Letters to the Editor, September 23, 2020: Honoring Honduras

The readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Letters
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Honoring Honduras
Regarding “Honduras to move embassy to Jerusalem” (September 22), I would like to add my praise and blessings to Honduran President Juan Hernandez and his countrymen for having the vision and courage to join the US and Guatemala with embassies in our capital and eternal city – choosing the right side of morality and history in defiance of the strident threats of powerful Israel haters.
Other countries will soon join you.
Our thousands of years of cherishing Jerusalem as the capital of our homeland underscore the shallowness of the recently minted delusional claims of the PA that Jerusalem is suddenly their “eternal capital.”
Countries like Honduras, the UAE and Bahrain may finally be teaching the PA that peace must address the dreams and aspirations of both sides. As long as the PA clings stubbornly to its uncompromising and unwarranted demands, they will continue missing opportunities to end the hostility and improve the lives of their people.
The Honduran leader is a visionary. The corrupt PA leader in the 16th year of his four-year term is a fraud and an obstacle to peace.
JOAN KIRSCHNER
Jerusalem

Regarding “A new Middle East?” (September 17), there is a paradigm shift in the Middle East.
The Arab-Israeli conflict is over. The signing of diplomatic agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signals that the Arab world will no longer be held hostage to the “Palestinian cause.” Other Islamic countries are expected to come out publicly. Many of them have had dealings with Israel, the world leader in water and agricultural management and a technological giant.
The Palestinian Authority is invited to the discussion, but has angrily refused to acknowledge their weakening position. They have lost their veto.
The American “Peace to Prosperity” plan recommends Israel extend full sovereignty over 30% of Judea and Samaria, giving them border security. It offers the PA a little more land than Egypt and Jordan occupied between 1949 and 1967 plus a $50 billion development fund.
The exact borders will be determined by Israel and the PA. The starting point for discussion is no longer the irrelevant 1949 armistice lines. It is the American map.
Arab states have lost patience with the PA’s intransigence and Iranian-backed terrorism. It is time for all the players to compromise constructively and move forward together for a brighter future.
LEN BENNETT, AUTHOR OF UNFINISHED WORK
Ottawa, On.

Regarding “Did UAE, Bahrain betray Palestinians by ignoring two-states in accords?” (September 16), how can Prime Minister Netanyahu extend his hand to Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas when the PA by virtue of its enabling document, the PLO Charter, remains committed to the annihilation of Israel and its eight million Jews?
These annihilation of Israel clauses in the PLO Charter cannot be revoked verbally – not by Yasser Arafat or by anyone else. Clause 33 of the PLO Charter makes clear that only by a 2/3 vote of the full membership at a meeting called for the specific purpose of revoking the annihilation of Israel clauses can these clauses be revoked. Such a meeting has never occurred.
Therefore, notwithstanding statements to the contrary by US president Bill Clinton and others, these clauses have never been revoked. At this moment the Palestinian Authority is constitutionally committed to the annihilation of Israel.
The Palestinian Authority must very publicly and legally revoke the annihilation of Israel clauses. Until then, what’s the point of even talking with them?

RICHARD SHERMAN
Margate, Florida

Salem El Ketbi is certainly correct (“Iran’s virtual signaling with the Palestinian cause,” September 21) that Iran’s leaders use the Palestinian cause for propaganda purposes, but have shown no concern whatsoever for the actual plight of the Palestinian people (no funding, no food aid, no civil support).
But he is wrong when he implies that there is still some form of covert relationship between Israel and Iran, based on the fact that Israel sold arms to Iran in the past. During the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88) Israel did supply some arms to Iran, but they did so secretly and they also supplied arms secretly to Iraq. This was more “a pox on both their houses” than “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

PROF. JACK COHEN
Beersheba

Leifer should be a lifer
Regarding “Court orders Leifer’s extradition” (September 22), Judge Chana Miriam Lomp, of the Jerusalem District Court has ruled that Malka Leifer, the former Melbourne head mistress of the ultra-Orthodox Adass Israel Girls’ School, should be extradited to Australia to face 74 charges of child sexual abuse against three alleged victims. These three victims are now adults who suffered, through no fault of their own. They need and deserve closure.
Leifer will undoubtedly appeal this verdict. It would be best and advisable for the Supreme Court to either refuse her leave to appeal or deny her appeal on merits, which would leave the path open for immediate extradition.
Leifer fled to Israel from Australia in 2008 when charges against her were first brought. She has been living her life here for 12 years mainly freely, socializing, while no fewer than 70 court hearings were held during which her defense team and supporters, including MK Rabbi Ya’acov Litzman, pled she was mentally unfit to stand trial for extradition. Having proven that this is not the case, we now wait for Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn to sign an extradition order. Let’s hope this happens soon.
It has taken long enough for this District Court ruling; let us not wait any longer. The truth must out.

HELENA ORENSTEIN
Elazar, Gush Etzion

Hazy praise
Susan Hattis-Rolef presents her outline of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s New Year’s political achievements or lack thereof in “Best news of the New Year” (September 22). If you never really understood the phrase “damning with faint praise” you have to read this article.
Netanyahu didn’t use the UAE agreement as a rallying point for reconciliation in the divided Israeli society. Okay, it may have been an accomplishment but Bibi has been served with three indictments, distorts facts, blurts out lies, delegitimizes Israel’s Arab citizens, inflicts damage on Israel’s democratic institutions and so on and so on. Although it (the UAE accords) was a step forward, he actually didn’t initiate the warming up process and so on and so on.
And, of course, Netanyahu could not have done it if not for Trump, who is also a terrible egomaniac. The ceremony in Washington was a big washout since Netanyahu didn’t invite his political rivals and he thrives on the divisions in Israeli society.
If tomorrow PA leader Mahmoud Abbas were to announce that the Palestinians had agreed to all of Israel’s demands and that Netanyahu was a great leader of historic dimensions who by his enormous efforts had finally brought about Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation, Hattis-Rolef would be right there saying, “Yeah, maybe, but he distorts the truth...”

YIGAL HOROWITZ
Beersheba

“America’s stark post-choice” (September 22), a hate-filled screed by all-but-unknown Keith Lepor, was a low blow even by The Jerusalem Post’s apparent Left-leaning standards.
What is the value of promoting a former congressional candidate, who lost badly, to air his vituperative message against US President Donald Trump and Republicans? Especially when the source of his frothing at the mouth contains absolutely no factual basis.
Where was the mention of the pre-pandemic Trump economy, the massive reduction in unemployment, the huge advances in Middle East peace, the move of the embassy, the re-centering of foreign policy after the terrible Obama years?
If the saving grace for Lepor was that he attended Oxford University, so did a generation of Soviet moles.
CHAIM ABRAMOWITZ
Jerusalem, Israel

Unscientific criticism
Regarding “Without joy, without hope” (September 18) former prime minister Ehud Olmert is not a scientist or physician. His stinging condemnations of the government’s handling of the pandemic for being too influenced by populism and political considerations, and being incompetent indecisive and unprofessional, all sound hollow coming from a consummate politician and hypocrite such as himself.
While I agree with much of the substance of his criticisms, he is hardly in a position to preach. When he was health minister, he tried to promote one of the more disastrous ideas in this field, namely calling for every hospital independently to be a profit-making entity. Thankfully this harebrained scheme died with his term of office.
But perhaps the most galling aspect of his column is the fact it exists in your honorable publication. Does one need to remind you that he is a convicted criminal and corrupt felon who served time and has shown no remorse for his heinous crimes? The fact that he debased and devalued the esteemed office he held is no qualification for being allowed to peddle his opinions, some of which by chance may have in themselves merit, but that coming from him actually damage the cause he purports to promote? I call for The Jerusalem Post to reassess inclusion of his column.

PROF. ANTHONY LUDER
Paediatrics, Ziv Medical Center, Safed

COVID-19 and Psych 101
Regarding “Coronavirus cabinet to meet on tightening lockdown restrictions" (September 21), I have always thought that the government’s coronavirus response and the public’s understanding would benefit from a psychologist’s input. Apparently lacking, I render my thoughts now.
What needs to be done to reduce COVID morbidity is well known. Everyone knows the rules; to reduce exposure, we need to wear masks (correctly) and maintain physical distance. What is needed is more consistent and effective measures to ensure and enforce compliance. I recognize that the government’s job is not easy and value their efforts being made. I have two suggestions to improve the situation.
1) We need someone to fill the role that Nachman Shai did during the Gulf War. Every evening for five to 10 minutes, we, the public, need to be kept informed of the current situation. We all need to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. For example, in this daily briefing, please let us know who died in the past 24 hours. Make it real for us. Tell us about them. We need to feel as if they were our friend or neighbor.
2) With regard to restrictions, you must be consistent in what you are asking everyone to do. It must really be the same for everyone from the prime minister and those that work with him to the couple who live next door. No one is automatically exempt. Everyone knows what must be done. It is not a matter of convenience. The rules have to be followed and consistently enforced. If certain areas need even more restrictions, explain why and don’t backtrack.
Don’t threaten us and then not follow through. Make the rules clear, easy to understand and enforceable. And enforce them. Absolutely no one, unless they have written permission issued by the Home Front Command should be seen in public – off their own personal property – without a full mask covering their nose and mouth. The fine should be a true deterrent and therefore hefty, and we all need to know that you will have people everywhere enforcing it. There are no warnings. This is now a matter of life and death.
When you talk to us each night, let us know how these rules are working. Let’s not add further restrictions that are crippling us emotionally, financially and otherwise. We know what works when trying to elicit desirable behavior change from our children. The rules must be simple, clear, consistent and enforceable, and be accompanied by effective measures to encourage compliance and deter non-compliance. The same principles apply here. Simply communicate openly, take the few rules we have and consistently enforce them and help us help you do your job effectively.
DR. BATYA L. LUDMAN, PSY.D., FT
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Ra’anana

The headline photo on September 11 has the following caption, “Shoppers in Mahaneh Yehuda market yesterday wear masks, as the country passes 4,000 coronavirus diagnoses in a single day.”
Looking closely at the photo, I can identify nine people wearing their mask properly, covering the nose and mouth, and six people either not covering at all or excluding the nose.
Doing the math, that snapshot survey shows that only 60% of the people at the market were wearing a mask. With that percentage of mask wearers in a crowded market, of course the result is the headline: “Nation barrels toward closure as infections soar.”
CHAIM FRIEDMAN
Bet Shemesh

In “Shocking ‘Fresh, Fresh’ commercial promotes vegan diet in Israel” (Sept 16), reporter Hannah Brown encourages viewers to make the connection between living animals and packaged meat.
In our current sad situation of lockdown and coronavirus deaths, it is hard to think of anything else, but eating animals and pandemics are linked. The world is being harmed in so many ways by people’s addiction to animal-based foods; I hope that it leads some to a rational conclusion to consider switching to a healthful, delicious, meat-free lifestyle with fresh fruits and vegetables.
JAYN BROTMAN
Cincinnati, Ohio

Kudos to Katz
I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to the editor of The Jerusalem Post, Yaakov Katz, for his timely piece, “This Rosh Hashanah, let’s strive to be better,” (September 18).
Katz beautifully describes how we can all do better in these difficult times. May we all take his words to heart – and may we all be blessed with a shana tova.
ANN ROSMAN
Jerusalem