Regarding “Bill that enables hospitals to ban hametz on Passover becomes law” (March 29): My mother was a resident of a Jewish, kosher nursing facility in New York. There was a sign at the door requesting visitors bringing in non-kosher food for patients or for themselves to partake of it in a room set aside for that purpose, called “the brown bag room.” No one was searched or intimidated by this request.
Now the present government, in its infinite wisdom, has passed a law which serves no purpose except to invite ingenious Israelis to find a way to smuggle in hametz. Or is National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir going to set up a special police squad (with both male and female officers) to search every visitor? This is at a time when more police officers are needed to guard emergency rooms and wards in hospitals, kupat holim health clinics and other facilities, where staff have been brutally attacked by outraged families of patients.
Instead, I would suggest a sign stipulating that visitors are endangering the health of their families by supplying them with any food at any time of the year not approved of by the medical staff. If they still persist, visitors should be reminded that they can bring patients to the hospital cafeteria where appropriate food is available.
BEVERLY A. LEWIN
A wise man recognizes when he is on the wrong track and then changes direction (“Netanyahu calls temporary halt to judicial reform,” March 28). Prime Minister Netanyahu has wisely decided to change course in his pursuit of judicial reform. He now has an opportunity to show that he is also a great man by admitting and correcting his past mistakes.
He should do this by apologizing to Galant and maintaining him as defense minister. Furthermore he should offer support for a Basic Law setting an eight-year term limit on serving as prime minister, with this law to come into effect on Rosh Hashanah 5786. This will solidify his support in the current coalition and remove one of the unspoken but critical reasons for the opposition, namely to get rid of Bibi.
He will then have two-and-a-half years to work through and implement the necessary and much overdue reforms to the legal system. It is unreasonable that the judiciary has the power to replace itself; it is unreasonable that the High Court can override laws passed by the elected representatives of the people because the court deems the law “unreasonable.”
It is unreasonable that anyone can appeal to the courts without standing, and it is unreasonable that the legal system is so inefficient that trials can be prolonged for years; justice delayed is justice denied.
At the same time Israel is much in need of electoral reform and a clear bill of rights to protect the populace from legal or administrative abuse. It is imperative that the purely proportional electoral system be modified, possibly by electing half of the MKs on a constituency basis, which would likely result in much more stable governments (“Voting according to your conscience,” March 21).
It is also necessary to separate the executive and legislative branches of government, thus restoring relevance to the legislative function of the Knesset. If Netanyahu is able to achieve even half of these objectives, he will go down in history as one of Israel’s greatest premiers.
So now an Israel minister can control his own militia (“Ben-Gvir’s demand for National Guard accepted, to prevent gov’t falling,” March 28). There are numerous precedents for security services which owed allegiance directly to a politician. Among these, Stalin used his NKVD, Hitler created his SS and Khomeini established his Revolutionary Guard. Need we be worried?
STEFAN C. REIF
Canceling the play date
The article “The Netanyahu coalition’s first 90 days were crisis diplomacy on steroids” (March 31) was completely in tune with the generalized thinking here in Israel. However, I’d like to give my take on the subject as well.
After months of protests, months of foul accusatory language from both sides of the aisle and the streets, months of foreign nations adding their two cents into the workings of our government, and months of threats from all sectors of society, Netanyahu finally blinked.
But at what cost? Now he is heavily indebted to at least two foul mouth novices, one of whom, Itamar Ben-Gvir, has the proverbial keys to the kingdom. The prime minister handing Ben-Gvir another fledgling security apparatus is dangerous and obscene. It shows all that both Netanyahu and his cohorts are interested in one thing only – preserving their power. The judiciary does need some tweaking, but not at the expense of an out of control right-wing hierarchy, who have no clue how to behave diplomatically.
In addition, Israel’s security issues are front and center, especially in the scopes of those Arab nations that are looking for cracks in our abilities to defend our people. We must show them and the Arabs living among us that we are strong and always prepared to act. Yes, we want peace, but only with our security needs defined.
As for the “friends” in the White House, who have canceled the play date with our PM, I wonder what friends he’ll invite to the sandbox now. Biden may not understand, however, that the US needs us as much as we need them. We are their eyes in the skies of a violent neighborhood, with amazing security abilities and the strongest military in the Middle East.
Iran is on the march, and the US president seems to be ignoring the signals. For the so-called friend in America to dis our PM is a dangerous mistake.
Netanyahu must take back the wheel of the self-driving government car, that is out of control. He must navigate the bumpy road ahead with focus, and hopefully the road will then be paved with a straight and perfect mix of democratic values and ideals, so important to us as a nation.
Having read Yaakov Katz’s final column before he stepped down as editor-in-chief of this illustrious journal (“Making the most of Israel’s patriotic awakening,” March 31), I would like to thank him for his major contribution and guiding hand for the past seven years, which has seen a great variety of articles published from a wide spectrum of society.
However, when he reflects back on his time in the position of editor, like many he will no doubt question whether the State of Israel now is in a better state than it was then. The answer to that has to be an unequivocal “no.” Having had to endure five hotly disputed elections, we find ourselves enveloped by a government that has taken self-interest to unprecedented levels.
Although currently they have called timeout, the denouement does not instill confidence that change for the good will be forthcoming anytime soon.
A democracy can only flourish and be seen to do so when all of its citizens contribute in equal measure and are treated as such, likewise in such an arena a free press must be able to report objectively without fear or favor.
We are meant to be a light unto other nations; unfortunately at present that flame has dimmed.
I agree, yes, we should listen to our friends (editorial “Listen to our friends,” March 30), but surely that does not mean that we jump to adhere to their musings and instructions. Israel is a sovereign state, just like the US, and they might be a strong ally, but unfortunately their international stature and dominance is fast fading under the Obama/Biden regime.
Israel could surely point out that if President Biden had his way, he would implement his own form of judicial reform. But his judicial reform would amount to total control of the US Supreme Court. He would rack, stack and pack the US Supreme Court with his Democratic minions, he would enlarge the number of justices to a number that would be unassailable, and he and his left-wing cronies would, if they had the choice, legislate controlling mechanisms in the House and Senate that would forever lead to a Democratic Party rule of the US.
So, let’s not hasten to be too concerned about woke criticism coming from Biden. How could he not react the way he has? He is so reliant on the politically Left that he will never agree with a right-wing Israeli coalition government.
In viewing the Biden White House chaos that reigns throughout the US, Israel should hardly look to them as a source of inspiration and guidance.
If I were to hazard a guess, if Biden was tested on his knowledge of the current judicial changes being proposed in Israel, he would not have even the most basic and simple understanding of the issues and the proposed remedies. This is a typical Biden knee-jerk reaction, in a US election cycle.
As to the US leading a response to the current changes in the world construct, I think that if we rely on current US leadership to navigate the complexities raging around the world, we are abdicating our national responsibilities. The Biden White House has no answer to the situations in China, Russia, Iran, Ukraine and North Korea.
China has masterfully orchestrated the current alliances and my bet is the next move will be China encouraging Iran to publicly host numerous Chinese and Russian scientists at their various nuclear facilities. China would then declare that an attack on an Iranian facility that is hosting Chinese citizens would be deemed as an attack on China.
So, yes, we need to listen to our friends, but they have self-serving interests and sometimes a lack of credibility and ability.
The leaders of the great bastions of democracy today – France, Germany, Great Britain and the United States – took it upon themselves to lecture Israel about its proposed judicial reforms and its handling of the minority Palestinian population. They decry and sometimes demand that Israel “cool down” tensions, and trust that they each know better than Israel itself how to run a country and deal with perceived enemies.
They are all stewards of hypocritical, failing countries with their own racism and cowardice in fighting their local terror machines. They’re all dealing with economic chaos and tribal prejudices, among a plethora of unsolved problems with no end in sight.
They each support misguided and self-destructive policies and should only be looking inward, not focusing on another country’s issues. When they figure out how to get their own house in order, maybe it will be worthwhile for Israel to take a listen. For now, get your own houses in order and leave Israel to take care of itself.
One simple question
Regarding “Sides meet for first round of talks, Herzog says were ‘in good spirit’” (March 29): If we eliminate all the heavy doses of rhetoric emanating from both sides, the impasse to resolving the debate of the current bill on the selection of justices could be made with one simple question:
Is democracy better served by maintaining the status quo of self-selection by the unelected members of the Supreme Court, or would the selection committee consisting, as well, of elected members of the legislative and executive branches increase the level of democratic values?
That question should be answered by each member of the negotiating teams, President Isaac Herzog, and every one of the thousands that have been demonstrating in the streets and highways.
If there is agreement on this vital point, the path to restoring tranquility in this embattled nation will be greatly enhanced.