Letters to the Editor July 31, 2023: Resolved by the voters

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Resolved by the voters

Regarding “Netanyahu to CNN: ‘We’ll enter uncharted territory if court overturns reform law’” (July 30), there is only one sensible decision the court can render. It must acknowledge that whether the High Court has the right to overrule a law passed by the Knesset that strips the right of the High Court to overrule that law can only be decided by the citizens of Israel.

This conundrum must be resolved by the voters in a special national referendum. This will lead to peace in the land because no reasonable person can reject the result of a referendum.

The added advantage of such a referendum is that it will resolve whether or not the High Court, using unreasonableness, can overrule the Knesset on the rest of the judicial reform package, if and when it is passed.



Treacherous decisions

There is almost nothing to add to David Weinberg’s most welcome and unrestrained takedown of Ehud Barak’s role as the leader of the protests against judicial reform (“Ehud Barak’s poisonous pyromania,” July 28).

Barak is “the most hateful, most extreme, most seditious rabble-rouser of all,” Weinberg writes. He has taken the lead role “in calling for subversion of the IDF,” the columnist adds. His “blessedly” short term as prime minister, 1999-2001, was replete with treacherous decisions, for which he was “swiftly kicked out of office.”

Just one fact to add: Barak’s election in 1999 was partially funded by illegal contributions to straw foundations, as reported by the state comptroller. None other than Isaac Herzog was trustee of a Canadian charitable trust allegedly involved. During the investigation, Herzog exercised his “right to silence.” Therefore, the charges were dropped for lack of evidence. This did not sit well then, even with members of his own Labor party.

What now about this unholy alliance between Barak and Herzog? Does it still exist behind the scenes? Is it significant that in all of Herzog’s calls for unity, he ultimately concludes that “the greater responsibility – even if not exclusive – for finding solutions... lies with whomever holds the reins of power,” meaning Netanyahu. Herzog never refers to the excesses of Barak, in and out of Israel, even in a coded reference.

A coincidence? An oversight? What say you?



David Weinberg is one of the very few columnists left who can write clearly, articulately, and make perfect sense. His article describing accurately the inflammatory past prime minister who we have seen yelling and screaming on our televisions, summarized very well what has been troubling so many of us who consider ourselves to be loyal Jewish citizens of the one Jewish country in a world that doesn’t particularly love us.

The very disturbing, excessive, exaggerated, hyperbolic, threatening manner in which a past prime minister and chief of the army speaks is totally unacceptable in the democratic society that Israel wants to be.



Fundamental human right

Every August, Israelis relive the disengagement from Gush Katif in 2005. But Amotz Asa-El’s column alleging to present “The truth about disengagement” (July 14) is inappropriate, saying that anyone who cites the court’s approval of disengagement as proof that the High Court justices lean Left is “lying.”

If anyone is lying, it is perhaps Asa-El himself, who alleges “the Israeli High Court of Justice had no legal grounds to veto the disengagement.” First, if this were so, the petition on expelling thousands of Jews would have been dismissed out of hand. It was not. Second, Asa-El himself says that expulsions are not necessarily illegal, i.e., it depends on the circumstances. Third, the HCJ had routinely said that choosing your own residence is a fundamental human right.

When Israel sought to expel terrorists who helped murder five people on Neve Sha’anan Street in Tel Aviv, the court said someone who poses a real danger could be expelled, but forbade expulsion as a deterrent. They also refused to expel the brother of the terrorist who gave his brother his car knowing his brother was a terrorist, because he didn’t know for what purpose his brother needed the car. The judges said this did not warrant expulsion of this one person.

The Jews of Gush Katif did far less – in fact, nothing – but the High Court of Justice agreed to expel them by the thousands anyway, even though Aharon Barak famously wrote that “not every effective measure is also legal,” appointing himself to “properly balance human rights and security. Human rights will not receive full protection and state security will not receive full protection,” he said. “A sensitive balance is required. This is the price of democracy.”

When the time came to expel thousands of innocent Jews instead of one complicit Arab, Barak et al ruled in favor. How crude, then, of Asa-El to write that legal reform seekers who criticize the court as leftist are “liars.” An apology is warranted.



The moral compass

Zack Rothbart’s piece (“When the rabbis were silent,” July 27) was excellent, but omitted the obvious. In this trying time in Israel, when animosity is rampant, when it seems that the country is headed toward civil war, where are the chief rabbis?

They should be speaking out for love, for unity, for compromise, for understanding. Why are they silent? Are they not supposed to be the moral compass of the nation? How can they sit silently?

Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.



Stand his ground

Regarding “A long-term problem” (July 28): I would like to know the difference between what the rioters did on January 6, 2021 in Washington and what those seeking to storm the Knesset did recently. Both aimed to bring down the elected government while opposing the authority of the government to execute a law.

Over 1000 people were arrested in Washington for blocking the course of justice. How many arrests have been made in Israel and how many will be sentenced? Did Biden give in to the insurrection? And, if he had resigned, (exactly what the Israeli protesters wanted of Netanyahu) what would that have meant for future US presidents.

Bibi did the right thing, as the consequences of not doing so would be that every major or minor lobby group (including pilots) would have the power to control government policy by withdrawing services and blocking roads. What sort of democracy would ensue?

President Biden did not “compromise” with the protesters in Washington; likewise our prime minister should stand his ground.

We applaud the fact that articles by Omer Dostri are published (most recently “Yariv Levin: Architect of democracy’s victory,” July 27). What a refreshing and positive point of view among all the gloom and doom forecast by your other writers.




Warnings of prophets

There have been almost daily articles in the Post recently about climate-related events, including, “July 2023 will be hottest month on record in 120,000 years, study finds” (July 28). So, on the day after Tisha Be’av, it once more made me wonder if we will again fail to heed the warnings. 

Over 2,600 years ago, Jews failed to heed Jeremiah’s warnings with the result that the first Temple was destroyed. Today, we don’t have the warnings of prophets like Jeremiah, but we have thousands of climate experts warning that the world may soon reach a tipping point when the climate spins out of control, with disastrous consequences.

Also, unlike in the time of Jeremiah, we are getting many wake-up calls in terms of frequent severe heat waves, wildfires, storms, floods, and other climate events. In addition, it is the whole world that is threatened today, not just the Temple in Jerusalem.

While most people do not want to recognize this, the only possibility of averting a climate catastrophe is a major shift away from animal-based diets. That would enable reforestation of the over 40% of the world’s ice-free land currently used for grazing and growing feed crops for animals. That would result in the sequestering of much atmospheric CO2, reducing it from its current very dangerous level to a safe one, providing a habitable, healthy, sustainable world for future generations.



Perfectly legitimate

I am appalled by the effrontery of the Biden administration’s multiple condemnations of National Security Minister Ben-Gvir’s perfectly legitimate visit to the Temple Mount (“US condemns Ben-Gvir’s Temple Mount visit,” July 28).

First, there was no violation of the status quo, as according to the arrangement with the Wakf, Israeli Jews are permitted to visit Judaism’s holiest site.

Second, where are the Biden administration’s condemnations of the multiple Muslim violations of this arrangement? From throwing stones at Jewish worshipers in the Western Wall area to storing those stones and fireworks used as weapons in al-Aqsa Mosque, Muslims regularly violate the sanctity and traditions of the Temple Mount. The response from the Biden administration? Crickets.

Finally, given the constant Muslim misuse of al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock to attack Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount and Western Wall, it may indeed be time to upend the status quo and encourage Jewish visitors to pray on the Temple Mount. If antisemites are going to complain anyway, let’s give them something to complain about by permitting Jews to pray at Judaism’s holiest site.


Williamsville, New York

So the Biden administration found Ben-Gvir’s Tisha Be’av Temple Mount (not “al-Aqsa Mosque compound”) visit to be “unacceptable.” This US reaction should be offensive not only to Ben-Gvir, but also to the many more Jews who also went there on that somber day, and have done so increasingly throughout the year.

How threatening is carefully controlled Jewish prayer? If only there was comparable angst at real Palestinian violations of the sanctity of that shared holy place. Jews visiting peacefully are not “storming al-Aqsa.” The longtime slander that “al-Aqsa is in danger” has repeatedly triggered massive riots there, with visitors and police assaulted, and rocks and incendiaries thrown over the Western Wall at worshiping Jews below, Why, then, is there constant carping at the Jews, and the selective silence at Palestinian offenses?


Syracuse, New York

Breaking the law

Regarding “The protests are not just a social event” (July 27): Am I the only one who can’t understand why the protest over judicial reform gives the protesters the right to break the law by blocking the main streets and refusing to move when asked? When removed forcibly, they cry “police brutality.”

Meanwhile, the Tel Aviv Municipality doesn’t fine restaurants which opened on Tisha Be’av in defiance of the law. They are the ones protesting judicial reform and then break the law with impunity?! How democratic is that?

They are not fighting for democracy but for their own agenda, be it to bring down the government or to change the status quo between the religious and secular.

With it they sew discord and hurt us all financially, and harm security with abandon.


Petah Tikva

The opposition camp

In Avi Mayer’s comment “Failure of leadership” (July 25), apportioning blame for “a dark day” in Israel’s history, he overlooks the leadership, both seen and working behind the scenes, of the opposition camp. Before the democratically-elected government of Netanyahu had convened its first meeting, Ehud Barak was assembling a cabal of like-minded fellow travelers to overthrow that government.

Ehud Olmert, the convicted criminal, warns of a civil war. The demonstrations are well-oiled, enabled by funds from left-wing organizations abroad, and propelled by keen PR advice. The 555 Forum of reservist air force pilots, joined by those of other elite army units, is the vehicle being used to drag the IDF into the political fray threatening the nation’s security and political stability.

The real hard-hearted are the rowdy anarchists who block roads for hours to the detriment of autistic children trapped in cars en route to or from home, the ill seeking to keep long-awaited appointments in hospitals, and those unfortunate senior citizens out for a daytime tour last week who, having no access to restrooms while waiting for hours, had no choice but to soil themselves.

And finally, the public has yet to hear from Gantz or Lapid about any proposal for a compromise.