November 27: Long-term losses

I strenuously urge the members of the Knesset not to go ahead with the proposed rent limitation law.It will lead to unforeseen distortions in the economy.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Long-term losses
Sir, – I write in regards to the proposed rent limitation law (“Bill would limit rise in rent,” Business and Finance, November 21). I practiced law in South Africa before immigrating to Israel. South Africa had the Rent Control Act, which was enacted for similar populist motives in the 1960s as the current proposed law in Israel. The act was only applicable to buildings that were already built at the time of the passing of the act.
The law at that time was particularly draconian as a developer could not sell the apartments individually as one can in Israel.
That only came to South Africa in the 1980s with the passing of the Sectional Titles Act.
However, by that time, much damage had been done to the economy because developers were reluctant to build because of the fear that the law would be extended to buildings constructed after the passing of the law. The buildings that were subject to the law became run down and owners were reluctant to spend money on the property because they would not get a proper return on their investment. It became a vicious cycle with the poorer section of the population moving into these continuously forlorn and neglected properties.
I strenuously urge the members of the Knesset not to go ahead with this proposed law for the good of the country. The short term political gains will lead to long-term losses. It will lead to unforeseen distortions in the economy.
Frame it
Sir, – Gil Troy’s classic ‘We are home. We are staying. We’re not going away,’ (Center Field, November 26), which speaks of Zionist resilience in face of the Jerusalem synagogue massacre, says it all. It should be enshrined in every fair human heart and framed on every wall.
Time to wake up
Sir, – Rabbi Steven Pruzansky states that Arabs who want to live in the Jewish state of Israel in peace are more than welcome (“Extreme views on Arabs don’t inhibit synagogue’s embrace of NJ Rabbi Pruzansky,” November 26). However, if they prefer to support terrorism they need to forfeit their citizenship.
There is no reason for there to be any problem with that statement.
It’s time to wake up. While I might not agree with every single word he uttered, my respected friend has every obligation as a world Jewish leader to get the Jewish people to wake up and smell the terrorism, especially in wake of recent events.
Sometimes that takes ruffling some feathers to get the message across.
Think logically
Sir, – I am a veteran member of the Likud party and the Herut party, which preceded it. I grew up in a Betar family in South Africa, and was the head of Betar there before immigrating to Israel in 1961.
I grew up on the teachings of Revisionist Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky, and was instilled with his Hadar principles and his views on how we are to become a normal nation in our own state, when that day arrives.
A great impression was made on me, in his reference to logic, which he said was sorely lacking in the behavior of the Jewish nation. We were much too emotional, perhaps because of our eternal suffering at the hands of others. He laid down many other principles, all of which were included in the initial makeup by Menachem Begin in the founding of Herut. These principals were retained even after the amalgamation of Herut with the General Zionists to form the Likud Party, as initiated by Ariel Sharon.
The Likud was a right-center party, accepting all parties into its coalitions over the years, including Labor, the religious parties, and “come- and-go” centrist parties. These were observed by Begin and Yitzhak Shamir and even Sharon, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to be taking another route. The Likud leadership no longer has Begins or Dan Meridors to keep to this view.
Now, there are extreme rightists, like MK Moshe Feiglin, on its Central Committee. Netanyahu is the leader, and he is leading the country very well, but he has failed in leading the Likud. Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat seems to be one of the few original Likudniks remaining in the leadership.
Netanyahu can’t blame the coalition makeup on the last elections.
The prime minister made the obviously fatal error in bringing Yisrael Beytenu’s Avigdor Lieberman into the Likud list, which was immediately obvious to us Likudniks, losing 20 Likud seats.
Netanyahu needs to think logically and not emotionally. He needs to lead us back on the Jabotinsky trail and not be controlled by the extreme rightists in the party and in the coalition.
If nothing changes by the next election, I will, for the very first time, not vote for Likud, but for a right-centrist party, which will surely arise.
Make it worse
Sir, – In regards to “Netanyahu- Rivlin spat on ‘Jewish state bill’ may put off early elections” (November 26), passing a law stating that Israel is a Jewish state is not just redundant but also an unwelcome extension of the reality. The central and defining feature of Israel is it’s mission, which is embodied in the Law of Return. Zionism means Israel is the historic homeland for persecuted Jews who need to escape the non-Jewish world. I want all the citizens of Israel – Arab, Jew,etc. – as well as Israel’s enemies, to accept the fact that Israel has that mission as a defining feature.
Israel’s Jewish character is secondary and intentionally diluted by the intense desire of the Jewish People to include other peoples in the land as citizens with full rights.
Israel’s definition as a Jewish state should be limited to the recognition that Israel should be, or can be a state in which Judaism can flourish and evolve given the fact that so many Jews live here. Unfortunately, the reality is that Israel is a state in which every religion except Judaism is free to flourish and evolve.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s law would make the situation even worse. It would be used to force the state to define what Judaism is, and that power to define Judaism would be subject to political processes. There should not be powerful concentrated state institutions that can be grabbed by political processes to control the Jewish character of the state.
The State of Israel should get out of the Judaism business and let the Jews of Israel sort it out for themselves. If we get this thing wrong, and we are headed in that direction, I fear that more Jews will chose to leave Israel and leave Judaism.
Sauce for the goose
Sir, – I have an issue regarding the quote that “No one is required to attend religious services in the IDF. There is no religious coercion...” made by OC Manpower Brig.-Gen. Gadi Agmon to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee panel (“Judaism is not the IDF’s enemy,” November 25).
If this is really true, one wonders why the current chief of general staff ruled in 2012 that religious soldiers can not be excused from attending concerts featuring female singers (“Gantz: Soldiers are forbidden from leaving when women sing at official IDF events,” January 3, 2012).
Surely what is sauce for the goose should also be sauce for the gander! Perhaps this is another reason to support the “Jewish state bill.”