December 11, 2019: King David's mistake

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Letters
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
King David’s mistake
Amotz Asa-El asks in his article, “The devil in the numbers” (December 6, Middle Israel), why King David’s decision to count the people, “deserved such an angry response” from God? The census resulted in 70,000 people dying in a plague.
The reason is clear. David separated the Jews into two camps for the census: Israel with 800,000 soldiers and Judah with 500,000. David, recognizing the potential for civil war, wanted to know what the results would be if Israel (the Northern Kingdom) took up arms against Judah (the Southern Kingdom).
Indeed, after his son Solomon’s death, such a division took place, with the Kingdom of Israel splitting from the Kingdom of Judah. It was David’s separate census that laid the groundwork for this division.
With our current politicians not able to form a unity government and the split between haredi and “Middle Israel” stressed day by day, are we in danger of following King David’s grave mistake?

RABBI DORRON KLINE
Beit Shemesh
How dare they!
In January, MK salaries went up by 3.4%. In October, The Jerusalem Post reported that in a month’s time members are set to get a 3-3.5% raise.
And then there’s the article: “Alternative report on poor: Over 1 million children living in poverty,” December 9.
I want to ask those poor long-suffering, underpaid MKs the same question Greta Thunberg thundered to the audience of world leaders last September: “How dare you”?
In the face of this headline, which is surely not new news, how dare you!
How dare you grant yourselves a raise when thousands of children don’t have enough to eat, and hundreds of social welfare programs go unfunded. How dare you agree to a raise in pay when our health system is crashing down around the sickbeds in hospitals?
How dare you even think of giving yourselves more money when you haven’t done a single thing to earn it except bicker and throw insults at one another like children in a playground?
You have no moral compass. You make me sick.
ELAINE GOLDSTEIN
Moshav Tzipori
Third time ice cream
Albert Einstein reportedly defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Perhaps he had foreseen our electoral process.
JONATHAN MISHKIN
Alon Shvut
If the two largest blocs haven’t come to an understanding of the political climate on the streets by Wednesday (I wrote this on Tuesday morning), all that can be said is “a pox on both your houses.”
The third round will be disastrous for both if they don’t drop their holier-than-thou attitudes.
EVA KATZ
Jerusalem
Bottled up
I hate to rain on ECOAM’s plastic bottle scrunching invention as described in the December 10 edition (“Israeli ‘rubber band’ solution could reduce world’s plastic bottle waste by 80%”), but it is possible to reduce empty bottle size by utilizing the accessory with which every bottle is supplied: the bottle cap.
For years I have squashed the bottle with one hand, and then screwed the cap back on before the bottle unscrunched. The more ambitious among us may improve the process by crushing the bottle against a thigh, or those capable of bending over may try stomping on the recycling candidate.
I had not realized the brilliance of this volume depletion method until a teacher, accompanied by her kindergarten class, once saw me tossing my bottles into the collection cage. She complimented me on my space saving works and coaxed the kids into figuring out why I had crushed the bottles.
I gallantly offered to give a daily performance for other classes at an agreed upon time.
Am I the only one out there who scrunches bottles? Scrunchers of the world, raise your voices!
TREVOR DAVIS
Aseret
Drive change II
Fourteen years ago when I made aliyah from London, where I had lived for the previous 66 years and driven for more than 44, I fully intended to acquire an Israeli driving license, buy a car and use it for all of those things for which I had used my car in London.
However, after seeing the nature and extent of the universally appalling driving discipline on our city roads and highways, I decided that I would save my money, my blood-pressure tablets and my fellow citizens the burden of my adding to the number of drivers.
The apparently total absence of any enforcement of traffic regulations by the authorities – apart from those associated with parking – convinced me to take buses and taxis, although to date I have received no indication of gratitude from either Egged or the taxi drivers.
STANLEY COHEN
Jerusalem
Clear and present danger
Regarding the December 9 report “If Corbyn gets beaten, who will be blamed? The Jews,” the rally that took place at Parliament Square was vitally important to highlight once again the concern of the British Jewish community of the sheer nightmare possibility of the Labour Party coming to power.
It’s a sad and depressing fact that such a protest was essential, as we are about to reach 2020.
It is therefore the duty of all right-thinking people to stand up to the threat, which is transparent and not imaginary, as we have seen Corbyn the “pied piper” and his followers make every attempt to demonize Zionism and even Israel’s very right to exist, which has then seen it morph into less than veiled antisemitism.
It is hoped he will be defeated in the election on Thursday in such a way that removes him from the scene of front bench politics, and that history places him as nothing less than a megaphoned activist who took on Israel and the Jews and lost.
Corbyn being a clear and present danger is no conspiracy theory or fake news, so let the blame game begin – it is our clear duty and the right thing to do.
STEPHEN VISHNICK
Tel Aviv
For want of a nail
The reason the international community wants to label Jewish settlements illegal is that there is no other way to keep them from becoming evidence of a seriously inconvenient truth: The reason the conflict continues is that the Palestinians have no interest in peace.
To see why, consider the implications if the Palestinians were to propose that in exchange for Israel agreeing that the presence of settlements would not dictate borders, they would agree that borders would not determine the fate of settlements. Such a proposal would be a dramatic indication that they were ready to make peace with the Jews.
They don’t make the offer because their objective is a state that is judenrein, and recognizing this establishes that Palestinian goals are, and have always been, the problem.
Acknowledging this reality, in turn, is proof that their allies and backers, in Europe, on the Left, etc., are motivated by antisemitic beliefs.
The status of the settlements is the nail; if acknowledged as legal, a sequence of events is triggered that ends up with the Left’s kingdom being lost.
YALE ZUSSMAN
Framingham, Massachusetts

Return the money
In a fit of righteous indignation and moral outrage, Tufts University has decided to remove the Sackler name from the numerous institutions they have funded, following the example of the Louvre (“Tufts University to remove Sacker name from buildings and programs,” December 9).
Now, of course, the protectors of modern ethics have pressured Tel Aviv University to do the same.
I applaud wholeheartedly! However, if they really wish to do the ethical and moral thing, they should return the tainted money they happily accepted.
YISRAEL GUTTMAN
Jerusalem
Dreadful definition
As a Holocaust survivor, I find the repeated investigations and articles, such as the December 10 front page report, “IDF: Definition of ‘haredi’ caused draft row,” particularly galling.
Rather than arguing about a precise selection criteria, the powers that be can simply accept precedence in a tried and true Holocaust determination: if there was a “haredi” grandfather.
That would quickly resolve the “haredi question,” since the largest majority of soldiers would be included.
Well-documented research exists that if there hadn’t been an ultra-Orthodox ancestor, those young people would now be well assimilated, probably living elsewhere, and certainly not concerned with Jewish matters or Israeli security.
TERRY FRIEDMAN
Jerusalem
Palestinian intransigence
Regarding “House passes resolution in support of two-state solution,” December 7, I suspect that Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s opposition to this resolution arises from its endorsement of the “two-state solution.”
Like most others who call themselves “pro-Palestinian,” Tlaib is more interested in replacing Israel with a Muslim-majority state than in building a Palestinian state willing to coexist peacefully with the nation-state of the Jews.
I object to the resolution because of its inclusion of language recommending that Israel shouldn’t annex “West Bank” land. It has long been assumed that most of the land in Area C would remain in Israeli hands after final status talks have taken place.
But Palestinian leaders have flatly rejected several Israeli proposals for the establishment of a Palestinian state and have indicated their rejection of future negotiations.
Palestinian intransigence has opened the door to Israel’s unilateral actions. If US representatives disagree, they should pass a resolution urging Palestinian leaders to get back to the negotiating table, ready to actually negotiate.
Palestinian leaders should be urged to prepare the Palestine refugees for citizenship in the new Palestinian state, rather than demanding that Israel take them in.
TOBY F. BLOCK
Atlanta
Thelma and Louise
Regarding “Pelosi says Democrats will draft articles of impeachment,” December 6, I think that the Democratic party, in its bid to reverse the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, has now reached its Thelma and Louise moment.
We know how the movie ends, and it ain’t pretty. Those who saw the 1991 Ridley Scott movie remember that moment when we realized that we wouldn’t be watching Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis sitting in an old-age home reminiscing about the righting of past wrongs.
Unlike the movie actresses, the party will recover, I’m sure. But it may take a few generations of presidents to do so.
DAVID SMITH
Ra’anana
Jordanian ‘peace’
The detailed December 4 column by Lior Lehrs (“Israel-Jordan relations hinge on developments with Palestinians”) surveying 25 years of “peace” with Jordan leads us to the obvious conclusion that relations with Jordan can be good only when Israel remains on the road to suicide.
Thanks, but no thanks.
We’re better off with bad relations with Jordan and survival!
RAYMOND ARKING
Modi’in
Take a deep breath
Regarding “Deep breaths: Smoking pollution in Tel Aviv,” December 4 (JPost.com): Speaking from the perspective of a former smoker who routinely lit his first cigarette of the week from the flickering flame of a havdalah candle and ditched his final one while walking to synagogue on Friday, I urge the pseudonym Ashley Flunger to take a step or two back and redirect her anger and frustration to where it just might do some good.
She’s quite right, of course. Smokers can be more than a little intolerant toward the sensitivity of others and few think twice about the potential their habit has for polluting the environment (I like to think I was among those that did).
What Flunger fails to acknowledge, however, is that smoking is perfectly legal, socially acceptable activity. Tobacco products are openly sold in kiosks and supermarkets and cigarettes are found in vending machines.
And if smoking creates an undue burden on our heath care system, well, that needs to be dealt with legislatively. But until a law comes out saying smoking is a criminal offense, smokers are entitled to considerations, just as non-smokers are.
Worth noting is that more than a few of those elected or appointed to enact, implement and enforce smoking restrictions are themselves smokers; cats and saucers of milk, you know.
And I certainly hope that Flunger does not expect the religious establishment to take a more aggressive role. There have been, over the last several decades, sharply worded warnings from influential rabbis against smoking, and in some cases the habit has been expressly forbidden. Which, it would seem, are for the most part ignored.
The trouble, unfortunately, is that human beings are governed by other human beings and not angels, and finding mutually acceptable compromises is not often easy. And where smoking is concerned, the give and take is complicated by an all-or-nothing attitude by those standing on both sides of the fence. Too many smokers regard the current limitations on smoking as an infringement of their civil liberties, while non-smokers have adopted a militant approach toward the dangers of second hand smoke. Early education, responsible lobbying, and grass roots effort to change cultural mindsets are the answers, self-righteous indignation from both sides are not.
BARRY NEWMAN
Ginot Shomron
CORRECTIONS
The story “Shalva Band performs for Trump” (December 9, Arts and Entertainment) incorrectly stated that the Shalva Band lost the Rising Star competition last year to Kobi Marimi.
In fact, the band dropped out the finals because the winner was going on to represent Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest and would have required rehearsals on Shabbat. The Shalva band nonetheless got the opportunity to perform at Eurovision a special guests and received a standing ovation.
***
Monday, December 9’s letter “Any change” was incorrectly attributed. The letter came from Ariel Izraelov from Tel Aviv, a Grade 11 student at Zeitlin High School.
The Post regrets the errors.