Letters to the Editor September 7, 2020: Corona: We’re number 1

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Corona: We’re number 1
Years ago, when the banning of the insecticide DDT was in the news, a Jerusalem Post item revealed that the population of India had the most DDT in their bodies and that Israel was only one step better.
At that time, the Post published a reader’s letter by the undersigned, in which I asserted that this indicated that there was only one health ministry less effective than Israel’s. Two facts noted in the editorial “A failure” (September 6) indicate that our health ministry has not improved: Israel has more new cases a day of coronavirus than any other country, and no coronavirus test station will be built at Ben-Gurion Airport until October or November.
Beit Zayit
In your discussion of the shortcomings of the government in dealing with the corona crisis, the transparency and bias of your newspaper screams out loud and clear.
You enumerate a list of urgent and vital steps that need to be taken and enforced: increasing tracing procedures, number of testing stations and their location, immediate prohibition of large assemblies, weddings, total cancellation of flights to Uman – yes all these are correct and essential.
But why does your editorial turn a blind eye to the biggest and most regular uninhibited assembly of closely-packed maskless people, who, in their thousands, rampage, scream and riot every Friday afternoon, Saturday night (starting even before Shabbat terminates) and once or twice during the week (just for fun) in the very center of residential Jerusalem, thereby not only endangering themselves, but indeed the entire population of Israel, because the exponential spread is uncontrollable?
Why does your editorial not reprimand the government on this? Do I need to answer this question, or does your blatant bias not make it rhetorical?
The Jerusalem Post discusses the underlying reasons behind the statistic that Israel now has the highest rate of cases per day per million people of any country in the world. Most of the blame is planted squarely in the lap of the government.
No other country in the world has to deal with:
• A minority population (in Israel’s case, the Arabs) who cannot relinquish their need for large scale uninhibited mass weddings in which social distancing is a joke, rather than the norm.
• Ultra-Orthodox sects in which pilgrimage en masse to the grave of a guru in a neighboring country is an absolute must.
• Yeshiva Torah studies for thousands of close-packed participants, absolutely necessary to save the country from losing its religious spirituality.
• Religious leaders calling for their flocks to ignore health restrictions. In no other country in the world does prayer come before physical health and safety.
• Endless demonstrations against almost everything that continue unabated, corona or no corona.
It’s not the government; it’s the people. Israel is ungovernable.
Tell Aviv?
I take issue with “Where is Aviv Kochavi” (September 4) regarding the silence of our Chief of General Staff Aviv Kochavi in the public arena.
The comparison of Kochavi’s deportment vs. the public profile of his American and British counterparts is specious. The former stands at the head of the army of a nation surrounded by hostile states while the other nations do not face continued existential threat. And while Israel plays a significant role in the evolving events of the Middle East, we and our chief of staff do not deal in global affairs similar to the involvement of the US and the UK. Let us also recall that every chief of staff is answerable to the Knesset, the people’s elected representative, and appears on a regular basis before the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Any contention that our populace is not au courant with the events on our borders is disingenuous. Whether or not Kochavi was briefed about the negotiations preceding the historic pact with the UAE begs the question of the importance of sharing information that is either premature or at risk of torpedoing a momentous event. That is a decision best left in the hands of the one who bears ultimate responsibility. I very much doubt whether Gen. George Marshall, then army chief of staff, would have shared the name “Manhattan Project” with his countrymen prior to August 6, 1945.
The chief of staff and the IDF are above politics and must maintain that posture at all times. Given the politically charged atmosphere in our country, Kochavi’s policy of communicating via the army’s spokesperson’s office keeps that policy intact. Finally, two aphorisms come to mind, one from our time-honored sources, the other of more recent vintage: S’yag l’chochma shtika (based on Rabbi Akiva, Avot 3:16, roughly translated as “Silence is golden/a virtue”) and from the days of World War Two: “Loose lips sink ships.”
Electricity outage outrage
I found no mention in The Jerusalem Post of the power outages and brownouts that took place from Friday afternoon through Shabbat and even after Shabbat on certain streets and areas of Jerusalem’s Har Nof, Bayit Vegan, Bet Shemesh and other neighborhoods. Instead of notification or reporting by the news media of brownouts and outages, there was misinformation and no updated IEC online information on outages.
Our “Start-Up” nation should be able to do better, especially with data on housebound individuals with the need for electricity to power vital medical equipment. How can it be that there is no SMS automated notification system for before, during and after power outages? The IEC has everyone’s email and phone number. This was a Third-World performance by the IEC – especially over Shabbat when usually there is little power usage by businesses. Even with AC usage, there is a reduction of use of many other energy-draining household appliances. I hope our elected officials will use their good offices to demand accountability.
I read with interest “Championing the rights of Seniors” in Healthy Living  (September 4), about our youngest minister, Meirav Cohen.
It seems clear she is passionate about helping our senior citizens, and as a minister, she is well placed to make things happen.
In the current heat wave, coming on top of corona, there are many seniors that hesitate to use too much air-conditioning (or even fans) for fear or receiving bills that are too high to handle. Would it not be appropriate for “Chevrat Chashmal,” supported by the government, to announce immediately that there will a reduction in bills for seniors and/or a payment holiday? India, Thailand and Slovenia are just three of the countries that have initiated similar schemes over the last few months, and it would be most welcome to see Israel added to that list.
Blackface matters
With all due respect to Ruthie Blum’s defense of Barak Shamir and the feeling that his kavannah (intention) was ignored, “not even giving the poor guy the benefit of the doubt” was just ridiculous. Anyone on social media is well aware of blackface.
Yityish “Titi” Aynaw was absolutely correct in denouncing the video. But, I would go one step further. In 2003, before#metoo, Kobe Bryant allegedly sexually assaulted a 19-year-old woman. The case was dropped before it went to court and an undisclosed settlement was made. Power and money were used to pressure a young woman. As we are now confronted with the horrible sexual assault in Eilat, it is important to teach our children who our real heroes are.
Shamir should read more about his idol. He can mourn the tragic death of not just Bryant, but also the others who were also on the plane. Hopefully the take-away will be that Barak will be the best role model he can be.
Extending civil law is not annexing
In your issue of September 2, the word “annexation” is used twice in your headlines, first in “Israeli assurances to halt annexation were prerequisite for deal,” and then in “Minister Akunis: I’ll promote annexation.”
How often must it be repeated that we do not need to apply or extend or even promote annexation over Judea and Samaria? Those areas are already our sovereign lands in international law, recorded in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, which is still in force today. All we need do is extend Israeli civil law to the territories. It is time government ministers and the media stop giving ammunition to our enemies by suggesting that we need to annex these lands as they are not legally ours. Remove the word “annexation” from your vocabulary when and if it applies to Judea and Samaria.
Rishon LeZion
You don’t say
In “Muhammad cartoons rerun as Charlie Hebdo trial starts” (September 3), French president Macron is quoted as saying, “The freedom to blaspheme went hand in hand with the freedom of belief in France. Satire is not a discourse of hate.” Satirizing someone’s faith is not freedom of speech. Neither is yelling “fire” in a crowded theater nor Holocaust denial. Belittling someone’s faith is obscene and should not be tolerated.
Imagine the use of the following religious imagery in a creative advertising campaign:
• A fat Buddha promoting diet medication
• Moses holding the two tablets of the Ten Commandments selling headache tablets
• The Auschwitz sign – Work Makes One Free – used as a slogan for a job placement company
• The image of the crucifixion to market adult diapers.
The list is endless and shameless and negates the quote in the article by Reporters without Borders head Christophe Deloir, “It was an act of courage and a rejection of intimidation.”
Believe it or not
It is often difficult to fathom the rationale for The Jerusalem Post’s editorial policy; and on days when we are treated to multiple left-wing pundits on the same day, it’s even worse.
But it is especially important to register a protest to Doug Bloomfield’s “Playing the Israel card,” (September 3) and his attack on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, one of Israel’s true friends in the US administration.
Pompeo is well able to defend himself, but in these Kafkaesque times, when challenging Iran and the communist leaders who have destroyed Venezuela is “bad,” and suggesting that the clowns who headed the State Department under former president Barack Obama were not, is insane.
In the end, Bloomfield hangs his opinions on far-left Washington Post editorial writer, Jackson Diehl – an enthusiastic supporter of John Kerry and the JCPOA. The Post should not have reprinted this column without a warning, “Danger If Really Believed.”
Natan and Anatoly
I am a sincere fan of Gil Troy. I have used his articles, from “Why I Am a Zionist” to his most recent article with my students at IDC Herzliya, with colleagues, friends and family in the US. I own his books and share his admiration of Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Arthur Hertzberg. So it pains me to offer even a small criticism of his article “A made-in-Jerusalem story” (September 2, 2020).
Of course, Natan Sharansky is an acknowledged Prisoner of Zion. But many of us first wore bracelets and attended demonstrations and wrote letters to US presidents about freeing Anatoly Scharansky, dissident, imprisoned for his work with the exiled Soviet physicist Andrei Sakharov on the Helsinki Watch (or the Moscow Helsinki Group).
And I have to say how it amused me to hear now-Natan Sharansky say that Israel was the only place in the world that mentions Sakharov’s name every day – when the radio reports the traffic jam at Gan Sakharov as commuters enter or leave Jerusalem.
I look forward to reading Never Alone by Natan Sharansky and Gil Troy.
A textbook example
In “Peace Without the Palestinians” (August 30), the authors write: “You must overcome decades of institutionalized hate and fear, in accepting that the average Palestinian does not want to see the destruction of all Israelis any more than the average Israeli wants to control the lives of all Palestinians.”
As the school year begins, I suggest that the authors check out Israeli vs. Palestinian schoolbooks and see which of them teaches “institutionalized hate and fear.” I submit that the “average Palestinian” has been brainwashed from a very young age in his home and in school and by government sponsored television programs and propaganda to deny “the humanity of the other side” and really does want the destruction of all Israelis.
Sadly , for this reason, I think that there is very little chance of compromise until the brainwashing stops. Because until it does, there won’t be a generation of Palestinians willing to accept the existence of Israel – without which there is no basis for compromise.
Beit Shemesh
Don’t forgo the term “FOGO”
Yet another petition was filed in the High Court of Justice by five foreign government-funded organizations: Gisha, Adalah, HaMoked, Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and Physicians for Human Rights (“Israeli NGOs urge court to halt Gaza fuel ban,” Sept 1).
Please let’s call a spade a spade. These “Israeli NGOs” are neither Israeli nor non-governmental. They are FOGOs – mouthpieces for their foreign government donors – and we clearly identify them for what they are by using that term.