December 30: Electoral negativity

I would like to hear why I should vote for a party or a prime minister, rather than why not to vote for another one.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Electoral negativity
Sir, – I am a citizen and a voter, and I am already tired of the negative election campaign and the mud-slinging from each and every one of the parties, their leaders, members and sympathizers (“Likud members to PM: We want Bennett, not Livni in future coalition,” December 27).
I would want, for a change, to see some positive thinking. The negatives I can see by myself, without assistance. I would like to hear why I should vote for a party or a prime minister, rather than why not to vote for another one.
Our country faces many existential problems: security, economics, education, health care, cost of living, affordable housing, haredim in the army and workforce, the Palestinian minority.
The list goes on and on. It should be clear that not all of them can be fully solved at one time.
Each party seems to dwell on a single issue, as if the others are not important or, worse, nonexistent, without admitting that all are interconnected, at least by the availability of funds. If you take a larger piece of the pie, the others will get a smaller serving.
It is not enough to state one’s preferred issue – I want to hear how each candidate would approach it in the context of the others. The key word is “how,” not only “what.”
I know I am not alone. I hope the parties listen, plan accordingly and let us, the voters, know about their plans.ERNESTO BONDAREVSKY Ramat Hasharon No place like home
Sir, – I take exception to Rabbi Benny Lau’s assertion that “only Orthodox worshipers feel at home at the Western Wall....” (“2 national-religious rabbis propose provision for non-Orthodox prayer at Western Wall,” December 27).
It is only the ultra-Orthodox who are comfortable with the degree of separation. I know many, many Orthodox worshipers who also do not feel “at home” there. Any woman who has had to stand precariously on a plastic chair (if she’s lucky enough to find one) in order to hear or see her son chant his bar mitzva portion would, perhaps, choose a stronger description than “not at home.”
ELLIE MORRIS Asseret Shocking chutzpah
Sir, – I am shocked beyond belief at the chutzpah of Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein, who feels it his personal privilege to unilaterally override the decision of the Central Election Committee and allow the treasonous MK Haneen Zoabi to run again for Knesset (“State refuses to defend disqualification of Zoabi,” December 27).
Who gave this man the right to decide against the will of the people? This one man has the power to single-handedly overturn a democratic decision by the democratically elected Knesset! If Weinstein feels he cannot represent the state, he should recuse himself or resign. If he refuses, the prime minister should fire this leftist apparatchik who represents nobody and abuses his power to further his own personal political agenda.
SHAUL BEHR Beit Shemesh
Unpicked brainpower
Sir, – “30 million Israeli flowers meant for Christmas in Europe left unpicked” (December 27) was depressing to read. Are we living in Chelm? We are short 5,000 flower pickers.
The housing for them exists.
All the facilities are in place. A little bit of brainpower: Give 5,000 African migrants a chance to help the flower growers and the Israeli economy.
We used to be the most dependable close source of flowers for Europe. We are throwing away our credibility.
Seasonal discord
Sir, – With all the discussion regarding Christmas trees and New Year’s Eve (“’Tis the season,” Letters, December 27), maybe we should adopt the celebration “Festivus,” like the father of George Costanza in a Seinfeld episode.
When we make issues of such things, it is not surprising that the really serious disputes in this country cannot be resolved. Will 2013 be any different?
Sir, – Ouch! Why does Gil Troy have to resort to name-calling, or rather complete haredi bashing (“Haredi grinches should stop shouting ‘Oy to the world,’” Center Field, December 25)? “Jewish Talibans?” I am not haredi, but I, too, am offended by a Christmas tree being placed at the Jaffa Gate, the main entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem, the Jewish capital of Israel. Likewise, I was offended last year and the year before when I visited the Old City and was greeted by Santa Clause and signs all over the Jaffa Gate wishing me a “Merry Christmas.”
I was used to this in North America, where for 35 years I was bombarded with all things Christmas, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, literally everywhere I went. It was a breath of fresh air the first year after I made aliya when I realized that the holiday had come and gone without my knowledge! Preferring not to have holiday symbols of other religions displayed so close to where our holy Temple once stood does not make us anti-Israel or anti-Zionist – it makes us... Jewish! The fact that the writer somehow connects this to haredi resistance to the draft is just another way to take a jab at a part of the population he views only with contempt, referring to haredim (all haredim it seems, as he makes no apparent distinction between any groups) as “Jewish deviants,” “Jewish extremist Talibans” with “nasty, narrow-minded and narcissistic” interpretations of Judaism.
Wow! I’d say the writer himself is displaying just these characteristics.
Who’s a Christian?
Sir, – Your article “Christian population in Israel growing” (December 26) appears to categorize all immigrants from the former Soviet Union who are non-halachically Jewish as Christian.
Thus, all immigrants from mixed marriages who do not meet halachic criteria are “Christian.”
I can appreciate that this follows rabbinically guided government regulations, but it probably results in distorted information. I would assume that some of those categorized as “Christian” would claim to be non-religious or actually identify themselves as Jews.MOSHE KAPLAN
Death and dying
Sir, – “Thou shalt not kill; but needst not strive officiously to keep alive.” These best-known lines from Arthur Hugh Clough’s poem, written 150 years ago, are even more applicable today, when patients can be kept alive almost indefinitely by means of modern technology.
Benjamin Corn (“Can preparation make death less daunting?,” Perspectives, December 26) raises some vital issues. In my opinion, being able to discuss this inevitable event with one’s family and friends, and making plans go a long way toward mitigating the fear.
Most people are far more afraid of prolonged suffering and being a burden to their loved ones than they are of death. For peace of mind, the answer is to make a living will, a document officially drawn up and witnessed by a lawyer in which one states that in an end-of-life situation, where the vital signs are fading, there is no longer a possibility of living any kind of meaningful life, and one is unable to voice his or her own desires, heroic measures are not to be undertaken.
This needs to be discussed with one’s children and grandchildren, who should be given copies of the document. While they might try to avoid talking about such an emotional issue, this planning could well prove to be a source of great help and comfort to both the patient and the family when the time comes.