Power base disappearing
Regarding “It’s time to cut aid to Israel” by Douglas Bloomfield, (August 3): I’m actually worried about Douglas. I mean, what’s he going to do come 2028 when Trump finishes his second term and Bibi finally retires from politics?
Bloomfield however does make some sense when he advocates for Israel to wean itself off of aid and dependency from America. Wouldn’t it be nice if we in Israel could actually make decisions about our defense without being beholden to and getting the approval of Washington? That is what sovereignty is all about.
However, Mr. Bloomfield, like so many others today, is completely wrong when he claims that the “most extreme” government in Israel’s history erodes Israel’s democratic nature. Just because Israel voted in a coalition government with whom Bloomfield and others don’t agree, it doesn’t mean that democracy is doomed here in Israel.
It seems to me that the white European, Ashkenazi, liberals/socialists, who did a great job in building our country, are finally seeing their power base disappearing. It all started when Menachem Begin came into power with the Likud in 1977. The last stronghold of power today for the elite liberals is the Supreme Court. That is why they are so desperate in their demonstrations against the reforms being enacted by the current government.
Forget about the two Ehuds, Olmert and Barak, advocating for a rebellion against a democratically elected Israeli government. What is going on here is that by reforming the way that the Supreme Court works in how they select new justices and decide cases, Israel will end up with a Supreme Court that is more democratic, like that of the United States.
Mr. Bloomfield, if you like what’s going on now with the demonstrations against the Supreme Court reform, just wait until you see what happens when Israel finally decides to write a constitution.
NORMAN DEROVANMa’aleh Adumim
US aid to Israel is reciprocal. Israel provides America with billions of dollars of military upgrades and saves them years of development.
Israel is the West’s only reliable source of intelligence in the Middle East and North Africa. It is their first line of defense against terrorism. Without Israeli cooperation, the US would need at least two more aircraft carriers, one in the Red Sea and one in the Eastern Mediterranean. Aid to Israel does not leave the US. It is spent on American armaments.
Americans are the most generous people on earth. The US pays for 22% of NATO’s budget. With the billions of dollars they have pumped into UNRWA and the Palestinian Authority, the Taylor Force Act notwithstanding, why are there still refugee camps? Arab kleptocrats have milked the West just to have pathetic photos of children and to blame Israel for their plight.
The problem with “aid to Israel” is its nomenclature. Let’s call it what it is: The Joint US-Israel Military Development Program.
Take a deep breath
The level of acrimony and hatred that Amotz Asa-El has displayed over the past many months is seriously disturbing, the latest example of many articles being “Yuli Edelstein’s secret speech” (August 4). Clever writing does not substitute for accurate content. Thomas Paine was fighting against the kind of unelected authority that could be compared to our judiciary, not our Knesset, so the whole premise of this piece is false.
If he will take a deep breath – he and the thousands who swallow the anger and hatred and then act on it in damaging ways – he must know that we are not, neither now nor ever, anywhere near a situation where tyranny is even a possibility. A rational balance of power between the elected branches of government and the unelected, self-selected judicial branch, is very badly needed, after having been terribly unbalanced for many decades. Without a proper balance, no constitution can even be contemplated.
The true intent of the protests has nothing to do with “judicial reform,” as revealed by so many anti-government pundits, for example, Shuki Friedman, in his article titled “Haredim and settlers are hurting themselves” (August 4). Such pundits and writers say the quiet part out loud: the protests are really stemming from severe distrust and hatred toward those supporting the government, in particular those on the right of the religious spectrum.
Thousands of people have been riled up to believe the unbelievable, that the other half of the population actually voted into office people who are going to destroy democracy as we know it. Can we all take a deep breath and start acting like normal and sensible adults again?
DEBORAH BUCKMANTzur Hadassah
You cleverly placed the article by Shuki Friedman of the Jewish People Policy Institute and Peres Academic Center next to a piece written by Rabbi David Stav of the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization (“Hope amid a so-called battle of Judaism vs ‘Israelism’”), and the contrast could not have been more stark.
Friedman, for the Left, was full of vitriol and condemnation and you could almost smell his lust for revenge. His mantra seems to be “They will pay for this.”
Rav Stav, from the national religious camp, was expressing his pain at the divisions and hoped that “we can and must” find a way to live together in harmony.
Friedman’s hysterical first paragraph set the tone, falsely claiming that the government is trampling on the will of the people and planning a coup d’etat; but the will of the people was expressed at an election and it is the likes of Friedman who refuse to adhere to this democratic process.
I know which side I prefer.
DANIEL BAUMZichron Ya’acov
Little unsettles me as much as the phrase “measured response” (“A measured response,” editorial, August 4). It is a political term, undoubtedly cobbled together in the corridors of the State Department or United Nations and, more likely than not, was probably first used as a warning to Israel during a local act of terrorism.
What a “measured response” is, though, depends on perspective and the prism through which the response is observed and evaluated. Your paper’s call for such a response is predicated on the premise that what happened in Ma’aleh Adumim was an isolated, one-time event. I’d argue that your perspective and prism is in dire need of a tweak or two.
As your editorial inferred, many Israeli employers have built business models based on the relatively low costs associated with an unprotected Palestinian labor force that is more than ready to work for wages well below what an Israeli would demand. Those employers would, I suspect, look for ways to circumvent and bypass closures that would negatively affect their day-to-day operations, schedules, and commitments.
Contractors, for example, grow desperate when faced with stiff penalties for missed deadlines. Turning them into human traffickers is most certainly not the answer.
But are we in fact talking about one bad apple in the barrel? Hardly. Granted, the majority of the some seven thousand Palestinians who work in Ma’aleh Adumim are not rabid terrorists, and perhaps it is unfair that they should have their livelihood curtailed by this recent incident.
Incitement, unfortunately, is a powerful tool, and both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have demonstrated readiness to convert normative, hardworking breadwinners into martyrs for the cause. That, however, is no excuse to be any less vigilant with regard to Israeli security.
Oh, and do be careful. Your editorial sounds almost like an apology to the Palestinians. If anything, a rethink of existing policy is most definitely called for. Not all responses, after all, are capable of being measured; some just have to be instinctive.
BARRY NEWMANGinot Shomron
A lot has changed
Once again, we are regaled with more delusional rhetoric from Gershon Baskin. The Saudi position in the world today is a lot more nuanced than it was in 2002 (“The Saudi price tag,” August 3).
Back then, the Arab League tended to speak with one voice and its position vis-a-vis the Palestinians was more or less one of joint agreement, regarding its demands of Israel going forward with any possible peace treaty.
However, 20 years on, a lot has changed especially regarding a number of Arab nations who for some time have and are continuing to use their oil-gained riches to greatly diversify, making them much more than just a single supplier (albeit an important one) on the world stage.This makeover certainly applies to the Saudis who via the modernization auspices of the current Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman are becoming major players.
Investments are taking place in the chemical industry, real estate, fossil fuels, automobiles, and machinery as well as building an envied tourism program with new initiatives, including the King Salman International Airport with its six parallel runways. All this is coupled with a serious attempt to join the world stage of football with their teams attracting international stars.
So a great deal is happening in these independent Arab countries with a lot of growth still to happen but with a wary eye on envious enemies, hence some believing that the Abraham Accords are not just a good business venture but one where security can also take on a vital role.Will the Saudis, with a big nudge from the US, shake hands across the sands with Israel? Only time will tell.
They will no doubt not forget their Palestinian brothers in the scheme of things. However, unlike in 2002, it’s not likely to be a priority or a deal breaker this time.
STEPHEN VISHNICKTel Aviv
I would like to suggest that the only way Israel and the Palestinians can make peace is for Israel to sign a normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia. For decades, the Saudis just like the Palestinians did not recognize the legitimacy of Israel. Once the most influential Arab country does recognize Israel’s legitimacy, the Palestinians will become isolated with no alternative but to negotiate land for a peace agreement with Israel.Surely Gershon Baskin understands that it is impossible for the Palestinians to negotiate a treaty with a country they don’t accept as legitimate. Getting Saudi Arabia on board is the only hope for this to happen.
Though roundly and properly condemned, MK Avichay Buaron’s groundless and hateful accusation that Major-General Yehuda Fox values Palestinians over Israelis has done its damage (“Opposition, coalition blast criticism of top general,” August 3).
His statement obviously reflects a deep resentment and even contempt for the IDF. This is even more evident by the “unequivocal” and sickening support he received from MK Limor Son Har-Melech. Though I don’t agree with the massive refusal by reservists to serve, I can certainly understand their anger and frustration at such deplorable attitudes by MKs toward the very army, including these reservists, that protects them 24/7.
Unfortunately, too many coalition members, and to my chagrin, many who purport to be religious, continue non-stop spewing poisonous, insulting, and contemptible statements on virtually anyone and anything in Israel that does not please them. If the IDF was once a venerated institution in the eyes of virtually every Jewish Israeli, Buaron and his ilk have clearly demonstrated that this is no longer true.
They feel no compunction to denigrate and condemn even the most veteran IDF commanders who have spent decades defending the country from so many enemies. This is more than illegitimate; it is wrong, dangerous, and contemptible, and MK Buaron and his ilk should not only be ashamed of their statements, they should also reconsider if they are even worthy of being in the Knesset.
GERSHON HARRISHatzor Haglilit
Gary Mond wrote an article titled: “On judicial reform, the Diaspora should mind its own business” (August 3). Gary resigned from the Board of Deputies, the most representative Jewish body in the UK, to form his own organization which he claims has about 350 members. Why does he think his marginal group, which appears to support radical right-wing causes, speaks for Anglo Jewry any more than the equally marginal far-Left anti-Israel Jewish groups could claim the community’s support for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party?
I strongly believe most British Jews believe in moral leadership, the rule of law, and political stability through a separation of power. They fervently want that for Israel too, and their elected representatives are right to give voice to their prayer.