Letters to the editor: Feb. 15, 2015

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Enlightening piece
Sir, – I found the article “Austrian prosecutor: Call to kill Jews is legal criticism of Israel” (February 13) enlightening.
Since I was born in Austria, can I call on the masses to kill Austrian prosecutors because of my displeasure toward Austria?
Consistent clarity
Sir, – Warren Goldstein, chief rabbi of South Africa (“Honoring terrorists is dangerous,” Sinai Today, February 13), is quite right in his criticism of South Africa’s parliament, as well as its president, Jacob Zuma, for honoring Leila Khaled as a freedom fighter, although she is not only a non-repentant terrorist but a senior leader in a terrorist movement.
Goldstein says that words matter, that we must have moral clarity and that to honor a savage terrorist like Leila Khaled as a freedom fighter is a moral outrage that reflects moral confusion and is unforgivable and dangerous. So why hasn’t he criticized the revered hero of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, for his recognition, honor and support of Yasser Arafat, the founding father and greatest proliferator of this most savage movement? One would hope that Goldstein’s moral clarity would be consistent.
Shameful in extreme
Sir, – Never failing to miss an opportunity to make a liar of himself, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Republican representative from Jerusalem, is consistent if nothing else.
His comments that the Zionist Union is less Zionist than the Likud or Bayit Yehudi are shameful in the extreme. Indeed, the Likud and Bayit Yehudi are almost fascistic in their views.
They are certainly racist.
Netanyahu has said many times that he is in favor of a twostate solution, yet he and Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett have worked tirelessly to make sure that a Palestinian state will never arise. At least Bennett is up front and open about it. He should be respected for that, in sharp contrast to Netanyahu’s lies and word play.
As well as projecting himself as Mr. Security of the World, the prime minister is now quoting scriptures (“Netanyahu: Herzog, Livni can’t handle Iran or Hamas,” February 12). His statement regarding the Zionist Union – that it would form a government “that did not know Joseph” – is not very convincing.
It might sit comfortably with the bochers in the yeshiva, but it really insults the intelligence of most Israelis.
With the minimum wage at an embarrassingly low level and the cost of living so high, Netanyahu might be better advised to concentrate on these issues.
Look who failed
Sir, – One cannot help but be astonished at the assertion by Isaac Herzog that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed in his efforts to mobilize US and international support to oppose the development of the Iranian nuclear program.
Mr. Herzog might ask himself how much he contributed to this difficult challenge. Perhaps had he and his erstwhile partner, Tzipi Livni, strongly supported the prime minister and presented a united Israeli voice against both the Iranian threat and Barack Obama’s stance on the issue, the US president and others might be more understanding of the matter.
We should expect the world’s leaders to be more concerned about the dangers we face than about those who wish to lead Israel in the coming years.
Apparently, the urge to discredit and malign Prime Minister Netanyahu overrides the necessity to act in the true interests of Israel’s security and the safety of the Israeli people.
The phrase “politics should stop at the water’s edge” could not be more applicable.
Flawed reading
Sir, – Gershon Baskin’s “The vision of real peace” (Encountering Peace, February 12) startled me.
A regular and respected contributor to your paper, he starts off by noting: “There is no solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict other than two states for two peoples, if solution means the end of the conflict. Jews and Arabs have been killing each other and have been willing to die for more than 100 years over their determination to have a territorial expression of their identity.... The only solution remains partition.”
Mr. Baskin should know that Israel’s foes have never fought to define a “territorial expression of their identity.” They never once accepted partition as a resolution of the conflict. In every war they have made it clear that their aim is to destroy Israel. So his reading of history is flawed.
He repeatedly states that the only solution to the conflict is two states for two peoples. Apparently, that is the only solution he can conceive of. But possible solutions should not be limited to poor foresight.
Mr. Baskin is distressed by the condition of the Palestinians under Israeli rule. If the Arabs had won any of their wars against Israel there would be no Israelis left alive to be ruled. Having lost these wars, the Arabs should be grateful that they have not been expelled.
It is interesting to recall that after the American revolutionary war, British loyalists were forced to move to Canada, New Orleans or Bermuda. I have never read any criticism about these American actions.
The Arabs have little to complain about.
Sir, – As far as I know, Gershon Baskin is an Israeli citizen. He also seems to know how to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So why has he not done the logical thing and started his own party? He seems convinced he has the necessary following.
Lawyers’ fees
Sir, – In “A meaningless ‘revolutionary’ law” (Comment & Features, February 11) Yossi Miller claims the law limiting attorneys’ fees on new apartment purchases is ineffective and unjust.
Mr. Miller is, of course, writing from the point of view of the clients he frequently represents: the building contractors. From the point of view of the purchaser, the new law, as it was intended to operate, is far from unjust. The fact that a building contractor was allowed to recover from the purchaser up to two percent of the price of the property in addition to the sales price so as to cover all or part of the contractor’s legal fees was unjustifiable.
The contractor’s attorney is just that – he does not represent the purchaser, who in most cases will instruct an attorney, at his own expense, to look after his interests.
Mr. Miller wants to tell us that the law is ineffective because contractors will now hide the attorney’s fees in the price of the apartments.
This may well be true, thanks to the greed of the contractors.
The sad fact is that the good intentions of lawmakers most likely will come to naught as long as they fail to put in place a mechanism to prevent this from happening.
Beit Shemesh
The writer is an attorney with experience in overseeing real estate and construction loans.
Sir, – Yossi Miller objects to a recent change that limits a building contractor’s ability to charge whatever he likes for his lawyer’s services in order to complete the sale. To my mind, the change did not go far enough.
It should also be illegal for a contractor to camouflage the true price by listing this fee as a separate add-on that perhaps is not even mentioned until the last moment. If the contractor increases his price to compensate for the loss of some of this perk, so be it, but at least there will be an improvement in transparency.
Beit Shemesh