Regarding “Palestinian factions warn against resuming targeted killing of leaders” (April 25): Targeted killings in response to a spate of terror attacks are not acts of aggression. It is Israel’s prerogative to consider whether killing leaders of terrorist groups is an effective method for protecting Israel’s people from Israel’s enemies.
The best way for the terrorist leaders to prevent Israel from targeting them is to give up on their dream of destroying the nation-state of the Jews and begin working on improving the lives of the Palestinians who are living under their administration.
TOBY F. BLOCK
On a high
The article “Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana’s welcomed words” (April 28) by Ruthie Blum came at a perfect moment for me, and probably other English-language speakers who don’t have the best command of the Hebrew language.
The beautiful Independence Day program at Mt. Herzl was stunning and so professionally presented. The dancing, singing, special effects, marching were all top caliber and I was in love at first sight with the show.
The problem, then for me: I was not able to understand MK Ohana’s speech, as the Hebrew was above my pay grade. I gathered from the applause and his persona while giving the speech that it was very positive and that he tried to put the country on a high for its 75th birthday.
Ms. Blum’s article, giving us particular quotes, was a welcome gift for the understanding of that address. He talked, according to Ms. Blum, about bereaved families, the return to Israel after the Shoah, the building of the state by the “pioneer families,” and the numerous ethnic tribes, as well as religiously diverse cultures.
Included also, were the “unfathomable tragedies” that befell us recently, with the deaths of three pairs of siblings, including one of their mothers, in terror attacks, and yet another pair killed in a horrendous flood. He then reminded the audience of the incredible donation of organs by the mother, which saved the lives of five people in need.
His speech was so moving, and I recognized that by the inflections of his voice and the audience’s reactions. However, how much more meaningful to English speakers it would have been had there been English subtitles for us to read as he and all the torch lighters spoke.
So, thank you Ms. Blum for sharing the beautiful sentiments of Speaker Ohana with us and giving us insight into a well thought out, extremely intuitive speech on the occasion of our 75th birthday.
Next year, again in Jerusalem, and hopefully we will be able to understand all the amazing speakers who take part in the show.
Am Yisrael chai, the nation of Israel lives.
I was very interested to read “Protests about the Judiciary” (April 30) by world-renowned Professor Alan Dershowitz and was even more interested and indeed pleased, when I read his clear conclusion that ”Israel will remain a vibrant democracy regardless of whether or not some or even all of these [judicial] reforms are enacted.” However I was less enthralled by his expressed opinion that he “personally oppose[s] some of these reforms” and would like to know to which of the reforms he objects.
If he were to take each of the main proposed reforms, and examine it carefully, he would find that his own US Constitution and judicial framework has already adopted and is employing each and every one of these reforms.
All federal judges are political appointments. All legal advisers are appointed by the minister for whom they act. The principle of reasonableness as a basis for judicial determination has been abandoned for decades. Even the ability of the Congress to override the decisions of the Supreme Court is, in certain circumstances, enabled.
And there is no such legal animal as a legal adviser to the government (a wrongly translated term from the Hebrew as attorney-general) who has absolute power and is answerable to no one. Accordingly, either the eminent professor is objecting to his own legal and judicial system or maybe he just hasn’t done his homework.
Regarding “Israel permits local innovator Remilk to market ‘non-animal dairy’ products” (April 28), I think we should be very proud that “Israel is one of the first in the world to offer people access to sustainable, real dairy products made without cows and free of lactose, cholesterol, antibiotics and growth hormones.”
This product and other plant and lab-based substitutes for meat and other animal products can greatly reduce the current widespread horrendous mistreatment of farmed animals and the current epidemic of diet-related, life-threatening diseases. They can also reduce the destruction of forests to create land for grazing and growing feed crops for animals and enable the reforestation of the vast areas now used for animal agriculture.
That would result in the sequestration of much atmospheric carbon dioxide, reducing it from its current very dangerous level to a much safer one. This provides the best chance for shifting our imperiled planet onto a sustainable path and leaving a habitable, healthy world for future generations.
RICHARD H. SCHWARTZ
Regarding “Knesset reconvenes: Budget, haredi draft set to overshadow judicial overhaul” (April 30) – the present delay in the overhaul legislation provides an excellent opportunity to break the enervating logjam regarding judicial reform.
The best way to break a logjam in nature is to remove the one key hindrance to overall progress. I suggest that the emphasis should now be on the judicial selection process. The way to resolve that issue is to adopt a variation of the American process.
This would stipulate that the president of the State of Israel be given the responsibility to put forward names of prospective qualified candidates. These names would then have to be approved by a special Knesset majority, say two-thirds or 80 Knesset members.
Such a special majority could also be the basis for other overrides.
Regarding “Israel is ‘playing with fire’ on Temple Mount, PA says” (April 27): This Ramadan, armed Arab thugs barricaded themselves in al-Aqsa Mosque. Israeli police routed them to allow worshipers trapped inside to leave.
This is another iteration of the 100-year-old al-Aqsa libel; the lie that Jews were going to destroy the mosque and build a third temple. This was the excuse for Nazi war criminal Haj Amin al-Husseini, grand mufti of Jerusalem, to slaughter Jews.
Israel has changed nothing since it regained Judea, Samaria and Gaza from the illegal Jordanian and Egyptian occupation in 1967. Israel generously gave Jordan control over the Islamic Wakf. The Wakf restricts access to the mosque to Muslims, which is their right. All religions control their own holy sites throughout Israel.
The Temple Mount is a huge public plaza. Millions of people visit annually, generating income for Jerusalem’s businesses. Kids play soccer while families picnic there.
The Wakf and the Palestinian Authority have violated the mount’s status. They unilaterally created five new prayer areas over the years, including changing the Dome of the Rock, a favorite tourist site, from a shrine into a mosque for women.
Radical Islam aims to eliminate Jewish and Christian history from Jerusalem, however archeology thwarts their propaganda.
Lacking any depth
Regarding “Is Gantz’s rise in the polls sustainable?” (April 18): It’s been proved time and again that Benny Gantz is a favorite of the voting public. But when they get too much of Benny, his naivety and lack of creativity and cleverness become just too obvious to ignore.
Everyone loves Benny, especially as he stands in contrast to the bullish, equally unintelligent Yair Lapid but he’ll always give away the store (see Lebanon gas deal) just to be liked. Israel cannot afford to have leaders so easily hoodwinked while lacking any depth of thought or strategy except for the obvious.
Benny and Yair are the duo that keeps giving – to our detriment, and will always eventually turn off the public which quickly tires of them.
Regarding “Halting Hamas in its tracks: Hamas must pay a heavy price for its recent audacious terrorist attacks” (April 23) – Meir Ben Shabbat is somewhat late in arriving at this conclusion. It’s like locking the stable after the horse has bolted.
Had Israel not been so concerned about foreign relations, we would have no Hamas to halt in its tracks. Ben Shabbat writes “Israel must prevent Hamas from any deviations from the red lines established during previous clashes.” What red lines were ever established by Israel that were not overlooked or simply never put into practice? It was always negated by the perceived need to maintain good international ties.
Ben Shabbat goes on to say that Israel needs to cause the Hamas leadership “to doubt its survivability.” Yes, I’m sure they’re trembling, considering how Israel has ignored, over the years, the acquisition by Hamas of hundreds of thousands of rockets and even allowed it to receive payments of millions of dollars from Qatar.
The writer, a former National Security Council chief and past senior official in the Shin Bet, continues, by stating that Hamas must “fear the escalation of conflict with Israel. This is a difficult goal to achieve without taking the risk of being dragged into a broader battle.”
Hamas knows when to stop in order to restructure its forces and is well aware of how much Israel fears tensions in its foreign relations, and therefore at any cost, will always refrain from an escalation. In other words, the enemy knows us well. This is why it will always have the upper hand.
The suggestion by Ben Shabbat to make them pay a price by targeting Hamas leaders and revoking work permits and some Israeli economic concessions has never worked and never will. It’s mainly because Israel is unable to sustain such measures due to, again, concern over foreign relations.
I am at a loss to understand why in the first place, they should have been granted any concessions. One can only wonder if Israel has ever thought of how detrimental this pathetic and unnecessary fear of foreign relations is destroying its legitimacy to its own country.
Congratulations to Eliav Breuer for his analysis of far-Right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s stoking of political crises (“Will preventing of Jewish access to Temple Mount spark political crisis,” April 14). In his analysis, Breuer refers to Ben-Gvir’s additional demand that the National Guard come under his own guidance and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agree to form a committee to examine such an arrangement.
There is no question that Netanyahu is a mastermind of political acumen, and he proved it once again. The prime minister supposedly says “yes” to Ben-Gvir and saves his coalition; that’s the first win.
But he knows that the security establishment will never countenance an independent guard. The national police thus gets a new corps under its own control with all the additional recruits and funding that will go with it; that’s the second win.
Ben-Gvir plays it as a plus by informing his followers that he has, nonetheless, bolstered Israel’s security; that’s the third win. A cynic might even think that Bibi and Ben-Gvir had planned this play together from the beginning, but it’s unlikely that the latter has such smarts.