Letters to the Editor February 27, 2023: Work over family

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Work over family

Regarding "51% of population are women, why aren’t they 51% of CEOs?” (February 26): The assumption here is that men and women have the same life priorities and goals.

Women certainly are capable of being CEOs, but many do not aspire to these positions. Running a company demands long hours, and often prioritizing work over family.

While many men seek success in the financial world, many women prefer occupations in education, healthcare, and other people-oriented positions.

It’s not just a numbers game.



Short memory

What some people have been writing recently makes me wonder whether they have short memories or whether they are just downright hypocrites.

I’m referring to the comment by Oded Revivi (“To where?” February 24) about Yair Lapid, namely that Lapid’s activity taken in the opposition “must not become [what] prevents the government from functioning.” I’d like to believe that Revivi has a short memory since he seems to have forgotten that when Netanyahu was in the opposition during the previous government, he made every effort possible to prevent that government from functioning, including opposing every proposed legislation, even such that the Likud would normally support, and inducing MKs to leave the coalition by illegally promising them ministerial appointments in a Likud-led government.

I usually find Revivi to be a sensible man despite his affiliation with the right wing, but not this time. Perhaps he needs to see a physician about his memory loss.



Experiencing some turbulence

Regarding “Yesh Atid would win election if held today – ‘Post’ poll” (February 24): Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that the poll conducted by Panels Politics accurately reflects the current thinking of the Israeli voting population.

The results suggest that a statistically significant number of Right-Center supporters have been nudged over to the left of the demarcation line in a span of three short months, which is nothing short of troublesome. I actually thought that we had developed into a voting culture that went beyond a single issue. That the continuous debate over judicial reform has, apparently, brought about a revised preference on who runs the government demonstrates an unnerving shallowness.

The poll’s results, moreover, suggest that we are not only hopelessly divided but terribly mixed up as well. The gains enjoyed by Yesh Atid and National Unity at the expense of Likud make sense, but from where did Otzma Yehudit pick up an additional seat? You have to wonder what triggered the forward movement, albeit modestly, to the extremes of the two poles, providing both Ben-Gvir’s rhetoric and Meretz’s radicalism a foothold into this fantasy world.

Granted, the poll is a pointless exercise at best. The coalition may be experiencing some turbulence, but it’s in no way in danger of imploding, at least not yet anyway. The demonstrations are making a lot of noise – and not unjustifiably – but Israel is not, thankfully, a banana republic where leaders can be overthrown or confined to dungeons and cellars.

If anything, the weekly tumultuous protests over the proposed changes to the judiciary is clear evidence of Israel’s vibrant democracy. And while members of the Arab world – including those with Israeli citizenship – may be gleefully embracing the possibility of a civil war, they are no doubt equally astounded that Israel is not exercising the sort of protest suppression that China ordered in Tiananmen Square back in 1989.

Not that the bother and expense of simulating a “what if” scenario are entirely purposeless. It is apparent that leaders of the Center-Right – and, in particular, the prime minister – cannot take their voting base for granted. It also cannot be assumed that coalition policies will be accepted blindly. If nothing else, the members of the coalition are becoming painfully aware that bulldozing a square peg into a round hole is not only counterproductive, it is destructive to both the peg and the hole.


Ginot Shomron

Netanyahu’s chutzpah

It has been said that the best example of chutzpah is a person who kills his parents and pleads for the court’s mercy on the grounds of being an orphan. Another example is related to “PM: The longer we wait, military action against Iran will be harder” (February 23).

It was Benjamin Netanyahu’s urging that led former US president Donald Trump to pull out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and that has resulted in Iran getting much closer to obtaining a nuclear weapon and being in a far better bargaining position. Because of the nuclear agreement, Iran purportedly got rid of 98% of its enriched nuclear material, disabled two-thirds of its centrifuges, and disabled a nuclear reactor by filling it with concrete.

This greatly increased the time Iran would need to create a nuclear bomb. The deal involved extensive, possibly unprecedented, inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Of course, Iran’s militant statements and actions must be strongly condemned, and the strong sanctions against Iran should continue until Tehran changes its militancy and agrees to sharply reduce its nuclear potential. However, attacking Iran would change a possible catastrophe into an immediate one by increasing terrorism, possibly starting a war, and greatly increasing oil prices, likely starting a recession.



Unusable and rotten

It was gratifying to read in the excellent article by Yoaz Hendel (“How does Israel move forward?” February 20) that members of the statesmanlike Right, the old Likud which a large proportion of Israeli voters supported for so long and are ignored today, are still very much alive and vibrant.

When in 1986 the hyperinflated old shekel had become unusable and rotten, the new Israeli shekel (NIS) was born. It is time for the members of the statesmanlike Right, the old Likud, to get together under the title of The New Likud – and not under some new party name – bringing with them the values of the old established and respected Likud.



False assumption

Regarding “Israel could lose its Diaspora shield” (February 26): There are no more than 5.3 million US Jews by religion. Most rarely even think of Israel. The leadership of liberal Jewish movements know that the liberal Israeli Supreme Court has been their line of defense and they don’t want to lose that power. They falsely conflate their demands for their religious rites with “human rights.”

Sharon Roffe Ofir wants us to believe that Jewish organizations led mostly by Reform/liberal Jews are Conservative and that just because US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides was born Jewish, he’s automatically pro-Israel. J Street is evidence of that false assumption. When standing on the extreme Left, even the Center appears to be on the Right.

There are over 80 million evangelical Christians who love Israel as it is, without conditions. They will provide the significantly larger shield Israel needs even if liberal US Jews, as on J Street, are merely conditional friends.

So much for Ofir’s threat.



Power corrupts

It was a pleasure to read something in the Post about judicial reform that was neither hysterical against any change nor hysterical about the necessity of curbing the unlimited power of the courts (“Reform: A third way,” February 23). The fact is that Israel needs a proper constitution and also a reform of the electoral system which clearly is not fit for purpose.

Friedman’s suggestion that some MKs should be elected on a constituency basis makes some sense. However an alternative of having two houses: one elected as at present, proportionately, and one on a constituency basis is probably better. If laws have to pass both houses to be accepted, the power of government to control the lives of citizens would be somewhat limited; a change that would increase freedom.

The courts would have to base their decisions purely on the constitution based on the Basic Laws. As it is a given that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, it is essential that no institution or person should have absolute power. To achieve all these changes would require serious work by all parties to reach an equitable result. I do not know if our present leaders are up to it, but at least they should try.


Ma’aleh Adumim

There are two aspects of the controversy about judicial reform that require attention:

1. Any reforms enacted by the Knesset may be dismissed by the courts as “unreasonable,” so another procedure, that can’t be written off as “undemocratic,” is required. I propose a series of plebiscites where the voters can decide each issue – there are several – separately.

The first series would put the various reforms implemented by justice Aharon Barak to a vote and thus determine whether they met democratic standards. The results would establish a baseline for other reforms that might be proposed; it’s possible that there would be no need for additional reforms.

2. The courts are behaving much like the rabbinate: they choose their own members, decide which issues to address, and make decisions without reference to what the public may think. Perhaps some rethinking of the rabbinate’s authority and procedures should accompany judicial reform.


Framingham, MA

Not a coup d’état

In “Judicial reform protests to hold ‘day of struggle’” (February 24), former IDF chief of staff and defense minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon is quoted as saying, “it is clear according to every definition that this is a coup d’état.” I can only respond with the immortal words of Inigo Montoya, from the 1987 movie The Princess Bride: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” 

A simple Google search of the meaning of coup d’etat defines a coup d’état as a seizure and removal of a government and its powers.

Actually General Ya’alon, no, this is most definitely not a coup d’état.



Selection system

As I read “Noam protesters clash with Reform rabbis at Wall” (February 23), I couldn’t help but recall my retort to those who believe we as a people should be “selective” in terms of which Jews should be allowed to hold prayer services at the Kotel.

Pardon my cynicism, but personally, my selection system to qualify for praying at the Kotel would duplicate the system in play during World War II. Namely, if you would have qualified back then to be tossed into the gas chamber, then at present, you qualify to pray at the Kotel.

Sorry for the cynicism.


Tzur Yitzhak

Learn from Ben-Gurion

Herb Keinon is 100% correct in “Needed: Generosity in victory, humility in defeat” (February 22). He calls on both sides of the argument to compromise and not stand on principle. He uses Abraham Lincoln as an example of someone who knew that compromise was necessary and acted accordingly.

I would point out that David Ben-Gurion was also someone who knew the need for compromise and acted accordingly. When the Partition Plan was presented to the Jews and Arabs, the Arabs said, “No, we want all or nothing,” but Ben-Gurion recognized that in order to achieve a Jewish State of Israel, the Jews would have to accept partition, as unpalatable as it was.

It is time for our political leaders to remember their history and learn from David Ben-Gurion.



Not a vassal state

I was saddened by the editorial “Respecting opposition” (February 21), because it promotes hatred of Prime Minister Netanyahu and his right-wing supporters. You call his not speaking out about judicial reform a “sob story about a gag order.”

Yet, the Post reported that the attorney-general called any statement by the prime minister concerning judicial reform a conflict of interest and was therefore prohibited. I bet that if Mr. Netanyahu had spoken out, you would have accused him of defying the attorney-general.

You chastise Netanyahu for not listening to US Ambassador Nides to slow down judicial reform. It seems that Israel is a sovereign nation, and it is not a vassal state that must abide by instructions from the United States concerning its internal policies.

I assume that you would not favor the Israeli government speaking out about a domestic matter before the US Supreme Court. Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli’s response that the US government should mind its own business seems right on target.

I made aliyah in August, in part to escape the excessive hatred by the left wing in the US, and the Post is ill-advised to support left-wing hatred in our country.