January 12, 2016: Doubts about Deri

Readers respond to the latest 'Jerusalem Post' articles.

Envelope (photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
(photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
Doubts about Deri
Just when we thought Israeli politics could stoop no lower, Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has plumbed the absolute depths with the reinstatement of Arye Deri as minister of the interior (“Cabinet approves Deri’s return to Interior Ministry,” January 11).
During the past two decades, beleaguered Israelis have endured interminable corruption and immorality on the part of unscrupulous officials. The list is shocking and intolerable, and we are accustomed to our protests being ignored, since public opinion counts for nothing. But this has to be the pits.
The fact that Deri was even allowed to become a member of this government is ridiculous enough. So what if there is no legal reason preventing him from being restored to the scene of his crime – what about principles, morality, values and public opinion? Welcome to Absurdistan!
Israel loves to be at the forefront of the news. We show the world how things should be done – we help those in need and invent things that are amazing. But I think we should have passed on being the ones to put a disgraced minister back into the position from which he was forced to resign due to criminal activity.
Talk about putting the fox back in the hen house! It may not be illegal for Arye Deri to take back his old ministry, but to me, it sure seems irresponsible!
Ma’aleh Adumim
D stands for Deri, dangerous, disgusting and disappointing.
I read with total agreement your editorial questioning the moral compass of our prime minister and the Knesset (“Deri’s return,” January 11). But I ask further: Where is the moral compass of our chief rabbis and rabbis in general who have ignored this travesty?
The writer is a rabbi.
I do not always agree with your editorials, but by condemning the naming of Arye Deri as interior minister, you are right on target. This appointment by the government is a disgrace and a blemish on the good name of Israel as an enlightened state that cares about honesty in government.
Any credibility that this coalition may have had has now been utterly destroyed.
There was little to expect from most of the cabinet ministers who voted in favor, but I was especially disappointed by Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon.
Bennett represents himself as standing for Judaism and Jewish values. How, then, could he forget that the Torah is very strict about the requirements for honesty and decency among government officials? Kahlon represents himself as a kind of Mr. Clean, caring for the disadvantaged and the public good. How, then, could he put the fox back in the chicken coop, which Deri once plundered so shamelessly? Of all the offices in our government, the Interior Ministry is the one that controls the most enormous sums. It also wields tremendous power over cities and the lives of Israeli citizens. This unrepentant sinner has no place there. A government that thinks he does is unfit to govern and should resign.
The writer is a rabbi, a founder of Israel’s Masorti Movement and a columnist in The Jerusalem Post Magazine.
One has to wonder where Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein found the rules for his decision (“Deri gets A-G okay to become interior minister,” January 8). Baseball or Jewish tradition? In our tradition there are three steps that constitute the process of tshuva (repentance): 1. Remorse for past misdeeds 2. The promise not to repeat the misdeeds in the future 3. Not succumbing to the temptation of sinning when confronted with the circumstances that led to past misdeeds.
Arye Deri has ignored the first two requirements. Can we afford to wait for the third strike?
It’s official. Arye Deri will once again be interior minister. As we all know, the last time he held this position, he was caught with his hands in the till. He was convicted of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, and spent time in jail. No doubt, during the time he spent in jail, Deri used the opportunity to think and learn lessons, which means that this time around he will obey the 11th Commandment: “Thou shalt not get caught.”
‘Yekke’ racists
In her fascinating “Thinking with your heart” (Science & Health, January 10), Judy Siegel- Itzkovich quotes Prof. Eyal Winter as saying that Israeli “receivers with Middle Eastern family names were given significantly less than receivers with European names,” confirming what most of us already know. There is much Ashkenazi prejudice at play in Israel, and often, the more “European” the Ashkenazi, the greater the prejudice. Hence, it comes as no surprise that descendants of secular German Jewish immigrants, being most Ashkenazi of all, are the most racist against their darker- skinned brothers.
This might help explain the preponderance of yekkes among post-Zionist, pro-Palestinian journalists, newspaper publishers and field activists. I am referring to Women in Black, Haaretz, Machsom Watch and Peace Now, among others. Based on Prof.
Winter’s findings, such activists and journalists could be motivated less by any altruism toward anyone who is an Arab than by a venal detestation of their “racially inferior” Jewish brethren, who are, to a significant degree, aligned with a more religious and Zionist ethos.
By supporting the enemies of Israel, these people can act out against Sephardim without having to actually declare their racism. As a bonus, they get a pat on the head from their European backers.
Books and kisses
I have not read it, but I still don’t get what the big deal is over the book Borderlife (“Education Ministry under fire for ousting novel about emotionally stormy Jewish- Arab love story,” January 1). All the ministry said was that the book would not be on the required list for matriculation exams, like many other books.
No one said do not read it in your free time. No one said it’s badly written. The ministry decided it was not suitable for mandatory reading lists because it did not promote the values we want to inculcate in our children.
In response, the people at TimeOut Tel Aviv (“Kissing video follows nixing of Arab-Jewish love story,” January 10) say “we want to believe that people are, first, human beings.” That’s true. But this does not mean everyone should marry everyone – that is where religion, nationality, cultural backgrounds and values come into play. True love is based on common issues.
“Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies” is the final caption of the video. We pray for the Arabs to accept us in their midst as the Jewish state, and stop trying to drive us out. But this doesn’t mean we should intermarry. If there really were no problem, organizations that rescue Jewish girls from Arab villages would close down.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On is upset that the Education Ministry excluded a novel about Jewish- Arab love. The book rehashes that tired liberal narrative: Jewish girl meets Arab boy. Would MK Gal-On enthusiastically promote a romance in which the girl is a Muslim and the boy a Jew? As a champion of the gay community, would she include in the ministry’s recommended reading list a novel about two Muslim homosexuals? After all, it’s only about love.
Ramat Gan