March 7, 2018: He chose to stay

Readers have their say.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Kudos and yasher koach to Gil Shwed (“Founder of Check Point software to receive Israel Prize in technology and innovation,” March 5).
He kept his company in the Land of Israel. Too many others have run for the exit sale.
Netanyahu’s US trip
With regard to “Netanyahu off to US for five days of meetings, including with Trump” (March 4), does Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu really believe that he will be saved by running into the arms of US President Donald Trump?
New York
With all the media attention on this week’s visit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the US, Jonathan Pollard’s situation has been overlooked. What a magnificent gesture it would be if US President Donald Trump quashed all charges against Pollard and let Netanyahu bring him home to Israel as part of his entourage!
Before Netanyahu makes any gestures to Trump, the US must immediately let Pollard go. This game has been played far too long using Pollard as a bargaining chip.
Demeaning visit
Why does asking why the British royalty has refrained from making an official visit to Israel since its founding 70 years ago seem out of place now (“Royal visit,” Editorial, March 4)? All the excuses made amounted to one thing only: Britain supported (and still supports) the Arabs, and I see no reason why it should be regarded as “praiseworthy” that William is coming here.
Members of the royal family have visited all the Arab countries. The fact that the Duke of Cambridge will visit Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority makes it very clear how they still look on Israel.
The fact that the Palestinian Jews fought on the side of the British during World War II while the Arabs fought on the side of the Germans makes no impression on who the British continue to support, worldwide terrorism notwithstanding. Better we should concentrate on changes within our own state in order that our people can live without the constant terror by the illegal occupiers of our land.
Israel demeaned itself by continuing to ask the royals to visit. For what reason do we need Britain? It’s a country that denied us help during the Holocaust and refused Jews entry to Palestine, where they could escape the German slaughterhouses.
We must rid ourselves of this galut (Diaspora) mentality, where we need approval from a hostile world.
Trumpeldor’s sources
With great interest I read Greer Fay Cashman’s preview (Grapevine, March 2) of Dov Ber Kotlerman’s upcoming lecture at the Japanese Embassy on Joseph Trumpeldor, a Zionist hero killed by Arab terrorists while defending a Jewish settlement in the Upper Galilee.
Trumpeldor is quoted as having said: “It is good to die for our country.” This saying is diametrically contrary to the Zionist ideal, which glorifies living for our country. Dying for our country is regarded as a necessary evil, always mentioned with grief, as expressed poignantly by, among others, the recently deceased Hebrew poet Haim Gouri.
This raises the question of whether Trumpeldor’s unconventional saying expressed an original idea, or whether it adapted to Zionism an idea that originated somewhere else. Please allow me to add some relevant, yet not very well known details, to this question.
Trumpeldor, as a Russian POW in a Japanese camp, may presumably have heard some of the very popular Japanese school songs  whose texts he, the intellectual he was, may well have understood. Many of these songs were introduced as obligatory study subjects into Japanese primary and secondary schools to indoctrinate youth with militaristic ideas in preparation for their enlistment.
Here are lyrics from some of these songs:
• “By the Emperor’s very side may we die / Regret there is none.”
• “Whether dying or living / For the Emperor advance / My soul and my body too / I sacrifice for my Emperor”
• “Come, get up, boys, for the Emperor / Defend, boys, throw your lives away.”
• “For the Emperor forget your body / Throw away your life / without hesitation.”
• “To the Emperor / I consecrate this body of mine.”
Since Trumpeldor is likely to have heard and understood these songs while in Japan as a POW, it is reasonable to assume that these are the ultimate sources of his famous – but uncommon – last words.
Corruption in Israel
At the time that former prime minister Ehud Olmert was under suspicion of corruption, an article about Israel appeared in the magazine Foreign Affairs. The author stated three main internal problems in Israel, including massive corruption. At this point, I suspected an antisemitic diatribe. Now I know better.
Every corner of Israeli society has shocking cases of corruption from national politicians, businessmen, rabbis, local leaders and on and on. Then there’s all the “hidden” corruption, such as apartment owners not paying property taxes (arnona) in Jerusalem. As a result, Jerusalem has the highest arnona of any city in Israel, including Savyon and Tel Aviv. That is also stealing.
The tax system favors the rich and hurts the young. More corruption. Finally, drivers in Israel kill more people than all the wars combined.
In case anyone failed to notice, Transparency International, a watchdog group that monitors 180 countries and territories for corruption, dropped Israel four places for its 2017 index, from 28th place in 2016 to 32nd place (the lower the number, the less the corruption).
It was pretty much the basement for OECD countries. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates came in ahead of us! Right behind us was Botswana! Is this where we want to be?
I was shocked and deeply disturbed to see your ad for the upcoming Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference, with none other than the disgraced Ehud Olmert as one of the guests.
Are you kidding me? His prison cell is still warm from his sentence for taking bribes, his double-dipping schemes and other corruption charges into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Who is on the selection committee for your conference? Did these people miss a major news story?
While most newspapers have a bias, I didn’t expect the Post to openly support an unscrupulous criminal.