Letters to the Editor March 9, 2020: Electoral calculations

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Electoral calculations
Whether or not we go to a fourth election, one of the key but mostly unmentioned factors that has led to three elections in 11 months has implications when it comes to annexation of heavily Arab-populated portions of the disputed territories.
Columnist Caroline Glick and Ambassador Yoram Ettinger have argued that demographic arguments for not annexing all of Judea and Samaria are invalid because the figures usually cited are inaccurate and we would still maintain a Jewish majority. However, the election deadlocks show that even today’s overwhelming Jewish majority is not enough, at least as long as the Arab minority votes for parties that represent Israel’s enemies more than Israel’s Arab citizens.
Check the arithmetic. Results so far in this third election project the United Arab List gaining 15 seats in the Knesset. Ideally, it would, like other special interest parties, be able to be part of a coalition and further the interests of its constituents. However, along with several very reasonable demands – indeed, governmental investment in Arab cities and towns, including schools and infrastructure, should be equal to that in Jewish areas and they shouldn’t even have to make such demands – are demands to that no sane Israeli leader could agree to, such as the demand that effectively translates into Israel not defending our people against terror attacks from Gaza.
Thus, rather than needing a simple majority of 61 out of 120 MKs to form a coalition, any coalition must have 61 out of the 105 MKs not from the UAL. This amounts to 58% – a veritable landslide in any election. And that’s just to form the smallest possible and most unstable coalition.
Although the Oslo Accords have, overall, been a disaster, the one positive is that, at a political level, we have separated from almost all the Arabs in the disputed territories. We cannot afford to reverse that by annexing territory already turned over to the Palestinian Authority.
Am I sorry I voted for Otzma Yehudit instead of someone on the Right? No.
I voted for people who spoke the truth and devoted their life to fighting for our homeland and Jewish people. People who did not worship US President Donald Trump and would never give an inch of our land, or citizenship to any Arab in Area A, B or C. Truthful people that pressure and money could never make them compromise to have a Palestinian state in our land; people who always fought for Hilltop youth and settlements; people who would cut off aid to Hamas and try to clean up all of Gaza to stop the terror being rained down on the south.
Israel is not politics to me; it is the Land given to me by God. It is mine to walk and drive safely in without fear of terrorism.
I know at the end of days there is one Judge on high and in His Knesset the truth will win.
Ma’aleh Adumim
By not withdrawing from the race when it was clear that it would not cross the threshold, the Otzma Yehudit Party cost the Right between one and two seats, and therefore, unforgivably, bears some responsibility for the political paralysis that we continue to find ourselves in.
I was dismayed by “The boomerang effect” editorial (March 6), which essentially presents the Arab Joint List party as the answer to the political impasse that has plagued the country over the past year.
The results of the election are clear. We have two large parties: the Likud under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (36 seats) and Blue and White under Benny Gantz (33 seats). The obvious solution to the long drawn out political deadlock is that the two parties should form a government, with or without additional parties. Blue and White should stop their boycott of Netanyahu after more than two million Israelis from the Likud and right-wing bloc voted for him, permit him to continue as prime minister for a limited period before Gantz takes over and Netanyahu takes leave to attend his trial. The country needs a stable productive government.
Far from being a persecuted minority, as the editorial seems to portray them, Israeli Arab citizens enjoy more freedom and equality than in any of the surrounding Arab countries. They have freedom to vote, freedom of religion and expression, are represented in the Knesset with 15 members out of 120 in the Knesset and are represented in every walk of life. There is always room for improvement, and once we have a stable government we trust their interests will be taken into consideration, as should those of all other sectors of the population.
The editorial welcomes as a “historic declaration” Joint List leader Ayman Odeh’s announcement that his party is ready to participate in the leadership of the country and describe it as an attempt to “advance Arab citizens.” Yet a quick review of their manifesto on Facebook gives a very different picture of their political aims. In the first words of their introduction under the title “Peace among the nations and national rights,” the Joint list aims to
• End the occupation of all Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese territories captured in 1967
• Uproot all the settlements and the racist partition fence
• Free all political prisoners
• Set up an independent Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem” and
• Achieve a “just solution to the refugee problem that will ensure their Right of Return according to [UN Resolution] 194.”
Among other points in their platform, in Chapter 2 of their parliamentary program, the Joint List will:
• Support the right of the Palestinian people to struggle against the occupation and for freedom
• Work against all US and Israeli plans (e.g. the Trump plan) that “contradict the international legitimacy of the Palestinian struggle”
• Work to stop the blockade on Gaza, and
• Reject the Israeli demand from the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.”
There is much more, but this gives the idea. Any attempt to depict the Joint List as some form of philanthropic and humanitarian party working solely for the welfare and advancement of the Israeli Arab population is disingenuous and intellectually dishonest.
“The boomerang effect” editorial suggests that it is time for the Arab political parties to join a minority government and in that manner to begin to improve the quality of cooperation of the Israeli Arabs in the life of the country.
Sounds like a great democratic idea – long overdue. But it could have disastrous consequences for the Arab minority and for Israel as well. The following harsh question has to be asked. In the next round of fighting with the Hamas, or the Hezbollah or the Fatah (and another round of warfare -especially rockets from Gaza - will surely come), will the Arab politicians support retaliation against Gaza or other more intense defensive counter attacks? Surely, they will not! They cannot. The government will fall or be hamstrung into inaction or be forced into yet another round of elections. The loyalty of the Arab politicians and thereby the Arab minority will be fiercely attacked, far more fiercely than ever before. The time for the Arab political parties to join a government is when Israel will be at peace with its Arab neighbors – otherwise we may be all walking blindfolded into the proverbial lions’ den.
It’s not Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s great campaigning that led to his advantage over Blue and White leader Benny Gantz in this election, it’s Gantz’s poor performance.
Everybody already knows what to expect from Netanyahu as prime minister, so it was less important for him to talk about his plans for the country than to downgrade the opposition. On the other hand, Gantz is an unknown quantity and had to make his case, but instead of taking advantage of the extra time to hammer home his vision for the country, he concentrated on attacking Netanyahu, seeming to be proud of himself every time he countered an insult from Netanyahu with an insult of his own. If he’s this clueless about getting elected, how would he be at running the country?
It’s ironic that the Arab citizens who are so adamantly opposed to border changes that would put them in “Palestine” vote for representatives who would like to turn Israel into Palestine.
Nation-state of the Jews
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach makes a valid point in “The existential threat of a Palestinian state” (March 3). However, keeping land that has a large non-Jewish population also poses a threat to the continued existence of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews.
There are many Arabs whom the Palestinian leaders have not managed to turn into terrorists who would, nonetheless, prefer not to live as members of a minority group in a non-Muslim country. It would be a major step forward if Sunni nations would rescind their laws barring Palestinians from citizenship, thereby providing an opportunity for the emigration of Arabs who don’t want to live under Israeli law or under corrupt Palestinian rule. Being able to start over among people with whom they share language, religion, and traditions would also end the limbo in which millions of Palestine “refugees” (nearly all multigenerational descendants of Arabs who fled Palestine during Arab-initiated violence) have been kept for decades.
And, in keeping with the need for the nation-state of the Jews to remain a Jewish majority state, the state rabbinate should ease the path to conversion of people who have, completely legally, entered Israel under the Law of Return despite not being recognized as Jews according to Halacha.
Atlanta, GA
Abbas reviles terrorism?
Regarding “What should Israel do about Gaza?” (March 5), it would appear that Nadav Tamir, board member of The Israel Institute for Regional Foreign Policies and former adviser to Shimon Peres, either does not know the meaning of the word “reviles” (condemns, censures) or has never heard of the official PA policy of praising terrorists, paying them and their families for their murdering innocent Jews and Israelis and teaching Palestinian children that to be a shahid and murder Jews is praiseworthy, when he writes, “We certainly have much better Palestinian partners for peace that we had in the past. The terrorist Arafat has been replaced by Abbas, who reviles terrorism.”
Tamir is either unaware that PA head Mahmoud Abbas denies the Holocaust, rejects all archaeological evidence proving that there was a Jewish presence in this land, including a First and Second Temple on the Temple Mount and does not recognize the legitimacy of the State of Israel – or he is deliberately hiding that truth from his readers. Surely, as a “former diplomat” he must know that the PA Charter has never been amended and the “2002 Arab Peace Initiative” does not recognize the right of the State of Israel to exist.
Basic law banning Bibi
Regarding “Is it legal to ban Bibi from forming gov’t post-election win?” (March 4), the proposed basic law that the Center-Left parties are seeking to adopt, banning any indicted member of Knesset from serving as prime minister, would probably be declared unconstitutional if it were adopted in the United States.
Despite the general character of the law, it clearly targets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and is intended to bar him from serving as head of the government. As such, the law is designed to punish an individual before he has had an opportunity to stand trial. If so, it could be regarded as a Bill of Attainder, prohibited under Article 1, Section 9, of the US Constitution. This is a human rights prohibition that presumably applies to laws adopted by the Knesset as well. As such, the Supreme Court could be expected to rule that the law cannot apply in the present instance.
Professor Emeritus, Hebrew University
Pogroms beneficial to Jews
Polish MP Janusz Korwin-Mikke uses the language of evolution to justify the murder of Jewish men, women and children in pogroms and presumably in the Shoah (“Polish MP: Pogroms were good for Jews, assisted natural selection,” March 5).
Therefore I am sure he would agree that the murder of 22,000 Polish Army officers on Stalin’s orders at the Katyn forest in 1940 helped improve the functioning of the Polish Army. The Polish Army and the Polish people were good at bullying and cowardly murdering defenseless Jews, but not as efficient as the Germans. The Jews added vitality and innovation to the moribund Polish state; pity that they lack so much of that now.
Piling it on
Harvey Green is absolutely correct in his letter to the editor (“Wastes and Waists,” March 4). His suggestion for a charitable organization to study the habit of hotel guests overloading their plates is interesting. Perhaps the wonderful Leket food harvesting and gleaning organization would be interested in this.
In fact, Leket founder Joseph Gitler has written on this very subject. Attention to and action on this issue would be for the good of the community.
Harvey Green posts an interesting question regarding how to stop plate piling and waste in a restaurant. A novel approach is taken by a sushi restaurant in London. They provide an “eat as much as you like” fixed-price menu, but at the end of the meal, whatever is left on the plate is charged back to the bill.
It’s not popular, but it does work and makes sense, since it stops people ordering more than they can eat just because its seen to be included.
Netanya and London