Letters to the Editor August 23, 2023: Runaway train

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Runaway train

Alienating Israelis from Judaism” by Daniel Goldman (August 20) brought to light the feelings I’ve had since this fanatically disparate government started governing.

This far, far, Right government is not what I had envisioned when I voted for Netanyahu. I had thought it would be a united government, by having a strong majority to pass much needed laws. Instead it became the government that divided the country like never before.

I had hoped for a religious plurality that would bring us closer to what my vision of a Jewish, democratic, inclusive state was, in which Israel was recognized as the preeminent nation state of the Jews, finally. But what happened was nothing close.

The haredi members have hijacked the government out from under the noses of the rest of the ruling coalition. Netanyahu’s announcement weeks before, “that his hands would be firmly on the wheel, driving the government,” apparently went by the wayside. Not only is he not in complete control over these out-of-control “ministers,” he has seemed to have given in and given up.

The government is in a catastrophic decline and there doesn’t seem to be anyone stopping the runaway train. Although my friends, for the most part, favor some judicial tweaking, none are in favor of the modus operandi used to achieve them. In addition, the ministers who are running roughshod over education, IDF haredi recruitment, and security are completely clueless, bordering dangerous.

Mr. Goldman reports that polls that have been taken indicate those clueless, bordering dangerous “ministers,” would not be voted back in with another election. Accordingly, they have shredded some feelings of connection and affiliation of Israelis with their Jewish character.

One of the letter writers recently suggested a simple solution to the ongoing strife: Create a second parliamentary house that would divide the country into sections, with those living in each section represented by legislators. In addition, make all the proposed legislation possible only through consensus voting.

We must do something quickly before the riotous protests become more dangerous with loss of lives. Netanyahu must start listening to the rest of the country, perhaps read the Post letters, and pull tight the reins of the runaway horse. We need changes quickly and within a democratic process.



Easier and more bearable

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw “Bring Sundays to Israel” (August 18). I have been saying the same thing since we made aliyah 13+ years ago, and even before making aliyah. I also couldn’t believe that I agree wholeheartedly with an opinion piece by Avi Mayer. I would add that Sundays in Israel will open up and expand the leisure industry here. Sundays in Israel will not only make life easier and more bearable for the religious community, but by having a day to do the various chores and entertainment activities that the non-religious currently do on Saturday, people here just might expand their traditional leanings and observe more of Shabbat.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a rabbinate here that was inclusive and made religious life attractive to all

Israeli Jews? By having Sundays, Shabbat would be more attractive to Israeli society as a real day off to spend with family, light candles, and have a big family meal or two together; maybe even attend synagogue.

It’s very hard to calculate or estimate the positive psychological impact of having one day a week to chill out without having to worry about much of anything. Would we be nicer and more considerate drivers on the roads? Calmer parents to our kids? Less tense all around?

As far as losing Sundays as a workday, as Joe Biden would say: “C’mon man,” Israel is the Start-Up Nation. We are a hard-working nation. We invented nanotechnology (whatever that is).

We can do it all in four and-a-half days a week. I know that we can.


Ma’aleh Adumim

Bring Sundays to Israel. Just wondering if Sundays off and a five-day week would apply to Jerusalem Post staff? Avi Mayer omitted that detail in his article!


Tel Aviv

Crimes with alacrity

Regarding “Terrorists gun down mother in front of daughter: ‘We’re in wave of terror we haven’t known in a long time,’ says top general” (August 22), I would suggest that these comments from a so-called “top general” do very little in giving confidence to any woman, man or child who these days has to travel that now infamous road called Route 60.

In turn I would suggest it emboldens those who find it less than hazardous to create mayhem along this dreaded highway, where these terrorists appear able to kill at will a subject they choose at random.

Not only are they currently able to carry out their crimes with alacrity, but they also flee the scene, disappearing up until now into their dens of iniquity.

I understand it is not initially possible to pre-think those who are determined to carry out these heinous acts. But surely there must be at least a modicum of extra security for those who need to travel this route. The deployment of extra soldiers/checkpoints and the use of cameras and drones would hopefully send a message to all that action is being taken.

I would never suggest that the wringing of hands is taking place. However, we need to think out of the box on security for these areas; otherwise they might soon become what we must surely resist – “no-go zones.”


Tel Aviv

Morally equivalent

Regarding “Washington equates Palestinian terrorism with settler violence” (August 22), has US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield lost her mind? Would she compare the death of Adolf Eichmann by Israel as morally equivalent to the deaths of a million Jews at Auschwitz? Apparently yes.

That is what she is doing when she compares the deaths by Israel of Arab terrorists sworn to murder Jews, to the murders of Jewish civilians by those same Arab terrorists. Adolf Eichmann is smiling from the very warm place where he resides knowing that President Biden and Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield view his death and the deaths of the millions of Jews who he murdered as morally equivalent.


Margate, Florida

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US ambassador to the UN, has some nerve equating Israeli and Palestinian actions during the recent wave of Palestinian terrorism and necessary Israeli defensive actions. Israeli casualties have been almost exclusively civilians, and Palestinian casualties have been almost exclusively terrorists attacking Israeli civilians or Israeli personnel on legitimate anti-terror missions. In no way are these actions and circumstances equivalent.

Imagine if the Israeli ambassador to the UN responded to the killing of Osama Bin Laden by US forces with a statement urging that both sides, the US and Al-Qaeda, should avoid escalation, work to restore calm, and are equally responsible for a “cycle of violence.” The outrage would be considerable, and justified. The same is true for Thomas-Greenfield’s ridiculous and false equivalence.

If the US was really interested in decreasing the violence it claims to be concerned about, it would take three important steps: Cease payments to the Palestinian Authority which are illegal under the 2018 Taylor Force Act due to the Palestinian “pay for slay” incentivizing of terror; draw the needed distinction between Palestinian terrorism and Israeli counterterrorism; and stop making deals which provide Iran with billions of dollars that Tehran uses to pay for Palestinian terror attacks in Judea and Samaria.


Williamsville, New York

Disseminating his wisdom

Yitz Greenberg, for those Israelis who don’t know his name, is a beloved Modern Orthodox rabbi who has been disseminating his wisdom to synagogue and Jewish leadership groups for decades. He has often been a lonely voice in the cacophony of voices of dissenting and often extremist views on Orthodoxy, and has stressed the importance of pluralism in the American Jewish community debates on religious observance.

Now he has made aliyah and is speaking out in our much needed debate here, as he does in “A distorted version of Judaism leads the assault on democracy” (August 22). He writes that “we must restore the Jewish tradition so that religious political parties live within the ground rules of democracy, human dignity, and equality” and that “religious and secular Jews need to work together to take back Judaism from the present institutional leadership’s destructive grasp.”

Oh, if only that leadership would listen. The whole country could benefit.



Conflict of interest

Right and Left file amicus briefs ahead of reasonableness law hearing” (August 21) left me puzzled. When government ministers informed the public that they were proposing judicial reform legislation that would rein in the power of the High Court of Justice to invalidate laws that were duly enacted by the Knesset, the attorney-general directed Prime Minister Netanyahu not to speak out about the legislation because doing so would be a “conflict of interest,” as Netanyahu is on trial for various crimes that he had allegedly committed.

Now, the Knesset has passed a law limiting the High Court’s ability to invalidate actions by the government which are, in the opinion of the justices, unreasonable, a power which no law has ever given them. Yet, their ruling on this law is the ultimate “conflict of interest,” as it reduces their power.

Why hasn’t the attorney-general objected to the High Court’s ability to rule on this law? Do issues of conflict of interest apply only to right-wing ministers, but not to left-wing justices, whom she favors?

This seems to be the ultimate in hypocrisy.



Truly Jewish

There are two very annoying, even atrocious, oxymorons which are prominent and used daily in the media and political discussions: “Jewish and democratic Israel” and “united Jerusalem” (“Invest in united Jerusalem,” editorial, August 22). These are similar to the mathematical oxymoron which so eloquently expresses the impossibility of squaring the circle.

In a Jewish Israel, the rabbis are the moral, spiritual, legal, political, and everything else  leaders. Any substantial division of power and influence other than that cannot be truly Jewish. The Knesset and secular High Court must be ornamental. A Jewish Israel must be a theocracy, anything else is not Jewish.

The euphemism of a “united Jerusalem” is not far behind in our efforts to square the circle. How many Jews live, actually live, in east Jerusalem? Is there, anywhere in the world, a more segregated city on the basis of religion, of ethnicity?

Similar to New York City (“New York City and Israel: An unbreakable bond,” August 22), Jerusalem’s divide between east and west looks a lot like the poor neighborhoods of the Bronx and the rich and powerful living on Park Avenue in Manhattan.



Coexisting with Israel

Once again, we see Israel pressured to offer concessions and money to the Palestinians (“Blinken, Dermer discuss tensions,” August 18).

There’s no mention of the US and the Saudis suggesting to the Palestinians that they need to stop trying to delegitimize Israel in international forums and to stop inciting their people to use violence against Israelis to “resist the occupation.” In fact, the US continues to send money to the PA in violation of the Taylor Force Act which requires the PA to end its “pay for slay” program before it can receive American aid.

Support for a two-state solution is meaningless until the Palestinian leaders accept the fact that any Palestinian state will have to neighbor the nation-state of the Jews, not replace it. Palestinian leaders rejected proposals for the establishment of the state they claim to want from left-wing Ehud Barak (2001) and centrist Ehud Olmert (2008). They ignored the outline for a demilitarized Palestinian state, coexisting with Israel, described by right-wing Benjamin Netanyahu at Bar-Ilan University (2009).

If the US is going to apply pressure, it should be pressuring the Palestinian leaders to begin building their state on the land Israel graciously put under their administration, with all expenses subject to transparent and rigorous accounting to ensure that the funds do not go to enriching the leaders or financing anti-Israel lawfare and terrorism, as has happened with most of the money previously donated to the Palestinians.