Letters to the Editor January 23, 2023: Well-worn process

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Well-worn process

Kudos to Douglas Bloomfield for getting through his article “Rule of law vs the rule of Bibi” (January 19) with nary a mention of former US president Donald Trump, let alone a total diatribe as has been his wont since Trump left office two years ago.

Instead he turns his ire against our newly reelected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It’s almost as though Bibi took over by force, according to Bloomfield, rather than through Israel’s well-worn democratic election process. While Israel doesn’t have a constitution a la America, the country is administered according to rules which have a very similar separation of powers to the US.

Here’s hoping that the country will survive the latest coalition, with Bibi’s “both hands on the wheel.”



Israel’s biggest crime

Regarding “Abbas urges Washington to halt Israeli ‘escalation’” (January 20): Mahmoud Abbas should be happy that he has not yet achieved international recognition for the country of Palestine because if he had, Israel would have every right to invade it over the multitude of attacks on Israelis by Palestinian terrorist gangs which Abbas pretends to oppose.

Abbas demands that the US pressure Israel to stop committing crimes against the Palestinians, crimes like diverting money from the Palestinians’ “pay for slay” program. But the biggest crime of all committed by Israel is its existence as a Jewish state. Nothing is more absurd than Abbas demanding that American diplomats pressure Israel to commit national suicide.



Great oxymoron

This week’s column by that arch-apologist for the terrorist group called Hamas reached new heights that only someone with the affront of Gershon Baskin could achieve (“Changing our position on Hamas,” January 19).

I do believe his final words produced a truly great oxymoron: “Hamas to demonstrate pragmatism.”

From experience the only change in our position should be one of even greater surveillance, as any future move they are likely to make will be far from pragmatic and more dangerous to our security should we in any way drop our guard.


Tel Aviv

Gershon Baskin’s recommendation is a dangerous combination of self-aggrandizement and misleading assertions. 

As proof of his own bona fides, he lauds his secret channel negotiations that led to the release of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Gilad Schalit. Eleven years after this disastrous exchange, he has yet to accept responsibility for the many former prisoners who returned to terrorism, nor for others who chose to murder Jews believing that, if captured, they eventually will be freed in another lopsided deal.

The recent release of a video of Avera Mengistu, heralded by Baskin as “a signal that Hamas is prepared to be more practical,” is actually proof of Hamas’s craven inhumanity, holding hostage for eight years a mentally unstable Israeli civilian (along with another civilian and the bodies of two soldiers) with no possible military significance.

Baskin says he is trying to negotiate a long-term ceasefire “that would include ending the Egyptian and Israeli military siege on Gaza and the threat of rockets launched at hundreds of thousands of Israelis.” This implied but erroneous moral equivalence reverses cause and effect. Israel’s fully justified embargo on arms reaching Gaza is the result (not the cause) of repeated rocket attacks on innocent civilians. A long-term ceasefire is entirely in the hands of Hamas without Baskin’s assistance. They need only to forswear further wanton bloodshed. 

Baskin says that adherence to the most recent ceasefire is “evidence of how the responsibility of governing impacts Hamas’s [less ideological] decision-making.” It is much more likely that the current quiescence is a result of Israel’s deadly retaliation against Hamas members for repeated rocket attacks and attempted crossborder incursions. Hamas is simply not willing to incur any further losses at this time. 

Baskin cites Gazans’ horrible suffering under the repressive Hamas regime and admits that the organization will not lay down its arms, stop producing its rockets, nor recognize Israel anytime soon. Even so, he recommends that Israel interact with the terrorist organization in order to work out a modus vivendi. (No doubt Baskin will offer to act as chief intermediary.)

This is a recipe for disaster. It would solidify Hamas’s rule in Gaza, dash Gazans’ hopes for better conditions, and lend legitimacy to Hamas as a leading Palestinian power. All this while the terror organization stockpiles its weapons for the next round of violence at a time of its choosing.


Zichron Ya’acov

Judicial reform

Yair Lapid repeatedly states (“Herzog tries to avert constitutional crisis,” January 16) that in the last election “they did not go to vote and say ‘we are going to vote that Israel ceases to remain a democratic state.’” I agree that Israelis most certainly want their state to remain a democratic one, but why would much needed and legitimate judicial reform constitute a threat to democracy?

There are many aspects of the judicial system that are manifestly undemocratic. Most egregious is the ability of judges to nullify legislation and government acts that they deem to be “unreasonable”. Thus a small group of unelected justices can arbitrarily, according to their own subjective viewpoints, cancel the laws and policies of the people’s duly elected representatives.

That is truly what is undemocratic in the current situation.



I wish to share with your readers these perceptive words of the American jurist and judicial philosopher Learned Hand: “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.” However, justice Hand emphasized that he was not referring to the liberty that is “the ruthless, the unbridled will... to do as one likes. That is the denial of liberty and leads straight to its overthrow.” 

These words are very apropos to the current exchange on the proposed changes to the Israeli judicial system.



Violent, unlawful seizure

In the top headline on January 22, “Lapid: We won’t give up until we win,” the sub-headline includes: “Don’t accept this coup d’etat – Michaeli,” referring to MK Merav Michaeli, the Labor party leader. 

Her statement says it all. Not only has what passes for political discourse in this country fallen to new levels of demonization, character assassination and just plain nastiness, now our leaders don’t even consult a common dictionary before making baseless accusations.

I wasn’t at Saturday night’s rally in Tel Aviv. I did not hear Michaeli’s comment in Hebrew. But I do know what a coup d’etat is. Unfortunately, Ms. Michaeli does not.  A coup d’etat, according to Google, is a French phrase, which means “a sudden, violent and unlawful seizure of government.”

I personally did not vote for the present government but I do not believe that this government, in proposing its judicial reforms, is making a violent, unlawful seizure of government. They are the government, according to the most recent election results. The protesters, God forbid that they should turn violent, are the only ones who could be accused of a coup d’etat. And thank God, that does not appear to be happening.

Let’s everyone take a few steps back, grab a chill pill and calm down. Don’t accuse others of something if one is not really sure what the words mean.



Renege on promises

What is the point of boycotting? If you can’t get your message through with direct contact, it definitely won’t happen in absentia (“RZP ministers to boycott gov’t meeting over West Bank outpost evacuation,” January 22).

Netanyahu always said he would be in charge and violating coalition agreements is not exactly new territory for him, so why the shock when he does what he has always done: renege on promises made to the right wing of which he is certainly not one.

His priority should have been demolishing illegal Arab buildings which have steadily increased but are conveniently overlooked due to pressure by America which is always Netanyahu’s main concern.



Adult in the government

The article “The rhetoric has gone overboard” by Josh Hasten (January 19) reminded me of the wisdom of my parents – things said can never be undone.

Of course we all know that everyone in this government must put forth their two cents, or shekels, worth of opinions. However, the choice of descriptions and language in getting out their views, is out of sight of what “normal” should be.

How can anyone in Israel, haredi, religious Zionist, secular, or atheist, use comparisons to Nazis, pogroms, or “agents of darkness.” More important than tamping down this disgusting verbal diarrhea is getting the people involved in these verbal assaults on us to just stop. They must think before they sprout this venom and take Israel back to being a Jewish civilized country of intelligent beings.

Perhaps then, the world will notice that we resolve problems while respecting other’s opinions. We need to show everyone we truly are a light among nations and language is the path forward to this goal. 

Someone has to be the adult in this government.



Crocodile tears

Shed a few tears for Arye Deri (“High Court rules that Deri cannot be a minister,” January 19). The poor fellow won’t have the perks of a minister; no car, no assistants, no other perks of a ministerial office – at least not for now.

But don’t shed many tears. Deri is not going away. As he said, he will be in the government in some way. Any Shas ministers of finance, health and/or interior will be acting on his instructions. And if he’s not constricted by having a specific function, he may be able to be even more influential in many governmental areas.

Shed crocodile tears, at most.



I fail to comprehend how Shas, a political party with a significant public that presents itself as dedicated to the values of Judaism and observance of Torah law, can lionize (no pun intended) Arye Deri. The man is a convicted felon found guilty of tax evasion that impacts on all of society and accepting bribes that flies in the face of Exodus (23:8) and the codifications of Maimonides and the Shulhan Aruch.

Deri’s very appointment as minister was a moral blot on the government as well as a desecration of God’s name. The court afforded Netanyahu a golden opportunity of removing this stain on his government and it’s good that he availed himself of its benefit to elegantly dismiss Deri from its ranks.

I’m confident that Shas can find a talented persona to replace him.



We knew what we were doing

As someone who voted in the last election for the current ruling party (“Was Likud clear on plans before election?” January 18), I definitely knew what I was voting for. Unfortunately, the majority of the articles published by The Jerusalem Post are one-sided and against the current plans of the government.

May I suggest more even-sided articles on the issue? I am really disgusted reading the headlines day in, day out against the government and its proposals. Why do the writers think the voters did not know what they were doing, as if we were babies or idiots?

There are many intelligent commentators in favor of the reforms proposed by the current government. How about printing some of their opinions?



Accelerating assimilation

In Yochi Rappeport’s article “The beginning of the Jewish Republic?” (January 17), she attempts to sow fear that the “rich diversity” of Judaism is in grave danger from this right-wing religious government.

Of course, from her viewpoint as director of Women of the Wall, her concern is understandable, but it is the huge and accelerating assimilation that’s going on in the Diaspora that’s the real danger to our “future as a nation.”

Rappeport’s flag waving on behalf of “liberally-minded Jews” is a code word for anything-goes Judaism, and the fast disappearing Jewish communities in America are evidence of the paucity of this approach.

The Declaration of Independence is clear that this is a Jewish country and the reinforcement of this is long overdue and this government will deliver it.


Zichron Ya’acov