numerous times since I defeated the incumbent in 1993.) Several top Israeli officials also urged me to go.
Some of my pro-Israel objectives have been attained: While much more needs to be done, Qatar canceled an undercover antisemitic TV series on the “US Israel lobby.” It also agreed to remove antisemitic literature from the upcoming Doha book fair. These are important gains for the Jewish people that could not have happened without my direct, round-the-clock, exhaustive talks with the emir of Qatar and other top officials. (Recently, President Donald Trump publicly proclaimed that Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had stopped funding terrorism.)
It is clearer than ever that the ZOA was right to have opposed the Oslo and Gaza deals, and Barak and Olmert’s statehood offers. I wish Boteach and others would have joined our efforts, which would have reduced Jewish bloodshed and the world’s support for the Palestinian Arabs’ vile ambitions.
New York
The writer is national president of the Zionist Organization of America.
Only in Jerusalem
It may be of interest to readers of The Jerusalem Post that Israel, particularly Jerusalem, could be the only place in the world where one can fulfill biblical prophecy by simply sitting on a bench.
Last week, my wife and I were sitting in a Jerusalem park watching children at a playground. I received a telephone call from my daughter, a Bible teacher, and I mentioned where we were. “How wonderful,” she said. “It says in Zecharia (8:4): “Thus said God: Old men and old women will once again sit in the streets of Jerusalem... and the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets.”
Try doing that in Borough Park, Teaneck or Golders Green!