March 5: Coalition talks

It’s a good bet that Bayit Yehudi voters did not expect or welcome the partnership with Yair Lapid.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )

Coalition talks

Sir, – A Shas official’s claim that there is a “bond between Lapid and Bennett, and their hatred for the haredim is unbreakable at this stage” (“Netanyahu launches talks for coalition without haredi parties,” March 4) is libelous of most voters of Naftali Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi party.

The real surprise for the party’s voters is not the partnership with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, but that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is against a religious Zionist party. Perhaps too, Netanyahu is angling for a Nobel Peace Prize for evacuating settlements.
It’s a good bet that Bayit Yehudi voters did not expect or welcome the partnership with Lapid. Under the circumstances, however, and contrary to the opinions expressed in “Haredi leaders strike out at Bennett, Lapid” (March 3), Bennett needs to get into the coalition in order to prevent the prime minister from evacuating those settlements.

Sir, – I cannot fathom the positions taken by Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid. He wants to be part of the coalition. He will be if he acts like a person who loves Israel, and not like another crass politician.

The issue of haredim serving the country applies equally well to the recalcitrant youth of Tel Aviv and to Arab citizens. All elements in Israel’s mosaic should be doing army or national service. However, it is not an issue that should prevent Lapid from joining the government in a responsible way.
It is time to form a strong government that can face the reality of a world that has no love for Israel.

Sir, – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was given 14 more days to form a government. Given the current constellations at the table, with little likelihood of compromise, there is little likelihood of Netanyahu being able to succeed.

However, four and a half years ago we were in a similar situation when Tzipi Livni’s party won the election but she could not succeed in forming a government. President Shimon Peres turned to the second place party, the Likud, to do so.
Why is 2013 different from 2008? Why can’t the president again turn to the second-place party so as to avoid the expense of millions of shekels on new elections?



Ho hum

Sir, – You report that according to anti-AIPAC protesters over 300 people (perhaps 301?) will have shown up to demonstrate against the pro-Israel lobby group during its three-day Washington conference, attended by some 13,000 supporters of Israel.

You think that’s worthy of a frontpage article? Must have been a slow news day.

Stand up

Sir, – In “Erdogan’s outrage” (Editorial, March 4), you say the Turkish prime minister’s “outrageous comments equating Zionism with ‘crimes against humanity’ such as anti-Semitism, fascism and Islamophobia have largely been left unchallenged by leading global leaders.” It doesn’t take too much imagination to know what an uproar there would have been had Israel made similar remarks, but being politically correct and too damn afraid to upset anyone, there’s no chance of that happening.

Has our response been any better than that of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon or US Secretary of State John Kerry? The answer is a resounding no.
For years, Iran has been allowed to call for Israel’s destruction, yet we still have the world running round in circles trying to talk to it.
Not even Israel has called for Tehran to be taken to the International Criminal Court, where it belongs.
Kerry’s main response seems to have been that we must try to heal the rift between us and Turkey.
That, of course, is the stance of our own government. Imagine: Our guys were defending their lives on the Mavi Marmara against terrorists or thugs (call them what you like) who were attacking them with iron bars, and in the process a few of those terrorists/thugs were killed.
We have offered to pay compensation to their families and make an apology. If not so tragic it might be laughable.
I would say that if you allow ridicule and condemnation, as we do, without strong retaliation – in fact, without any kind of retaliation – you must expect to be treated like the proverbial doormat. So let’s stop whining at the injustices and stand up for our rights, like proud Jews in the historic Land of Israel.


Guarantors are useless

Sir, – Larry Snider (“Can Obama make a substantive contribution to peace?” Comment & Features, March 4) suggests that peace “must be made viable once again and must be supported internationally....”

Given numerous past opportunities to act to prevent genocide, the world powers have always been too late. Here are a few examples: the Holocaust, Cambodia, Darfur, Rwanda, Iran, Syria. Hence, international guarantors mean very little when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of peace, let alone survival.
Moreover, international guarantees to prevent arms transfers (e.g., to Hezbollah) also mean little, and agreements to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons (e.g., to Pakistan, North Korea and Iran) are useless.
Ironically, the writer overlooks the fact that a relative peace has existed since the end of the last war between Israel and the West Bank Palestinians. We should build on this, but not depend on the international community or even the Palestinians for enforcing a security arrangement.


Sir, – No Muslim state called Palestine existed before modern Zionists came to the Holy Land to join the ancient Jewish community living here since biblical days.

Mark Twain visited and reported that the land was unfit for humans.
The local Arab population in those days was 200,000. By 1948 it had grown to 1,200,000 due to migration. These Arab migrants had been attracted by economic conditions that were far better than in neighboring Muslim countries, since the Zionists had drained the swamps and made the desert bloom.
Arabs now claim that there are 12,000,000 Palestinians in the world. If so, these figures prove that Israel is responsible for genobirth, not genocide! Before creating a Palestinian state, the UN should demand proof that the Palestinians will live in peace, according to the UN Charter, with all their neighbors, including Israel. The Arabs should first prove that they have educated a new generation that wants to live rather than die.


What about Pollard?

Sir, – It was rather disappointing that your interview with Martin D. Siegal, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Federations of North America (“JFNA head: Obama trip is a ‘very positive sign,’” February 20) made no mention of Jonathan Pollard, the Israeli patriot who sought only to protect Israel and its people.

There is a stark contradiction between the upcoming trip to Israel by US President Barack Obama and his total lack of humanitarian consideration, with the concomitant perception of the president’s anti-Semitic bias.
In the final analysis, has The Jerusalem Post, along with Siegel, abandoned and betrayed Jonathan Pollard?





Rabbi Marvin Hier is founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and not as stated in “Beauty and the bears” (Comment & Features, March 5).