May 20: Mishmash

Will the person who speaks for Israel please stand up!

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Sir, – Concerning “PM: Livni did not speak for Israel in Abbas meeting” (May 18), this is just the latest saga from a mishmash government.
Will the person who speaks for Israel please stand up!
Tough job
Sir, – It is almost impossible for the press to do its job (“Palestinian mob assaults two Israeli journalists,” May 18).
The sorry history of journalists who have been attacked, beaten and killed deserves much more publicity. Why haven’t the media been concerned about the ongoing silencing of a free press? Why hasn’t this involved a United Nations resolution? The world has accommodated itself to the repression of thought, speech and religion. This means it will soon be plunged into the Dark Ages once again, and we will all be living in the shadow of extermination.
The slogan “Journalists around the world, unite!” should be part of every newspaper headline and all social media.
Good idea?
Sir, – When I was in rabbinical school a noted rabbi delivered an extemporaneous lecture on why, in theory, it was permitted to kill a non-Jew. The next day, when the head of the yeshiva found out, the rabbi was sent packing.
Nissan Kaplan’s harangue against Jews, his emphasis on killing us with knives and hammers, and the fact that he teaches Khomeini-like beliefs to his children (“Rabbi says government officials should in theory be killed,” May 18) should sensitize all of us to the fact that Shas, in the form of its new religious mentor, means what it says when comparing Jews with knitted kippot to Amalek.
As a person who has welcomed many American students from the Mir Yeshiva to my home, I wonder if it’s time to consider whether having students of Kaplan under my roof is such a good idea.
Lobbies needed
Sir, – Thank you for your thoughtful editorial “Green lobbies” (May 18).
It might very well be true that too many environmental groups getting involved in every detail of every development plan would impede growth and development and make progress all but impossible.
On the other hand, what will protect the people living in these area, as well as the environment itself, when development plans move ahead without any impediments whatsoever? In Beit Shemesh, we worked for years to collect 20,000 individually written, lawyer-notarized objections to building plans for ongoing extensions to the area known as Ramat Beit Shemesh, yet the Regional Planning Council appears to have ignored them. It seems to have completely overlooked the indisputable facts of the destruction of irreplaceable flora and fauna, bicycling and hiking trails, and archaeological ruins in the area in order to push forward a plan to provide housing for tens of thousands of families as quickly as possible.
And the council seems totally unconcerned about the fact that additional roads and infrastructure have not been planned or put into place to accommodate these families in an already tightly packed infrastructure.
There seems to have been a decision made at some point on the national level for Beit Shemesh to provide an answer to the severe housing shortage, in particular for haredi families. One or two really effective and powerful environmental lobbies would help all of us save the region from over-development and unnecessary destruction of the environment.
Beit Shemesh
Furies of hell
Sir, – Allow me to add one or two comments related to reader Nachama Kanner’s excellent letter (“Olmert’s sentence,” May 18).
“In his pursuit of self-interest, the man completely disregarded accepted legal and moral practice and made a mockery of the people who put him in office,” Ms. Kanner writes. But was this wily character really voted into the office of prime minister by the people? No, he crept in through the back door after prime minister Ariel Sharon suffered a stroke.
But now it appears that Olmert is not quite as smart as he thought he was. In light of the testimony against him provided by his ex-aide, Shula Zaken, he should have made a note of the words written by the late-17th-century poet William Congreve, who said that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Sir, – Over the past few weeks, we in Israel have criticized US Secretary of State John Kerry for his use of the word “apartheid.” He has been vilified left, right and center in our media.
On May 16 I opened The Jerusalem Post to find “Oppositions” (Savir’s Corner) by Uri Savir, who I admit has never made much sense to me. He wrote: “The current policies and coalition are turning us into a pariah apartheid state....”
The Peres Center for Peace, where Savir is honorary president, should be closed forthwith and he should be sent to Africa to learn first-hand what apartheid really was. He might have been, with good intentions, a proponent of the Oslo Accords, but we all now know that they are passé and not relevant to the situation as exists today.
Unfortunate highlight
Sir, – The complaint filed by the Samaria Residents’ Council against Amos Oz after he called “pricetag” attackers “Hebrew neo-Nazis” (“Settlers file police complaint against author Amos Oz for incitement to racial hatred,” May 12) provides an opportunity to critique the harshness and crudeness of Israeli politics.
Oz was wrong in saying that no difference exits between neo-Nazis and those responsible for price-tag attacks. In addition to the danger posed by thugs and vandals, neo-Nazis model themselves after the Nazi party. They wear Nazi uniforms, swastikas and other clothing, and use the Nazi salute. Hitler is their role model; his picture adorns their offices and they celebrate his birthday.
As for the settlers’ police complaint, the Israeli penal code limits the scope of “incitement to racism” to statements whose purpose is to incite racism as opposed to opinion, however abhorrent to some.
The Samaria Residents’ Council should take no encouragement from the recent arrest of settler Eliraz Fein for asserting that throwing stones at Arabs or Jews could be permissible “even in a situation where the rock kills a soldier.” Fein was arrested on suspicion of incitement to violence and terrorism, which prohibits statements calling for violence under circumstances where a real possibility of violence exists.
It is unfortunate that poorly calculated rhetoric and the frivolous use of the law highlight the Israeli political debate.
Tel Aviv
The Letters Editor notes: The letter appearing above was originally published on May 14 without the second paragraph. It is being reprinted here, with apologies, to set the record straight.
Sir, – Concerning “Livni, Aharonovitch call to classify ‘pricetag’ attacks as terrorism” (May 8), our justice minister and public security minister are plain wrong.
The “price-tag” phenomenon is vandalism, yes, even a hate crime.
And yes, we should stop it. But it is not terrorism!
Praise for Lauder
Sir, – With regard to “Standing up for Israel on the world stage” (Frontlines, May 2), Ronald Lauder is to be praised by the entire pro-Israel Jewish community for his approach to countering the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement.
The legal approach is a very good method and should be used to the utmost.
New York