Letters to the Editor February 15, 2023: Sore losers

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Sore losers

I read Yoni Dayan’s plaintive piece, and nearly gagged (“Learn about democracy,” February 14). I am in awe of everyone who volunteers to defend our country, and am in awe of Yoni as well.

But his understanding and appreciation of democracy is apparently even more sophomoric than his six-year-old nephew’s. 

How is a very small, secretive, self-selecting group of leftist lawyers maintaining behind-the-scenes control of the country in any way democratic? How is the unelected installation of leftist lawyers in ministries with subjective veto-power over government policy democratic? And, how are the practices of the court with regard to matters of standing and justiciability in any way democratic?

The fact that there are no reasonable answers to these questions is exactly why the leaders of the protests, like Yair Lapid, refuse to debate the issues. The truth is Lapid and the Left want a “do over” because they lost.

Absolutely nothing about the judiciary guarantees individual Israelis the freedom from tyranny of the majority, or tyranny of the court. Freedom from that comes with a constitution, on which we cannot seem to agree. But freedom does not come from a group of sore losers who have no real understanding of democracy.

Each and every protester, Left or Right, should ask themselves one question: Who will protect your freedoms more, a very small, unelected group with its own biases or the majority of the country? Dangers may exist on both sides, but I would prefer to trust the people.



Settlement units

Regarding “US: Settlement legalization inconsistent with democracy” (February 14): The words people use are often a window into their deepest convictions, and what is visible in that window isn’t always pretty. Such is the case with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has now expressed deep concern about Israel’s plans for construction of 10,000 “settlement units,” not homes for Jewish people in their indigenous homeland, but settlement units.

This dehumanizing and pejorative term belongs in a modern day edition of 1984, not in the lexicon of a diplomat who supposedly has some regard for Israelis as human beings. As phrased, it is also all too reminiscent of the dehumanizing and pejorative lexicon of the Third Reich, which steadfastly avoided referring to Jews as human beings, with the right to live where they chose, in their own homes.

Blinken has not expressed deep concern about the Palestinian pay for slay incentives for terrorism, or about the unceasing avalanche of antisemitism pouring forth from Palestinian educational, religious and media outlets. Nope, that’s reserved for settlement units. What an absolute disgrace.


Williamsville, NY

Older mature person

I believe President Herzog has made a very big mistake in the way he has tried to intervene in the government’s proposals regarding judicial reform (“Herzog calls to ‘stop fire of polarization,’” February 13).

The Israeli presidency has traditionally been understood as a non-political position, a ceremonial role of a distinguished older mature person representing the state at official events.

The president has to understand that whatever were his/her past activities in the political arena, he/she has to leave those behind. It was especially out of place for the president to take a position favoring one side, and it only reminded people that for some time he had been the failed leader of a small fringe party.

The speaker of the Knesset and the prime minister have the obligation now of reminding the president of both the value, and the limits of his role. President Herzog has unfortunately lost credibility and the support of many people with his poor judgment in this matter.



Sustaining Judaism

The audacity of Katya Kupchik (“Another step toward a halachic state,” February 8) is incomprehensible. What credentials does she have to make the absurd claim that “The boundaries of the Jewish people have never been determined by Orthodox Halacha?”

It was Orthodox Halacha that sustained the Jews as a nation without a land in the Diaspora for the past 2,000 years. There was only Orthodox Halacha until the Reform Movement began to make massive changes to it in the 19th century. The huge amount of assimilation among Reform Jews is testimony to the effectiveness of Reform halacha on sustaining Judaism.

Ms. Kupchick is staunchly against the “canceling of the grandchild clause [in the Law of Return] and allowing the Rabbinate to decide who is Jewish.” So, if not the rabbinate, should anyone who wants to say they are Jewish obtain Israeli citizenship on that basis?

Kupchik’s completely ludicrous answer is “those who see Israel as their national home” should be accepted as citizens. Israel is a very successful and attractive country in which to live. Millions of people in the world would “see Israel as their national home” if they knew that was Israel’s criterium for citizenship.

The grandchild clause was added to the Law of Return in 1970, a time when Israel was not such a successful and attractive country in which to live. There were very few non-Jews who took advantage of the clause.

The grandchild relationship was selected because that was the criterium used by Hitler to determine who was a Jew. Do we really want Hitler, rather than our rabbinate, to determine for the Jewish state who should be entitled to become its citizen?

Israel is the only Jewish state in the world. Of the 77,000 total immigrants who gained legal status in Israel last year, nearly 60% were not Jewish.

If we continue this trend, eventually Israel will no longer have a Jewish majority. The grandchild clause must be repealed immediately. Anyone who sees “Israel as their national home” and wants to become an Israeli citizen must first properly convert to Judaism and then apply for Israeli citizenship.  

Also, I appeal to Ms. Kupchik and her family to properly convert to Judaism, if they haven’t done so already. The State of Israel graciously accepted you as a Jew, based on Hitler’s definition. We would love to have you join our Jewish nation as a real Jew, as per our rabbinate’s definition.    



Scholarly explanation

Regarding “AIPAC should speak up against judicial overhaul” (February 6): Aside from stating that I don’t like the proposed reforms, and the proposed reforms will weaken Israel’s democracy, it would be nice for a change to get a real analysis of the details of the proposed reforms vs the existing situation with some scholarly explanation as to why “A” is superior to “B.”

I’m curious to know why Netanyahu’s proposal to have more government input into the selection of Israel’s Supreme Court justices is harmful to democracy. Or if the American Supreme Court does not have the power to veto cabinet appointments, why should Israel’s? Letting change-resistant people vent their fears devoid of substantiation accomplishes nothing.



Ben Luria and left-wing American leaders must stop acting like the screaming hysterics who went berserk when Trump was elected president. They are feeding the Muslim Brotherhood and hurting their own kids who are having enough trouble with the Muslim Students Associations’ antisemitism on their campuses.

You have no knowledge of how the new Netanyahu government will perform, so stop thinking you know better than those living near bomb shelters. If Israelis want to demonstrate, that’s their right.

However, if you want to protest the democratically elected Israeli government, make aliyah and have your sons and daughters serve in the IDF. From this side of the world, either support Israel or button-up.



Criminals and even terrorists

Eliav Breuer reports (“Deri’s George Costanza moment,” February 10) that the Movement for Quality Government in Israel has petitioned the High Court arguing that “Former minister Deri continues to hold on, with all of his strength, to the reins of the ministries he was just fired from, despite the very clear ruling by the High Court that he was not even allowed to become a minister.”

This is, indeed, a complicated matter. You can fire a man from his position but there is no law that says you can’t retain contact with him. The prime minister and other ministers have the right to solicit advice from anyone, even convicted criminals and even terrorists, and to act on the basis of their ideas.

So you can force someone to resign and thus be prevented from maintaining a formal position in the government. But there is nothing which prevents him from communicating with the current administration’s officers and there is nothing that  disallows them from implementing his designs.

After former president Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace due to the Watergate scandal he was a much sought after adviser on matters of foreign policy and international relations by US presidents (especially Bill Clinton) and world leaders, most notably those of Russia and China.

Jewish law does have a mechanism of excommunication which pretty much cuts off all contact with the offender, but I highly doubt that Israel is prepared to resort to halachic mechanisms to alleviate its problems.



Political crippling

Regarding “Time for a free-market system is now” (January 25): Still, Israel should prevent big business from controlling such a free market. Canadian governance is heavily steered and therefore disadvantaged by corporate interests, sometimes through economic intimidation.

As it is, corporate lobbyists actually write bills for our (Canada’s) governing representatives to vote for and have implemented, supposedly to save the elected officials their own time. I believe that the practice has become so systematic here that it seems those who are aware of it, including mainstream news media political writers, don’t bother publicly discussing it. 

Meanwhile, the biggest of businesses are getting unaccountably even bigger, defying the very spirit of government rules established to ensure healthy competition by limiting conglomeration.

Nations like China, on the other hand, govern while maintaining control over their own industry, business and market sector, which may give it an overall trade relations edge over Western countries. 

Anyone who doubts the potent persuasion of huge business interests here in the West needs to consider how high-level elected officials can become crippled by implicit and explicit threats to transfer or eliminate jobs and capital investment, thus economic stability, if corporate ‘requests’ aren’t met.

It’s a political crippling that is worsened by a blaring mainstream news media which are permitted to always be critical of incumbent governments, especially in regard to job and capital transfers and economic weakening.

Some will apologetically say it’s nothing personal, just business. 

Western business mentality and, by extension, collective society allow the welfare of human beings to be decided by corporate profit-margin measures. And our governments mostly dare not to intervene, perhaps because they fear being labeled anti-business by our avidly capitalist culture.


White Ro​ck, British Columbia