February 27, 2019: The wizards of Otzma

Readers of the Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)

The wizards of Otzma

“A vote for Bayit Yehudi is a vote for Nazism says Benny Lau” (February 24) is upsetting and annoying on a number of levels.

I am not now and never have been a supporter of Kahanism, but regardless of the circumstances, there is no justification for one Jew to call other Jews Nazis.

I am fed up with the double standard in effect when it comes to which parties may or may not sit in the Knesset. On the one hand a “racist” party such as Rabbi Meir Kahane’s was barred from the Knesset while, on the other hand, Arab parties that pretend to represent Israeli Arabs, while actually representing the PA and advocating for the replacement of Israel with a Palestinian state continue to hold their seats. Why is “racism” unacceptable in the Knesset when treason is acceptable?




It is obvious that Rabbi Benny Lau’s choice in next elections is not PM Benyamin Netanyahu, Bayit Yehudi or Otzma Yehudit. It his free choice. However, to compare Kahanism to Nazism is nothing short of incitement, global antisemitism from within.


Ramat Gan


In Jeff Barak’s “Even AIPAC has had enough” (February 25), the harm that the Otzma party does to Israel’s image is discussed, but things don’t have to be that way. With cosmetic modifications, Otzma can be transformed from a liability into a public relations asset.

The success of the Palestinian Authority shows that support for terrorism works if certain conditions are met.

The organization must present an outward appearance of rationality and even secularism. Open discussion of punishing homosexuals must end, as well as talk of imposing draconian forms of Jewish law. Party leaders should dress business casual; black outfits and ominous religious pronouncements make it seem as though Darth Vader has landed to lead an ISIS uprising.

The key strategy is to present themselves as victims. They can continue to glorify terrorists, as the PA does – but only if they can convince people that the killing and threatened deportations are done from sheer desperation. That means frequently using the term “racist” to describe their adversaries, as well as constantly harping on the horrific injustices that have led them to this unavoidable juncture. This should be easy, given all the attacks that Israel has had to endure for so many years. Pathos, coupled with underlying menace, is sure to instill that blend of sympathy and fear that the PA has used so successfully to charm and intimidate.

 Who knows, maybe Michael Ben Ari will be invited to address the UN General Assembly, where, wearing camos, he can brandish an olive branch and a gun, and offer the world a choice.


Charleston, South Carolina


I don’t agree with calls to force Arabs to leave Israel, but people who are making those calls are not necessarily racists. They have been affected by Palestinian leaders refusing to negotiate on offers that would have given them everything they claim to want (a state on essentially all the disputed territory) and then telling the world that they have no choice but to incite their people to violently oppose the “occupation” (which ended in 1993). Or the anti-Arab faction may have been influenced by seeing what happened when Israel has given land for peace and gotten missiles lobbed at Israeli population centers, tunnels dug to facilitate abduction and murder of Israelis, and incendiary devices floated into Israel to set crops ablaze.

Surely some Arabs living in Israel would prefer not to be in the minority. They have no right to demand that a Crescent accompany the Magen David on the Israeli flag or that HaTikvah drop its mention of Jews’ longing to return to our homeland. But they should have a right to move to a Muslim-majority country, if that is their preference. without fear of being branded “collaborators” by Muslim leaders. The first step toward true peace is Muslim acceptance of the nation-state of the Jews in our ancestral homeland.




Israel and Jewish organizations spoke out unequivocally to condemn Baruch Goldstein for his murderous rampage. No one named a school after him or celebrated by passing out candies, and Israel extended no financial rewards to his family.

However, naming schools after murderers and passing out candies is part of what Palestinians do when one of their own commits an atrocity. These murderers also receive monthly stipends. “Extremism” accurately describes a society in which this behavior is embraced and is the norm.

Otzma Yehudit proposes that Israeli lives are valuable and recognizes that the PLO and Hamas will never accept this. Meir Kahane understood this and refused to adopt a “turn the other cheek” philosophy. He was assassinated by El Sayyid Nosair, who was later involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Israelis need safety measures to prevent random stabbings, shootings, car rammings and Molotov firebomb attacks. Fire and explosive-laden balloons are sent into Israel on a regular basis, so Israeli children actually have to be taught to be wary of balloons!

Palestinians deliberately attack civilians in violation of every conceivable moral standard and legal norm. Otzma Yehudi wants to make it clear that Jewish blood is not expendable. When did this idea become unacceptable?


Davis, CA


Headlines are replete with slanderous statements against Otzma Yehudit. AIPAC, like many Jewish organizations thousands of miles condemn us while still supposedly supporting us (when we toe the line). Are they worried that we might just have a party that will stand strong against our enemies and that we will no longer be afraid to confront the dangers and keep our Jewish Land for the Jewish People?

Rabbi Benny Lau vowed ‘‘to go to war to prevent followers of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane from entering the Knesset. How dare he! “Religious Zionism” does not mean cowing before the enemy and allowing one’s own people to be murdered. It seems he has little regard for Hashem’s promise to our forefathers that this Land would be given to the Jewish People to build and settle, commanding us to remove our enemies. God’s promises have been fulfilled. We have returned, but because we ignored His commands, we are suffering that which would have been brought upon our enemies. We have already lost parts of our Land, with signs telling us where Jews are not allowed and our holiest site (and apparently our prime minister) are under the control of the Moslem Wakf. This is what AIPAC and Lau want?




Where do they stand on Iran?

Regarding “Gantz, Lapid vow to beat Netanyahu together” (February 22), I find it rather odd that Israelis do not seem to care where the Blue and White Party stands on Iran

Benny Gantz would wait until Iran attacks; Moshe Ya’alon now believes that at this point, and in the foreseeable future there is no existential threat facing Israel; Gabi Ashkenazi, along with Meir Dagan prevented Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from attacking the Iranian nuclear sites in 2010; Yair Lapid – there is no evidence that he understands that Iran cannot be deterred and he supported US president Barack Obama’s Iran Deal.

So from the above, it is obvious that if we do not want to be nuked by Iran, Netanyahu would be a better choice, but he has a problem. The “anyone but Bibi” mentality has taken its toll. A colleague’s reaction upon hearing my arguments: “ I get it, but I’ll be damned if I vote for him. I’d rather suffer a nuclear winter.”




Any way you choose

Regarding “Gantz, Lapid aim to form unity gov’t with Likud” (February 25), let me get this straight. If you vote for Likud, you get Likud. If you vote for the Blue and White Party, you get Likud. Actually, if you don’t vote at all, you also get Likud.

Never a dull day in the only democracy in the Middle East.




Right on cue

Regarding “Kushner riles Right, says peace plan aims to solve ‘border issue’” (February 26), it seems that Israel’s Right never misses an opportunity to do wrong.

Again the never-ending infighting on the Right, which has played a major role in the downfall of several right-wing governments in recent years, is taking center stage. New Right leader Naftali Bennett, who is accusing US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of conspiring to establish a Palestinian state, is the Israeli minister who announced that the Trump’s victory put an end to the embargo on building in Judea and Samaria.

If Bennett had confined his statement to Trump, I might believe that he has had a true change-of-heart in how he sees the American president. But by adding Netanyahu to this “conspiracy,” he seems like a politician ready to say anything to get elected, even at the price of further alienating and splintering the very voters he needs to do so. Thanks to his absurd assertion, the entire election campaign is becoming a single-issue battle of who is more/further/most Right, without a word about the health system, economy, social ills and our day-to-day quality of life – the backbone of election issues in every democratic society.

As a result, the “non-Right” opposing parties will gain an advantage by taking up these issues. If the right-wing leaders don’t get back on track with proper election priorities, they will again have only themselves to blame for their defeat in the upcoming elections.


Hatzor Haglilit


Sisi: Return Israelis to the Sinai

Regarding “Sisi: ‘If Jews return to Egypt, we’ll build synagogues” (February 25), it is very nice of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to invite Jews to return to Egypt. So how about starting by inviting us back in Yamit and Ophira (Sharm El Sheik), which, after all, we established. They are much closer and more recent in memory.


Yamit evacuee (1982)



In December 2016, Egypt detained and imprisoned Mahmoud Hussein, an Al Jazeera journalist on holiday in Egypt, who is still in prison without trial.

Before Jews, tourists or anyone can risk returning to – or even visiting – Egypt, that country will have to release and compensate Mahmoud Hussein. Egypt will also have to explain why this happened, contrary to all humanitarian considerations and Egypt’s own regulations, and why it won’t happen to other innocent visitors.


Beit Zayit


More redheads and left-handers?

Your editorial, “Equal numbers” (February 24) leaves me with one question: Why?

You believe that it would be ideal if the Knesset were to have 50% female members; you say that equal female participation should be part of Israel’s story. But why choose this characteristic of Israel’s population? Why not some other measure? For example, why not a proportion of redheads, or left-handed people? If we choose to apply all possible such measures, we would run out of Knesset seats.

You suggest that people should vote for parties with female representation. We have already trialled that within those parties that had primaries, but still didn’t give us 50% women in their lists. Were they wrong? Perhaps we need a new people?

You further suggest that the next prime minister promise to appoint an equal number of women ministers as male ministers. Again, there is no logical basis for such a suggestion.

Representative democracy means that the people choose their representatives. It seems that they do not choose 50% women. Form a party of only women candidates and see if that results in your desired outcome. Tinkering with the rules to achieve some arbitrary goal usually results in some unintended outcome – not necessarily positive. More worrying is that voters in Israel get to choose only a list, with no option to express an opinion on individual members of the list.

Is our electoral system ideal? I think not. But before we make changes, let us know why.




Revisiting Poland

When I read Tovah Lazaroff’s moving account of what she terms her grandmother’s “unrequited love” for Warsaw as a child there between the two World Wars, (“When Warsaw was Jewish, Poles still celebrated Antisemitism,” February 19), I was reminded of an incident that happened to me not long ago on a trip to that same city.

Since I had a short time in which to do a great deal of personal research, I engaged a local guide. After a long and arduous day, I asked him to take me to a kosher restaurant before boarding my plane. As we entered the restaurant, it seemed vaguely familiar and I realized that it was the same place I had visited several years before on The March of the Living. Tired, I settled back in my chair and remarked, “I was here before, it’s almost like home.” Without missing a beat, my guide replied, “This is your home. You belong here. Your people have been living here for 500 years.”

I pictured Leszno Street outside, where during the Holocaust, 500,000 Jews had been imprisoned in the ghetto, where about 90,000 died of hunger and disease and from which 260,000 were deported to Treblinka to be murdered, and thought: but where are my people now?

As was the case with Lazaroff’s family, the only remnant of my family from Poland to survive was the branch that left Poland long before the Holocaust began.


Beit Shemesh


Vicious antisemitic attacks

Regarding “Jewish philosopher assaulted, called ‘Dirty Jew’ by yellow vest protesters” (February 17), the abuse of a Jewish philosopher and the vandalizing of Jewish graves with swastikas and other offensive graffiti is evidence that Nazi ideology is again raising its ugly head in France and other parts of Europe.

And we thought the inhabitants of these lands were the custodians of the modern civilized democratic world...