Letters to the Editor August 14, 2023: Concrete jungle

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Concrete jungle

The article by Idan Eretz titled “Ben-Gurion Airport getting close to bursting point” (August 8) confirms that one major airport in Israel cannot handle the entire flying public.

For reasons of security as well as convenience, there is an urgent need for an international airport in the north. Haifa has for many years had an airport, located in an already industrial and non-residential area in Haifa Bay. During her pre-election campaign, the mayor, Einat Kalisch-Rotem, declared that if 300 meters were added to the runway, it could handle European airlines.

With aircraft flying directly out to sea there would be a minimum of noise and environmental pollution. However in its wisdom, the government approved expanding Haifa Port, an extension seen from my window on the Carmel which appears to be an empty eyesore, but is now the given reason for abandoning the extension of the existing airport.

Relocating the airport to Ramat David would be an environmental disaster. The Jezreel Valley, the Galilee, and Golan are areas of outstanding natural beauty. The necessary infrastructure to establish the airport there would destroy farms and fields in order to provide major access roads. The ensuing traffic jams and noise pollution would completely destroy the ambience of the area and become a health hazard to the many residents in kibbutzim and rural villages in the area.

Israel is fast becoming a concrete jungle; the iconic regions of natural beauty must be preserved. Haifa Airport could be adapted if experienced and motivated planners set their mind to it.



Proposals to build another international airport to relieve congestion at Ben-Gurion should be abandoned. It is axiomatic that whatever the cost estimate may be, when the government builds a major infrastructure project, the actual cost will be at least 200% to 400% higher than the estimate. Similarly, the time required to complete and activate the project will be much greater than the estimate.

However the most important reason for shelving the project is the inability of planners to allow for technological change. It is certain that over the next 10 or 15 years technology will disrupt all the estimates on which the project is based, and it will be found that Ben-Gurion will be capable of handling far more passengers than at present.

About 50 years ago, it was decided by planners that Montreal’s airport, in Dorval, a suburb of Montreal, was incapable of handling the anticipated increase in traffic. The problem was the impossibility of adding a new runway, as the airport was completely surrounded by suburban housing, and only so many planes could be handled by the existing runways. A new airport was planned and eventually built, well away from the city, at Mirabel.

However, by the time it was opened, commercial planes were carrying 350 to 500 passengers, as opposed to the planes that had a maximum capacity of about 90 passengers that were available when Mirabel was planned. It turned out that Dorval could handle the load. Mirabel was a beautiful airport but it was about an hour’s drive from Montreal. No one wanted to use it, and passenger operations were ceased.

As passenger traffic increases, Ben-Gurion will not explode. New technologies will be developed, allowing passengers on buses or trains to check in, pass through security checks, and have their baggage weighed and tagged before they arrive at the airport, thus eliminating much of the overcrowding. Automated air traffic controllers will increase the number of planes that a runway can handle, and newer planes will be bigger and quieter. All planners have to do is think outside the box.


Ma’aleh Adumim 

Serious misapprehension

Regarding “Smotrich: Netanyahu supports freezing of funds for Arab sector” (August 9) and the editorial of the same date, “Release the funds,” I think that Mr. Smotrich is under a serious misapprehension as to his duties and responsibilities as finance minister.

As I understand it, in a democracy, the duty and responsibility of a minister is to implement the decisions of his government, applicable to his ministry. Once an allocation is approved, he has no responsibility other than to ensure that the decision is implemented to the very best of his ability, whether he personally is in favor or not. So Mr. Smotrich is clearly exceeding his remit in delaying the release of approved funds for the Arab sector.

I will not comment on Mr. Netanyahu’s position in the matter as it is obviously untenable in a democracy.


Beit Zayit

Good and correct

The article by Richard Shavei-Tzion titled “Where are the chief rabbis?” (August 9) was right on the mark. Can the chief rabbis stay silent when so much is at stake? We just read in the Torah, “You should do what is good and correct in the eyes of God.”

Isn’t it the job of a rabbi to give his halachic opinion about what is good and correct? And if not halachic opinion, they should at least impart some wisdom, some solution, some mediative response to the problems facing all of the People of Israel in the Land of Israel.

I imagine that in the United States, many of the rabbis speak freely about the situation here in Israel. They’re not beholden to anyone except their congregation.



Crux of the matter

Herb Keinon is to be praised for his op-ed article titled “Smotrich vs... everyone” (August 11). In a very rare example of a fair and balanced analysis of the problem of Arab coexistence within Israeli society, he sets out a long and detailed list of the “who’s who” of those opposing the finance minister and their platitudinous arguments of “racism,” “arrogance,” and “ignorance.” But credit goes to Keinon for taking pains to explain the reasoning of the minister behind this decision to withhold money from the Arab authorities until certain safeguards are put into place.

Smotrich is doing what the US has failed to do. He is trying to ensure that the money given to the Arab community does not go to encourage anti-Israel activity, pay-for-slay payments, anti-Jewish rioting in the cities, terrorist gangs in the Arab universities, and the flaunting of the Palestinian flag at every available public occasion and in particular in our universities. American money has not ceased flowing to the PA despite the feeble attempt to condition it upon cessation of the payment to murderers and their families.

Smotrich should not bow to the hypocritical condemnations by the US and European government spokesmen, as reported widely in the general press. He has a job to do and he is determined to do it.

As Keinon has so rightly pointed out, it is not the arguments and reasoning of the minister that are faulty or misguided; it is merely the fact that it is Smotrich who is presenting them. Here we have a natural extension of “anyone but Bibi,” which has now become  “anyone but Smotrich,” and that is the crux of the matter. It is not “everyone vs... Smotrich,” but rather “political correctness vs... forthrightness.”

In other words, we are politically-correcting ourselves out of existence.



What else is new?

Regarding “Israeli-Saudi peace: What price and who pays?” (August 10): Douglas Bloomfield is very likely correct when he opines that peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia likely ends the prospects for a Palestinian state. The question is, why is that a bad thing?

Bloomfield believes that they’ll react violently. As compared to the pacifistic approach they take now, when a state of their own is at least still theoretically possible? Palestinian violence – what else is new?

In fact, the Palestinians have done nothing to earn a state of their own. They have built nothing, developed no democratic institutions, subsist solely on foreign aid with which they pay for terrorism or their leaders’ billion-dollar bank accounts, and wallow in an antisemitic culture of terrorism, death, and victimhood. On a per capita basis, they have received more foreign aid than any other group of recipients and nevertheless have nothing good to show for it.

Yet the credulous Western world continues to swallow Palestinian lies about wanting their own state, despite Palestinian rejections of multiple generous offers of peace and their own state. Those offers were rejected because they required an end to the conflict and peaceful coexistence with Israel. Unfortunately, the sole goal of the Palestinians has been and remains Israel’s destruction, to be accomplished under the deceptive cover of pursuing a state of their own.

That’s why no offer, no concessions, no framework, and no peace proposals are ever good enough for them. They’re not interested. So what would happen if they finally got the message that their pretense of wanting a state was over?

Certainly their initial reaction would be violent. But over time, there is the possibility that a subsequent Palestinian generation would tire of seeking the impossible underneath Potemkin nationalism, Israel’s destruction, and instead focus on improving their lot in life. Perhaps in time, Gaza could become a second Singapore, and Palestinian parts of Judea and Samaria could become some sort of tourist Mecca.

If not, there’s nothing to lose. Palestinians are already among the most antisemitic peoples on the face of the Earth, and incredibly violent. Remove the illusion of an undeserved state of their own; nothing ventured, nothing gained.


Williamsville, New York

The connection drawn between relations with the Saudis and concessions to the Palestinians is extremely disturbing as it concerns one of the most basic reasons for the continuing war between Israel and the Palestinians, the so-called “occupation.” 

This has probably been one of the most successful and powerful propaganda stories put out over the past 70 years or so, arousing the most serious and widespread anti-Israel and antisemitic feelings worldwide.

The actual fact of the matter is that the status of Judea and Samaria was established legally in its recent history as Israeli territory, was then occupied by Jordan in 1948 in an attempt to destroy Israel, and recaptured by Israel in 1967 when the surrounding Arab countries again tried to annihilate Israel.

Israel then refrained from annexing the area (called “the West Bank”), and instead was prepared to negotiate its status in the framework of an overall peace agreement. Israel has meanwhile tried to give the Palestinians the opportunity to develop independently in parts of the “West Bank,” but they have failed in this endeavor, using their energies to fight each other and attempting to murder Jews and Israelis.

The Palestinians never owned any country or part thereof, and the concept of “occupation” by Israel in this regard is a total fabrication since they’ve never owned anything that could be occupied.

The entire phenomenon of Palestinians waging war on Israel with every means available, including rockets into residential areas, continual horrific terrorist murders of Jews and Israelis, the spreading of propaganda in every country, and their covenant calling for the annihilation of Israel, rests on one assumption only – the lie, which they have taken to believing themselves, that Israel occupies their land. 

The aggressive behavior of the Palestinians has shown conclusively that Israel cannot afford to allow for the establishment of an independent Palestinian entity on the West Bank highlands overlooking the Israeli central coastal plain, because it would place the Jewish state under threat of destruction.

And America claims that Israel must make serious concessions to the Palestinians so as to encourage the Saudis to improve ties with Israel? Surely it’s the Palestinians who must make huge concessions to Israel.



Reach out

As I read “Yeshiva University, pillar of Orthodox Judaism, launches master’s program for Christian students” (August 13), I was truly taken aback. What a truly wonderful development it is.

It is so important for us to be constantly exploring how to reach out to and build links with our Christian brethren. In our world today, we are that much better off, the greater the number of links we have with our Christian brethren.

I wish YU every success possible in this exceptional effort.


Tzur Yitzhak