January 24,2018: Battle of the sexes in the IDF

What do you think the probable result would be if a woman were introduced into a tank crew?

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Battle of the sexes in the IDF
I am surprised at the argument put forward by your editorial “Defend IDF’s women” (January 22). One of the most misleading methods of arguing is to adopt the approach that my late mother used to call in Yiddish oder gur oder gur nisht (all or nothing).
On the one side, you correctly applaud and encourage the increase in the participation of women in the IDF by saying that women “often have leadership or technological skills that depend on high intelligence and unique personality traits,” with which I heartily agree. On the other side, “religious soldiers are disproportionately represented in command positions, particularly in combat units” and everything must be done to maintain this motivation.
The disapproval of the rabbis is understandable.
For example, anybody who has a son in the Armored Corps will be aware that life inside a tank is conducted within highly limited confines in which several young adults are working.
What do you think the probable result would be if a woman were introduced into such a crew? But why do you then jump in with this oder gur oder gur nisht [all or nothing] solution by stating: “Rabbis have no business meddling in the running of the IDF”? There is another way: Women do not have to be paper shufflers or beverage servers, and their talents should be used to the advantage of the IDF – but not in situations that compromise what you say is a disproportional representation of religious soldiers.
Women have proved their value in intelligence units, technological units and the new cyber units. A woman is neither intended nor physiologically designed nor emotionally programmed for combat.
Let us not fall prey to the current surge of misplaced feminism. Instead, we should look for the overall benefit of the cumulative contribution of the wonderful men and women of our IDF.
Appreciating Trump
I found rather interesting and ironic the juxtaposition of two opinion pieces on the same page on January 22.
Jeff Barak, never one to admire anyone who is not of the Left, no matter how important internationally, gives us his column “Hitching the Israeli carriage to Trump’s horse might not be the smartest move” (Reality Check). Below, we read Mordecai Paldiel’s very emotionally charged op-ed “Accomplices to the Holocaust.”
Paldiel reminds us of some of the many leaders of the allied nations who refused to take action to save thousands, if not millions, of Jews from death at the hands of the Nazis. Among these leaders were Britain’s Winston Churchill and America’s Franklin Roosevelt, both of whom were universally admired statesmen.
No one would think of comparing US President Donald Trump to them. He certainly is not in their class. And yet he is our friend. He has done a great deal for us in his one year as president and should be shown gratitude.
France’s Charles de Gaulle once said that countries don’t have friends; they have interests.
Trump has shown us that there are exceptions to that rule. He should definitely be shown our appreciation. Is it not in our interest to do so?
Keeping camels off roads
Last week, there was a horrible accident in the Negev. A 13-year-old boy was killed (his mother is still in the hospital, unconscious with a brain injury), after the family car struck a camel, a halfton beast that had meandered onto the highway.
During the week, I heard an interview with a Beduin camel owner. He adopted the “poor me” attitude and said something to the effect that there was no way he could keep his animals fenced in. We also heard of this or that plan in the Knesset to avert such tragedies, including, unbelievably, implanting a chip inside the animals (“Calls mount for reining in Beduin camel owners,” Frontlines, January 19). This way, when the next horrible accident occurs, we will know whose animal was the killer.
Are they serious? How many other people will be killed and maimed in similar circumstances? As a former Connecticut Yankee, I have certain memories. In northern New England there was a plague of roaming deer. Hunters were issued licenses to kill these animals at certain times of the year, thus culling the herds and lessening the danger.
I am not suggesting this solution for Israel.
However, my suggestion would be to send a couple of army sharpshooters along the highway and shoot to kill, say, two camels wandering the roads. This plan could be announced in advance as a warning.
Camels are valued at NIS15,000-20,000. You can bet that the Beduin owners would immediately discover a way of keeping their animals fenced in.
Petah Tikva
Liberating Iran
Joshua S. Block’s “EU appeasement of Iran” (Observations, January 19) calls for more effective sanctions to impact European companies and help bring about the end of Iran’s fascist regime. Unfortunately, past experience has shown that sanctions alone are not enough.
The way to dislodge Iran’s ruling clique is via elections that include a wide array of candidates reflecting the diverse sentiments of Iran’s population, and not just the narrow slate approved by the Revolutionary Council.
Of course, the mullahs would never approve of such a profanation of their divine mandate – they know that after almost four decades of religious repression, the population is fed up and many secular politicians would likely be swept into office, effectively ending the current reign of domestic and international terror.
Iran has a working electoral infrastructure; all that is needed is the will to use it fairly.
That’s where the US can help by making a non-negotiable demand that Iran open up the field of candidates, and then back up this demand with force. There is no need to invade with troops; cruise missiles aimed at Iran’s military infrastructure will work just fine. We should have no qualms about using gunboat diplomacy against the criminals in Tehran.
Democratization has an excellent chance to work. The Iranian people are relatively educated, progressive and pro-West. Studies by the ADL have shown that Iran has the lowest rate of antisemitism among Muslim countries.
We in the US should not let our frustration with failures in Iraq and Afghanistan blind us to the current opportunity to liberate a great country from its reactionary yoke.
South Carolina
Keep PM’s outlays straight
With regard to “Sara Netanyahu could face no jail time even if convicted of an offense” (Analysis, January 21), there are protocols for legitimate expenses to cover the running of the Prime Minister’s Residence. If adult children, grandfathers and other extended family members join the household, then surely their living expenses should be paid by the family, and not the state.
My family wiped out our hard-earned savings paying for my late husband`s caregiver.
The National Insurance Institute and private health insurances covered only part of the costs, as well as lost salary and benefits. As a taxpayer, I am not prepared to pay for five days, five months or five years for the care of a member of the prime minister’s family.
There appears to be chaos and disorganization in the accounts of the Prime Minister’s Residence, and the buck cannot be passed to whoever was household manager at a given time.