February 11: No free lunches

Is it not time for haredi leaders to realize that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Off the table
Sir, – According to Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked, as public security minister, would do many things to protect us. As just one example, he cites her for having sponsored legislation that would require a national referendum on land concessions (“Bayit Yehudi seeking Public Security portfolio for No. 2, Ayelet Shaked,” February 9). That point is the only one I disagree with.
There should be no circumstances in which we surrender land. That concept must be taken off the table immediately, just like the two-state solution.
Sovereignty over the whole land is necessary for our survival.
If it were possible for Shaked to do all of what Bennett cites, her place should be at the helm as prime minister. Shaked if serious.
She is about taking control, about leadership, about doing all the things a prime minister should support. Were all of those things in place, we would not be under constant attack from our enemies, waiting for the next attack and never knowing when it will occur.
Surrender should not be in our vocabulary. Weak leadership leaves Israeli citizens at the mercy of the terrorists.
Perhaps if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reelected, he might see the folly of years of surrender and capitulation.
Reasonable freedom
Sir, – In “Fighting discrimination” (Editorial, February 9), which relates to the meeting between President Reuven Rivlin and Arab mayors, the concluding point is that “populist calls to ban Arab politicians should be replaced with constructive solutions for endemic discrimination against Arab Israelis.”
The writer of the editorial fails to conceive the intent of this ban. There are some Arab candidates who openly act against the interests of Israel and even toward the destruction of Israel.
It is not acceptable that freedom of expression includes acts aimed against the raison d’etre and fabric of a nation. There are limits. This freedom should be reasonable, not destructive.
Sir, – Your editorial correctly points out that the loyalty of many Arab Israelis is with Israel’s adversaries. What social contract do they have with Israel? Other than the Druse and some Beduin, not only do Arab citizens not serve in the army, some of their representatives demonize the country.
Contrast this with Jews in Canada.
There was severe discrimination before 1950, and Jews fleeing Nazi persecution were refused entry. Yet Jews fought, disproportionately, for the country in World War II. Better still, compare Arab Israelis to blacks in the US, who were brutally discriminated against before the Civil Rights era. Yet they served proudly in the military.
Arab Israelis commemorate the creation of Israel in 1948 as a Nakba, a “catastrophe,” a unique epithet for the plight of their refugees. In the 20th century, the expulsion of Jews from Arab countries, the forced population exchange between Greece and Turkey, and the ouster of ethnic Germans from their homelands in 1945 were all worse in terms of misery. Yet they are not commemorated.
Obama’s agenda
Sir, – A careful analysis of US President Barack Obama’s speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington (“Obama: Extremism is not unique to Islam,” February 6) regrettably reveals a plethora of distorted thinking by the man who stands at the helm of the world’s most powerful nation.
Instead of unhesitant and absolute condemnation of Arab extremist terrorist atrocities and the immediate recruiting of an international military force to combat this rapidly growing threat to Western civilization, we are treated to a tortured and unconvincing lesson in moral history.
While Obama rightly points out that other religious groups have committed despicably heinous acts in the past, he seemingly concludes that it is now the rightful turn of the Muslims to plunge the world into primeval darkness. When pointing to the evils of slavery that were justified in the name of Christ, he chooses to ignore the facts about the enormity of the North African Muslim slave trade, which between 1500 and 1800 sold into slavery up to 1.25 million European Christians, and that during this time frame this was the main type of enslavement.
He also chooses to be oblivious to the shameful statistics concerning the slavery of children in today’s Muslim world, which is a fact of life in countries across the Middle East and Africa.
By his inaction, Obama threatens to turn America into one of the cardinal supporters of Muslim terror.
Petah Tikva
Sir – At the recent National Prayer Breakfast, US President Barack Obama enraged the audience (except, perhaps, the Muslims in attendance) by lecturing that the Crusaders carried out bad deeds in the name of Jesus.
We are still waiting for him to say that Islamic terrorism exists and that it is done in accordance with Mohammad and the Koran.
Obama promised to change America and the world when he ran for president in 2008. He fleshed out his plans in his inaugural address and in his Cairo speech in 2009. Later that year he told the UN General Assembly that power was no longer a zero-sum game, that no nation had the right to dominate another, and that there could be no balance of power.
In 2012, he signaled to Russia that he would have more “flexibility” after being reelected. Flexibility to do what? Since being elected president, Obama has favored the Muslim Brotherhood and has done nothing to foster regime change in Iran. Yet he apparently believes that giving in to Iran by allowing it to attain a nuclear weapons capability will result in a better long-term position for America.
That he is trashing all of America’s Middle Eastern allies, especially Israel, has little significance for him.
The public’s lack of insight into the Obama agenda is not a lack of clarity as much as a failure to recognize what is right before our eyes. That is why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will make a last-ditch attempt to influence American opinion when he addresses Congress.
Alfei Menashe
No free lunches
Sir, – What an interesting juxtaposition of articles in your February 6 Frontlines section.
On one side, United Torah Judaism MK Ya’acov Litzman condemns Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid, until recently our finance minister, in the most vicious terms (“‘Ready to return the chicken to haredi Shabbat tables,’” Religious Affairs). He conveniently overlooks the fact that Prime Minister and Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, when he was finance minister, was responsible for drastic cuts in transfers to the haredi community in the form of child allowances. This fact does not seem to deter haredi politicians from throwing in their lot with the Likud.
On the opposing page is an interview with Karnit Flug, governor of the Bank of Israel (“The woman in charge,” Economics), who states quite clearly that the poverty of the haredi (and Arab) communities is due to their low participation in the workforce.
Is it not time for haredi leaders to realize that there is no such thing as a free lunch, and that if they wish to have chicken for Shabbat dinner they should go out to work and support their families with honor? There is really no reason the working population should continue to subsidize the haredi lifestyle.
Enough is enough.