Letters to the Editor December 30, 2020: Gantz took a stance

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Gantz took a stance
Regarding “Thank you Benny, but goodbye” (December 28), Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White Party did not get my vote. But in all fairness, Jeff Barak should have reminded readers about the context of Gantz’s agreement to form a government with Netanyahu.
Because the Supreme Court limited contact tracing of the infected to three weeks, absent Knesset Committee oversight, Israel needed a sitting government to deal with COVID-19. Contact tracing, then testing and quarantining of the sick, halted the spread of the coronavirus.
The lockdown, barring of foreign flights and contact tracing stopped the spiraling of the Israeli death rate and gave Israel time to import enough medical ventilators and personal protection equipment.
But Gantz did not have the votes in his coalition to form a government because Hauser and Hendler affirmed they would not serve in a government that relied on the support of an Arab party – whether inside or outside the government. That left Gantz the choice to either partner with Likud or wait for a new election and let Israelis die in increasing numbers for months (as in Europe and the US).
By all reports, Benny Gantz did not trust Netanyahu, but he decided to put the good of the Israeli public first, for which we all owe him our gratitude.
In his assessment of the final days of Gantz’s political career and Elkin’s resignation from the Likud, Barak leaves some crucial questions unasked and unanswered.
Netanyahu has served as prime minister for 14 years; he has been fighting his indictments for several of those years. According to Elkin, Netanyahu leads according to his personal interests and has turned the Likud into a personality cult. Could be, but what does it say about Elkin, who has been around since 2006 and served as a minister in Netanyahu’s government. What does it say about Elkin that it took him a decade and a half to realize the extent of Netanyahu’s core corruption. Elkin was ready to live with the corruption until he sensed that the entire empire was disintegrating.
What does it say about both Gideon Sa’ar and Elkin that they were ready to sit in the citadel of corruption until the going got too hot for comfort and the writing was on the wall?
We need a new cadre of political leaders – not dropouts from the Likud.
Cash and backlash
Regarding “No surprise $500 m. included for Israel in US federal budget” (December 23), the US Congress has reportedly allocated $500 million to Israel for the coming year. With the warmest thanks, we should decline.
In many cases the citizens of our closest and most generous ally are struggling to survive. When they see huge amounts going to foreign aid, they are outraged. Antisemitism skyrockets as they read about the allocation for Israel, a prosperous country.
It is irrelevant that Israel is struggling, too. It is also irrelevant that we can demonstrate how financial support for our country benefits the US in the long run. The average American is neither knowledgeable about nor emotionally involved in the details of US-Israel mutual assistance. What he knows is that he is hurting and needs every dollar.
The citizens of America have donated so much to the cause of Israel. We should thank them by tightening our belt, however painfully, and pass up their generous offer.
Third lockdown, fourth election
Your editorial “The third closure” (December 28) is a well thought-out analysis of what should happen during these trying times. But I take exception to the sentence “We must remember that fighting COVID-19 is not a political issue.” Political issues are of foremost importance in this closure, as can be seen from all the information we’re getting in The Jerusalem Post. Likudniks are now deserting the sinking ship called Netanyahu because they finally realize that political/personal considerations have become the epicenter of the fight against COVID-19.
What else will explain the lack of reason for store closures just when tens of thousands of people are finally being inoculated? What else will explain the closing of airports except to Arab States where COVID-19 is rampant?
We’ve been buffeted by the winds of indecision and bad decisions for too long. As a once-staunch Likudnik, I’m hoping we’ll put the indecision makers out of office in the next of the never-ending cycles of elections.
Now that we are in the third lockdown, I am curious to know how it is decided what stores have to close. Obviously pharmacies and supermarkets are essential. Stores selling household appliances and kitchen items are deemed essential and allowed to remain open. And yet a pavement kiosk selling freshly squeezed vitamin-rich fruit and vegetable juice, vital to the nations’ health (especially now) is shut. It does not make much sense.
Kfar Saba
Regarding “Likud worries that Rivlin will give nod to Sa’ar over PM to form next gov’t” (December 27). though the elections are still three months away, the Likud and PM Netanyahu are already concerned that President Reuven Rivlin will not be objective, and choose Gideon Sa’ar over Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new government coalition.
What shameful and unbridled arrogance! Involving the president in any way at this point, and especially in the negative context of accusing him of personal bias toward Sa’ar, more than hints that the only worthy person to be PM, no matter what the actual election results, is Netanyahu. By voicing such concerns about the results before the election campaign has even begun, Netanyahu and his cronies are intentionally planting seeds of doubt and even contempt among voters that the upcoming elections will not be fair, frighteningly echoing another world leader who recently lost a presidential election but refuses to accept the results.
Even if these “concerns” stem more from fear and panic at losing the premiership than arrogance, they are no less dangerous, since they still indicate an attempt to create an atmosphere of distrust and fear among the public in an attempt to sway them. This is shameful and dangerous behavior in any democracy, but in Israel’s case specifically, proves that Netanyahu will stop at nothing to ensure his reelection, no matter how many elections it takes.
Hatzor Haglilit
I am sure that most of the television viewers who watched Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu getting his COVID-19 injection noticed that the injecting doctor was preparing to make the injection in the PM’s left arm (the usual procedure) was told by the PM that he wanted the shot in his right arm. Netanyahu had taken his place before the camera with his right sleeve already rolled up.
To explain this matter I am enclosing a letter (that I wrote to The Jerusalem Post with my left hand) that you published on February 24, 2016:
“Your front page picture of Kenya’s President Uhuru and Netanyahu signing a joint cooperation agreement provides a sound basis for the cooperation between our two countries. The picture shows that both leaders are left-handed. Maybe this cooperation agreement will convince the world’s sovereigns that they should let our left-handed leaders put the world on the right track.”
I assume that Netanyahu’s designation as a “southpaw” (American baseball terminology) would not cause him the trauma of being classified as a “lefty” in Israeli politics.
That being said, I urge every prudent Israeli to get the injection, in whichever arm, so that we all stay healthy.
Petah Tikva
UNRWA record of failure
Regarding “Israel, UAE collaborating to eliminate UNRWA – report” (December 27), the UNRWA has a perfect record of complete failure. In the decades it has existed, it has not “resettled” a single Palestinian Arab refugee. It has instead established a metastatic bureaucracy profiting off of the myth that there are upwards of five million such people. In fact there are at most 20,000 or so still alive who fled Israel at its rebirth. The rest are living in the countries of their birth, and are therefore not refugees. In many of these countries these native-born people are forbidden the rights of citizens, so that they can languish in artificial “refugee” camps, be fed a daily diet of anti-Israel vitriol and therefore serve as a resource for the ongoing Palestinian Arab Jihad against Israel’s existence.
A well-intentioned UN agency would be working to encourage these surrounding countries to absorb and integrate these people into their societies, as Israel did with the hundreds of thousands of Mizrahi Jews ethnically cleansed from the surrounding Arab countries 70 years ago. But the UNRWA is not a well-intentioned agency.
It is instead an agency that “educates” children with antisemitic curricula, has classrooms with pictures of Hitler on some walls, and allows its properties to be used for terrorist weapon storage and tunnel entrances.
The UNRWA makes no efforts to encourage a Palestinian Arab culture of peaceful coexistence with Israel. Instead, like a cancer, it grows ever larger with international aid as it contributes to the ongoing destruction of any prospects for real peace through bellicose and anti-Israel indoctrination of its unfortunate victims. It should be eliminated and replaced with an aid program that encourages Palestinian Arabs to adapt to the reality of Israel’s existence, and which teaches the principles of peace.
Williamsville, New York
It is long overdue for UNRWA to close shop.
Check the dictionary – a refugee is a person who has fled their home because of religious or political persecution. Fled is the operative word. The war the Arabs initiated against the Jews on November 30, 1947 ended in late 1948. Therefore any refugee from that conflict has to be 72 years old today or older. There may be fewer than 20,000 of these refugees alive today.
The rest of the five million plus Arabs that UNRWA hands out welfare checks to are not refugees. They are living where they were born. They did not flee so by definition they are not refugees. They are freeloaders living off the UNRWA dole. They are no more refugees than a person born in Los Angeles in 1975 is a Polish refugee because his Polish grandparents fled Poland to escape the Holocaust.
Compare the one million persons who were in Displaced Persons Camps in Europe in 1947. Their parents, spouses, siblings and/or children had been murdered by the Germans. There was no “UNRWA” giving them billions every month. They got up, dusted themselves off and moved on with their lives as difficult as that may have been. By 1953 every displaced person camp was empty.
UNRWA has been handing out billions of dollars for far too long to people who are not refugees. Let’s close this shop and end this charade.
Margate, Florida
Writing as a journalist who has covered UNRWA since 1987, there are at least two reasons to question the veracity of the news report that Israel and the UAE are collaborating to eliminate UNRWA.
1. Only the UN General Assembly can determine the status of UNRWA since it alone oversees UNRWA’s mandate.
2. The UAE, which has more than quadrupled its unconditional donation to UNRWA since 2017, reaching $52 million in 2019, represents the largest donor to UNRWA in the Arab world, demonstrating total loyalty to UNRWA as it now functions. In that context, UNRWA has promoted the UAE to head the UNRWA advisory council, which comprises all 47 nations that contribute to UNRWA.
Director, Center for Near East Policy Research
Conflicting views
Kudos to Emily Schrader (“The new exploitation of Christmas,” December 29). I agree wholeheartedly with her position, and have been espousing it for many years in discussions with others. The facts are the facts – Jesus was born and lived as a Jew long before there were any Muslims in the Holy Land. It is a bit late to attempt to usurp him.
Tzur Yitzhak
Bravo to Moshe Dann for his astute commentary and coinage of the word “Palestinianism” as an anti-Jewish ideology and movement (“Palestinianism: Crime of the Century,” (December 27). Pure genius! It hits the nail on the head!
Every Israeli ambassador should be familiarizing everyone they meet with this concept and insisting that there will never be a resolution of the so-called Israeli-Palestinian conflict until this ideology is totally rejected by all governments interested in resolving the conflict – especially the Palestinian Authority.
In “Moscow ‘confused’ by Israeli anger at envoy’s remarks to ‘Post’” (December 27), Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, “All statements by the Russian ambassador quoted in the publication are in line with Russia’s well-known position on the Middle East.”
But that does not necessarily mean that these well-known positions (such as there is “no proof Hezbollah created the tunnels” crossing into Israel) have any connection to the truth. After all, the motto of Oceania in George Orwell’s 1984 was “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.”
It helps to have read Arthur Koestler, Artur London, Milan Kundera and Orwell, but what comes to mind when I read what Zakharova said is what George F. Kennan, then counselor of the US Embassy in Moscow, said in a September 1944 memorandum:
“It would be useful to the Western world to realize that… the men in the Kremlin have never abandoned their faith in that program of territorial and political expansion… which underlay the German-Russian non-aggression pact of 1939.”
So after a decade of egregiously slandering us at every opportunity for being a murderous fascist state, Erdogan says that Turkey wants to upgrade ties with us? (“Erdogan says Turkey interested in improving relations with Israel,” December 27).
Erdogan suggests that he was misled by aides. Israel’s impolitic response would and should be unprintable, but at the very least Israel should demand a detailed and public apology. Otherwise let him go to… (also unprintable).