February 8, 2018: A PM with courage

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Needed: A PM with courage
With regard to “Stabbed to death while waiting for a ride to his nephew’s brit” (February 6), deterrence is defined as a thing that discourages or is intended to discourage someone from doing something. The increasing incidence of the stabbing of Jews by Arab terrorists suggests that here in Israel, no such deterrence exists.
Forty-four American presidents came and went before Donald Trump had the courage and boldness to proclaim before the world that America recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Until there arises an Israeli prime minister who has such courage and finally initiates laws that will act as an effective and potent deterrent to these atrocities, our citizens will continue to be slaughtered in our streets.
Mr. Prime Minister, enough is enough!
Mevaseret Zion
US needs to combat terrorism
In “Syria: The newest front in America’s forever war” (Comment & Features, February 6), Danny Leffler takes a very restrictive view of the legal basis for America’s participation in efforts to eradicate terrorism.
While authority for “war” on terrorism was originally granted by Congress “nearly two decades ago,” the was, appropriately, no timeline given. In fact, then-president George W. Bush mentioned the expected longevity of the effort. In addition to the above, current Middle East involvement is under the authority of the Executive Branch and has been used as a basis for previous military/CIA missions.
Unfortunately, terrorism is ongoing, and so is the need to combat it. US involvement is important to prevent its spread to the US homeland and to keep in check the Iranian and Russian aggressors.
The writer served in the US Army, retiring as a colonel.
It comes back to haunt us
Do we need to see a photo of an empty refrigerator inside a “Palestinian” house in the Gaza Strip accompanying “Eisenkot: War with Gaza could break out this year” (February 5)?  Better you show the empty refrigerator in a Jewish house, of which there are plenty.
According to Bar-Ilan University’s Mordechai Kedar, there is no starvation in Gaza. Fake news is a ploy often used by the Arabs.
Having already surrendered our land to the Gazans, they should have used the billions of dollars allocated to them to build up their lives. We left them beautifully cultivated greenhouses and land, having been lovingly attended to by the Jewish families living there before they were thrown out.
In the next war, we must be prepared to win, to finally put a stop to our enemies. Collateral damage? Their problem, not ours.
The next day we read “Without resupply, Gaza to run out of fuel in 10 days, WHO official warns” (February 6). Again, this has nothing to do with us because we deprive them of nothing. Yet whatever goes across the border ends up being used to make weapons with which to attack and murder us.
No, Gaza’s residents are not being held “hostage” by “war lords.” They support Hamas and the murder of Jews, and make no secret of it. It does tell us that whenever we give up what is ours, it comes back to haunt us.
On the same front page, we read that Hezbollah can strike any target in our waters (“Navy concerned with upgraded Hamas sea threat”). Why have we allowed that group to grow so strong? Why do we still refuse to destroy it? Why do we still undertake the pathetic tit-for-tat that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swore would never happen, saying instead that he would destroy our enemies?
Pew is non-partisan
In “Democrats remain in the pro-Israel camp, despite Pew Poll” (Comment & Features, February 4), Ron Klein criticizes a recent Pew Research Center report that examines public opinion toward Israel and the Palestinians.
He cites a piece by Tamara Wittes and Daniel Shapiro published by The Atlantic. Wittes and Shapiro focus primarily on the wording of a question that asks with which side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a respondent sympathizes more. They write that “[t]he poll question is faulty because sympathy for Palestinians should not imply hostility to Israel, nor should sympathy for Israel require disregard for the fate of Palestinians.”
This is an interpretation we are careful to avoid in our report. As mentioned in the article, respondents could volunteer other responses, such as “both” or “neither,” or simply not answer the question. Throughout, we draw attention to the shares who do not sympathize more with either Israel or the Palestinians.
The report also stated that in the past year, the share of Democrats who “don’t know” has risen from 17% to 25% while the share saying “both” or “neither” has increased from 19% to 23%. This question has been asked in various forms since 1978, and not 2001, as Wittes and Shapiro write.
In addition, the report makes clear that this is a question intended to measure sympathies for Israel or the Palestinians in the Middle East, not to measure support for Israel. We understand that this “forced choice” question about sympathies for Israel and the Palestinians alone does not provide a complete picture of opinions about Israel or the Palestinians. For that reason, we have asked about “sympathy” for Israel and the Palestinians in separate questions (i.e., one about sympathy toward Israel and another about sympathy toward Palestinians, in random order), most recently in March 2015.
Those measures also found sizable, though somewhat narrower, partisan differences than the forced choice question: 79% of Republicans sympathized “a lot” or “some” with Israel, compared with 57% of Democrats. While more than half of Democrats (54%) expressed at least some sympathy for the Palestinians, fewer Republicans (33%) said the same.
The question Wittes and Shapiro criticize is one of many we regularly ask about the Middle East, and the 40-year-long trend allows us to track opinion over time. However, we pose other questions relevant to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and provide detailed subgroup (not just partisan) analyses of these questions.
Our recent report included questions about the possibility of a two-state solution and views of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Both of these questions contribute to a wider understanding of relevant public opinion, and responses also revealed wide partisan gaps.
Finally, Wittes and Shapiro claim that the Pew Research Center “marketed” the poll’s results. The center is committed to objectivity, accuracy, rigor and transparency; we are a non-partisan and non-advocacy organization that does not take policy positions on issues and while we present our survey findings to the public, we do not “market” them.
The writer is director of political research for the Pew Research Center.
Jerusalem’s balance
The Jewish population of Jerusalem should become a primary concern of our lawmakers. If they reduce the cost of housing, Jewish predominance in Jerusalem will be assured.
If the issue continues to be ignored, before long the Arab population will outnumber the Jewish population.
Beit Shemesh
With regard to “Lockheed Martin’s CH-53K to make Israeli debut in May” (February 7), it will be the simulator, not the aircraft itself, that comes to Israel at that time.