Letters to the Editor March 4, 2020: Election quagmire

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Election quagmire
Regarding “Netanyahu defeats Gantz with 60-seat bloc” (March 3), even though – again – neither side seems to have won an outright majority, the people have spoken. They want Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, maybe not because he is such a great person but because he is an excellent prime minister.
Now it is time for candidates from other parties who agree with the platform of the Likud but who object to Netanyahu personally to put their personal dislike aside and either move over to the Likud or join a bloc of independent supporters of a right-wing government.
Let’s face it, a united government is not going to happen so long as Blue and White leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid head the opposition. But responsible individuals must do their bit to assure that a fourth election does not happen to the nation that is in dire need of a government now!
Petah Tikva
In “King Bibi Netanyahu, the magician” (March 2), Herb Keinon makes several good points, but they are not the most salient ones.
For me, who to vote for in the Israeli elections was quite straightforward. I believe that Iran presents an existential threat to Israel and the world since, according to Bernard Lewis, “For people with this mindset, mutually assured destruction (M.A.D.) is not a constraint; it is an inducement...”
There are three Israeli politicians who are fully aware of the magnitude of the Iranian threat. They are:
1) Benjamin Netanyahu, who was consulted by Bernard Lewis and at the end of the talk was convinced that if the ayatollahs obtained nuclear weapons, they would use them.
2) Michael Oren, who quoted Bernard Lewis in his Los Angeles Times Op Ed in 2015, and
3) Moshe Ya’alon, who used to say that “the regime of the ayatollahs is apocalyptic-messianic in character.”
Of the three, Ya’alon changed his mind about the Iranian threat in 2016 and Oren is out of the Knesset.
That leaves only Netanyahu.  
Regarding “A time to heal” (March 3), the Israeli political scene is mired in a mess. One major party cannot sit with the Arabs or with Liberman or with the so-called peaceniks. The other major party cannot sit with the Arabs or the ultra-Orthodox.
Both parties seem incapable of garnering 61+ seats from the remainder.
There are calls by President Reuven Rivlin for compromise and joint leadership, but this will not happen since one of the major parties (the smaller one) is led by a bunch of political neophytes who – in a world dominated by bastions of “ethical” behavior such as US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, and Syrian leader Bashar Assad plus the anti-Israeli leaders of the European Union – still believe that we have the luxury of demanding “personal morality” as the most important indicator of who should lead Israel to safety in a local and global den of thieves.
The situation will only worsen in the coming years as minority parties gain in numbers due to demographics. Something’s gotta give – the Messiah, perhaps ?
Regarding “Israeli voters head to polls for third time in a year” (March 2), this idea of free holidays for the masses is complete nonsense. In order to bring sense and sensibility to the matter, in my opinion, it would be appropriate that each voting card is stamped by the people manning the voting stations, only on completion of that individual’s voting obligation.
Each individual must hand in their voting card to their companies paying their salaries, and only those that are stamped should be paid for the holiday taken. It should be compulsory to keep and hand in the cards; if an individual cannot produce a voting card, then it is as if he did not vote, and therefore gets registered for unpaid leave.
I do not think the country can afford to allow people paid leave if they do not take their civic duty to vote as an obligation for the good of the state. It should not be a right to vote, but an obligation to vote. Apathy is not an option
Kiryat Bialik
I read with great interest, as I have been doing for the past 11 years, Yaakov Katz’s articles published in The Jerusalem Post.
I have always admired his journalistic standpoint, whatever the subject. When he was military correspondent, as well as now, when he is the editor-in-chief.
It seems to me, however, that Katz got carried away by the election fever in his February 28 editorial. He writes, “For 15 months Israel has been fighting within itself: the Right against the Left; religious against the secular; and settlers against peaceniks.” The latter may well have been borrowed from a caricatural point of view. However, it does not prevent the reader from asking, “Really, this is how Katz sees the Israeli society? Left and Right ? OK. Religious and secular? Borderline, but OK. Let’s agree that this simplification is for the sake of journalistic style.
But settlers against peaceniks? Who are the settlers? Who are the peaceniks? Jews who are pro-settlements, but who live in Tel Aviv, are they settlers? And if they long for peace, are they peaceniks or settlers?
Everybody knows this feeling: whenever you read an article about a subject that you know very well, or even about yourself or your family, almost every time you see that the writer didn’t quite get it. He got close to the subject, but you can feel that it does not reflect the reality in many aspects.
Well, here, with Yaakov Katz’s editorial, it seems that he did not quite get it. Israeli society is more complicated than the way it is described in most non-Israeli newspapers... and now in the Post as well, apparently. We all know that calling some Israeli citizens “settlers” is a way of dividing Israeli society with excessive simple words. This process is not very far from the one described by George Orwell’s 1984.
I have a bad feeling that the Post, or at least a part of it, is becoming less Israeli and more non-Israeli.
Later in the article, I read that Benny Gantz’s calling for a Jewish majority government is bad, because “what would we say if a European politician would call for a Christian majority?” Is this all there is to say about it? Have the European countries acquired such a moral level that we can take them as a standard? Isn’t there an Israeli (if not a Jewish) standard to which we should refer to in order to show our disagreement with such a statement? And, should we really disagree? Isn’t the basis of Zionism to keep our country Jewish, accepting all minorities? Should we really rely on the reaction of European politicians, to tell us, “Not nice what you are doing?”
Israelis should not cling European or even American narratives. We reached independence in 1948; this should mean also an independent way of thinking.
Despite the fact that all eyes were focused yesterday on our third election in a year (and hopefully there will not be another one any time soon), kudos go to The Jerusalem Post for the comprehensive full-page coverage of the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington. In five informative articles, we learn much, for instance:
1) Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg condemns the Democratic candidates who call AIPAC and Israeli leaders racist and are open to conditioning aid and moving the US Embassy out of Jerusalem.
2) Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden acknowledges that Israelis face systematic incitement and “wake up every morning facing an existential threat from their neighbors,” although he is opposed to building communities in the E1 area east of Jerusalem.
3) Azerbaijan demonstrates that a Muslim country can befriend Israel and speak at AIPAC (which, unfortunately, some top US Democrats find themselves unable to do).
Jews everywhere benefit from the work of AIPAC and from the reliable journalism of the Post.
Petah Tikva
Braille fail tale
Regarding “First wine made by a blind and deaf person in Israel” (February 28), kol hakovod to Yossi Samuels for making his first vintage of wine. However, your reporter, Deborah Dahan, who wrote “Yossi is the only wine in Israel, possibly in the world to have a label written in Braille,” was evidently unaware that there are more than a few wineries using Braille labels all over the world, including, most famously, Chapoutier from the Rhone Valley in France who have been labeling their wine in Braille since 1996.
All shook up
To quote “Positive Reinforcement” (March 2), “Tama 38 began life as a national outline plan for reinforcing structures against earthquakes.”
Luckily, we haven’t had a major earthquake in the past 15 years since the inception of Tama 38. What indeed started out as a life-saving measure has developed into a bad joke. Residents fight among themselves and with neighboring buildings in an attempt to get everything for nothing and don’t seem at all concerned that, in the meantime, they are living in a building that could be demolished in an imminent earthquake; builders hold out for the maximum profit with minimum effort and input; municipal councils take years to make final permit decisions on these potentially life-threatening situations – and as usual, the lawyers are sitting pretty whatever the outcome.
Let’s all hope we never experience a real earthquake.
Wastes and waists
I have just returned from a Shabbat away in Herzliya. It could have been in any hotel from Rosh Pina to Eilat. The Israelis, and I regret it only seems to be the Israelis, pile their plates with food and then, like little birds, taken a forkful and leave the rest to be wasted.
I have three theories for this:
1) It is the concentration camp syndrome. There were great shortages in the past and now there is plenty; they need to see the food in front of them.
2) It is the Israeli psyche. “I paid for this hotel and so I am entitled to use it as my domain. I want to get as much value as I can and no one can stop me.” This is the same attitude that we see in the drivers and their self absorption, and in pedestrians on the pavement or crossing the road whenever they want to.
3) Faced with such great choices, they switch off and go round the food islands just robotically piling their plates.
Perhaps there is a charitable foundation that could sponsor a psychological study of this behavior and even find a cure. I have a suggestion for all self-service eateries: have food monitors going around and anyone leaving piled-up plates should be fined NIS 500 on the spot. It might help stop this gluttonous carnage once and for all.
Begin and conclude
Regarding “The journey to Jewish pride, beginning with Begin” (March 1), Menachem Begin was my hero. When he replied to the question after his election, how he intended to govern, he replied simply, “As a good Jew,” which was beautiful.
However, a “good” Jew doesn’t sacrifice the Jews’ “right to sovereignty in their ancient homeland and the right (and duty) to defend themselves from the unique hatred directed again them.” Yet after a war that we won at great sacrifice, he surrendered to Egypt the whole of the Sinai, including forcibly removing Jews from Yamit.
Instead of Israel bringing Egypt to its knees, it was Israel that was humiliatingly defeated diplomatically. Sadly, this was the precursor to other forcible evictions of Jews from their homes in order to appease the enemy, which of course didn’t work as an enemy becomes more powerful when it sees its adversary is weak.
In “The existential threat of a Palestinian state” (March 3), Shmuley Boteach outlines many of the compelling reasons why it is beyond folly to entertain carving out another country, particularly one that is unstable and fundamentally hostile, in the small area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
Once we accept that this land is ours by virtue of it being given to our forefathers and their progeny in perpetuity, it is clear that this means one land for one people, the Jewish people. This land has to be under the full control of the people that God returned here to build and settle it. We ask for no more than our historic and just rights to the Land of Israel, freed of all those that would take it from us.