Letters to the Editor December 2, 2020: Vexed over what comes next

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Vexed over what comes next
Regarding “End the farce” (November 30), Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz needs to bring the Israeli government to an end.
The problem with that statement is what comes next? Gantz and his party have become totally irrelevant going forward. There are, in my opinion, two possibilities. The first is that Yamina leader Naftali Bennett (likely) and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman (not likely but who knows what he is thinking?) join the present government, giving it a stable majority going forward.
The other alternative is new elections resulting in another government headed by the current prime minister. The current surveys give the “right wing” about 70 mandates. This strengthens the fact that “Not Bibi” is not a political party but wishful thinking.
The “Center-Left” needs to take a look at itself if they are ever going to form a majority government. One of the biggest problems is the constant demonstrations on Shabbat that don’t sit well with many traditional citizens who separate what they do in their private lives and these constant demonstrations.
Yaakov Katz, just keep it up. “Israel is no monarchy and Netanyahu is no king” (November 27) was right on and crucial for those of us who don’t really know what’s going on. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has crossed every boundary of fair governing and is leading us into disaster.
I’m an 88-year-old American olah and am horrified daily at the prime minister’s tricks, but feel so helpless to do anything about it. That’s why we need you. Thanks
Not-up-to-code mode
Thank you for finally acknowledging some of the terrible problems we suffer from in our blessed State of Israel (“Bad infrastructure,” November 27).
These problems are all man-made and are rarely spoken about. Unfortunately, we claim to be a modern westernized state while governed by Mideastern bureaucrats who are either blind to the faults committed by the very people they are supposed to supervise or perhaps blinded by bribery.
New expensive construction with so many problems of leakage and substandard workmanship! So many new tall buildings erected on small streets causing terrible traffic jams and – how surprising – lack of parking places. Although all new buildings have indoor parking, it often only exists before inspection but disappears moments later, converted into storage places.
So little breathing space or parks for children to play.
This is so sad. If I were to demonstrate on motzei Shabbat, it would be about this terrible situation. No global vision whatsoever and, as you mention, a complete lack of attention to details.
Let Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu keep his cigars; at least he cares about running the country. Not many others do.
Annoyed by use of Floyd
I agree with Ruthie Blum in “Using George Floyd to universalize the Holocaust” (November 27). It is totally inappropriate to politicize the Holocaust. No matter how egregious a particular instance of racism may be, to compare it with the Holocaust diminishes the murder of the six million Jewish people, including one and one-half million children, who were systematically murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators with the aim of wiping all Jews from the face of the earth.
To utilize the Holocaust in a political agenda becomes even more egregious when used in governmental disputes (“Israeli Embassy in Hungary decries Soros-Hitler comparison,” November 29).
We must remain vigilant to emphasize the “unprecedentedness,” of the Holocaust in the course of history, and never to use it to make a political statement of any sort, no matter how current or relevant it may seem.
It is by teaching the unique lessons of those tragic years that we can hope to ensure that such genocides will not happen again.
Beit Shemesh
Alternate universe
In “The lessons of Biden’s victory and Erekat’s death for the peace camp” (November 29), Nadav Tamir writes that “we may no longer have Palestinian leaders like Erekat and Abbas who believe in peace.”
In which parallel universe is he living?
Since when have PA politician Saeb Erekat or PA leader Mahmoud Abbas been pragmatic leaders? Every time there have been days of rage, they encouraged terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians and cynically used the Temple Mount to galvanize a “holy war.” They have refused every deal and negotiation offered.
How peaceful is that?
Petah Tikva
Gored by the sword
The men described in Seth Frantzman’s “A generation of fighters who died by the sword” (November 29) were not “fighters” working to better the lives of their people. They were terrorists, working to destroy the nation-state of the Jews.
What is truly a shame is the failure of the Muslims of the Middle East to follow the Zionist example. Modern Zionists moved to the Jews’ ancestral homeland, bought land and improved its productivity, built schools and hospitals, and established civil defense units. When the opportunity was offered for the establishment of a modern state (as the defunct Ottoman Empire was being carved up), the Zionists had a de facto government ready to rule.
Israel’s early years were spent absorbing and uplifting Mizrachi Jews expelled from their homes by the Muslim countries of the Middle East and North Africa; rehabilitating Holocaust survivors; recovering from damages inflicted during Arab-initiated violence; and dealing with terrorist incursions from areas illegally occupied by Egypt and Jordan between 1949 and 1967.
Today, Israel is the “Start-Up Nation,” sharing its advances in science, medicine, and technology with the world, granting full civil rights to all of her people and protecting the holy sites of all religions. Israeli teams are often among the first to arrive when disaster strikes anywhere in the world. She has reached out to developing nations with assistance in areas such as water management, improvements in crop efficiency and leadership training.
It’s past time for the world to stop accepting attacks on Israel and her people as “just what Islamists do.” There are plenty of problems in the Muslim world that need to be addressed. The “fighters” need to direct their efforts toward helping their own people and stop attacking the Light unto the Nations.
Atlanta, GA
Frantzman describes four despicable terrorists as “fighters” motivated by Shia patriotism. Not once did he use the terms “terror” or “terrorist.”
Let’s set the record straight.
Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, is a terrorist. He heads a brutal organization responsible for targeting and killing civilians. Imad Mughniyeh was a high-ranking member of his organization. Qasem Soleimani headed the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, a US-designated terrorist organization responsible for fomenting and executing international terror, including on civilians. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was deputy chief of an Iraqi organization allied with the Quds Force.
They were/are brutal terrorists, not “fighters.” Frantzman maintains that it is a “shame” these men chose a life of the sword. His metaphor of living by the sword is a whitewash of what these terrorists actually did and do. The only shame here is that it is taking this long to extirpate all of them.
Williamsville, New York
The sense in self-defense
What a difference in interpretation there is between the Left and the Right.
In a Haaretz article, columnist Rogel Alper equates the murder of the Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh with the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.
On the other hand, former United States ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, when asked about the targeted killing of the Iranian, stated: “If it was indeed carried out by Israel, Israel has the right to self-defense, even if it angers the US.”
Bolton is well familiar with the UN Charter and its Article 51: Every state has the right to its self-defense.
Tel Aviv
In “Trying to avoid war” (November 29) Yonah Jeremy Bob writes, ”Paradoxically, the assassination of Iran nuclear program “father” Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was probably undertaken to avoid war with Iran.”
Since according to Bernard Lewis, “For people with this mindset, MAD is not a constraint; it is an inducement,” I fail to understand how anything can deter Iran from its ultimate goal – all the more so when just three months ago Eric Mandel wrote in The Jerusalem Post: “There is only so much that clandestine espionage and advanced computer attacks can do, even with Israel’s impressive intelligence capabilities. Sooner or later Israel will have to make a monumental choice regarding preemptive strikes on targets in Iran if it concludes that Iran is getting too close to possessing nuclear weapons.”
Isn’t the present “three-to-four months breakout time close enough? It is unfortunate that US President Donald Trump lost his presidency due to being tone deaf to the seriousness of COVID-19, only to be replaced by Joe Biden who is tone deaf to the magnitude of the nuclear threat from Iran – not only to Israel to the US as well.
What is most incredible is that the whole discussion on Iran is proceeding without any mention of what Bernard Lewis had said about Iran and MAD, and Bernard Lewis was the one who first warned about Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in the 1970s after having read his “Islamic Government” both in Persian and Arabic.
Rooting for Rwanda
Regarding “Rwanda mulls embassy move to Jerusalem” (November 29), the race is on!
Rwanda is now in competition with Brazil, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Serbia and Kosovo to be the next country to open an embassy in Jerusalem.
I look forward to greeting the winner in our capital – as well as the other six competing countries that have announced an interest/ intention to execute the move soon, and hope to hear from many additional nations that they are also ready to make the historically and morally correct decision.
Bat Yam
Kurt remarks
I wish to thank David M. Weinberg for the beautiful and meaningful tribute he paid to my friend Kurt Rothschild (“Honoring Kurt Rothschild at 100,” November 27) on the occasion of his achieving the blessing of a century of years – may his years continue in good health.
As a rabbi who served Shaarei Tefillah Cong in Toronto for over 30 years, I can attest that Weinberg’s words were not only accurate but actually barely scratched the surface in describing the many achievements of Rohschild, who has an ability to inspire and lead leaders who on occasion needed to be reminded of their communal responsibilities. Rothschild’s unwillingness to accept laziness and lack of initiative by those who should know better led us all to greater accomplishments. He is a legend who continues to be a motivating one-man powerhouse to countless admirers.
May the Almighty bless Kurt and his aishet chayil Edith with many years of health, happiness and achievements.
Toronto/Ramat Beit Shemesh
A pass on grass
Ben Adam’s “It’s time to reconsider Halacha’s stance on cannabis” (November 25) is a promotional tract on recreational cannabis that tries to couch halachic justification for its use. Since he couches his argument in Halacha, I wish to remind him “You shall not place a stumbling block before the blind” (Leviticus 19:14).
Adam claims that cannabis is rarely addicting. In fact, cannabis, especially the high potency cannabis available today, is highly addictive. According to the National Institutes of Health, 9% of users of cannabis become addicted, and when marijuana is started before the age of 17, the rate of cannabis addiction rises to 17%. These statistics do not justify the use of the adjective “rare.”
 Another whopper is the quote that “there are some concerns regarding the effect of cannabis on brain development during adolescence.” These are more than concerns, but facts, in that cannabis is associated with the emergence of schizophrenia in teenagers. While these individuals may have been predisposed to schizophrenia, early onset schizophrenia has a much worse prognosis than later onset schizophrenia.
Adam notes that executive function is impaired. This is true and manifested by the increased death rate in car accidents (The American Journal of Epidemiology identifies cannabis as a major contributor to traffic accidents in the US.
Adam drags Rav Moshe Feinstein into this discussion as well. Feinstein was instrumental in preserving Jewish life in America; it is hard to see how he would approve of a substance that blocks Torah study and the performance of commandments. If he were alive today, it is more likely that he would support organizations like Amudim, which helps address drug abuse in the US Jewish community.
Cannabis advocates also claim that cannabis is not a gateway drug to “harder drugs,” but the hard science suggests otherwise (National Institute on Drug Abuse). One would be hard pressed to find a current practicing addiction specialist who would not recognize marijuana as a gateway drug. Indeed, the study quoted by Adam from Prof. Grinspan was performed in the 1970s with lower potency cannabis and has little credibility in the addiction field today.
  Even Adam is hard-pressed to find the benefits of recreational marijuana, other than some famous people tried it. On the other hand, the addictive nature of high-potency cannabis, the link to schizophrenia, car accidents and harder drugs is established science. Advocates of legal cannabis are often driven by financial considerations. When I was in medical school, I was taught that opioids used for real pain are not addictive. This turned out to be a very expensive lie put out by Purdue Pharmaceuticals. The cost of initial drug rehab in the US is $10,000  a month, which is prohibitive to most Americans.
Currently, Israel is considering legalizing recreational cannabis. I urge Israelis to learn from our bad experience and not import every bad idea that arises in the US.  
This letter is cosigned by Drs. Robert Margolis and Jack Arbiser. Both physicians are members of National Families in Action, an organization dedicated to prevent substance addiction in children. Dr Margolis is a pioneer in teen addiction and founder of Solutions Atlanta, one of the first organizations in the US to specialize in teen addiction.