Letters to the Editor October 3, 2022: No good choices

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

No good choices

Regarding “The Begin Doctrine died in Tehran” (October 2): Perhaps Gil Murciano has forgotten that discussions, as at Munich, do not deter maniacal regimes, which is a fair characterization of Iran considering that former “moderate” president Rafsanjani had declared that “the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything,” and that “Death to Israel” has been painted on Iranian missiles. What does this suggest about Iran’s ongoing intentions?

Former president Obama did not submit the JCPOA to the Senate for approval as a treaty because he knew it would be rejected. But hey, why should a US president care what the US Senate thinks? Switcheroo – substitute a UN resolution for Senate ratification, and then send billions in cash to Iran, which actually never signed the JCPOA, so the mullahs cannot be charged with violating its provisions.

Israeli intelligence revealed an Iranian nuclear archive containing documentation that Iran lied to UN weapons inspectors about past nuclear activity. Why would a regime with peaceful intentions lie and hide incriminating documentation of its bad faith?

The lesson of Munich remains valid. Sometimes there are no good choices, except the choice to prevent massive destruction of lives or even possible annihilation.


Davis, CA

Gil Murciano’s op-ed article on the necessity for Israel to consider all options in responding to the Iranian nuclear peril raises some interesting questions, but he is too quick to declare the Begin Doctrine outmoded or impossible with Iran. This is especially obvious when one considers that the only alternatives he suggests are a series of discussions and increased planning with Israel’s Abraham Accords Arab partners. Discussions and planning have never prevented an aggressive tyranny like Iran from starting wars and attacking other countries.

Murciano’s fears that the Iranians will retain their knowledge of nuclear weapons design even if the centrifuges and allied facilities are destroyed are overblown. All the knowledge of nuclear physics and engineering in the world will not refine a single ounce of uranium if the facilities needed to do so are destroyed or disabled. Israel possesses the military capacity to do this, by either conventional means or non-conventional means if the US reneges on its stated commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Obviously this will not be accomplished without great cost. In fact this may be another Yom Kippur War moment for Israel. Nobody wants this. But unfortunately the alternative is even worse, that the tyrants of Tehran will manufacture nuclear weapons and use them as they have promised, to wipe out Israel entirely. Menachem Begin’s paradigm for how Israel should act in circumstances like this is still sound, and relevant.


Williamsville, NY

Exorbitant expenses

Regarding “Major food import reform coming” (September 30): I would eagerly join the chorus of cheers for anything that will reduce the cost of living and bring some normalcy to the exorbitant expenses we face every day. But while the reforms to be introduced at the start of 2023 are expected to do just that, exactly how canceling a hundred-plus Israeli food-related standards will accomplish this is not entirely clear.

Granted, the amount of personnel required to oversee the compliance with these standards will be dramatically reduced, but the costs of materials, equipment and other overhead expenses will remain, for the most part, unchanged.

Besides, is it such a good idea to leave defining the standards for quality, safety and hygiene in the hands of others? Existing standards are based on Israel’s unique and specific variables – climate, topography, population centers, natural resources, and so on. Can we safely assume that the standards defined in, let’s say, California or Brussels are indeed universally relevant and readily applicable for humus being produced in Ashdod or pita being baked in Tiberias?

Maybe, but I’m not so sure that gambling with our health and well-being is the right way to go. And I can only imagine what will be done with standards related to kashrut. Are they, too, on the proverbial chopping block?

Don’t misunderstand. Even though I’ve been here the better part of three decades, there are still some “goodies” that I miss from the old country and would like nothing more than to see some of my favorites – reasonably priced, of course – as part of our supermarkets’ regular inventory. This will not, however, sway my vote one way or the other, if Mr. Lapid indeed believes that such enticements will change his status from transitional to permanent.

I won’t argue that seeing a significant reduction to the cost of living without any unpleasant compromises would not go unnoticed or be unappreciated, but insofar as these reforms are to be implemented only some two months after the election, we have no choice but to rely on professional and impartial evaluations from business analysts and economists to decide how valid the optimism is. And resist the lure of a Drake’s Coffee Cake.


Ginot Shomron

Prime Minister Lapid’s announcement to increase competition in Israel’s food industry is certainly a welcome development, but there remains the question of whether the shelf prices of the affected food items will in fact come down as hoped.

By the time Lapid’s targeted January 2023 implementation date arrives, there will be a new government. The fact that major retailers in the food industry have been strong-armed into delaying price increases suggests an inherent unwillingness to pass on importation cost savings to the consumer. Moreover, easing up on the wordings of the standards will not necessarily reduce the costs of the bureaucracies that must be navigated in order to import food.

One of the triggers for the American Revolution was the high price of tea. The British Raj in India was shaken by the prohibitive price of salt. The 1918 rice riots in Japan forced the resignation of prime minister Terauchi Masatake.

During the past half-century, riots over shortages and high prices of bread and other foods have also erupted in Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco. Within the past month, food shortages played their part in the Sri Lanka riots which resulted in the resignation and flight from the country of many government officials.

The world sees Israeli consumer anger over the high cost of food. Israeli politicians and the food industry oligopolists ought be mindful that the 2011 “great cottage cheese uprising” might not have set an upper limit for Israeli society’s recoil capabilities.


Petah Tikva

Dozens of political hacks

I can’t believe that Mark Regev wrote a long article (“Reforming Israel’s electoral system,” September 30) about the need to change Israel’s dysfunctional electoral system, but did not specifically mention the gorilla in the room – namely that we vote only for party lists, and not individuals. Voters have no one to turn to about local problems. 

Voters don’t choose any except the first few names on a list, and their vote for a particular party can send dozens of political hacks to “represent” them in parliament, people whose first, and possibly only, loyalty is to the party functionaries who gave them their slot. Our parliament often looks like a zoo, and the fact that we can’t vote for individuals is a big part of the reason.



I read with amusement Mark Regev’s thoughts on electoral reform in Israel. Like most Anglo olim, I live in almost Kafkaesque amazement that native-born Israelis will twist themselves into knots to avoid the concept of real proportional representation. Israel simply does not have it, and so we are beset by the inherently corrupt concept of “the lists” which guarantees that a normal, unconnected citizen has almost no voice in government whatsoever.

I know that I might be both surprised and unhappy at the results of an election in which the citizens of say, Holon, might have the same proportional influence as that of citizens from say, Rosh Pina. But I would at least know that I was not subject to the bumbling of a gang war among the various mafiosi who form our professional political parties.

Wake up Israel! There is a much better way. And the fact that the current party leaders would fight it to the death is a confirmation of its truth.



Offering aggressors peace

Regarding “Nides: US continues to try to limit settlement growth” (September 29): Where does the US get the chutzpah to dictate to the sovereign state of Israel where its people may live and raise their families? Do they dare do that to any other countries? Do foreigners tell Americans where they can settle? The EU tried dictating to Great Britain, pushing the Brexit side to victory.

The US should try to limit Palestinian intransigence and terrorism instead of spending $500m. on them without making any demands, such as ending pay-to-slay or considering the Peace to Prosperity plan.

The Green Line is like the Mason-Dixon Line. It is not an international border. It was an armistice line, ending the Arab war to destroy Israel in 1949, a war of aggression, like Russia’s war against Ukraine.

In 1967, Israel was again forced to defend itself and pushed out the Egyptians and Jordanians, reuniting Judea, Samaria and Gaza with Israel.

Under international law and convention, the winner in war always redraws borders and moves civilians if necessary. Israel, being the most generous victor in history, did not act like others would have. Israel offered the aggressors peace. One can only imagine how Israelis would have been treated had they lost in 1949, 1967 or 1973.

As for the 15 UNSC members who spoke against building activity, which of them sent help or fighters to Israel when it was under attack by massively overpowering Arab forces? Those who did, please remain standing. The rest can go back to their festivities.

As for Resolution 2334, or any other resolution regarding Israel, has any UN ambassador bothered to read Article 80 of the UN Charter? Did their countries sign the charter without reading it?

Article 80 of the UN Charter preserves intact all the rights granted to the Jews under the Mandate for Palestine, even after the mandate’s expiry.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield equates paying terrorists to murder Jews with Jews building a home. France’s ambassador lectures Israel, but has no comment on the Palestinians. Their values are questionable.



Very respectfully

In describing his personal struggle to acquire some general education while remaining faithful to his very religious upbringing and his love of Jewish learning, Ysoscher Katz (“Rage and nostalgia,” September 28) touches on the very difficult choice which some parents and older students may have to make.

Recently I read the details (available online) of a fascinating case that came before a secular court in England. A hassidic couple had separated, and were arguing about the education of the children. The father wanted the children to go to a hassidic school where there would be almost no secular studies; the mother wanted the children to go to a religious Jewish school that did have a full range of general studies in the curriculum.

What was particularly impressive, was how very carefully and very respectfully the judges assessed both the needs of the children and the desires of each parent. The mother essentially verbalized growing up with a similar limited education to what Rabbi Katz describes, and said she wanted something better for her children, especially her daughters, while the father talked about the long-established tradition of the priority of Jewish learning from which both his and his wife’s families came.

Unlike many people, the judges did not dismiss the ex-husband’s arguments as old-fashioned and outdated, but acknowledged them fully, even though they eventually decided that the children should have the opportunity to have a broader education. But they demonstrated that even a non-Jewish secular court can show more respect to serious Jewish learning than do many Jews.