Herb Keinon writes in his analysis piece, “Needed: Magnanimity, leadership, and responsibility” (July 25), that “the coalition has won this battle... but now it must realize that half the country feels as if they lost. And since it is one country, the government needs to mollify those feelings.”
While there is something to what he says, the real problem is that the half of the country that feels as if it has lost, must stop being sore losers. Lapid and Gantz need to get off of their high horses and sit with the government in good faith and work out a proper compromise. Prime Minister Netanyahu has invited them to do so, but they are refusing. It is really well past the time for the opposition to stop blaming the government for their own bad faith and to come to a compromise as soon as possible for the good of all of Israel.
Not so newsworthy
For months and months, we have seen pictures and articles of the anti-reform demonstrations on your front pages every single day. On July 23, the pro-reform, mostly right-wing, gathered around 100,000 followers at Kaplan St. in Tel Aviv to express their support for the change. Apparently, The Jerusalem Post found this not to be so newsworthy as the next morning you chose to print this story on the second page of the paper (“Thousands in TA push to continue with judicial reform,” July 24), while pictures of the left-wing’s demonstrations in Sacher Park (“Protesters in high spirits at Sacher Park tent city”) and outside the Knesset were prominently placed on the front page – again.
To my dismay, and after reading the paper since I came on aliyah 55 years ago, it seems that The Jerusalem Post has forgotten about fair reporting.
RUTH BERMAN SAMSON
Beautiful and inspiring
Chagit Moshe includes many false statements when she writes, in “The heritage belongs to all of us” (July 20), about Women of the Wall. It’s not clear to which 25 years she is referring when she writes that the number of Women of the Wall participants has remained static for 25 years.
Original Women of the Wall has been at the Kotel since 1988 and certainly, the numbers increased significantly when the police began detaining women at the monthly Rosh Hodesh services from 2010-2013.
She claims that unity is needed at the Western Wall, but defines unity as following the dictates of one opinion, while ignoring varied opinions on the proper practice of women’s prayer.
Ms. Moshe claims that “a group of women... began by claiming to seek egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall.” This is not the case. Original Women of the Wall has always been a women-only group initiated by Rivka Haut, of blessed memory, an ardently Orthodox woman. This is why we intend to stay at the Kotel and not move to the egalitarian Robinson’s Arch location.
Ms. Moshe continues: “Women of the Wall repeatedly ignites the flames of controversy.” Clearly, however, it is those who object to women praying as a group who are igniting. On Monday morning of this week, Original Women of the Wall prayed a beautiful and inspiring morning service along with a reading from the Torah. We met with no opposition, but like other groups of women who came on that morning were respected or simply ignored by others.
CHERYL BIRKNER MACK
Chair, Original Women of the Wall
As one of the millions of Israelis who have not participated in the demonstrations against reform, I would like to make the following observation: I think that the demonstrations have been taken over by people who have another agenda other than judicial reform (“Protests: Judicial reform or political agendas?” July 24).
There is the core group who are “Anyone other than Bibi,” trying their best to bring down the government. Another group is those who fear religious coercion from the religious parties in the government coalition who were democratically elected.
As a senior citizen, I find that blocking roads and ambulances which then have to look for another and perhaps longer route to the hospital, or to reach the people waiting for the ambulance, as well as blocking the airport, and preventing individuals who have medical appointments from getting there, is not only totally shameful but an illegal action against my minimal legal rights as a citizen of this country.
Instead of reading in your newspaper that the police should show restraint against the protesters, the Post should be telling the police to enforce the law. I wonder how many of the thousands of protesters waving our flag will remember to wave those flags on Independence Day and Jerusalem Day.
No other country
The editorial “On the brink” (July 23) suggested that we are on the brink of civil war in this country. Personally, I doubt that the situation is so dire; however, it’s true that the division is real and passions are running wild. I suspect that in the event of a real crisis, the country would reunite very quickly; we have no other country.
It is suggested that the fault lies solely with the government. However, it takes two to fight. The Left, having lost the last election, is desperate to recover the power they have enjoyed for so long; hence the very well-organized and well-financed demonstrations, which are not designed to express an opinion, but to shut down the country in a very undemocratic way.
It is ironic that the Left claims to stand for democracy while fighting tooth and nail for the supremacy of the unelected Supreme Court over the democratically elected government.
In the aborted discussions, the Left refused to budge an inch, leaving the government with no alternative but to proceed with some minor judicial reforms, long overdue, to restore the ability to govern without being overruled by the unelected judocracy.
If we want to withdraw from the brink of chaos, it is incumbent on the vocal minority to stop the so-called demonstrations and agree to the sensible reforms being proposed to the judicial system. In return the government could agree to implement some specific changes that the Left would like to see; say a term limit on the position of prime minister, a law forbidding the appointment of a minister who has been convicted of a serious crime, or perhaps something else that would improve governance. Trying to bring down the government by massive disruption of the country is not a democratic option.
Force their opinion
The article “BIG centers, Azrieli malls on strike” (July 25) was as distasteful to me as the junk foods they sell. I am fully in favor of sensible arguments and differences of opinion, as well as the right of each side to demonstrate or otherwise respectfully express their objections.
However, there is no justification for one side (in this case those who oppose the reform) to brutally force their opinion on the other side. There are storekeepers in these malls who do not agree with the political opinions of the particular mall owners. Why should they be forced to lose a day’s income? Why should some members of the public be punished by having their access to stores and offices prevented by other members of the public who have different views?
The same goes for the doctors, the hospitals, hi-tech workers, and all such bodies who are supposed to be apolitical, with no connection to politics. Patients were never consulted by the doctors, and neither were thousands of motorists who just wished to get home but were delayed by blocked roads.
Where is the sense of duty to the public? What right does this one rowdy and insensitive group have to adversely force their views on so many people? Now we hear that the Israel Bar Association is to join a petition to the High Court asking to strike down the new law limiting the principle of “reasonableness.” Well, I, as a paid-up member of this professional society, gave no such consent to the association to represent me and file such a claim, and I imagine that there are thousands more like me who say the same.
Not saving democracy
Regarding “Enraged protesters clash with police” (July 25): On Monday, we heard from a 91-year-old friend that the protests prevented him from meeting a friend in Tel Aviv, for a get-together that needs to occur before the friend leaves Israel.
Also on Monday, there were people who were prevented from keeping medical appointments, because of the protesters who were illegally blocking streets. Attacking police, who risk their lives each day in the service of all Israelis, does not “save democracy,” as these protesters claim to be trying to do.
There is a difference between a legitimate demonstration and the violent disruptions of rioting. You cannot save democracy by destroying it.
The fabric of this country
Avi Mayer’s article “What Israel needs right now” (July 21), as well as other articles on the same day, brings to my mind a dark period in US history; the war in Vietnam and the riots that divided the country.
America entered a war that was being fought thousands of miles from its shores and sent thousands of soldiers with the intention on a simple level, of stopping the spread of communism from North Vietnam to South Vietnam.
Those soldiers eventually returned home, many in caskets, many wounded, and most survivors shunned by the country that sent them. Transferring the “blame” of a war with no winners to the soldiers who fought was the modus operandi of the government in place at the time, as well as the turbulent and deadly protests that had rocked the country to its core.
Enter the Israeli riots that are tearing apart the fabric of this country. These horrendous anti-government protests are against the governing coalition that was elected by the majority of the people. Of course, people have the right to protest, but these have taken on a life of their own.
Every day, Israelis trying to get to work, food shop, or get to the beach, have been stopped dead in their tracks with not a shred of guilt on the part of the protesters. Tourists are in shock and wonder if the rest of their vacation will continue without access to some important attractions.
Mr. Mayer, as well as other writers in the paper, implore the leadership to lead, to dialogue with each other, and to stop slinging mud. The process of writing a constitution must begin.
A constitution will cement laws in place, and will not allow them to be changed and tossed about by changing ruling parties. Basic Laws, which to me implies those that can be changed by the ruling government, will be eliminated and the powers of the three branches of government – executive, legislative, and judicial – will be carefully worded and enacted.
The country must be brought back to the goal of the founding fathers of this precious land. We can’t allow this schism in our midst to continue. Nor can we allow blame to any segment of society to fester, as it did in America. We must prioritize this democratic legacy to our children for generations to come.
The height of chutzpah
Regarding “Biden: Netanyahu must stop judicial reform – ‘NYT’” (July 20): Imagine if Prime Minister Netanyahu sent a message to President Biden through a Jerusalem Post reporter that Biden must stop criticizing and delegitimizing the US Supreme Court for its recent decisions, lest democracy in the US be endangered.
Imagine furthermore that the Israeli premier stated that American democracy would be broken if Biden continued on his present path. Few would fail to recognize this course of action as meddling in the internal affairs of an ally, and as the height of chutzpah.
Yet this is precisely what President Biden has now done, in his threatening comments to Tom Friedman of The New York Times about Israel’s judicial reform controversy. The Biden administration literally does not let a single day pass without some criticism of Israel or threat to its government, as Biden and his administration seethe with hostility toward Netanyahu and his governmental coalition.
It matters not to Washington that there are valid reasons to seek reforms of the Israeli judicial system, or that many protesting the reforms have favored such reforms in the past. It also does not matter to this administration that the reforms would bring the functioning of the Israeli Supreme Court into better line with the Supreme Court of the US, and with the high courts of other Western democracies.
That’s because the Biden administration, starting with the president on down, are choking with distaste for Israel’s government, in part because of innate hostility toward a Jewish state, and in part because of Israel’s opposition to the disastrous unwritten understandings the US is seeking with Iran; hence the daily criticisms, the administration’s hostile leaking to like-minded reporters, and its violations of US laws like the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act and the 2018 Taylor Force Act.
The Biden administration won’t let trivialities like US laws or standards of decent conduct toward allies restrain its hostility towards Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government. The Biden administration therefore continues to make it clear on a daily basis that it is no friend of Israel’s.
DANIEL H. TRIGOBOFF