Letters to the Editor December 20, 2021: Gone overboard?

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

Gone overboard?

Regarding “Has Israel gone overboard fighting COVID-19?” (editorial, December 17), no, it has not! It seems Jerusalem Post staff cannot grasp the concept of exponential growth and what it means that Omicron in the UK has an R between 3 and 5 compared to Delta’s R, which is between 1.1 and 1.2. 

Hospitalization lags two to three weeks after infection so we do not know yet the actual severity of Omicron.

But even if Omicron were less severe than Delta, Omicron’s transmissibility is much higher than Delta’s. Dr. Eric Topol described the situation as such: “A key point here is that high transmissibility, which we are clearly seeing, will get a lot more people infected. Even if a smaller fraction do get severe illness, that’s still a lot more people very sick. That also means more Long COVID, too, which can occur with mild cases and can be quite disabling.” 

The proof that Israel has not gone overboard is the story in the Post itself: “One family likely causes mass Omicron outbreak” (December 19).



History repeats

Reading the Post on Friday, December 17, there were a number of items on what’s causing the slow growth of the country’s welfare and economy.

Top of the list is the constant terror attacks, which has been going on since the 1920s. Then there is the crime in the Arab towns and villages! There are also reports from the Druze community, being loyal to Syria, on the Golan, in addition to the Arab-Israeli citizens and Knesset members who continuously fight for the rights of the “Palestinians.” They should be compensated for and transferred to the countries of their choice, if those countries will accept them. I am sure those countries, as they have in the past, would politically reject them!

Then there is the report about an Arab lady, Manar al-Sharif, who was trying to normalize peace between Gaza and Israel, and was jailed and horribly treated, as were many other Arab men and women who have shown an interest in peace. This must be circulated to the world, so that they take notice of the sort of treatment our mutual enemies are capable of doing!

Gazans burning tires, fields and forests, causing havoc and air pollution needs to be published extensively!

The loose use of the word “apartheid,” even by Israeli reporters, in regard to our country, must cease, it is an insult to those who suffered from this!

It is time to lay down the law. We are damned if we do and we are damned if we do not, either you are with us or against us!


Tel Aviv

One-note Gershon

Many Post readers have written about Gershon Baskin, not in a complimentary way.

I don’t mind Baskin proclaiming that he is no longer a Zionist (“Israeli and Iranian failed strategies,” December 16).

That is his right, although it makes me wonder why he is still here in Israel.

What I do mind is that Baskin has become incredibly boring. By now, we all know that he considers the Palestinians to be innocent victims of the evil Israeli occupiers. He says this in every single column, and I believe that we all got his point. The space he occupies in your newspaper is a waste.

He reminds me of the song “Johnny One Note,” which in his case should go as follows:

“Baskin could only sing one note / And the note he sang was this / ‘Palestinians are good; Israelis are bad.’”

After so many repetitions of his too-often repeated and strongly held opinion, Baskin has become a bore!

And that is the worse accusation that one can make about a columnist. 



Patience required

Editor Yaakov Katz says that we cannot bury our heads in the sand and continue denying the presence of “rotten people” among us – violent settlers attacking peace-loving Palestinians – who must be stopped, arrested and prosecuted. (“We cannot bury our heads in the sand,” December 17). 

Katz sees the “rotten” trees but not the “still healthy” forest. We are at war with a determined and vicious antagonist who will stop at nothing and has powerful allies. The conflict has reached the century mark and people, even un-rotten people, are losing their cool. 

There is no solution in sight since the Palestinians demand national self-determination for themselves and reject self-determination for the Jews. The situation is unsustainable and it is only a question of time until a conventional solution – all out war – will be carried out. It may take a year, a decade or even another century. Patience is required.



Olmert and Kazakhstan

In the interests of transparency, please tell us when Ehud Olmert became an expert and aficionado of Kazakhstan. (“Israel-Kazakhstan: celebrating 30 years of cooperation,” December 17). The amount of information presented in the article is truly impressive, not to mention curious for someone with no apparent previous interest in the subject.

Did he travel there recently, perhaps as a guest of their government? Is he now an official publicist for the country, salaried or not? Did someone with greater knowledge assist him in writing this piece? We’d like to know.



Reprehensible behavior

I refer to your front-page article, “Carrying baby, Pinto rushes to Knesset vote” (December 16):

I have always considered myself fairly savvy in matters of politics and human relationships, but I must have missed something just now. 

In common with many others, over the last few years I have adopted the policy enunciated so succinctly by the late Isi Leibler, “hold your nose and vote for Bibi!” The reason of course is that Benjamin Netanyahu was always a leader, notwithstanding his various deviations from the accepted norms, he was a leader and when I vote for a leader, I don’t vote for a rabbi.

Indeed most European leaders today have significant skeletons in the closet, but they are leaders and that is what the people need and feel safe with.

But, as I say, I must have missed something because Bibi’s behavior, sad to say, is quite reprehensible and, yes, childish. Somebody has taken away his ball and he can’t carry on playing football. His childishness seems to be surpassed only by that of his (very) erstwhile friend, Mr. Donald Trump, who also could not accept that there are other people in the world other than he.

However, when this same childish tantrum blinds him to the humane and morally justified request of a woman who has just given birth, to be excused (by his agreeing to pairing off) from personal attendance at the Knesset, well, I think he has just “lost it.”

Even among political opponents, there is camaraderie, but I did not see Bibi among those from all parties who thronged to congratulate MK Shirley Pinto on the birth of her baby, when she did make it to the plenum to cast her vote.

Well, I may have to do a little more than just hold my nose next time around.



Flippant and insensitive

I am compelled to write a letter to the editor in response to the piece by Andrea Samuels (“Don’t like the rules? Make aliyah!” December 16).

I was shocked and saddened by the fact that anyone could be so flippant and insensitive as to dismiss the complaints of our best supporters and friends around the world who have been closed off from visiting us because of yet another knee-jerk baseless command from on high excluding non-Israelis from entering our country.

As has been noted by others already, the coronavirus does not distinguish between holders of one passport or another, and testing and quarantine would be as effective for visitors as it is thought to be for returning Israelis.

We made aliyah with our four young children 26 years ago, and not for a moment have I forgotten that aliyah was a privilege and opportunity, not an entitlement to any special privileges. People make the huge sacrifices inherent in making aliyah with the justified assumption that their loved ones, who have not made the move for any one of innumerable valid reasons, will be able to visit them at any time, especially for important lifetime events.

Jewish (and non-Jewish as well) supporters of Israel from around the world must be able to visit us and our land whenever they are able to make the trip.

This latest restriction is an incredibly poor public relations move as well as based on nothing but the government’s desperate attempts to look like it is in control of our lives.


Tzur Hadassah

The rot is spreading

On reading the editorial (“Clean out the rot,” December 16), the first thought that came to mind was how much that rot has spread throughout our land.

We have become so complacent that in prison, six inmates from the high-security Gilboa Prison escaped, apparently while the guard slept. This escape did not happen overnight. So where were the inspections of their cells or were the guards too afraid to upset their charges.

Okay, they were subsequently caught but how could such a fiasco happen. It’s bad enough when they are set free in ridiculous prisoner exchanges but to actually be able to break out from a high-security prison is bad, very bad.

But that’s only the tip of the iceberg or should I say, the tip of the continuing failure of all our levels of government to protect, not the enemy, but the Jewish people in their own land. 

When the next revolting piece of news surfaced, which was sending female guards to satisfy the sexual needs of the terrorists, it was shocking to learn that the prison establishment admitted to being afraid of the terrorists and therefore gave in to all demands they made.

Kill Jews and have a luxury vacation in an Israeli prison as well as a rising bank account, courtesy of our “peace” partner, terrorist-in-a-suit Mahmoud Abbas.

Those girls were not given the support that should have come automatically once they reported to their superiors what was happening. Just one more thing brushed under the carpet to keep our enemies happy. Apparently, this has been ongoing for three years with no steps taken by the authorities. Another government failure. Shameful. 

Our prisons are full of terrorists who have committed the most heinous crimes against our people, yet the privileges they are accorded is mind-boggling. Cellphones, cooking for themselves and housing inmates according to their organizational affiliations: Fatah with Fatah, Hamas with Hamas and who knows what else.

Looks like whether in or out of prison, Israel is afraid to confront its enemy. We have no pride, no faith and are leading ourselves from one disaster to another while our enemies openly take over our land.



Global warming

“Global warming of three degrees could cost annual $1.6 trillion in lost labor” (December 15) should be the least of our worries if there is that temperature increase. 

Please consider that with the increase already at 1.1º, there are already frequent and severe heat waves, droughts, wildfires, storms and floods, and there is rapid melting of glaciers, polar icecaps, permafrost and all of Greenland. If that temperature triples to about 3º, the weather conditions could be close to inhabitable, and positive feedback loops (vicious cycles) could result in an irreversible tipping point that would worsen the severe weather conditions even more.

As president emeritus of Jewish Veg and author most recently of Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism, I want to stress that our only hope to avert a climate catastrophe is through a societal shift to plant-based diets, something much easier today due to the abundance of plant-based substitutes for meat and other animal products, with the appearance, texture and taste so close to the animal products that people can’t tell the difference.

This is the only method that would not only significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. because of far fewer cows and other farmed ruminants emitting methane, a very potent greenhouse gas, but it would also permit the rewilding and reforesting of the vast areas now used for grazing and growing feed crops for animals, which would reduce atmospheric CO2 from its current very dangerous level to a safe level.


New York

Trump and Bibi

In response to Amotz Asa-El’s column (“What happened to Donald Trump,” December 17) it is appropriate to paraphrase Mark Twain’s letter to the New York Journal: “Reports of Trump’s demise are greatly exaggerated.” There is much to criticize about the previous president, including his obscene comments about Netanyahu, but he is not the devil incarnate that Asa-El would have us believe. 

Asa-El accuses Trump of “pandemic denial.” He forgets that Trump created a COVID task force and imposed a travel ban on China long before most other countries recognized the seriousness of the disease. President-to-be Joe Biden called the ban racist and xenophobic. 

Asa-El says Trump unleashed a mob on Capitol Hill. There is no proof of this, just as there was no proof to support the charge of Russian collusion unleashed on Trump by Hillary Clinton.

Asa-El speaks of, “The populist urge, plan and hope to pit citizens against citizens....” What a perfect description of the far Left’s push for Critical Race Theory, declaring all whites irredeemably evil and blacks hapless victims. Anyone daring to reject the received wisdom of the far Left is immediately branded a racist.

In less than a year, the American people have recognized the folly of the new administration’s agenda. Biden’s approval ratings on all major issues have cratered. Contrary to Asa-El’s dream, polls show that Trump would defeat Biden handily if an election were held today.


Zichron Ya’acov