March 11: Kick the habit

Instead of feeding its hopeless addiction, our government should insist on a reduction of at least 10 percent of US foreign aid every year.

Kick the habit
Sir, – Before our defense minister seeks an additional handout (“Barak: Israel may ask US for another $ security aid,” March 9), perhaps one of his advisers should inform him that America is going through a severe financial crisis, and his timing might be a bit off.
Instead of feeding its hopeless addiction, our government should insist on a reduction of at least 10 percent of US foreign aid every year. Less dependence would reduce the pressure Israel faces from a hostile administration.
Let’s act like a true independent country, not some addicted delinquent.
Sir, – In the March 9 Jerusalem Post you report that a Fatah-affiliated group is honoring a terrorist (“Fatah youth center near Ramallah names tournament after suicide bomber”).
Since Fatah is obviously not committed to peace, why would the same day’s editorial (“Peace in a volatile region”) suggest that “the PA must be encouraged to offer a sane alternative to Hamas?” The only difference between Fatah and Hamas when it comes to destroying Israel is the methodology.
Sir, – In “The speech Netanyahu should make” (Encountering Peace, March 9), Gershon Baskin confidently says the Palestinians have rejected the threat of force, violence and terrorism.
His column appeared the same day the Post reported on the Fatah youth center naming a tournament after suicide bomber. What a touching memorial! A stunning example of this rejection of terrorism! I wish Baskin pleasant dreams; they are always preferable to a rude awakening.
Goes much deeper
Sir, – I found almost all the main points of “Keep God on the right side” (Editorial, March 8) accurate, if disturbing.
It states: “This stubborn and irrational opposition to the integration of women into religious leadership cannot be divorced from the blatant chauvinism unabashedly articulated by prominent rabbis.” In fact, the blatant chauvinism of Israeli rabbis pales in comparison to a much greater and blatant chauvinism that is still the cornerstone of almost every sphere of modern Israeli society.
What about the blatant and well-documented discrimination against women in terms of the huge salary gaps in almost every sphere in both the private and public sectors? How many women MKs are there? How many women prime ministers have we had, or directors-general, mayors, local council members, or even senior city and government officials? Is not the IDF, with all due respect to its amazing achievements, not infected with blatant chauvinism when it comes to the advancement of women? Can we really expect to see a woman chief of General Staff anytime soon? Finally, and most disturbing of all, is the shocking and sickening mistreatment, sexual harassment and even rape of women by some of our highest officials – not to mention the rising incidences of spousal abuse and even murder – which reflect more than anything the macho norms and inferior images of women that are still too prevalent in Israeli society.
So while one cannot deny the editorial’s closing statement, that “women have made enormous headway in recent decades,” these attitudes continue to pervade large swaths of Israeli, and not just religious, society.
Without addressing the much more basic and deeply entrenched discriminatory nature of Israeli society in general, change in the religious sphere will also be long in coming.
Hatzor Haglilit