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October 26, 2017: Bitan's behavior
By LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
10/25/2017
Our readers weigh in.
Bitan’s behavior

With regard to “Bill that bans probes of PM in office is DOA” (October 24), the sub-headline “Bitan flexes muscles at Likud’s coalition partners” is mild compared to the reality described in the article. MK David Bitan’s behavior is pure blackmail and bullying for no other reason than to show everyone who is the boss and to keep the Likud in power at all costs.

Reporter Lahav Harkov writes that the coalition chairman “is using the bill to settle scores against other parties.” Settling scores is what street gangs do, not responsible political leaders.

But Bitan doesn’t stop there – even legitimate criticism of the bill by the Likud’s most senior coalition partners is at best superfluous since he “will go all the way” with the bill, as he summarily declares that the only reason Kulanu party lawmakers won’t commit to supporting the initiative is because they want new elections. And just in case these aggressive bullying tactics don’t work, “the coalition chairman has frozen all other bills until he can get the other parties on board....”

Finally, based on the fact that “some Likud lawmakers feel that Bayit Yehudi and Kulanu have too much influence compared with Netanyahu’s much larger faction,” Bitan unflinchingly declares that “parties need to understand there are times that they need to give in.” He obviously means that all parties must give in all the time except for the Likud, which in itself is a blatant insult and violation of democracy.

Even more worrying – and outright frightening in my mind – is the fact that as coalition chairman, Bitan is supported and empowered in these tactics by the prime minister himself.

GERSHON HARRIS
Hatzor Haglilit

Another similarity

In response to Caroline B. Glick’s “American Jewry’s necessary moral reckoning” (Our World, October 24), I’d like to add to her very precise and insightful piece that there is yet another similarity between American-Jewish supporters of communism in the 1920s and today’s Jewish ultra-liberal tendencies regarding the Palestinians.

In both cases, the American Jewish community bent over backwards to reject traditional Jewish practices and observances.

In both cases, the cause of “humanism” was their guiding principle.

Forget the fact that this humanism had – and still has – as many holes as a good Swiss cheese, and double standards from here to eternity. Equality of rights and freedom of expression, which are definitely Jewish values, are again being represented as central to Judaism while dumping every other value, specifically anything connected to God.

Today the Reform movement has the audacity to call for a Palestinian state clearly rooted in terror and violence as part of “tikkun olam” (repairing the world). In its attempt to paint the value of humanism as the most important Jewish value, it has completely whitewashed the Jewish indigenous and historical connection to the land of our fathers.

In a recent Torah class I attended, in which the rabbi spoke of the value of hesed (loving-kindness) as attributed to Abraham, a question was asked: Is it possible to have too much hesed? The answer was poignant and relevant to this discussion: Yes, there needs to be a limit. Loving-kindness is appropriate only in certain circumstances and only to a certain degree.

One of the examples the rabbi gave was the hesed Abraham showed in his attempt to bargain with God over the destruction of Sodom. God was adamant that a line must be drawn and the city destroyed. Abraham’s desire to save the city was, alas, decreed to be an inappropriate show of hesed when extended to those who acted abominably.

From this we learn that there is a limit, at which point an act of loving-kindness, or humanism, becomes a sin. I believe that this lesson is one that the ultra-liberal Jewish community has yet to learn, as its misinterpretation of a Jewish value has crossed the line. In order to do this, it will need to return to the Torah and to Judaism.

MEIRA OVED
Modi’in

CORRECTION: The final sentence in Caroline B. Glick’s “American Jewry’s necessary moral reckoning” should have read as follows: “It is equally difficult to avoid the conclusion that so long as the American Jewish community avoids a moral reckoning with that past, it will be incapable of reconsidering its present course.”

Justice needed

As a survivor (then aged 48) of a1978 terror attack in which a precious 14-year-old son was murdered, it thrilled me to read the headline of Michael Freund’s “Justice needed for American victims of Palestinian terrorism” (Fundamentally Freund, October 20) and feel that someone cares about opening up the matter.

It was a keen disappointment, however, to read to the end and realize that only victims of the last two decades were represented in his piece, as if those of us who were victimized earlier have no chance of any American president caring enough about the prolonged agony of families like mine.

For whatever reason, two judges ruled at the time that there were to be no rights of appeal in the future, yet I continue to dream that some day, an American president realizes such a verdict is unacceptable in a democracy.

Please, Mr. Freund, at least don’t deny us that glimmer of hope.

SHARONA TEL-OREN
Omer

NIMBY

Max Schindler’s “No more ‘Not in my backyard’ stances for local authorities” (October 19) presents the government’s argument that municipal protests are entirely self-serving, protecting property values and suburban lifestyles rather than addressing legitimate health, security and environmental risks. The Leviathan gas project is cited as an example of NIMBY (“not in my backyard”), but this project doesn’t belong in anyone’s backyard! Fact: The government passed a law to allow construction of the first (of potentially 32) gas rigs from Netanya to Haifa only 10 km. from shore. Pipelines will transport toxic by-products to storage facilities near Yokne’am and Emek Hefer. The plan even ignores the gas company’s recommendation for processing facilities near the gas field – 120 km. from shore – a practice used worldwide since 1980.

We all want safe, clean gas, but as citizens of Israel, including the million people who live from Netanya to Haifa, we need a safe solution, not one justified by inaccurate, incomplete research resulting in the real potential for dangerous, cancer-causing emissions and environmental damage.

Haifa already has the highest rate of cancer in the country, and highly explosive drilling platforms and pipelines will only serve to whet our enemies’ appetites. We need to strengthen the system of checks and balances in this company, not promote legislation that diminishes them.

KAREN FRUCHTMAN
Zichron Ya’acov

Zoabi’s view

According to MK Haneen Zoabi’s restrictive view that a people can have self-determination only as a secular, democratic state, and not by religious identity (“Zoabi: Jews not entitled to self-determination,” October 13), she has damned Pakistan (as well as Saudi Arabia, with most of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation countries) as having no right to exist.

As for racist – or at least discriminatory – laws, could she do something about the law in Jordan and many other Arab countries that forbids Jews from owning land and condemns to death anyone who sells a Jew land (that is, if this person survives the assassins long enough to hang)?

FRANK ADAM
Prestwich, UK
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