Letters to the Editor April 12, 2021: Readers want leaders

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Letters
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Readers want leaders
Alon Ben Meir may indeed be correct in asserting that Israel is in need of a visionary new leader (“Israel’s plight: An absence of leadership,” April 11). It would, however, be just as true to say that the Palestinians require one even more. 
Until the Palestinians acquire a leadership willing to prepare public opinion for peace, normalization with Israel, and the sort of flourishing economic future presaged by the Abraham Accords, any sort of external peace initiative will founder. A change at the top of the Palestinian body politic must be the first step. It requires the leader they will surely not elect – Mohammed Dahlan.
NEVILLE TELLER
Ramat Beit Shemesh
“Cast your ballot for the killer” (April 9) conveys the bleak reality of the forthcoming Palestinian elections: a choice between main candidates who are irredeemably corrupt and/or have wrought murderous mayhem.
Surely in the 21st century the Palestinian people deserve and require better. 
Unless someone brave enough rises to champion for their real needs and who sets an agenda to eliminate their perpetual “victim” and “refugee” posturing, the merry-go-round will continue.
The Abraham Accords should be the way forward with the assistance of funding and major initiatives from other cooperative and willing Arab entities to build a realistic future for the Palestinian people. A delusional doctrine based on and mired in a manufactured narrative is not a recipe for progress.
STEPHEN VISHNICK
Tel Aviv
Raising the bar for Sa’ar
It is high time that Amotz Asa-El changes the name of his column, no? He purports to represent the voice of Middle Israel, but that he’s taken a step or two left of Center-Left is undeniable. But a column titled “Left of Center-Left Israel” would not be, admittedly, particularly catchy.
Nonetheless, his points – though not hermetically protected against rebuttal – are carefully thought out and very well expressed, unlike your other Friday columnist who resorts to petty name calling and calorie-free arguments (odd, isn’t it, that JP readers who regularly demand that former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s views be stricken from your paper seem to read every word he writes). Besides, the concept of a Middle Israel has become fanciful if not farcical; the fence, in other words, can no longer be sat on.
Asa-El, along with just about every other pundit, has offered a suggested configuration for a sustainable and productive coalition. And, like many others, believes that the much-desired stability rests on the shoulders of Yamina leader Naftali Bennett, arguing that he, unlike Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, might be able to convince New Hope Party leader Gideon Sa’ar to become an addition to a long list of promise breakers.
No such effort, I’m sorry to say, will be needed. Within the next few weeks Sa’ar will succumb to P3 pressure – Press, Public, Patriotism – and will announce that “for the good of the country” he will reluctantly join Netanyahu’s coalition. Bennett will then become the final piece of the puzzle, and a solid though troublesome right-wing coalition will move this country forward.
Should this scenario unfold, my vote for Sa’ar will not have been wasted.
BARRY NEWMAN
Ginot Shomron
Complete defeat
Congratulations to Ruthie Blum for her biting analysis of the US administration’s defeatist position on Iran (“Biden crawls back to the nuclear drawing board,” April 9).
Indeed a dark cloud hovers over the Vienna negotiations to bring Washington back into the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. All the original signatories are in the one room, except for the US representative, held off in another.
The imagery is ominous for a retired US Foreign Officer as myself, steeped in diplomacy. Memories flood my virtual memory of the 1938 Munich Conference that sold out Czechoslovakia: the Czech representative was held in a separate room to receive the quadripartite diktat. It indeed brought “peace in our time” to be followed by the inevitable war in less than a year on worst of terms.
One factor is even more ominous this time around as Europe again leads the negotiating team. This entire scenario was probably planned by the Biden White House so that it can claim to have received “the best offer possible” given the disaster, as it sees it, of the Trump abnegation of the original accord.
Any American thought of weening Tehran away from Moscow and Beijing is illusionary. With a restored pact in hand, Iran will expand its newly financed worldwide terror operations and double down on its advancing military links to these antagonistic superpowers. President Biden’s wanting to avoid war in his time, will bequeath us war in ours.
AARON BRAUNSTEIN 
Jerusalem
Not cool to be cruel
For years, the horrendous cruelty to animals has been known and discussed and yet nothing is done (“Live animal shipments pose risk to public health,” April 8). Even if one is impervious to the cruelty inflicted on those defenseless animals, then what about the health hazard? Are the people so desperate for the meat that they could easily dispense with for healthier food, that they close their minds to the dangers even to their children? 
Disease is rampant on those horror ships that carry the animals around the world and this should horrify people. It’s a strange thing about this country but the innocent – whether it be humans or animals – don’t get the same level of protection as terrorists who commit the most heinous crimes against our people. 
“The only way to prevent the suffering of animals in live shipments is to stop them,” Animals Now told The Jerusalem Post and I would add that we are being given an opportunity to get a head start on the coming of the messiah when everyone will be vegetarian. The health opportunity is enormous as well as the ability to end unnecessary animal suffering.
EDITH OGNALL
Netanya
World Health Day (April 7) has passed at a crucial epoch in humankind. Alarming bells have been ringing for some time. 
The coronavirus pandemic was a ghastly reverberation of imbalances looming large from faltering economies to burgeoning populations, conflicts, impoverishment, massive displacement to environmental unsustainability. Alien species do not fall from heaven. They emerge from the interaction between humans, livestock and wildlife and sneak through societal cracks, accentuating myriad inequalities and impeding human development. 
The current pandemic is an immersive experience that should nudge us to hone our insights and skills, respect the intertwined fate of people and planet and reduce our carbon footprint that shrinks our opportunities.
DR MUNJED FARID AL QUTOB
London, United Kingdom

Editorial comments
I would like to express my regret at the lead editorial’s harsh attack on Religious Zionist Party head Bezalel Smotrich (“Lessons not learned,” April 9). Your quote from his tweet to the effect that “Moslems who do not agree Israel belongs to Jews will not eventually remain here” was taken completely out of context. 
Moreover, the writer connects Smotrich’s tweet with Holocaust Memorial Day saying, “Smotrich has not learned the full lessons of the Shoah.” I can find no connection whatsoever between the Holocaust and Smotrich’s words and the editorial writer’s determination to do so cheapens the murder of six million Jews. The Holocaust was not just an example of “man’s inhumanity,” as the writer puts it. It was a crime unparalleled in history: the systematic state-sponsored attempt to exterminate an entire people, the Jewish people. 
Smotrich did not simply get up in the morning and decide to write his tweet. The editorial omitted to mention that his remarks were made in response to the most outrageous provocation on the part of Arab Joint List member Ahmad Tibi in an interview with Ben Caspit and Yinon Magal on Radio 103 in which Tibi declared emphatically that no “true Moslem” would ever recognize Israel as belonging to the Jews. He also attacked Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu calling him “human refuse.” While Tibi’s anger may have been justified by offensive anti-Arab remarks made by Rabbi Eliyahu in 2019, this kind of language is still totally unacceptable. 
In addition, Tibi refused to condemn the hero’s welcome accorded Israeli Arab terrorist Rushdi Hamdan Abu Mukh, who was released after serving a long prison sentence for his involvement in the kidnapping, savage torture and murder of Israeli soldier Moshe Tamam in 1984. Former leader of the Ra’am Party Ibrahim Sarsour participated in the festivities. Tibi’s response when asked was that “it is only natural that family and friends should celebrate his release.”
The refusal of members of the Arab political parties to recognize the Jewish state and their support and understanding for terrorists who murder Jews deserve to be condemned out of hand. Their conduct goes far beyond the “right to express divergent opinions,” as the editorial puts it. There is and must be a limit to the “sensitivity” the Jewish state should be expected to show toward Arab citizens who do not recognize its right to exist and express understanding and solidarity with terrorists.
It is regrettable that the writer of the editorial chose to employ terms for members of the Religious Zionist Party such as “former Kahanist” for Itamar Ben-Gvir and “Avi Maoz, head of the anti-LGBT Noam faction.” In a previous article on April 8 on the same subject the word “homophobic” was used to describe the Noam faction. Such language is unhelpful and may only serve to further raise the level of incitement that already exists in the political sphere. We just saw an example of such incitement on Holocaust Memorial Day when a Knesset guest verbally attacked Maoz, whose mother is a Holocaust survivor, cursing him and telling him it was a pity he and his parents weren’t burnt by the Nazis.
I would expect to see an editorial condemning this shameful behavior toward an elected member of Knesset.
NAOMI SCHENDOWICH
Jerusalem
There is so much to like about The Jerusalem Post that when you stray from fair and reasonable editorializing, it truly saddens me.
On the Eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 7), your lead editorial starts by taking Prime Minister Netanyahu to task for his use of “dangerous rhetoric.” 
Fair enough. 
Before too long, the editorial devolves into castigating all the “others” who appear to fall into our PM’s dangerous group of democracy underminers. These include, the “religious theocratic parties,” “the “far-right whose supporters... act outside the rule of law...” among “other political elements.” 
Wow! You don’t seem to include the anti-Israel Arab parties whose members glorify shaheed bombers, ride along with the Mavi Marmara terrorists or slip contraband into Israel’s prisons. They are counted by your editors among the “Arabs, Druze, Circassians, Muslims and Christian’ who adore this state...” 
Or how about the far-left who insist that Jewish religious law, which kept our people alive for 2,000 years of exile should be set aside in favor of out-of-date Ottoman, Jordanian, British or the ubiquitous international laws? 
Just as sinat chinam led us to the Destruction of both the First and Second Temples, many historians point to the terrible intra-Jewish conflicts of Europe that presaged the Holocaust.
 Your editorialists should be more nuanced and cautious in not contributing to the lack of harmony between the religiously traditional and the secular, between the right-wing voters and the Left or between Jewish Israelis and that wonderfully homogeneous public of “Arabs, Druze, Circassians, Muslims and Christians,” that you seem to believe define as those Israelis who “will work to preserve” our fragile democracy. 
Editorials can contribute much to a civil society. Promoting more conflict and hatred is neither civil nor societal. 
STEVE M SOLOMON
Efrat

Toward a more imperfect union
So “Randi Weingarten has strong words for Jews who say unions are an obstacle” (April 7). She bitterly complains, “Jews are part of the ownership class that wants to take the ladder of opportunity away from those who don’t have it.” 
But it is not “the Jews” who are taking away that ladder, unsteadily resting against the wall of an empty schoolhouse. It is power-hungry teachers’ union leaders, as personified by Weingarten, who have denied in-person learning to those who most desperately need it.
Much international and domestic experience, where private and religious schools have largely been open, has shown that children and teachers can be safe in schools. Despite growing student educational gaps, reduced socialization and induced psychological problems, and despite the enormous impact on parents forced to stay home, the unions continue to escalate their demands for returning to work. Unfortunately, they can get away with that, because the recipients of their highly partisan political contributions don’t dare cross them.
What a scandalous situation!

RICHARD D. WILKINS 
Syracuse, New York 
Driving us crazy
As a fellow ex-Australian I can only concur with Allan Borowski’s comments in his letter on the frightening situation on Israel’s roads. (“It’s no accident,” Letters, April 4). 
I have lived and driven here for nine years, and still can’t get over the recklessness and inconsideration of Israeli drivers. In Australia driving was a pleasurable experience, except at peak hour. Here it is terrifying. I have become a defensive driver, assuming the other drivers will not obey the road rules, and sadly I am usually right. They drive as if they are invincible, and the road is theirs to do as they like on it. They don’t seem to be aware that their behavior is threatening their own life as well as the lives of others.
One saving grace is the roundabout. Today, while on a roundabout, I slowed down in my defensive mode as I perceived a truck was about to enter it in front of me, but to my surprise and joy he waited until I had passed before entering. A rare exception. I was still recovering from one driver who pulled away from the curb and another who wove in and out of three lanes, both of them in front of me and without indicating.
What is the solution? Re-education; less tolerant speed cameras (as Frank Berger suggests, April 4); a larger police presence; drones that can detect and identify dangerous drivers; an app called Shomer Haderech that records incidents in front of you (if you have it turned on)? Surely this innovative country of ours can come up with something that will help save precious lives, like that wonderful Israeli invention Waze, which I can’t do without. 
Meanwhile, I offer a prayer of thanks each time I return home safely.

LEONIE WEISS
Shoresh