February 19, 2018: The Netanyahu probes

Our readers weigh in

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Netanyahu probes
Instead of “Nearly 60% say PM’s ability to run country has been harmed by probes” (February 16), the correct headline should have been “Has the Israeli press damaged the PM’s ability to run the country?” For months, The Jerusalem Post has not let a day go by without articles implying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s guilt where the issues are not at all clear – as can be seen in the length of time it took the police to come to a decision just to make a recommendation that is non-binding.
Perhaps it’s time for the Post to do some soul-searching regarding its agenda. Has no one heard of what the British call the “loyal opposition?” What do we gain by bringing down our government because the prime minister likes to smoke cigars?
It seems that every day, there is another analysis or commentary on the potential cases against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in The Jerusalem Post. None has given consideration to one of the basic elements of a politician’s life.
Whatever level of office an individual might attain, and wherever, people will ask for favors.
Politicians are always offered some form of “appreciation” for the favor, ranging from campaign contributions to small gifts and even substantial gifts.
These are facts of public life. The issue is when the actions reach the level of a crime such as bribery.
The US Supreme Court recently overturned the conviction against a former governor in the absence of showing that there had been, in effect, a direct quid pro quo between a gift and an “official act.” Yet setting up meetings, talking to other officials or organizing an event on behalf of a constituent do not constitute an official act. The court expressed concern lest the normal daily activities of a politician be caught up in prosecutorial zeal.
Maybe the press in Israel should remember this before it convicts Netanyahu sans evidence at trial.
Beit Shemesh
The writer practiced law in the United States for nearly 50 years.
As a plain citizen, I cannot see what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is so guilty of.
What has been publicized is that he received cigars and champagne from a friend, Arnon Milchan.
There was nothing in exchange. A law that was supposed to have helped Milchan in Israel never passed. The prime minister is also supposed to have helped him obtain a visa to America. There are thousands of Israelis who have visas to America.
So what? The second accusation is that he had a conversation with the publisher of a newspaper. Again, nothing happened.
Both of these events are things that politicians, especially prime ministers, do all the time. It is called politics.
The enormous amount of money and hours spent over this whole affair will probably mean that the police will demand extra money in the next budget. It seems to me that the whole exercise was meant to show the public how wonderful the police are, that they dare go after a prime minister and thus justify keeping their department open.
A prime minister must be allowed a certain latitude to enable him to do his job, which I think Netanyahu is doing adequately. But ever since he became prime minister, there have people who have been out to get him. Perhaps it’s because he speaks English so well.
Beit Shemesh
Benjamin Netanyahu has been a powerful politician for many years, so naturally, many people hate him and keep looking for reasons to remove him. His wife has been remiss in handing over money for returned bottles? He has received expensive presents? Since Israel sets no limits on police investigations of sitting prime ministers, the constant agitation puts pressure on them to open investigations.
In the absence of a clear indication of any serious crime, such investigations are called fishing expeditions. Time and money are invested as the police travel the world gathering information.
After all this high-profile spending, would they embarrass themselves by failing to come up with recommendations for charges? Does the sun rise in the east? Having attained their goal, the people who want the prime minister out have advanced to a demand that he resign immediately, since with legal matters taking up so much of his time, how can he run the country? Exactly! That’s why there should be limits to police fishing expeditions targeting sitting prime ministers.
The best gun control
The present method of gun control and background checks in the United States will not prevent another Parkland, Florida, school massacre (“US mourns 17 in school shooting,” February 16).
Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz was able to purchase an AR-15 semi-automatic weapon.
To most Americans, it is horrifying to know that this is possible, but to the National Rifle Association, it is (profitable) business as usual.
The NRA unfortunately has Americans convinced that the Constitution gives them the right to bear arms. This might have been true centuries ago “when the British were coming,” but whether or not the NRA and its stakeholders, many of whom serve in Congress, would like to admit it, the best gun control will come when the sale of automatic assault weapons is absolutely prohibited.
Zichron Ya’acov
‘Primitive’ comes to mind
The first word that came to mind when I read “Rabbi Levenstein: Eradicate homosexuality just like we did AIDS” (February 16) is “primitive.”
Primitive homophobic ideology has no place in the 21st century, more so when expressed by a supposedly educated individual. Is Rabbi Yigal Levenstein trying to out-god God? After all, Judaism has it that each of us is created in the image of God.
So much for the rabbi’s Judaic knowledge.
Tel Aviv
Norway and the Jews
A Norwegian MPs nomination of the BDS movement for a Nobel Peace Prize (“Norway MP: Nobel nomination targets Israel, not Jews,” February 13) should surprise no one.
The Inquisition imposed the most restrictive conditions for the entry of Jews to other countries.
Norway’s door was sealed except when Solomon Hein helped in granting a loan to the state by the Copenhagen banking house of Hambrow and Son; he was granted a visa. In 1842, 50% of Norwegians voted to allow Jews into the country, but this was denied – it needed a two-thirds vote. In 1875, only 25 Jews were let into the country.
In 1940-45, 200 Jews were allowed in but were denied academic and professional work. Over 700 of the country’s Jews were sent to Auschwitz; 930 fled to Sweden. The war period saw the confiscation of Jewish property. In more recent times, a university invited a PLO representative to present that side of the argument but barred Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz from presenting a lecture on Israel.
It looks like Norway will be the first country in Europe to have no Jews in its cities.
Tel Aviv
An absolute waste
Prudence in the use of military might is the key word in dealing with our foes in Iran and elsewhere, along, of course, with maintaining our military strength. Better to keep the enemy in abeyance rather than face the headache of dealing with conquered lands.
Oh, when will our enemies turn their swords into plowshares? What an absolute waste of human capabilities to hate! JOEL STEINBERG Margate City, New Jersey