Letters to the Editor December 23, 2020: Shekels for shedding blood

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Letters
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Shekels for shedding blood
Regarding the shocking murder of a young woman jogger ("Woman's body found in Samaria forest in suspected terror attack," December 22), the missing context of this killing is that the government of Israel has never demanded that the Palestinian Authority repeal the official PA ordinance that provides an automatic generous award for anyone who murders a Jew. That award is for the killer and for the killer’s family, for life. That ordinance was researched and exposed by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
The question remains. What steps will the government of Israel take against the PA if it does not repeal and nullify the official ordinance that provides an automatic gratuity for anyone who murders a Jew?

DAVID BEDEIN
Director, Near East Policy Research Center
Imagine for a moment that the Knesset instituted a new law:
“Anyone who murders an Arab will receive an incentive/reward of thousands of shekels a month for the rest of his or her life. The more dead Arabs, the better – and the higher the cash prize.”
 Condemnations of Israel would echo through the chambers of the UN and legislatures around the world and harsh diplomatic actions would be taken against our country.
So one wonders why the barbaric PA pay-for-slay law arouses no objections virtually anywhere in the world.
During the recent US presidential election, rumors surfaced of a Russian “bounty program” in which Russian military intelligence offered to pay bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing American and other allied service members in Afghanistan.
Had the rumor been true, it would indeed have been an egregious act of Russian hostility and inhumanity; US Democrats and the mainstream media vociferously excoriated US President Donald Trump for “failing” to react.
PA checks flow out every month to hundreds of past murderers – and tempt new murderers. All I can say to European governments (and to J Street) is that your silence is complicity.

ARLINE BROWN
Ft. Lauderdale
We read the sad story of the murder of Esther Horgen. No effort will be spared to find her murderer.
Your editorial "Israel's Success" in the same edition suggests that we (the Israeli people) deserve credit for our efforts to strike the right balance between social and economic health.
While there is something to be said for that, did we all make our best efforts to protect the health of others? Might there be far fewer than 3,000 plus dead from the virus if we had? What about the efforts we make on the roads to protect fellow motorists? While not all accidents are avoidable, at least some are when greater care is taken. So in cases like these and others, let our difficulties be an impetus to do better, to take greater care of others.

BARRY LYNN
Efrat
Don’t like history? Rewrite it
The PA, Jordan and Egypt stressed the need to urge Israel to “return to negotiations” (“PA, Jordan and Egypt call for peace talks with Israel,” December 20). When did Israel leave negotiations? Never. It was always the PA that quit talks without ever making a counter-offer to any Israeli proposal.
So, it’s the Palestinian Authority that must “return to negotiations.” They must also come to the table without pre-conditions. If they demand talks based on rolling back the clock more than 70 years to the 1949 armistice lines (aka “the ‘67 borders”) they needn’t bother.
The Arabs have launched three wars of genocide (1948, 1967 and 1973) against Israel and two intifadas. In total, including continuing terrorism, Israel has lost over 26,000 people, all because the Arabs refused to share this tiny piece of land, notwithstanding that under international law, it all belongs to Israel.
By all means, start comprehensive peace talks. Expect a just and lasting peace to include an end-of-conflict statement and a map that looks close to what the American Peace to Prosperity plan proposed.
There are six Arab states at peace with Israel. They could provide useful guidance. The heavily biased UN and EU are not be consulted.
LEN BENNETT
Ottawa, On.
So Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh has the audacity to claim Israel is not a “friendly” country when it comes to providing medical assistance to the Palestinian Arabs. (“Palestinians: We didn’t ask Israel for COVID-19 vaccine,” December 21).
Apparently he thinks the world has already forgotten that when Saeb Erekat recently needed serious medical treatment he turned his back on the Palestinian medical community and rushed to “friendly” Hadassah Hospital in Israel.
Erekat’s actions speak much louder than Shtayyeh’s words.
RICHARD SHERMAN
Margate, Florida
Exquisite to visit
There is a solution to the problem referred to in “As a Pakistani I want to visit Israel, but my passport would not let me” (December 20).
Israeli embassies and consulates should be authorized to issue laissez passer documents to travelers from countries that bar their citizens from visiting Israel, allowing them to enter Israel without having an Israeli entry stamp in their passports.
No doubt most of the recipients of such laissez passer documents would become goodwill ambassadors of Israel.

GERRY MYERS
Beit Zayit
COVID: Crunch and complications
Regarding "Hundreds of thousands seek vaccine appointments" (December 22), it is outrageous that so-called VIPs and celebrities are taking photo opportunities every night on TV while getting their vaccines ahead of the really vulnerable citizens.
Like many clients of Clalit, I have called the Moked several times, held on the line, pressed the correct buttons and then gotten cut off. Today a recorded voice promised to send an SMS, but when it arrived it merely instructed me to go into their website. I did so, several times, followed the instructions and got as far as which clinic is the vaccine center in our area with a map how to get there.
When trying to proceed, there was no link to book an appointment.
Many of my friends have experienced the same problems. We are computer literate but the most vulnerable people – the elderly or chronically ill – cannot cope with the complications of smartphones and websites. The Health Ministry and kupot should have set up an automatic system informing clients of their appointments according to priority, i.e. first the healthcare workers on the front line and then the elderly and those with health issues.
In the UK the first vaccines were shown on TV – a feisty woman of 94 and a 91-year-old man called William Shakespeare (real name). This made more interesting television than watching our bureaucrats smirking at cameras.

WENDY BLUMFIELD
Haifa
Someone should look into the fact that many people in high-risk group (over 60) are unable to get appointments for the COVID vaccine from Maccabi. We have spent 20 hours on hold or being cut off. In addition, people are being told there are no appointments in their home city – in this case Netanya. What sense does it make to make high-risk people get on a train or bus (which some of us will not do) and go to a city they do not know?
Maccabi should know how many members are 60 or older, where they live and how many appointments to arrange. I made aliya 3.5 years ago and I am a nurse. My husband a physician scientist/immunologist. We have been trying to get appointments since last Thursday and are appalled at the incompetence.

ANITA FINKELMAN
Netanya
I, like tens of thousands of Israelis, could have traveled outside of Israel for Hannukah during the pandemic. Did I? No! Why? Because there is a worldwide pandemic, people are dead and dying, and because hundreds of thousands of my fellow citizens are going without traveling this Hannukah. I acted responsibly.
Now, as a taxpayer, I am having to foot the bill to quarantine irresponsible citizens who have gone gallivanting  on non-essential journeys. Enough is enough!
HARRY "HERSHY" ORENSTEIN
Elazar
I sincerely hope that new vaccines will herald a return to normalcy by the spring. However, this remains a wishful thinking. First, the new Pfizer vaccine has never been tested before with its new mRNA technology. Second, with new mutations, there is little chance the vaccine will work. Third, even if it is 100% safe, it is impossible to vaccinate entire populations. And when we talk about 95% safety, efficacy; if we translate the remaining 5% into numbers; that means for millions the vaccine is pointless. And last but not least, have they tested it on those with myriad chronic diseases and checked potential adverse reactions? Many questions remain unanswered.
DR MUNJED FARID AL QUTOB
London, UK
There's no place like home
I read with interest Micah Halpern’s “Christmas and the future of Judaism in the United States” (December 21). As a dual US-Israeli citizen, I can easily relate.
One facet of the issue that Halpern overlooks is the misconception most US Jews have about their relationship to their “homeland.” If more of the US Jewish population had the sense that they were living in galut (exile), not their homeland, there would be much less of a problem.
Unfortunately, the percentage of US Jews who realize Israel is their homeland is miniscule. This is the crux of the problem. Until we are able to instil in the US Jewish population the understanding that Israel is their home, and not the US, the oddities expressed by Halpern will continue.
MICHAEL D. HIRSCH
Tzur Yitzchak


Allowed to be proud
I don’t find it surprising that a soldier being attacked by a terrorist with a firebomb does not respond ("IDF relieves soldier from combat duty after freezing in terror attack," December 22). The poor guy is terrified, not knowing what to do. He has seen the repercussions when others have tried to retaliate, even when their lives have obviously been in extreme danger.
When orders are given to soldiers that they must put the lives of the enemy first, before their own, that is a recipe for disaster. DM Gantz has proudly said he has sacrificed his own men to save ‘civilian’ terrorists and would do so again. The only thing that surprises me is that there has not been an uprising against this atrocious mindset, which proves to our enemies that we are not prepared to fight for what is ours. Constant concessions and surrender show that we are not even sure what is ours.
Regarding "Shtayyeh: Settlements are ‘war crimes,’" why are we still discussing Jewish land as though it were negotiable? Why do we find it so difficult to accept that living in this small piece of land given to the Jewish People by God is not a crime but our historic right? The only crime is being afraid to stand up for it proudly and with complete faith.
"US Embassy courtyard named in envoy’s honor" left me feeling numb. US President Donal Trump and Jared Kuschner are being honored for recognizing part of Jerusalem, which has been our eternal capital for 3,000 years, leaving the boundaries open for negotiation with the terrorists and "allowing" us to build – but only at a time suitable to them, on 30% of our historic Jewish Land.
Israel, where is your pride?
YENTEL JACOBS
Netanya
Chomping for change
I agree wholeheartedly that Israel’s election system must be reformed (“Electoral reform required,” December 21). However, simply mandating that the head of the party garnering the most seats should be the prime minister will not do the job. With polls indicating that the top two parties in the next election will likely get around 26 and 24 seats respectively out of 120, neither one will have a resounding mandate from the people. Whoever is named as prime minister will have to go through the usual horse trading and Israelis would probably be forced to choose yet another government in a very short period of time.
Part of the problem, of course, is that Israeli political parties come and go at a remarkable pace. The first step in reforming the system is to require parties to state their platforms and get a respectable number (perhaps 200,000) of voters’ signatures before the party’s name can be put on the ballot.
This requirement would be an incentive for smaller parties to combine, based on common objectives, so that voters would have a better chance of seeing the parties for which they cast their ballots actually working toward the goals outlined in the platforms that had been presented to the electorate.

TOBY F. BLOCK
Atlanta, GA
Our system requires a complete overhaul. Our leaders will not give up on the existing situation, which allows them to favor party hacks.
We need a referendum so that all citizens can express their point of view. It should include:
a) Limitations on the number of ministries and deputies
b) Increasing the threshold to limit the number of parties
c) Agreement on number of members voted according to party lists, the balance allocated by region to be voted on by the citizens of that region.
d) Regional members of the Knesset to hold regular meetings with the citizens of that region.
STUART PALMER
Shoresh
The meat of the matter
Regarding “It’s not the plate, it’s what’s on it” (December 17), there is no excuse for eating animals. No matter how they are ‘slaughtered,’ there is no merciful way of slitting the throat of a live animal. When Orthodox European Jewry says the kashrut ban by the European Court of Justice denies them their basic human and civil rights, what about the basic rights of an innocent animal not to be kept caged and pumped full of antibiotics and who knows what else made necessary because of the inhumane conditions they are kept in. All of those antibiotics and pesticides eventually make their way into the human system, which of course is probably denied by those who just cannot live without the flesh of a dead animal.
There can be no justification for causing such suffering for unnecessary human gratification. All the more so, as we started out as vegetarians and when Moshiach comes, that’s what we will go back to. You have the privilege of getting a head start and knowing you are helping the environment, your health and generations to come.
EDITH OGNALL
Netanya