Letters to the Editor, July 15, 2020: No lives matter more than others

The readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
No lives matter more than others
Reading “Black Lives Matter and the Jews” (July 14) inspired me to write about the same issue, only more insidious, within the Diaspora community.
The US a capella group The Maccabeats – young, religious Yeshiva University graduates – wrote a song about George Floyd. The song itself does not reflect the usual type of music this group sings, but was even more shameful with the first line: “You are the brother I never knew.”
Rabbi Berel Wein wrote an outstanding article stating that whenever the Jews perished, it was because of implosion within the society that made extermination from outside easier. This is what many Jews of the Diaspora are fomenting. They are siding with the Jew-hating BLM movement, to be “liked” and to be considered “one of the group.” Anyone who believes that the movement will embrace these Jews is in for a surprise. Not only won’t they embrace them into the “fold,” these Jews will be the start of the implosion of the Diaspora Jewish community.
No lives matter more than others and we Jews must protect our heritage.

Scouts and doubts
Regarding “Scouts nearly shut down during COVID-19 crisis” (July 13), the financial woes of the Scouts and all Israeli youth movements are just another symbol of the total disconnect and even contempt our elected officials show toward the very citizens who elected them to office.
While there is no shortage of funds for 38 ministers, deputy ministers and the accompanying director-generals, office staff, advisers, benefits and more, for the Scouts and other youth groups, funding is actually being reduced, if not cut out completely, mostly because of a need to add some substance to the new and totally superfluous Higher Education Ministry, thereby lowering the very status of youth groups in budgetary terms.
Furthermore, while this new ministry and its accompanying bloated budget were created and approved virtually overnight to ensure a respectable job for a loyal Likud party hack, even “emergency” funding and benefits so proudly announced by the prime minister and other cabinet members can take weeks to formally approve, not to mention the bureaucracy, often convoluted eligibility and restrictions cause inimical delays in actually seeing and receiving the funds, if at all. And all this while the State of Israel is facing its most challenging crisis ever, with no end in sight.
Rather than fulfilling its original goal of being an “emergency” national unity government to face the corona crisis, it is the most bloated, wasteful, arrogant, detached and thus far, unsuccessful government in Israel’s history – and is leading the country to economic and social disaster.

Hatzor Haglilit

Israel bests Germany
In “Government approves economic aid package” (July 13), MK Yair Lapid says that Germany beats Israel on the coronavirus front. Yet when I look at today’s statistics (Worldometers), I see that Israel has 39 deaths per million population, against Germany’s figure of 109, almost three times as high as Israel. Perhaps Lapid is looking at the number of cases. This is not largely different, but of course is dependent in part on the amount of testing. Here Israel beats Germany again, with almost double the number of tests (132,000 tests per million of population against 76,000). He cites this as being a “horrible failure.”
Why is Lapid so intent in denigrating Israel internally and to the rest of the world? Perhaps it’s time to rethink the name of his party Yesh Atid to something more appropriate.


Broad strokes tar folks
In his letter to the editor (“Solution delusions,” July 13, one reader states, “Israelis want to live, while Palestinians want to murder those living.”
I don’t think that tarring all Palestinians with the same brush is just or fair. What is the difference between that statement and “Jews are vermin and should be killed?”
I think that both peoples in this case, are victims of the propaganda put out by their governments to “show” they are doing something and deflect attention from all that they are not doing.

Crowd calculations
The Jerusalem Post reported (July 12), “Some 80,000 protesters gathered in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on Saturday to voice their anger at the failed policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Israel Katz, who promised to help the nation’s economy during the COVID-19 crisis.”
Rabin Square is about 100 meters wide and 200 meters long, so its area is 20,000 square meters. Since there were 80,000 protesters, there were four people per square meter. That is obviously in violation of the two-meter social distancing guideline.
The 80,000 protesters could not wait a few days to see if the government’s NIS 80 billion rescue package will be delivered? They endangered all of us. COVID-19 is a serious disease and it won’t stop until 40% to 70% of the population gets infected and R effective gets below 1. But this can only happen when either herd immunity is reached or a vaccine becomes available. With no lockdown, an infectious person can move around, but since due to herd immunity there are so few susceptible people left that by the time he finds one he is not infectious anymore.
Since the vaccine won’t be available until the beginning of next year and we are still very far away from herd immunity, it is essential that the rate of new infections is controlled and that it does not explode like it did in the UK at the beginning of the pandemic.
Young people should understand that they are also vulnerable and that there are COVID-19 patients who have had the disease for more than four months. Breaking guidelines that are there to protect the health system from being overwhelmed is irresponsible and just stupid.


It’s a good job if you can get it
So the Wexner Foundation paid former prime minister Ehud Barak $2 million for “research” in 2004, and reported those payments to the IRS. (“Wexner: Barak got paid for conflict study,” July 10).
Paying a million dollars for one research study is unheard of, and all admit that the second study was never completed, yet full payment was made. Compare this to the price of cigars. By way of contrast, the Nobel Prize amount is just under $1,000,000 and that may be divided among three recipients.
One must ask what was so incredibly valuable about the study and a half that Barak did to justify such compensation. Has it ever been published? If not, why not? Has it ever been used as the basis of a significant program? What was the process by which Barak was selected to do this invaluable work? Did Julian Epstein play a role? Why was this the only research project Wexner ever commissioned? And of course, did Barak report this compensation to Mas Hachnasah?
So far, Wexner and Barak have refused to disclose the facts behind this story. It’s time to demand answers – especially if Barak has any political aspirations.

It is popular these days to belabor the issues of social justice and inequality in the media. Yet “Stop the Insults” (July 14) chooses to defend the decision of the Wexner Foundation to grant former prime minister Ehud Barak $2 million for a study/book of approximately 200 pages on the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
The book was never published and a second study never submitted. The payment translates to about $10,000 per page. Given the capabilities of this digital age, I estimate that this translates to about $20,000 (NIS 68,600) per hour.
The article tries valiantly to protect the cozy deal by stating that former US president George Bush received $7 million and Hillary Clinton a possible $14 million for publishing their books – which, by the way, were made available to the public. Similarly sordid payments were made to other “social equality” Democrats.
Anyway, $20,000 per hour is about 1,000 times what your average Israeli makes per hour – it is more money, actually, in a single hour than many Israelis earn in nearly an entire year of honest hard work. Talk about inequality.


The 16% solution
The headline on a July 12 article proclaiming “56% of Israelis prefer Trump over Biden as next US president” makes it seem as though it is a relatively tight race between the two candidates for popularity here.
Reading further into the article, which admittedly most readers do not, we find in the third paragraph that only 16% chose Biden as the candidate who better serves Israel’s interests. The others said they did not have an opinion.
Accordingly, the headline could just as well have been “Only 16% of Israelis prefer Biden over Trump as next  US president.” One can only wonder why such an approach was not chosen.
Zichron Yaakov

Big on bigotry
“Cancel anti-Zionism” (July 14) strikes the right tone by calling out those that attempt to hide their antisemitism in the veil of anti-Israel/ anti-Zionism.
It is appalling to consider the seductive power of purveyors of hate such as Linda Sarsour and Louis Farrakhan, not to mention the fringe Jewish organizations that obsessively criticize Israel.
These individuals, unfortunately, are many and their ranks are swelling due to the role of social media, which megaphone their angry voices to the masses, especially in these pandemic times with an even more captive and receptive audience.
One daren’t think how someone like Joseph Goebbels would have reveled in this form of mass communication, but anyway, in the meantime, his disciples are doing their utmost to spread the message.
These people must be continually exposed and it is the duty of online social media companies and governments to eradicate hate speech and set an example in prosecuting individuals who are the main transgressors.

Tel Aviv

A ship with no rudder (shudder!)
“Israel is a ship without a rudder” (July 8) correctly focuses on the main problem Israel is facing today.
COVID-19 is a new, unknown, unpredictable virus with which nobody, no state and no head of state, yet knows how to approach. Mistakes have been made and decisions have not always turned out (in retrospect) to have been correct. That is the principle of empirical learning.
However, Israel has no more time for dithering and a pilot must be found for the floundering vessel. New Health Minister Yuli Edelstein is now looking for a “corona-leader” and I have a suggestion for him.
Naftali Bennett is a man of integrity, resolve and intelligence, a born leader. He has already developed a comprehensive plan to deal with the epidemic in Israel. He would be my choice of decisive leadership for the task at hand – and I am not alone in this opinion.
Now we know that this will not sit well with our prime minister, and would certainly not sit well with our First Lady. But if now is not the time to put aside petty jealousies, vindictiveness and baseless hatred – then when is the time ? (The Temple was destroyed by this very same phenomenon.)
“Who is strong?” asks Ben Zoma in Pirkei Avot, “One who conquers his inclinations!” And so I call upon the prime minister: “Be a man and have the inner strength to overcome your personal grievances and those of your spouse. Look to the good of our wonderful country, and appoint Bennett to do the job.


Boom times
Regarding “Arabs celebrating with fireworks on Shabbat throws Jerusalemites into panic,” (July 12) and the reporter’s claim that the noise began around 8 a.m., continuing at a steady pace for the next three hours and sporadically throughout the rest of the day made me wonder which Jerusalem he was referring to. The one in Ohio? In North Carolina?
Those of us who live in Jerusalem, Israel, and especially in the northern neighborhoods, were punished with a steady barrage of fireworks and shooting from 8 a.m. until about 11:30 p.m. True, there were a few “lulls” of two to three minutes when we’d all breathe sighs of relief thinking that it was over, but alas, it would start right up again.
If the police were satisfied with the detention of “eight suspects from whom dozens of fireworks have been seized”  (according to the spokesperson), all they needed to do to be super-satisfied was come up to French Hill and see clearly, along with us, from which balconies in Shuafat the fireworks displays were coming. That way those who violated the law would have been punished – and not us.

From both sides now
“Oprah Winfrey to adapt slavery series ‘1619 Project’ for TV and film” (July 14) treats the “profound offering” with awe and reverence, almost as though it were Torah from Sinai.
The article completely ignores the fact that many critics view it as highly controversial propaganda, with many of the falsehoods in it debunked. Ben Shapiro, for example, calls it “divisive, erroneous and terrible for the country.”
It seems unbalanced – and unfair to readers – not to even mention any of this in your coverage.