Letters to the Editor March 30, 2020: Gantz and Netanyahu bridge the gap

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Gantz and Netanyahu bridge the gap
Your readers are left without a shadow of doubt as to the extreme (left) political leanings of your editor (“A government at last,” March 29) as he describes our prime minister of 10 years: “Gantz had better watch his back;” “divisive leader;” “willing to do almost anything to stay in power;” “Netanyahu and his cronies;” “plotting,” etc.  A more vitriolic diatribe of expressed hatred is difficult to imagine.
Now, let’s see the difference. Instead of making a point of the fact that Gantz has totally betrayed his voters, you say, “Gantz made the right decision.”  Is that why his former power base supporters are now demonstrating outside his home?
If you want to write a political commentary, please do so in a separate opinion article, not in your editorial. You do not speak for the majority of your readers.
You of course omitted to mention that Netanyahu even today has the support of the majority of the Israeli public and the very clear majority of the Jewish public, and is recognized by that majority (and indeed by much of the rest of the world) as the best leader we have.
Regarding “Joint List condemns Gantz’s actions, says he has no ‘political backbone’” (March 28), Israel has had three inconclusive elections, a product of a system that allows many parties to compete. The government must have a majority to govern. Canada, on the other hand, has a Liberal government that won only 30% of the vote and America has the electoral college to offset the popular vote.
Both Netanyahu and Gantz accept the American Deal of the Century and its two-state solution. 26 countries, including six Arab states, immediately approved the plan as well. The Arab Joint List, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas reject it, just as they have rejected every other opportunity for peace and cooperation over the past century. It is apparent that Palestinian leaders will not tolerate a Jewish state within any borders, plus the conflict is making them very wealthy.
Well, times are changing. Iran is the main foe to Sunni Arabs and Israel shares their interests. Arab List intransigence is of lesser concern. A unity government is required to move forward with parts of the peace plan and to deal with the coronavirus.
Ottawa, On.
Israeli democracy is something of a bluff, since we are unable to elect individuals to represent us but can only vote for an entire political party whose members first loyalty is to the party that provided them with all the perks of office.  There seems to be no possibility of changing this unfortunate system in the near future, but if public opinion can have any effect at all, let’s prevent the latest example of sacrificing the national interest for the sake of party politics and stop the appointment of thirty (30!) ministers. 
We don’t have enough money for hospitals and medical personnel, Holocaust survivors and other old people can’t afford heat in winter, thousands of children live below the poverty line,  but the new government plans to appoint 30 ministers to run our tiny country, wasting millions and guaranteeing inefficiency.
Let’s stop this nonsense.  If Netanyahu and Ganz can agree on 15 ministers for each side, why can’t they keep the number down to 10 apiece?
Can’t fool Yuli
Your hatchet job on Yuli Edelstein (“Edelstein undermined Israel’s rule of law,” March 26,) leaves one breathless. Edelstein is one who has spoken truth to (unrestrained) power in the past, has withstood the trials and tribulations of incarceration in the Gulag and knows full well the meaning and blessing of democracy. Far from undermining the rule of law, his actions and words stressed the importance of the fundamental separation of powers in a democracy. By what right do the unelected justices of the Supreme Court feel they can meddle in the affairs of the legislature? Our Knesset has its own bylaws that seem to be doing very well, thank you, and does not require the supervision of a nanny. The self-appointed guardians of our democracy pushed Edelstein’s back to the wall and he stood tall, now, just as then. Kudos to Yuli!
On an unrelated note, could you please explain the rationale behind the weekly platform given to ex-convict Ehud Olmert? Each week we are offered a rehashing of his toxic screeds against Netanyahu that plumb the depths of journalistic detritus. Every Friday he makes our PM the centerpiece of blame for every ill, real or imagined, that besets our society with nary one fact to substantiate his obsessive claims. What journalistic rubbish!
By resigning, Yuli Edelstein broke no existing law. The High Court of Justice, in response to a petition by the Movement for Quality Government (who are its members? who finances it?) suggested that the current speaker, Edelstein, allow the vote for a new speaker to take place. Edelstein responded with a detailed document clarifying his refusal. In 20 minutes, less time than it took to read the brief, never mind study it, the judges ordered him to hold the vote. However, nothing in Israeli law assigns to the High Court the authority to intervene in Knesset procedure. The High Court is the highest instance to interpret existing law and not to promulgate new laws and certainly not those based on the judges’ interpretation of what is “reasonable.”
Laws are passed by the Knesset, based on the votes of the members of Knesset who are democratically elected. Judges by contrast, until recently, were self-selected solely by their fellow judges. Under the system of checks and balances in a democracy the responsibilities of the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government are clearly defined and no one branch takes precedence over the other two.
By his actions, not only has Yuli Edelstein not undermined democracy in Israel. He has done his utmost to uphold it. Shame on his “moral” detractors, including our purportedly nonpolitical president.
In “The three-phased attack on Israel’s democracy” (March 27), Amotz Asa-El indulged in an attack upon former speaker Yuri Edelstein who had fiercely defended the elected-by-the-people parliament from being interfered with by five unelected judges.
For those unaware of the workings of the Supreme Court in the US, the court first has its clerks analyze cases that lawyers have asked them to consider. The clerks – each assigned to one of the nine judges – prepare an analysis which is then given to the judge to read and present to the other judges -– at first without interruption, and then when each has been presented, the floor is open for question, challenge and debate.
Only after that do the justices vote to accept or reject hearing the case.
The notion of the Supreme Court considering a petition put forward by a few fringe far-left extremists within two or three days would be unheard of there. Asa-El spent time in the US; he should have known that, and should have known that far from attacking democracy, Edelstein was staunchly defending it.
It is the court, still under the dreadful influence of the disastrous Barak innovations, that will lose even more of the public support that is necessary in a democracy for it to function. This action was another blot on its reputation.
Pandering during the pandemic?
“Why Israel should lead efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Gaza” (March 26) is a deceptive headline. Former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Ami Ayalon wrongly blames the entire negative situation in Gaza on Israel.
Gazans are prisoners of Hamas’ policies and the inability to live peacefully with a neighbor – even when it is in their best interest. Also, Gaza has a border with their natural compatriots in Egypt who controlled the territory of Gaza prior to 1967.
Israel’s great mistakes were to 1) exit Gaza unilaterally instead of allowing Egypt to reinstate its governance over it, and 2) open a border in any way (employment, goods transfers, etc.) with a hostile entity, as is so readily demonstrated by even more rockets being fired into Israeli territory as recently as last week.
If Gazans need electricity, water, gas or medical supplies, they should turn to Egypt and leave Israel alone.
Beit Shemesh
As Ayalon notes, there is a good diplomatic reason why Israel should at least take the lead in addressing the coronavirus in Gaza, even if such efforts end in limited successes.
Nevertheless, the article does a disservice by implicitly asserting out of context the notion that Israel alone regulates movement of goods and people across the Gaza border. The reason Israel has sole control over what goes into and out from Gaza is that Egypt fails to allow goods and services to permeate its own border to enter Gaza. The situation in Gaza would be far different today if Egypt’s occupation of Gaza during Nasser’s pharonic dictatorship prior to the Six Day War had not stunted Gaza’s economic growth.
Egypt can still significantly improve Gaza’s living conditions in general, and its healthcare system in particular, if only it would proactively manage its own border with Gaza.
Petah Tikva
As expected, antisemites are quick to attribute the coronavirus pandemic to some nefarious Jewish plot (“The virus spreading faster than coronavirus: Antisemitism,” March 25).  But, not only is this ridiculous, it is nonsensical, because this virus has been identified as a combination of bat and pig components.  What connection do Jews have with bats and pigs?  None.  Neither are kosher and no Jew eats either bats or pigs or has any connection with either of them whatsoever.  However, in China, where the virus originated, people not only eat bats, but they are endemic there and pigs are a staple of their diet. But this is too rational for most of the world’s convinced antisemites, as in Iran.
The origin of the fiction that Jews had something to do with plagues comes from the medieval bubonic plague, when fewer Jews died than Christians, because Jews always washed their hands before meals as a religious rite (and still do) while Christians did not.  Now with our improved understanding of germs as a source of disease and the concept of universal hygiene, one would have thought this despicable idea would have faded. Nevertheless, the stupid will still believe anything!
Corona minister
In “The straw that broke the camel’s back” (March 29), Gadi Naaman makes a lot of sense and puts important perspective on the entire issue of the Corona virus.
In 2017, nearly 650,000 people died worldwide from seasonal flu-related respiratory illnesses – but the world did not go into lockdown, destroying economies. The people dying from the coronavirus are almost exclusively above age 70, with two or more underlying diseases.
Divide the population into three groups:
• Under 50: Go back to normal conditions
• 50 to 75 with no prior conditions: Screen for Corona and take sanitary precautions; otherwise go back to normal.
• Over 75 or anybody with prior conditions: Stay sequestered and maintain high vigilance.
This article should have been plastered on the front page in the hope that our political/health authorities know how to read – and Naaman should be appointed Israel’s corona minister.
Fun for the whole family?
I find myself somewhat appalled at some of Hannah Brown’s suggestions in “Keeping the children busy” (March 27). She cavalierly recommends anime options such as Castlevania (very hard R for sex, violence and language); Fullmetal Alchemist (mature content and themes best suited for teens and up), and One Punch Man (many gory fight sequences), apparently operating under the tired and wrong assumption that “if it’s animated, it must be for children!”
Suffice it to say that any gullible parent who heeds her advice may face some rather awkward questions from their children afterwards. Also, she spends an entire paragraph deriding the “preachy” Lego movies while apparently completely missing the messages actually conveyed by them (no, they’re not about “the need for us to love each other”).
Ramat Beit Shemesh
The “T” word
Kudos to all those who work on the front lines: in the medical profession, in grocery stores, policemen and women. Thank you for keeping all of us alive and well. I think that those who work in supermarkets –especially the cashiers – deserve a raise in pay
I am following instructions and am housebound due to the coronavirus epidemic. The highlight of my day is when I open my front door and find The Jerusalem Post on my doorstep.
I want to thank all at The Jerusalem Post who are responsible for the continuing printing and delivering of the paper in these challenging times. May you – and all of us – be blessed with good health and a small, but happy Passover.
Tel Aviv
Corona confers a blessing?
Kol hakavod to Yosef Israel Abramowitz for “Corona’s silver lining” (March 27), in which he writes, “the silver lining of the corona crisis is that humanity has seen that we can reverse and win the climate battle.”  Amidst of the immense suffering that the Coronovirus is causing worldwide, the positive news is that there has been a sharp drop in pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, as many flights have been cancelled, many businesses have been shut down, and many people have been confined to their homes.
As Abramowitz stresses, when the Coronavirus crises ends, to avert a climate catastrophe, “we must not go back to our excessive and fossil-burning ways.”
We failed to heed the warnings of medical experts and wake-up calls from previous disease outbreaks caused by the consumption of animal products, leaving us unprepared for the present pandemic. Will we now fail to heed the warnings of Abramowitz and other climate experts, and face a future climate catastrophe? To leave a decent, habitable world for future generations, it is essential that averting such a catastrophe become a central focus for civilization.  As former California governor Jerry Brown expressed it, “Humanity is on a collision course with nature.”
Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island