June 30, 2015: Ehud on ISIS

Readers respond to the latest 'Jerusalem Post' article.

Envelope (photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
(photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
Ehud on ISIS
Regarding “Ehud Barak: ISIS could be defeated in days” (June 28), I hope that’s true. But after former defense minister and Labor Party leader Ehud Barak’s prediction in February 2012 that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime would be “topped within weeks,” I wonder if he, like US President Barack Obama, is perhaps underestimating the enemy or out of touch with what’s happening around us.
Why is it that obviously intelligent people show such an astounding lack of common sense? Ehud Barak says that ISIS has 30-40,000 people and could be defeated in a few days if confronted by a real army. This viewpoint harks back to the days when armies faced each other on the battlefield. While it’s true that TV news shows ISIS as a military force, there’s no way it or its grassroots followers would lie down and play dead just because it had lost a few thousand fighters.
The West’s lack of moral fiber and religious belief has led the Islamic world to believe that the West’s leadership of the world is finished, and that the rise of ISIS is militant Islam’s attempt to reconquer the world. Apologists repeat the mantra that Islam is a peaceful religion. It’s true that there are many peaceful Muslims. However, this is because they don’t follow the fundamental teachings of the Koran, which, when put in chronological order, plainly demand that violence overrides any attempt at peace.
Sorry Ehud, but you’re wrong.
Those Bennett blues
The June 28 Jerusalem Post ran two stories about Education Minister and Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett side by side: “Bennett calls for deal with Hamas on Gaza” and “Parents to organize shutdown of elementary schools around country due to overcrowding.”
Bennett speaks directly to the media and lobbyists on national security matters while leaving domestic crises, like the sinking ship of education, for his assistants. He knows you don’t get to be prime minister by solving domestic problems. Israel’s school system languishes in crisis, overcrowded with as many as 40 children per classroom.
Teachers are paid less than counterparts in Chile and Mexico (more than a quarter of them being classified as parttime). Brazil spends more per capita on education. Three years ago, Israel and Japan tied for second place among the most well-educated nations. Today, we have a firm grip on fourth place. Data are no better in most other categories despite the years of aliya by well-educated olim.
There is short shrift for education reform because of leadership insouciance, meaning endless and unbearable ennui while we await new elections.
Beit Shemesh/Chicago
A few days ago, I visited an old school friend and we looked at a photograph of our third-grade class in early-1930s Vienna. Admittedly, we were not 40. We were only 39. Believe me, we learned and did homework. We even learned how to use dictionaries and encyclopedias because we were lucky to be schooled before Google and Wikipedia. Our parents also checked that our homework was neat, legible and on time. Above all, they taught us to respect our teachers.
When I read about today’s parents protesting that their “sardines” will be able to learn only when classes are smaller, I have to laugh – and at the same time feel sorry for their children and their children’s educators. It seems these parents are more eager to teach their children how to protest.
Poor kids!
Tel Aviv
Making sense of it all
Seth J. Frantzman wrote a magnificent, thought-provoking column dealing with the problems Israel faces in Syria (“Have Israel’s good intentions gone awry on the Syrian border?” Terra Incognita, June 28).
Who can understand what is happening in Syria? Who can understand Israel’s policies on Syria? The Druse population in Syria has been under attack. Israel has a very loyal and patriotic Druse population whose members have been begging it to alleviate some of the hardships of their Syrian kin. They see the Syrian enemy being brought to Israel for medical treatment. It is beyond their comprehension – and ours – to understand why Israel is helping Syrians and not the Druse.
Please let someone from Israel explain why treating Syrians is more vital to Israel`s interests than helping that country’s Druse. Please explain why no nation cares about Syria. Please explain what goes into the thinking of the West as Syria becomes an ISIS state.
Counting on whom?
With regard to “Mr. President, we are counting on you!” by William Gershon (Comment & Features, June 24), I agree with the writer’s thoughts about the dangers to Israel, the United States and the world posed by the Iran deal. But I take exception to his appeal to US President Barack Obama that “the Jewish people are counting on you. The State of Israel is counting on you. Future generations of Americans are counting on you. The world is counting on you.”
No only has much of the world stopped counting on Obama to save them or even uphold his red lines, but I, as a member of the Jewish people, an Israeli and an American, am counting on God to save us, not any human. And I know I’m in good company.
Guilty of prejudice
Alexander Zvielli’s “How to punish our enemies” (Comment & Features, June 10) is excellent. He suggests taking BDS leaders and the like to court, and trying them for inciting violence and causing unjustified sanctions to be employed. This is a wonderful idea. It should not be limited to the groups he mentions, for even now, the EU is working on sanctions against Israel should the government in Jerusalem not come up with an offer to the Palestinians that is acceptable to it.
This one-sided behavior would be seen as meddling in another country’s affairs were Israel not the country in question. We need to have the best lawyers working to find out if the EU is guilty of prejudice in this instance, and then act accordingly. If the EU feels so determined to end the “occupation” by such means, might I suggest it start issuing sanctions against China, which has occupied Tibet since long before 1967. It might then proceed to Turkey and the occupation of Northern Cyprus.
With the EU intending to impose terms on Israel while making no demands on the Palestinian Authority, the next action to sideline Israel will be the coming agreement with Iran, when Tehran will squeeze even more concessions out of P5+1. Is this what US President Barack Obama wants us to be impressed with?
Tel Aviv
Post(al) script
Further to my letter to the editor of June 24 regarding the postal problems of Modi’in (“Postal blues”), in the land of miracles, miracles do happen! On Monday, three weeks after the last postal delivery here, we received not just one delivery but two! Together, there were well over a dozen pieces of mail in my box. Perhaps there is a motive to all this. I’m so grateful to have received mail that it’s given me far more pleasure than it would had it arrived in dribs and drabs over the previous three weeks.