Letters to the Editor January 4th, 2021: COVID vaccine - not in vein

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Regarding “Proud to be vaccinated” (January 3), while the content written by Jacob Freedman is to be admired and wholly supported, the picture shown, unfortunately, probably indicates that his COVID vaccination was for naught. This vaccination is meant to be intramuscular. The picture shows a “nurse,” apparently incorrectly trained, administering the vaccination pinching the arm tissues i.e. raising the fatty section. The vaccination must be given directly into the muscle with no pinching to be effective.
I respectfully call upon all medical services to advise/ inform their staff as to how to administer this vaccination successfully.
I humbly eat my words. I wrote a letter to this column two weeks ago complaining about the chaotic communications system in Kupat Holim Clalit and the difficulties involved in booking a COVID vaccine.
Having discovered that I could multi-task and do all my chores while waiting on the phone lines, I managed to bring my date forward, as Clalit opened many additional vaccine centers.
The procedure at Carmel Hospital on Friday went like clockwork. A large clean space was allotted and it was like being on a conveyor belt. The lines moved very quickly, everyone keeping a social distance and wearing masks. The staff professionals were helpful and kind, explained everything and answered questions. After the jab, clients were directed to another large comfortable space for the 15-minute observation.
Including the recovery period I was in and out of the hospital in less than 25 minutes. Congratulations to Clalit and judging from friends who belong to other health funds, they have all gotten their act together.
It’s my party
Bravo, Ron Huldai, for forming yet another political party (“Center splits as Huldai announces new party,” December 30).
Before doing so, why did he not stop to ask whether the Israeli electorate needs more political parties to choose from? Surely it is obvious that Israel has far too many political parties vying with each other, too many of which seem to be personal fiefdoms of the person heading them. Given that the country is now hopelessly divided between those who are in favor of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and those against, surely it is obvious that one side or the other has to achieve a decisive victory for any stable government to be formed.
The country needs a stable government now, not a repetition of the cobbled-together coalition of the last government. As that requires Knesset 61 seats, why does Huldai think yet another party helps? On the contrary. It increases the danger that neither side of the pro/anti Bibi divide will succeed to get 61 seats in a coalition of parties whose prime objectives will enable them to work together for a full term. Even more bizarre why Avigdor Liberman’s personal party is even contesting this election when he recognizes he will never be the prime minister.
Yes, Israel may have a purer form of proportionate election system than many democracies, but what good is it if the concept of a political party representing a fairly broad range of compatible views cannot take hold here sufficiently to enable one or other side of the current impasse to succeed to form a real coalition as a result of a political ego trip of its leader. This should be something that Gideon Sa’ar and Naftali Bennett also seriously think about before early February cut-off date for party slates.
The electorate deserves to know how each of the political parties thinks it should be able to participate in a stable government with whom.
Amotz Asa-El bemoans the lack of ideology in the political scene (“It’s party time,” January 1).
Gone are the days of the ideologists when David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir and Menachem Begin and their political parties would meet, argue ideologies, construct platforms. These days the votes go to the most charismatic, the better looking, the glib talkers. We certainly don’t need the latte, but we also don’t need a new brood of ideologists who will regurgitate the worn-out mantras of a united, utopian, Israel in which there will be no divisions between the poor and the rich, the periphery and the center, the Jews and the Muslims, the religious and the secular.
Israel is a country of less than 10 million, the size of a large city: New York, London, Shanghai, Paris and about a dozen others. Aside from maintaining a powerful army, there is little difference between running Israel and running a large city. Mayors of cities are not elected on political ideologies, they are elected on the perception that they can solve problems, construct neighborhoods, get the garbage collected, build roads, subways, trains.
That’s what Israel needs in its leaders: pragmatic individuals who have a visible past of successful “doing” not talk, talk, talking.
Welcome views: Pollard opposites
In your editorial, “Welcome to Israel” (December 31) you state that it was “right for Netanyahu to be on hand when Pollard’s plane arrived.”
I disagree.
While it is cause for celebration that Jonathan Pollard is finally home with his people, our reaction must be carefully calibrated. Sometimes it is permitted to feel joy in your heart but you may not express it. Recently we read in the Torah that “Yisrael loved Yosef more than all his sons and he made him a fine woolen tunic.” Yaakov’s mistake was not in harboring special feelings for Yosef but for publicly displaying them. Had he kept his emotions of favoritism to himself, the conflict between the brothers could have been avoided.
Regardless of how one feels about Pollard, we must remember that his actions constituted a crime of betrayal against Israel’s greatest ally. Our official policy and attitude must be one of contrition and regret.
Therefore I believe that the prime minister was wrong to publicly honor Pollard by personally greeting him at the airport. In light of Pollard’s serious crimes, this display is tantamount to a slap in the face of the United States. Netanyahu could have welcomed him privately and expressed the gratitude of the nation for his services. He should not have made that trip to the airport.
Upon Jonathan Pollard’s arrival to Israel, Michael Ben-Yair, a former attorney general, tweeted:
“This morning a greedy person arrived whose contribution to Israel`s Intelligence is many times over less than the damage it caused to Israel. And he’s received with honor which only reflects our inadequacy.”
Ben-Yair’s argument that Pollard was primarily motivated by greed lacks substantiation and is no more than a personal opinion. Based on what has been published about Pollard, he was not motivated by greed, even though he was paid as is customary under such circumstances. Pollard was a soldier serving his country and, as such, put himself at risk. We owe him a lot.
It was his Israeli handlers who failed to protect him and neglected taking responsibility for this botched plan.
If we turned Gilad Shalit into a national hero, then Pollard is a superhero. He put himself at risk for the State of Israel and for this he deserves credit and appreciation.
Forum for a Safe Israel (FFSI)
I wonder whether Jonathan Pollard and his wife had to provide a copy of his mother’s sonogram when they applied for aliya. Did they have to prove that they are Jewish?
That was the demand made of my nephews who have been trying in vain to make aliya from the US for the past eight months. The brilliant bureaucrats at the Israeli embassy are putting up stumbling blocks right and left, now demanding that my sister prove she is Jewish.
Israel claims to encourage aliya, but in fact they are turning away talented enthusiastic young people by means of antiquated bureaucracy and bored uncaring technocrats.
It is absolutely frightening and totally unacceptable that a professor of pathology, Ruth Katz, has been battling the dysfunctional population authority for more than two years in her efforts to make aliyah (“Renowned Jewish scientist’s aliyah held up for two years,” December 30).
Katz’s status has been confirmed by her orthodox rabbi in Houston and the Tel Aviv rabbinical court. In addition, all her children, her siblings and her current husband live in Israel and are Israeli citizens. The jungle of Israeli bureaucracy reached world-class status long ago, but this story takes the proverbial cake. Her application should have been approved in five minutes by the ogres of the population authority.
This reminds me of some of my own struggles with Israeli bureaucracy. A recent one: my research group is in a collaboration with a German group of scientists and we exchange samples for study. The naive Germans labeled the contents of the scientific (solid 3mm x 3mm) samples of LiF as “salts.” They are indeed in the family of salts but nothing resembling the NaCl powders used to embellish the taste of food. The customs authorities transferred the samples to the Israeli food services in the Health Ministry. It took months to release the samples after innumerable phone calls, harried conversations and written declarations of innocence.
Israeli Chelm.
We continue to collaborate with the German researchers, but we live in constant fear of the next confiscation.
Professor Emeritus of Radiation Physics, Beersheba
Bio degrading: Full disclosure
It is important that “Rivlin Adds Rape Conviction to Katsav’s Thumbnail Bio” (December 29) on the plaque below the bust of the former president at the President’s Residence. He was the president of Israel and a convicted felon who served time in prison.
Katzav does not, however, have a frequent voice posted in The Jerusalem Post; former prime minister and convicted felon who served time in prison Ehud Olmert does.
Can the Post do less than President Rivlin acknowledging the significant history of the man? It is time that the Post add that information to Olmert’s bio after: “The writer was the 12th prime minister of Israel.”
The parity’s over
Regarding “‘Jewish, Palestinian populations nearing parity’” (January 1), it was with some amusement that I read the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistic’s claim that there are 13 million Palestinians. A closer examination of their report indicates that they are counting seven million people who reside abroad, many in other Arab countries.
Chances are that the vast majority of them were born in their countries of residence, in which case they aren’t Palestinians – they’re Jordanians, Egyptians, Emiratis and/or natives of all the other countries in which they were born.
Similarly 1.8 million Israeli Arabs were wrongly counted as Palestinians. In fact, they’re Israelis, with all of the rights and privileges of all Israeli citizens.
As Mark Twain wrote in The North American Review in 1907, there are lies, damned lies and statistics. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistic’s misrepresentation of Palestinian population figures is a prime example of Mark Twain’s point.
Williamsville, New York
HCJ hijinks
Neville Teller (“Israel’s flawed electoral system,” December 27) is correct that the method of electing MKs, adopted without forethought, has resulted in an ineffective and unresponsive legislature and executive and requires an overhaul. But it is not the only system adopted hastily, creating present-day problems.
The “High Court of Justice” was a British institution, responsible for hearing claims against the Mandatory administration, whose members were appointed in London. This arrangement was useful for protecting that administration from the locals, but is unsuitable for an independent democracy.
The de facto conflation of the HCJ with Supreme Court, at least in the public’s mind (due to both bodies consisting of the same judges and meeting in the same courtrooms, despite having different functions and different rules of procedure and evidence) didn’t help. The situation was further exacerbated with the change in 1984 that gave sitting members of the HCJ an effective veto over appointment of their peers and members of lesser courts, making them political players. This enabled Aharon Barak (building on earlier work by Meir Shamgar) to wage a relentless attack on democracy by asserting that the cabinet is not entitled to choose its own lawyer (and by extension, that the cabinet and all executive offices are beholden to the judgments of their “legal advisers”), by asserting that the Court can tell the Knesset what to do, by abandoning rules of standing and asserting that “all is justiciable,” including Knesset-enacted statutes, despite the fact that the Knesset never gave the Court the power to nullify s
Sadly, the same considerations of short-term political expediency to which Teller points that have hitherto prevented the adoption of an electoral system that results in representation and accountability have almost universally also led MKs and cabinet members to accept the HCJ’s assertions, instead of forcefully declaring that the court’s pronouncements are without legal force (Yuli Edelstein is a notable recent exception).
This state of affairs undermines both the little representation of the people that remains in the Knesset, as well as the court’s own standing. No one can take seriously the court’s assertion of impartiality when it incessantly acts as a political player, inserting itself into matters that both legally and logically are beyond its purview. If we’re going to re-do the parliamentary system, then we need to re-boot the court system as well, by dismantling the HCJ, removing judges from the judicial appointments process and making the AG beholden to the cabinet – rather than vice-versa.
Don’t phone home
A group of NGOs have filed a petition with the High Court of Justice requesting that Palestinian security prisoners be allowed to maintain telephone contact with their families during the current corona lockdown (“NGOs to High Court: Let security prisoners call families during lockdown,” December 31).
Security prisoners are either murderers, attempted murderers, associated with murderers or supporting murderers. Why are these NGOs so concerned with murderers? Why are they not concerned with the victims, the families of the murdered individuals? From what poisoned well do these NGOs adopt their value system?