March 20, 2018: Leader or defendant?

Our readers weigh in on this week's news.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Leader or defendant?
With regard to “Shooting somebody on Fifth Avenue” (Editor’s Notes, March 16), having followed the latest news on the cases involving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, I have concluded that the police cases are cobwebs – if they ever come to court, they will fall apart. I also believe that the police know this but don’t care – their primary objective is to try the cases in the court of public opinion.
The constant leaks and theatrical arrests in the middle of the night for no valid reason demonstrate this. Even the numbers assigned to the cases – 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000 – were designed to influence the public. It’s much easier to remember a number like 2000 than, say, 523. What happened to the 999 numbers between 1000 and 2000?
It is now clear that this has failed because the Israeli public has little faith in the honesty or impartiality of the police and the legal establishment. It is unimpressed by the flamboyant announcements and constant barrage by the leftist media. The clowns no longer have any credibility.
What should happen now?
First, these unjustified high-profile cases should be dismissed. Second, although there is no evidence of bribery, the prime minister did accept valuable presents, which is unseemly and clearly illegal.
Mr. Netanyahu should be fined a substantial sum, say double the value of the gifts he accepted. He should then announce that if he is still prime minister in four years’ time, he will resign and hand the reins over to his successor.
This would enable him to bring all the right-wing splinter parties back into the Likud fold because their leaders will be anxious to be seen as his successor. Instead of plotting his downfall, they will have a strong interest in the success of the government he leads.
These developments would restore a measure of stability and effectiveness to the Israeli polity.
Ma’aleh Adumim
Yaakov Katz writes: “But let us be clear: Israel was strong before Netanyahu, and Israel will be strong after Netanyahu.” Yet he completely misses the main point – Iran.
Being strong is not enough. An Israeli leader has to understand the nature of the Iranian threat. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the only Israeli leader who understands the nature and, consequently, the magnitude of the Iranian threat. He is the only one who was briefed by Bernard Lewis. Haaretz journalist Ari Shavit wrote in 2012:
“A few years ago, Netanyahu held an in-depth discussion with Middle East expert Bernard Lewis. At the end of the talk, he was convinced that if the ayatollahs obtained nuclear weapons, they would use them. Since that day, Netanyahu seems convinced that we are living out a rerun of the 1930s.”
Mr. Netanyahu is also the only leader in the world who quoted Mr. Lewis’s warning: “For people with this mindset, MAD [mutually assured destruction] is not a constraint; it is an inducement....”
Former IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon used to be the other Israeli leader who was aware of the eschatological threat from Iranian “twelvers.” Then he became a politician and started contradicting himself. So now, only Bibi is left.
Family comes first
Once again, a few seconds of an hour-long talk are being bashed as being “anti-woman” (“Senior National Religious rabbi: Educated women are ‘crippled,’” March 15). The talk was nothing of the sort.
I refer to the criticism of Rabbi Eli Sadan. Your incendiary headline leads one to conclude that he thinks women should be barefoot and in the kitchen. What nonsense! What a total twisting of his words!
I listened to the entire talk, and what I heard is someone who truly appreciates what women have to offer but bemoans the message in today’s society – and, by the way, not only in the Jewish world – that career comes before anything else, and the family suffers. Marriage and birth rates have fallen in the western world. He by no means says women shouldn’t be educated or work outside the home, but he does say the priorities should be set correctly. And family should be first.
The Torah states that mankind was created “male and female,” each with its own unique characteristics and traits. The union of a man and a woman in marriage completes the creation, so to speak, and each side has its role. This does not imply rigidity, that one can’t “cross over” – for example, the man doing dishes or changing a dirty diaper, or the wife being the keeper of the checkbook. But the notion that “I and my job (or my fun)” is ascendant instead of “ours” and “what’s good for the family” is indeed crippling family unity.
Rabbi Sadan speaks about Torah values, not politically correct whatevers, and while one might not agree, there is no place for belittling him.
Appreciating Putin
I congratulate Isi Leibler on his column about Russian President Vladimir Putin and antisemitism (“Accusing Putin of antisemitism,” Candidly Speaking, March 15), and you for giving it such prominence.
As someone whose entire career has been devoted to Russian and Soviet studies, I would like to endorse both Mr. Leibler’s sentiments on the totally unjustified reaction of the media and public to Putin’s statement on TV, and his defense of the Russian president’s unqualified support for the Jewish people.
He gives many fine examples of Putin’s generosity toward Jews and their communal institutions (unique among all Russian rulers in history), but I feel I ought to add another moving instance of his attitude, as narrated by him personally to Rabbi Berl Lazar, his friend and associate.
When he was deputy mayor of St. Petersburg after his meteoric climb to fame, Putin discovered that someone in the Education Ministry was preventing the establishment of a Jewish school in the city. He immediately turned up at the ministry asking to see the vice minister. “Why are you refusing permission to open a Jewish school in St. Petersburg?” he demanded to know. “Because I am a Jew,” came the response from the vice minister, who did not wish to be accused of favoritism.
Putin on the spot signed the necessary papers although he did not really have the authority to do so. Thus was created the first Jewish school in St. Petersburg.
Jews in Israel and the Diaspora sorely need someone of Putin’s stature in our daily struggle against antisemitism and anti-Israel propaganda.
The March 19 correction regarding the caption for the photo accompanying Melanie Phillips’s “The West pays the price for its decades of folly” (As I See It, March 16) was – yes – incorrect. The police tent was indeed “covering the headstone of Alexander Skripal.”
Alexander Skripal was the son of Sergei Skripal and brother of Yulia Skripal, who were poisoned with a deadly nerve agent in an attack attributed to Russia; they have been fighting for their lives in a British hospital. Alexander Skripal reportedly died last July at age 43 in St. Petersburg, Russia, of liver failure, and British police have been examining the possibility of whether he, too, might have been poisoned. We regret the inaccuracy of the correction.