Letters to the Editor, June 5, 2023: Allegiance to the country

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

The editorial, “Remember the Farhud” (June 2), referring to the Farhud and by contrast to Nakba seemed to speak to an incident I recently observed.

I had just returned from an extended trip in the US in time to attend a university graduation of a family member, and as we were taking our seats, I briefly interacted with a clearly Muslim woman, with whom I exchanged a positive if transitory expression of good will.

This exchange, which would have gone unnoticed in the US here in Israel was significant enough to add to the general optimism of the graduation day. That feeling quickly dissipated, however, when at the conclusion of the ceremony the audience rose for a spirited singing of the “Hatikvah,” all except the aforementioned family, seated a few rows in front of me.

Perhaps my perspective was sharpened by my recent trip, but I felt that there was an “elephant in the room.”

This was different from someone “taking the knee” in the US or some other passing political protest to a particular policy or event. The fact that a sizeable portion of the population of Israel neither feels allegiance to the country in which they reside, nor even recognizes its legitimate existence, I think overrides all of the other issues of the day: Supreme Court reform, secular vs religious or any other of our national concerns.

 When I mentioned this incident later to several people, I was met, at best, with expressions of “it is what it is.” An elephant, even if unseen, tends to take up more and more space until it cannot be ignored.

Perhaps it is time for this issue to be addressed openly in both private conversation and public discourse.


Acrimonious divorce

The article by Tal Shalev, “The Lapid-Gantz dance continues” (June 2) is a clever analogous take on the workings of government and the people involved in representing the country. I’d like to continue in that vein with some analogies of my own.

The original marriage of the two above parties has now descended into an acrimonious divorce, with both attempting to regain their original footing as leaders of the country. They’ve spewed forth language unbefitting their stature and have managed to betray the cause.

Enter the other man, Bibi, who once had a close personal working relationship with Gantz, based on marrying the Right with the Center, in a bid to take over and eliminate competition. It failed and Gantz was left trying to reboot his previous relationship, although seemingly unsuccessfully. 

All the while, Bibi became the stepfather to a rag tag group of unruly juvenile delinquent teens, although some grandfathers came along with the adoption. The teen group has run rampant within their father’s leadership role and have attempted numerous alternate possibilities not at all in keeping with the majority of the people. Like street gangs, they seem intent on staking their territorial claims, but with a minority of people not accustomed to pulling their weight in a bustling society.

So while the above couple continue their bickering and attempt to outdo each other in their divorce settlement, the other man, Bibi continues making his move to conquer all. Bibi would do well, however, to begin reigning in the teens and grandfathers and prove to all, that he, Bibi, is the responsible adult, not just interested in his own survival, but in the country he so loves and was chosen to lead.

Marriages take much more work to succeed than divorces do. In that regard, Gantz would do well to bite the bullet and divorce his mate. He then could attempt reconciliation with his former friend/confidant and begin the process of rebooting the country, to what it should be – a democratic, Zionist haven for all the world’s Jews, with a government willing to listen and react to the people it serves.

Yes, go for it, Gantz and Netanyahu, and bring sensibility back to this government. You both will go down in history as great leaders if you accomplish this goal.


Much needed legislation

David Raab is 100% right on in his article that Israel needs a constitution and that we cannot rely on the Knesset to provide one (“An extra-parliamentary constitution,” June 4). 

I do not and cannot rely even on the party that I support to move forward regarding this much needed legislation. I agree that we must petition President Herzog to act on this matter, and would gladly sign the petition if there ever should be one.


Largely politicized

Regarding “‘Post-Zionist agendas’ have permeated courts, Levin charges” (June 1): The constant mantra of the opposition and the Saturday night protesters is that government control of the Judicial Selection Committee is the “politicization of the courts.” It is nothing less than a “coup” and the destruction of the country, they cry.

The point that these objectors do not realize is that politicization does not require a political party. The core of politics are the goals and the agenda of the individuals or groups espousing certain views. If they understood this they would admit that the Supreme Court has been largely politicized at least since the 1990s.

When the unelected, self-appointed justices only vote in the candidates who reflect their own views and not more of the diverse population, that is undemocratic. Having elected officials hold the balance of the selection process makes it more democratic.

The fact is that the present Right-leaning government is in charge, but that will not be the case forever. There will come a time when the liberal wing will be in control to make their selections. Isn’t this method more democratic than the present system?


Form of antisemitism

The article “Haredim and pensions” by Rivka Neriya Ben-Shahar, Efrat Dressler and Edna Harel-Fisher (May 31) enlightened me to the predicament of the haredi on quasi-rational materialistic grounds. They are maligned to the point of prejudice as has been the case for the last 200 years. As Bibi said, “we are all one and the same country.”

I realized that as an oleh, I am a social pariah classifiable in the same category. I worked all my life in Australia, and here I am, now a citizen of Israel and having had a stroke recently, I have received expensive hospital treatment, muscular and post-stroke care (including hearing aids). This could be worth NIS 40,000 and, yet, like many among the haredim, I have not contributed to the army or the workforce.

The writers accuse the haredim of being social parasites. Yet, I am guilty of exactly the same thing. The negative views toward the haredim, expressed by this article, promote a secular Israeli form of antisemitism.

I believe the problem can be mitigated because Prime Minister Netanyahu arranged for billions of shekels to come out of municipal funds to set up a core curriculum teaching math, English and science. This will make the haredi employable in the secular community. Surely, this will create a rapprochement in the working environment.

It seems that such funding of the core curriculum will ensure that more haredi work, and in 60 years time, haredi men and women will have sufficient savings and will need less government support, as is the case with their secular counterparts who, thanks to the same education, obtain jobs.

Hopefully, there will be more tolerance down the track than is indicated in this article. I am a “bludger” as well, but there are no articles criticizing me.IAN GRODENNetanya

Get the job done

The conflict Iran will try to wage” (May 31) by Ilan Pomeranc lays out some potentially devastating military scenarios and one can only hope that Israel is prepared to meet all these challenges in the way he suggests. The fact that the head of IDF Military Intelligence, Maj.-Gen Aharon Haliva, has expressed some serious concerns regarding Iran’s strategies lends weight to Pomeranc’s article. 

My concern is that if things unfold as proposed by Pomeranc, Israel needs to start now with a very proactive program of advising the governments of various friendly countries as to Israel’s strategy in future conflicts. We have seen that in prior times of crisis, be it 1948, 1967, 1973 etc., that friend and foe alike were happy to sit back for 72 hours, waiting to see if the nuisance of a Jewish problem would be dealt with by the Arab armies.

Only when things turned against the Arab forces was there a mad rush to the UN for a ceasefire to be implemented. Time and again Israel was prevented from achieving overwhelming and decisive military victories, and we live with those results until today.

It needs to be a firmly adopted policy by Israel, that all future conflicts will only end when Israel has completely destroyed the enemy –  infrastructure and combatants alike. Such should be the case in dealing with Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. The drip, drip of the terrorist warfare cannot be allowed to continue.

Israel, by just maintaining this status quo, has not produced any significant results in decades. They fire hundreds of rockets at Israel, Israel blows up unoccupied training camps, tunnels, etc. and then it starts all over again; it’s the same strategy, same result and the same game.

The world needs to be put on notice; we are a sovereign nation and will act accordingly. If any country wants to help, fine. Otherwise get out of the way. That includes the US, which continues to try and reach agreement with Iran. Washington must understand that Israel is not the 51st state of America.

In dealing with Iran, there can be no half-measures. Israel will need to have the objective and the will to ensure the total destruction of the current Iranian regime and their nuclear program; no ceasefires, no quarter given.

All of the above presupposes that Israel will have the necessary tools with which to get the job done. If not, we are in serious trouble because the Iranians are coming for us. 

Because Israel strives to conduct any military action with the utmost sensitivity and moral standards toward civilian populations, I suggest the following: Israel cannot wait to start dropping leaflets and “roof-top knocking” while in the middle of a major conflict. Any major war that requires surprise attacks or immediate action on multiple fronts will not give Israel the luxury of giving the civilian population advance warning and then having to sit back while the warnings are acted upon.

Too many missiles and rockets will rain down on Israeli cities and towns while we wait for the civilian populations to get out of the way. Tell the Arab civilian population groups in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and in Arab cities in Judea and Samaria, if they live or work among the weapons caches and terrorist groups, they are primary targets 24/7.

This should be a daily warning to them. It is their choice to be human shields or not. They can no longer sit on the fence waiting to see who will be victorious. 


Continue to slander

I’d like to congratulate Claire Frankel on her article “Zionism – an indigenous success story” (May 30). She tells it as it is, no frills.

We who live in Israel know it all to be true, but what about the millions of people around the world who continue to slander Israel and its many achievements in only 75 years and notwithstanding the many wars and constant terrorism we endure.Will we ever be accepted into the family of nations, or forever “dwell alone?”