Letters to the Editor May 25, 2022: Apples to oranges

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

 Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

Apples to oranges

Harold Goldmeier’s argument against the death penalty (“Death penalty does not prevent attacks,” May 23) may have included some valid points, but he lost all credibility, with me anyway, by referencing United States court rulings and the trying experience that the late John McCain endured. Israel and the United States are bonded in many ways, but they are not aligned when it comes to the punishment meted out to convicted terrorists. America’s approach has no bearing on what Israel considers to be appropriate policy and protocol.Goldmeier omitted pointing out that twenty of the states that make up the United States have the ability to execute death sentences. I won’t dispute the claim that the judicial system is far from perfect and that there very well may have been wrongful executions. That, though, has provided neither Congress nor the Supreme Court sufficient reason to outlaw once and for all the use of the death penalty. There are still those who believe capital punishment to be both a justifiable punishment as well as an effective deterrent.But apples must be compared to apples and not oranges. Here, there is no confusion over the identities of those murderers who believe they are making a political or national statement by killing innocent men, women and children. No torture is needed to wrangle confessions out of those who manage to escape their savagery alive; their clear and obvious guilt requires none. I’ll agree that capital punishment in Israel is something that needs to be discussed but not because of the potential for mistaken identity or witness bias.I am not, by any means, deaf nor oblivious to Goldmeier’s contention that the death penalty may not, in the year 2022, be appropriate for the State of Israel. If in fact four percent of those on America’s death row are indeed innocent, I’d say maybe. But while that number may be relevant to the twenty states that currently use gas chambers or lethal injections, I don’t believe it is relevant for us. The factors in our debate on the subject are entirely different. Insofar as we live with the knowledge that terrorism-inspired murders can occur at any time and any place, a decision based on quantifiable data makes no sense.


Ginot Shomron

While I can understand the sentiments of Harold Goldmeier in his article regarding the number of innocent people executed in America, it in no way resembles terrorism in Israel. It is disgusting to suggest that because four percent on death row in America are probably innocent, “that is too high a price for the Jewish people to pay to satisfy an understandable lust for revenge.” I find that statement to be in very bad taste.Jewish blood must never go unanswered. What is too high a price for us is seeing a terrorist blow up a Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem full of youngsters and be set free in a prisoner exchange to brag that she only wishes she had murdered more. What is too high a price is seeing terrorists abduct two young boys and end their lives by beating their heads against a wall. What is too high a price is seeing two young soldiers who took a wrong turn and mistakenly thought they would find refuge in an Arab police station but instead had their limbs torn apart and thrown to the savages in the street below to be further mutilated.There are also the thousands of terrorists who have committed the most heinous crimes against Israelis and were then set free from our laughable prisons in absurd prisoner exchanges and then continued terrorist activities. We are not talking here of whether or not the convicted was perhaps guilty but where he/she/they were caught in the act or the evidence cannot be denied. Either there is a shoot to kill policy which makes the most sense as it saves lives on the spot or there is the death penalty, but there is no defense for allowing such vermin to exist.



Laugh it off as ridiculous

Regarding “Pollution killing 9 million people a year, Africa hardest hit – study” (May 22): As seasoned journalists, you know that the heading and first few lines of reporting are most of what the public retains in its memory.The article talks about pollution deaths. I come from South Africa and have done a lot of my work in the areas where the Indigenous people live. To start, the photo shows three towers which look like they are issuing smoke, when in fact they are cooling towers issuing harmless water condensate. Australia and South Africa were supplying Israel with coal for its power stations and I seldom saw heavy smoke issuing from their chimneys.The chief mechanical engineer of the Province of the Transvaal in charge of its hospitals, when questioned about the pollution, explained that if the automatic stokers were adjusted properly, there should be a minimal amount of smoke issuing. The Chamber of Mines organization erected a six-story building to tackle the possible problem of lung diseases, including asbestosis; this building was closed down, as there was no need.The residents of the Penge asbestos mine were all healthy people and because of environmentalists, Everite, which produced the finest selection of products, were forced into closing its doors. I lived under wonderful asbestos ceilings most of my life, and when I see white-clad figures removing pieces of asbestos from demolished building sites, I laugh it off as ridiculous. Furthermore, the people of South Africa, where coal is in abundance, during cold winter days, build braziers of coal and wood fires, carry them into their houses, close the doors and suffocate themselves, thus the reason for Africa’s death rate. All the rooms walls are black and gray.Mention is made that there is an abundance of deaths caused by people smoking cigarettes; why not attack this problem first? Self-inflicted deaths!


Tel Aviv

Hyper-sensitive situation

The prominence that you give to the hyper-sensitive situation on the Temple Mount is very much appreciated and it is high time that other media outlets did the same. Herb Keinon’s analysis (“Iranian threats don’t spook Israel but Temple Mount warnings do,” May 24) of the dichotomy of Israel’s reactions to the threat from Iran and the threat from Hamas clearly demonstrates the immense national shame and disgrace of the spineless and indeed cowardly attitude of all our governments over the last 50 years, commencing from that fateful decision of Moshe Dayan, after the Six Day War, to hand over the keys of the Temple Mount to the Wakf. Yisrael Medad has also pointed this out in “Israel’s ignominious Temple Mount dismount” (May 24).Here again it has been a problem of our PR. The minimum stance vis-a-vis the nations of the world should have been  to latch on to the international acceptance of the principle of freedom of religion and worship.  We could have adopted the position that there should be no limitations of religious practice on the mount, or at least that any limitations of religious practice on the mount should be equal for all religions. But we did not do so and, by our own weakness and our own lack of will to stand up and fight for our rights, we have allowed the Arabs to convince themselves and the world that the entire mount is nothing more than al-Aqsa Mosque and that it belongs to them.I fear that it may be too late now to change this position by any other than military means and there is no doubt that any move, however small, will spark a religious conflagration which will envelope much more than just the Middle East.  That is why we have to forcefully express through our PR people, ambassadors, consuls, the media outlets and word-of-mouth individual explanations that we are only seeking equality and freedom, that the mount is a holy place to Jews as well as to Muslims, in a way that all the enlightened nations can find acceptable and palatable. Then, when the message gets through, enforce it with all means available.



Accomplishing something

Regarding your editorial “Teacher shortage” (May 22), raising salaries alone is not going to do it. The real reason for the lack of people desiring to teach today is the lack of satisfaction in this most honorable profession. As a retired teacher in the system, I can tell you why. There is absolutely no discipline in today’s schools. Teachers dress like teenagers, they are called by their first names and students lounge around on the floors like they are in their own living rooms. Homeroom teachers badger subject teachers to give a great final mark (magen) to students who have hardly done anything all year or who have hardly shown up. Many high schoolers here sleep through school and then after the army their parents pay exorbitant fees for them to finish their bagrut matriculation exams through private institutions. Money is important but waking up each morning feeling that you are accomplishing something in this world is worth more.



Charming or rude

Susan Hattis Rolef (“A melancholic week,” May 23) firmly believes that Bennett’s government is superior in all respects to any type of government that Netanyahu might form if new elections were held. Could be, but it’s really difficult for most people to reach a rational decision regarding who could do better.Unfortunately, we can’t carry out a scientifically controlled experiment with both men leading the country under identical conditions. But what bothered me was Rolef’s last paragraph in which she admits that the prospect of this rude and cocky man returning to the premiership would send her into deep melancholy. But we shouldn’t decide based on whom we like or dislike, who we would want for a friend, or for a mate, or for a colleague. Netanyahu being rude and cocky might help him and Israel in the turbulence of world politics and the dangers posed by Israel’s many enemies. We should decide on the basis of whom would do best to advance Israel’s interests. It might be Bennett, it might be Netanyahu. It might be somebody else.It’s difficult to be sure, but try to decide on what you think would be best for Israel, not who is sweet and charming, or rude and cocky, or reminds you of somebody you once liked.



A healthier you

As president emeritus of Jewish Veg and author of Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism, I think it is very significant that your article, “Monkeypox outbreak: Are there currently other diseases waiting to pounce?” (May 23) appeared less than two weeks after your article, “Chicken coops riddled with health and safety concerns” (May 11).We cannot expect an industry that maximizes profits by submitting countless animals to miserable lives in unsanitary, unhealthy, cruel conditions to be concerned about pandemic risks. Indeed, these risks are greatly increased by the conditions in which these poor animals are forced to live.Shifting away from animal-based diets will reduce the likelihood of future pandemics. And this is far easier today because, as your article “Meat, milk and eggs: Making them without animals” (May 19) indicates, there are now many plant-based substitutes, some with the appearance, texture, and taste so close to the animal products that even long-time meat eaters can’t tell the difference. So, for a healthier you and a healthier and environmentally sustainable planet, please consider going vegan.