May 8, 2017: Unhealthy nexus

Israel proves time and time again that the nexus of religion and political power is unhealthy.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Unhealthy nexus
In “Ultra-Orthodox threaten coalition over Shabbat” (May 5), reporter Jeremy Sharon states that the ultra-Orthodox parties are once again threatening to collapse the coalition if their demands are not met. I say to them: “Leave – and don’t let the door hit you on the backside as you walk out!”
But there is no way they will walk out, for there is no guarantee that they would find a place in a new government. They know this, and their threats should be viewed as mere bombast. It is time our prime minister stopped selling out to them.
Even those of us who consider ourselves modern Orthodox are tired of the hypocrisy, corruption and baseless hatred they heap on the rest of us. This Orthodox Jew believes that Israel proves time and time again that the nexus of religion and political power is unhealthy.
Brilliant analysis
David Makovsky gives a brilliant analysis in “When international guarantees utterly failed” (Observations, May 5). He explains very succinctly why agreements that third-party countries vouch for and “guarantee” are not worth the paper they are written on.
The only agreements worth adhering to are those made by the countries directly affected by the agreement.
This is a clear warning to Israel: Even if the United States guarantees an agreement reached with the Palestinians or any other country, it is no real guarantee. Israel must always make sure that it remains the guarantor of its own agreements, and that whatever agreements are reached, they are good for Israel.
A good read
Liat Collins’s “In our own right” (My Word, May 5) is the best thing I’ve read in a long time. It is good to read the healthy patriotism in her comments. I often miss this in the Israeli media today.
Here in Germany, I read nothing in the newspapers about the legendary Six Day War. I read nothing about Israel’s sensational economic successes, its start-ups and medical discoveries. Instead, we read a lot about the agitation of the Palestinians.
Ms. Collins should feel empowered in her work. It is still very important that people like her write down what is seemingly self-evident – because nothing in connection with Israel is self-evident.
Simplistic thinking
Eyal Ben-Reuven’s thinking (“Pursuit of peace is the true key to Israel’s security,” Comment & Features, May 4) is disturbingly simplistic.
War is the worst thing, he says. Well, yes. And so Israel must do all possible to avoid it. Again, yes. But I seriously challenge his notion that Israel will “avoid war” by “pursuing peace with the Palestinians.”
Not an iota of evidence exists for genuinely peaceful intentions on the part of the Palestinian Authority. The messages of the PA leadership to its own people are hateful incitement. The official PA maps show “Palestine” from the river to the sea, with Israel erased. What is more, the PA is weak. Without support from the IDF, it would quickly be overtaken by Hamas or Islamists out of Jordan. Imagine these radicals controlling the highlands of Samaria!
Israel will avoid war by remaining strong and refusing to bow to dangerous notions of what we should do to show that we are willing to align ourselves with the world’s expectations.
Ben-Reuven is so quick to disparage the “settlement movement,” but in truth, it speaks for the rights – legal, historical and moral – of the Jewish people to the land.
The writer is co-chair of the Legal Grounds Campaign, a group promoting Israel’s rights in Judea and Samaria.
Nabil Sha’ath, a senior adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, recently told Israel Radio that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand for Abbas to stop paying terrorists and their families a monthly stipend was “ludicrous” and “designed to destroy any chance for a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.”
I assume Sha’ath meant that stopping the terrorists’ money might take away their incentive to murder Israelis, thereby making it more difficult for Abbas and his thugs to look forward to a time in their twisted minds when they can destroy Israel.
If Netanyahu still insists that the only solution is two states, with Abbas as his negotiating partner, and if he continues to make concessions to the terrorists, for example by refusing to build homes for the Jewish people, preferring instead to throw them out of their homes, it is difficult to take seriously that he has embarked on a campaign to end payments by the PA to terrorists, or for that matter any campaign against PA incitement and terror.
We really must take back the narrative and simply say over and over that this is the Jewish land for the Jewish people, and that it has never belonged and will never belong to anyone else.
Cycle of conflict
With regard to “UNESCO disavows Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem” (May 3), the hurtful, lying vote again illustrates the cycle of falsehoods, insults and violence that plagues this endless conflict.
My guess is that the vote wasn’t motivated by any government seriously believing in it, but rather as a frustrated reaction to current politics. If Israel had worked on the 2002 Arab Peace Plan or the practical and detailed Geneva process, would this vote have even happened? It is just one more hurtful episode in the cycle.
Israel annexed and expanded the city into the West Bank. It builds settlements in Arab east Jerusalem and pledges an “eternally undivided Jerusalem.” Does anyone think that some UN members would hurt Israel in this way without Israel having hurt others in Jerusalem? It isn’t only a cycle of terror and force, but of lying and hurtful and insulting words.
Yes, we should be hurt and badly offended by this brazen and bald-faced lie – and just as offended by the hurtful pledges of annexation and the creeping takeover of east Jerusalem.
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Poor timing
Even though I share Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat’s enjoyment of running, and even though I share in his enthusiasm for the 50th year of the reunification of the city, this is about neither running nor the festivities. It is about the disbelief that Barkat, as the elected representative of the citizens of his city, has given his seal of approval for a foot race to be held in Jerusalem on the evening of July 10.
This is the 17th of Tamuz. I had to look and relook at my calendar to make sure I wasn’t making a mistake. How can we explain to ourselves and to the world that Jerusalem runs and celebrates on the anniversary of the beginning of the city’s destruction? We are making ourselves a laughing stock in our own land with our apparent contempt of our own history and identity.
Let’s not invite others into the breached wall of our unity. The date of the race should be changed in the name of Jewish pride and the spirit of Jerusalem.
Kochav Ya’acov
CORRECTION Contrary to what was stated in “Who targeted UNESCO?” (Middle Israel, May 5), France’s Leon Blum served three times as prime minister. During his third term, he was also considered president or chairman of the provisional government of the French Republic.