July 26: Political enslavement

Any politician worth his salt knows he must put together a platform that will attract the maximum numbers of voters.

(photo credit:)
(photo credit: )
Political enslavement
Sir, – MK Moshe Gafni, in “Haredi politicians, draft reform campaigners reject Ya’alon proposal” (July 24), is quoted as saying: “Those who study Torah are the guardians of the Jewish people....”
I would like to amend that statement: Those who practice Torah by serving in the army and working are the guardians of the Jewish people.
Any politician worth his salt knows he must put together a platform that will attract the maximum numbers of voters. It is not surprising that haredi politicians run on a platform that includes exemptions from military service, exemptions from joining the workforce, and maximum social benefits. Once this chain is broken and haredim go to work and are inducted into the army they won’t need haredi politicians any more.
Let’s help free the haredim from their enslavement to haredi politicians.
Amazing story
Sir, – Marc Zell (“Making Ariel University a reality,” Comment & Features, July 24) tells an amazing story in which I had the privilege of participating.
I came to Israel from the United States 12 years ago to teach at the College of Judea and Samaria. To see it grow during that time from a small college to a university with 13,000 students is a powerful demonstration of the Zionist miracle of our startup nation.
As a former professor at Columbia University and research fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I can attest to the excellence of Ariel University’s educational and research programs. I proudly identified my affiliation with Ariel in papers published in international peer-review journals and in books.
It was my great honor to have taught at Ariel University until I retired as its first professor emeritus.
It takes a village
Sir, – I was pleased to read “Bill on nutritious food in schools passes first reading” (July 23).
The idea of changing the Bamba generation’s eating habits by attempting to upgrade the quality of school meals sounds like a simple and admirable step.
Unfortunately, the United States has learned from decades of evaluating diverse programs aimed at improving nutrition among school children that changes like the one proposed in this bill rarely accomplish very much.
Only when programs have involved the participation of food services, teacher-directed classroom activities and direct parental commitment has measurable improvement been demonstrated. Making it stick in the long term requires charismatic and dedicated leadership.
As a professional nutrition educator I sadly doubt the plan to upgrade and publicize the food composition of school service meals can by itself succeed in bettering our children’s eating habits.
Jewish penicillin
Sir, – It’s poetic justice that as a direct result of its seemingly implacable enmity against the Jewish state, Iran is suffering from a desperate shortage of chicken soup (“Soaring price of chickens puts ordinary Iranians in hot soup,” Business & Finance, July 23).
Who knows? Perhaps our shared appreciation for this dish can herald a truly new Middle East. Maybe one day, Iranian tankers will deliver fuel at Israeli ports and return home filled with chicken soup.
As peace plans go, I’ve heard far worse than “chicken soup for oil.”
Davis and Leibler
Sir, – The continued animus between British Jewish leader Mick L. Davis and Post columnist Isi Leibler (“Scandal or not,” Letters, July 23) made me consider who is a Zionist.
The definition I have always accepted is that Zionism is a form of nationalism of Jews and Jewish culture that supports a Jewish nation-state in territory defined as the Land of Israel.
The recent Levy Report confirms that this land includes all of Judea and Samaria. Thus, any person who advocates BDS against Jewish settlements in these areas forfeits the right to be considered a Zionist, and any organization employing such a person similarly forfeits such rights.
There are, of course, some true Zionists who believe that some of these areas should be granted to the Palestinians to form their own state in order to avoid losing a Jewish majority in Israel.
Tel Mond
Sir, – Isi Leibler (“New scandal impacts on Anglo-Jewry,” Candidly Speaking, July 19) claims to “hold no personal animus” against United Jewish Israel Appeal head Mick Davis. Yet he goes on to mention Davis 12 times in an opinion piece that purports to be about Joe Millis’s opinions on Israel (mentioned only five times by comparison).
Millis does not act as spokesperson for UJIA. Anyone who has an understanding of the practices of UK Jewish charities would know that above Millis sits a team of executive professionals that include a director of communications, a CEO and a chairman, and that behind that team sits a remarkable communications lay-committee made up of industry-best professionals in marketing and communications, many of whom also sit as trustees on the UJIA board.
As a former marketing manager at UJIA it is important to note that like Millis, I never met Davis before or during my tenure.
Also, I never wrote or released any public statement about UJIA without at least half a dozen or more people reviewing it and approving it.
To call Millis’s appointment a “scandal” is simply ludicrous and uninformed, and shows the author of the piece to indeed hold some kind of personal animus against Davis.
There is no one person in our UK Jewish community more dedicated and supportive of the State of Israel than Mick Davis.
He is entitled to express his opinions about Israel, even when critical of its behavior. For Leibler to criticize him for doing so after writing such an appalling opinion piece is quite simply hypocritical.
Bushey, UK

Learn from Saddam
Sir, – Irwin Cotler’s “Combating Iran’s cycle of denial, deception and delay” (Observations, July 20) was comprehensive and informative, but not particularly encouraging.
Success in depriving Iran of its nuclear option by diplomacy or sanctions seems increasingly unlikely. Even if successful, attacking its nuclear installations, an enterprise fraught with difficulties and expensive in resources and possibly lives, cannot promise more than a temporary effect.
American policy should learn from the late, unlamented Saddam Hussein. After 12 years of inconclusive warfare with Iran he unleashed a number of Russian rockets on Tehran. Iran’s rulers understood that the war was no longer for soldiers at the front or children in the minefields, but in the streets and their own palaces.
The war ended forthwith.
Similarly, a threat to destroy a small area of Iran from the sea unless Tehran undertakes total compliance and allows full inspections would be eminently persuasive. Such action would involve minimal risk to life and undue expense of resources. Of course, it would need to be preceded by intensive warnings.
If unsuccessful, the follow-up would be a similar attack on the gorgeous Iranian capital. Carrying out this threat would surely bring immediate compliance.
Iran’s facility with missiles increases constantly so that any external interference should be sooner – much sooner – rather than later. Meanwhile, we hope that our own defenses will be equal to any Iranian reaction.