Letters to the Editor September 14, 2020: Right behind Bahrain

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Right behind Bahrain
 In “Years in the making: Bahrain and Israel establish relations” (September 12) Rabbi Marc Schneier predicts normalization with Qatar or Oman next.
The Trump-brokered deal with Bahrain opens the possibility of forging additional friendships. Suddenly targeting normalization with Kuwait, Sudan, Qatar, Oman and Morocco and Saudi Arabia doesn’t seem like an impossible task. US President Donald Trump was right when he said that other countries would follow suit and peace will come to the Middle East.
The mention of Qatar by Schneier baffles me. Looking at trends over the next few weeks or months, Qatar might try and jump the bandwagon and raise their hand for normalization with Israel. This friendship would be an effort to do mischief inside Israel. It may also be another effort for Qatar to come back to the Gulf Cooperation Council enclave. Let’s not forget that they are closest friends with our greatest enemies. They’ve tried to play brokers while hosting and being friendly to the most disastrous terror groups in the world. 
Israel and the US should be cautious not to pursue normalization with Qatar. Normalization means opening borders to people of both countries and freedom to invest money in each other.
Our historical friendships with Turkey and Iran in the past have turned poisonous. Israeli weapons have been passed on by the Turks to Iran. Turkey has been trying to entrench itself in east Jerusalem. Erdogan’s Turkey has used Israel’s friendship against it on many occasions. Since Israel does not have many friends, it has been too hesitant to confront Turkey’s menace or even break ties with them.
It’s best that we be friends with countries with whom we can grow together and protect each other’s interest than to make friends with someone who might quietly sting us.
Icy ICC approach
In “The ICC and the antisemitism critique” (September 10), the authors, members of the ICC Court system, noted the criticism against the Court vis-a-vis Israel and antisemitism. However, they posited that this is not the most efficient way to approach the ICC. Rather, they suggest that the strategy is to reveal the weaknesses of the prosecution and provide the judges with a more factually and legally accurate counter narrative.
There is a fallacy in their argument. This relates to the legal concept of judicial disqualification or recuse, whereby the Court “should abstain from participation in an official action such as a legal proceeding due to a conflict of interest or a lack of impartiality or while the fairness of the proceedings may be questioned.”
This certainly applies to the ICC system, whose bias against Israel and lack of impartiality are not hallmarks of a fair judicial modus operandi. Its actions in this regard are abundantly clear.
Thus, criticism of the ICC relating to its antisemitism is correct.
Stubborn COVID facts
Surely by now, six months into the COVID pandemic, we should know that people can spread COVID before any symptoms appear and even if they never have symptoms, so isolating known cases is always too late. The only way of eliminating COVID is to achieve widespread immunity either through an effective vaccine or the build-up of resistance through exposure.
Given the above and given that none of us has a clue how long it will be before any vaccine is available, what is the point of measures that are aimed to slow the spread of the virus – even assuming that they achieve this? Our government, like every other in the world that assumes that this should be its mission, is failing and is bound to fail because you cannot turn off the virus except with extreme lockdown measures that can only lead to economic disaster for the whole country.
Is it any surprise that people are ignoring the constraints that governments think they are entitled to impose on peoples’ lives? If people, particularly those who are vulnerable health-wise, want to stay at home and not venture into the streets even for 500 meters, they are fully entitled to do so, but why assume that they or anybody else has the right to impose this standard on everybody else when all it does is to lengthen the task of reaching herd immunity through exposure? 
Announcing daily the ever-increasing numbers of those who have tested positive as if it is some sort of failure or mask of shame may be good for the media but in fact it encourages false beliefs. There is no “second wave” of this virus; it never went away at all. Any government foolish enough to think it can achieve the impossible is blinding the public to think it can as well. 
Wailing women at the Wall
I agree wholeheartedly with Walter Bingham when he says in “Religious life in Jerusalem and Women of the Wall” (September 13) that Moshe Dayan’s infamous handing over the keys to the Temple Mount to the Wakf was “the greatest act of Jewish treason in modern times.”
One point, though, that he doesn’t make in his excellent article is that for the Women of the Wall the Kotel is merely a stage and their tefillin and tallit are merely props in their performances every Rosh Hodesh. They aren’t interested in davening at the Kotel. No doubt they do not daven the rest of the month three times a day, or even once a day, and certainly not wearing a tallit and tefillin. Maybe soon they will discover that tefillin shel rosh are adjustable in size, as I’ve yet to see a photo of a WOW member wearing her tefillin correctly, I mean... I guess wearing them can in fact ruin your hairdo. 
What it’s all about is legitimizing their “brand” of Judaism here in Israel. Getting government recognition and of course money for the Masorati movement, as they call themselves, so they can expand their services and outreach. 
Reform and Conservative Judaism are failed branches of Judaism. Just look at the much-cited Pew research polls of years back that 70% of Jews in America intermarry. Reform and Conservative Judaism are well on their way to destroying Judaism in America – and they’d like to import this into Israel? 
No thank you ladies...
Ma’aleh Adumim
Walter Bingham has it in for the Women of the Wall 
• They are feminists! Isn’t that a good thing? Don’t women deserve equal rights everywhere?
• They are loud! Should women stay home, cook, tend the children and be quiet? 
• They bring religious items! Who says they cannot? 
• They wear tallitot and tefillin making a mockery of the service! The mockery may be the ultra-Orthodox insistence on the separation of human beings from each other. 
• And then the final broadside: Bingham wonders whether they keep the other Torah commandments, especially those for women! Whose business is it whether they keep all the commandments and what commandments they keep? 
What a pity that the Western Wall was not developed as a National Historical Museum commemorating the glory of the survival of Jewish people. Instead we have a place where mens’ prayer and bickering supersede everything.
Bingham had the courage to write a really powerful article. He takes on a number of issues and shines the bright light of truth on matters. In the first section of the article, discussing Har Habayit, he slams Gen. Moshe Dayan. And correctly so. Dayan, in a deal with the enemy that Israel had thrashed, gave back Har Habayit. What was the deal, the quid pro quo? What did Dayan get out of the deal? A treasonous act without a doubt. 
The article continues to lay bare the true nature of WOW. Self-serving, destructive and hateful. They care little for the religion they claim to champion and show a blinding hatred for all who don’t agree with them. If their true motivation were to serve God, then they would light up with glory any place afforded them. But clearly this is about them and not their Ahavat HaShem. 
On a related topic, regarding “Shorten the trip” (September 13), please make up your minds. Last week your editorial was demanding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet with Joe Biden, the Democratic Trojan Horse who is pregnant with Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders; now you are demanding that he cut short his upcoming trip. Make up your minds – or are you double dealing so that whatever he does, you can publicly berate him? 
Bad sports
Regarding “Iranian champion wrestler Navid Afkari executed” (September 12), this shocking news will no doubt be followed by much hand wringing but little else.
The Olympic Committee should take immediate action, banning participation by Iran in future games. However, I won’t hold my breath regarding this, as after the murder of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972, the very same Committee did little more than relay a message that the Olympian ideals must carry on. There has been scant recognition by the Committee since then of that dark day.
No doubt the heinous execution of this champion athlete will garner a very similar non-response, placing a black mark on an organization that professes to encourage the harmonious development of humankind coupled with protecting the interest and safety of athletes.
Sadly this appears, along with some of their other well-versed principles, to be just Internet banner strap lines and very little else.
Tel Aviv
Kosova and Serbia not BFFs yet
Nowhere in “Kosovo and Serbia – Israel’s Balkan blunder” (September 10) does Michael Freund mention the context in which Israel has recognized Kosovo – namely an economic treaty entered into between Serbia and Kosovo brokered by the US government. His failure to do so is a critical omission that undermines the argument that Freund seeks to advance. 
Serbia may not yet be prepared to recognize the independence of Kosovo by opening an embassy there, but it is hardly refuting its existence by signing an economic agreement with it that has international standing. No doubt there are critics inside of Serbia’s government for the signing of any treaty with Kosovo, just as there is Palestinian criticism of the UAE for its peace treaty with Israel, but do we have to join those in every disputed country situation who are opposing the establishment of peaceful relationships in today’s world and reality?
Serbia is not going to invade Kosovo now to reestablish its control just as Israel has no intention to interfere in Palestinian autonomy to the extent granted in the Oslo Accords relative to Area A. 
Freund’s article would have been better spent in criticizing the EU’s interference with US President Donald Trump’s peace efforts with both Serbia and Kosovo for promising to open Israel embassies in Jerusalem – yet another totally negative backward move of the EU. 
Freund would be better advised to establish an Israel Serbia and Kosovo Friendship Association than to cling to the past history. Kosovo may well have been the heartland of Serbia up to 1389, but time has moved on since then.
Blame Bibi
Thanks to Yaakov Katz (“This government is a failure, September 11) for quoting from his November 2019 article when the prime minister was indicted: “The prime minister will be distracted, unfocused and unable to properly execute his duties.” In his latest column, Katz finds this point in time as fitting as any to take a victory lap regarding his clear-sighted prophecy. 
However, for all the tragically monstrous second wave of the pandemic hitting the country, Katz’s argument, in its choice of facts and sense of chronology, is deeply flawed. The effective extinguishing of the coronavirus first wave happened on Netanyahu’s watch after November; it isn’t even mentioned. The unparalleled transformative change of this country’s geopolitical situation in the Middle East and indeed in the world occurring these very days – a dream of generations of Israelis throughout the country’s history – also surprisingly(?) found no way to Katz’s article. But the prime minister “distracted, unfocused, unable to properly execute his duties” – c’mon Mr. Katz, are you serious?
The situation is certainly grave, and the present government so far hasn’t succeeded to find a way out. Blaming Netanyahu, though, is a facile, intellectually lazy premise, offering no clue for an improvement.
Tel Aviv University
Blame Abbas
Regarding “UN: Donor funding for Palestinians dropped by a third in last decade” (September 12), why does UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) director Mahmoud Elkhafif talk about the “Occupied Palestinian Territory” going from bad to worse when he means the autonomous Palestinian Authority?
Calling it “occupied” is misleading and infers that an “occupier” is to blame for the situation, when actually the PA and its leader Mahmoud Abbas are to blame. They could have made things better for their people but preferred to reject any solution that would call for the recognition of Israel.
So to all the UN agencies: No matter how much cash is donated, it will never be enough without radical reforms within the PA!
Petah Tikva
CORRECTION: The six-year-old who died from coronavirus (“Israelis who died from virus in last week included six year old” September 13) did not die last week, but was victim No. 542, who died earlier in the pandemic.