Letters to the Editor August 2, 2023: Fairies and Santa Claus

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Fairies and Santa Claus

I note with much surprise and alarm the article headlined: “15 justices to hear petition on reasonableness law” (August 1). The surprise is that some would believe that these 15 justices will be able to make an impartial decision on whether they keep or relinquish their own power to apply reasonableness, in its present form, to Knesset and other decisions.

Let me hasten to add that I, an individual who believes in fairies and Santa Claus, personally do believe that their conclusion will be impartial, but I am not sure about the bulk of Israelis. There will be a lot of acrimony and calls for dismissal of the decision from whichever side does not win – and the civil unrest will continue – and worsen.

I therefore suggest that we abandon this spurious attempt and substitute, in true democratic fashion, a referendum on the matter: no political parties; no special interests. A simple yea or nay will do: one citizen, one vote.


Petah Tikva

Not the issue

In the editorial “Fix the trains first” (August 1), the editors ask: “Who builds a train station without affordable parking in close proximity? We do, it seems.” What about New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC for example? Travelers arrive either by bus, subway, taxi, or are left off. Driving a car to the station makes no sense.

I ask: In a metropolis like New York, Tel Aviv, or Jerusalem, who drives a car into the center of town where the train station is located? 

Jerusalem has many bus lines which stop at the train station. It also has an adjacent light rail. Tel Aviv has many bus lines that stop at the train station and will soon have a light rail as well. The whole idea of intra-urban trains is to keep cars out of the center of town.

Therefore I think that lack of parking is not the issue. I do agree that improving existing train lines is critical.


Kfar Saba

Not ‘silly’

As noted in “Reasonableness objections were ‘silly,’ says Netanyahu” (July 28), the prime minister said: Imagine that in the US, the Supreme Court could nullify the decisions of the White House, he said, adding that the American people would never accept that.

Yet in fact, the Supreme Court has nullified decisions of the White House in various cases, perhaps most famously in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, where the court nullified president Truman’s decision to seize and operate the country’s steel mills in response to a nationwide steel workers strike that he believed would jeopardize national defense.

Additionally, federal courts frequently nullify Executive Branch decisions pursuant to the judicial review provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act, which directs the courts to (1) compel agency action unlawfully withheld or unreasonably delayed; and (2) hold unlawful and set aside agency action, findings, and conclusions found to be... arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with the law.

During my pre-aliyah years as a Justice Department attorney (of course, the views expressed here are solely my own), I defended the government against many such judicial review suits, and it was very rare for government actions to be held immune from review under the arbitrary, capricious, or abuse of discretion standard.

The new law doesn’t merely limit the power of judges to substitute their judgment for that of the government; it entirely precludes judicial review of the reasonableness of government and ministerial decisions – apparently, whether they are arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion. Netanyahu says that “this minor correction is common to all democracies.” I wonder which democracies he has in mind. 



Empower moderates

Herb Keinon’s commentary “Will opposition extend hand to Likud ‘rebels’?” (July 31) was right on the mark. While I appreciate that the opposition wants to bring down the government (so they can return to power), what’s needed now is to empower moderates, even if that means swallowing Mr. Netanyahu as prime minister for the next three years.

For instance, a moderate position might hold that the Supreme Court should never rule on political issues (reasonable or not), but that it’s reasonable to conclude that a twice, or three-time, convicted felon should not be finance minister.  

Reasonable or unreasonable, it’s like pornography – one knows it when one sees it. That’s a moderate position on which we can all agree.



Breath of fresh air

I want to thank Aliza Pilichowski for her article “A nuanced view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (July 30). Reading it was like a breath of fresh air; it was so even-handed and positive. It’s too bad there aren’t more people who think like her. We would be in a better, more peaceful situation by now.

Both sides need to listen to each other and see the other side’s point of view. That also applies for the judicial reform camps.



Coexist peacefully

Regarding “Saudi peace talks come with pressure for Israeli concessions to Palestinians” (August 1): Israel must oppose Palestinian statehood until Palestinian leaders accept the fact that the Palestinian state must coexist peacefully with the nation-state of the Jews.

If the Saudis really want to help improve the lives of the people living under the administration of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, they should use their influence to urge the leaders to begin improving the economies of the areas under their control, building the infrastructure needed by a viable state, and begin integrating people classified as Palestine refugees into the populations of Areas A and B of the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip.

The leaders must negotiate with Israel concerning adjustments to current boundaries, accepting the fact that non-contiguity is not a barrier to statehood. All people will be able to travel freely through two states for two peoples if each group respects the other.

Israel has offered to share land that is of historic and religious significance to Jews. It’s time for Palestinian leaders to show some appreciation for Israel’s generosity and begin working to undo the culture of hate that has festered too long in Palestinian society.



We are a democracy

If we are to believe David Weinberg’s article “Ehud Barak’s poisonous pyromania” (July 28), and I have never had reason not to believe him, Ehud Barak is so much more than the “leader” of the protests rocking this country.

He is a provocateur bordering on traitor and has lost any credibility that he had beforehand. He seems to have forgotten that we are a democracy, and throwing the disgusting words around, like apartheid, fascist, and dictatorship is never going to cut it here.

I’ve lived here for almost 16 years, after making aliyah from the US. I’ve never felt unsafe, never felt that people were prejudiced against me, as in the States, and never felt that the country was heading downhill to an autocracy. For a man like Barak to even intimate those sentiments is disgusting and seditious. 

I had not known how callous and dangerous Barak was back in the beginning of the 2000s, as I was still in the US, and was shocked to read about his “betrayal” in almost giving away the country to murderous Arabs among us. How sick.

The Post, in addition, must stop the Left-leaning views which have become more prevalent in this paper, and start adding writers who are pro-government, not necessarily all Right-leaning, to the daily read. The paper needs to realign the balance, which has tipped in the wrong direction. Most readers of the paper want to have fair and honest reporting.

David Weinberg is an outstanding, knowledgeable man, who reports the facts and keeps his readers completely informed. Keep the nay-sayers to a minimum and get the Post back on track as a premier English newspaper that caters to the intelligentsia of this country.

The people who are the majority voted at the polls for this government to stay in place for four years, when a new government can again be voted in, by the will of the people. That’s democracy at its finest.



Surge of emotion

In the article “US condemns Ben-Gvir’s Temple Mount visit” (July 28), it is reported that the deputy spokesperson of the US State Department termed the visit of National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on the Temple Mount as “completely unacceptable” and maintained that it “jeopardizes the status quo.” 

The article added that the US Embassy in Jerusalem issued a similar statement and US Ambassador Robert Wood echoed his country’s displeasure in a speech he delivered to the United Nations Security Council.

For the information of our American representatives here, I should like to point out that the status quo allows people of all races and religions to go up on the Temple Mount, with the only restriction that there must be no praying, religious activity or other such outward signs, except of course that Muslim prayer is allowed, thanks to the stupidity and lack of any sense of Jewish values exhibited by defense minister Moshe Dayan in 1967.

There is no breach of a status quo if a politician visits the Temple Mount, and there is no requirement for an examination of the political leanings of any person.

The day that Ben-Gvir visited was Tisha Be’av, a day when Jews remember the Holy Temple that was once on that site until destroyed by our enemies. That is the day when very many Jews feel the surge of emotion which propels them to the site to tangibly remember the Temple.

Whether or not you agree with Ben-Gvir politically, it must be admitted that there was no breach of the status quo. The US is well advised to keep its prejudices to itself and to stop, once and for all, interfering with the internal affairs of our country.

I don’t recall that Israel offered advice to the US when the rowdy mob attacked the Capitol, or when the anti-white riots, the arson, and looting broke out after a black man was killed by a policeman kneeling on his neck, or about any other internal matter of the US.



Okay to be different

Regarding “Jews are distinct. That’s okay” (August 1): How refreshing to read of someone who advocates embracing our Jewish differences.

Ben M. Freeman writes that we must feel comfortable that Jews are not part of the wider majority. We have our own customs. Our ancestors constructed Temples and ritual baths and authored laws, commentaries, etc. in an indigenous language, Hebrew, all of which emerged in a specific geographical region.

“We preserve the usage of names that trace back to our ancestors, such as Benjamin, Rachel, Simon, Joshua, Sarah, Rebecca and many others,” Freeman writes. Our cultural practices and beliefs have sustained us throughout centuries of hate and pogroms. It’s okay to be different. We have a long and proud heritage and as he writes, we must reclaim our story and not look to the wider world to understand who we are. Only we can do that.

We must stop looking for approval from the non-Jew and trying to blend in because that only makes us look weak and unsure of who we are, and encourages the belief that we are easily disposed of. It is something we should never forget as we remember the centuries of hate and pogroms that have been the bane of our existence but through which, with God’s help, we have survived and returned to the Land of Israel.

God made his promise to our forefathers and their progeny in perpetuity. Let’s not squander that beautiful heritage by worrying what the world thinks. We must recognize who we are and the purpose of our existence which is to be proud Jews, living full, proud Jewish lives in our own land.

I hereby reclaim my rights to the Land of Israel, to live and prosper according to the laws and customs set down in perpetuity. It’s our only hope for survival in a world of non-stop hatred toward the Jewish people. We must celebrate our uniqueness, not try to change or hide it.