Letters to the Editor September 5, 2021: From US to Israeli politics

Lauding Lapid

So Amotz Asa-el thinks Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid is the “Person of the year” (September 3). While it required some skill to cobble together such a diverse coalition, he succeeded only because all his parties desperately sought power and were determined to get rid of Bibi at any cost.

Forgoing the chance of being PM first did not show “generosity” – Naftali Bennett would not have joined him otherwise. Similarly, taking less than his proportionate share of ministers was not due to “nobility and leadership” since he created a bloated cabinet, contrary to all his promises. A truly “noble” leader would have called the heads of the other seven parties together and said if any one of them insisted on more than their proportionate share, there would be no government.

We also learned this week that Lapid wanted to recall Tzipi Hotovely from her London ambassadorship after only one year in order to appoint Yael German, one of his cronies. What sense is there in bringing back an ambassador after only one year? She has just begun to learn her job, create relationships with her staff and learn their strengths and weaknesses, make contacts and get to know key British politicians and civil servants and establish friendships with useful foreign ambassadors. Instead of starting to get value from Hotovely, he wanted to bring in one of his own supporters – an absolute newcomer to international diplomacy to boot– and waste another year while she learned the job? Lapid promised that he would provide sensible government, not just to provide “jobs for the boys” in order to maintain their loyalty, but it seems to me his promises are as useless as those of the other politicians he scorned.

Not my idea of “person of the year”!

ALAN HALIBARD
Beit Shemesh

Some summit!

As further proof of their near-lunatic disconnect from reality, the Cairo Summit (Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority) called for the quartet (UN, EU, Russia and the US) to be the main broker for Israeli-Palestinian “peace” talks (“Cairo Summit calls on Quartet, not US, to lead Israeli-Palestinian talks,” September 2).

Why Israel would agree to the UN and the EU – two well-known anti-Israeli centers of disinformation – defies rationality. The Cairo Summit left out the Arab League and Iran as other worthy candidates. 

One wonders whether the Cairo Summit leaders purposely adopt a call that even furthers the possibility of promoting peace – or they do it out of plain stupidity? 

YIGAL HOROWITZ, PHD
Beersheba

Who was missing from this summit? Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sissi hosted King Abdullah II of Jordan and the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas. They forgot to include Israel. Why?

It would have been meaningful for the four to talk to each other and exchange ideas and explore whether they can have peace talks and what those negotiations might look like.

Instead, it was just a repeat of the same old Arab ruse to get to the next step in the plan to destroy the Jewish state.

Abbas wants to go back in time and convert the 1949 temporary armistice lines into borders, and for east Jerusalem to become the capital of Palestine. That’s exactly what was offered by Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton at the Camp David summit in 2000, with minor changes. Yasser Arafat, you remember, refused it and launched the Second Intifada, which resulted in 2,000 Israelis being murdered. The intifada destroyed cooperation and forced Israel be build security barriers and checkpoints. Israel is not looking for a rehash.

The parameters have since changed. Israel turned Gaza, Jew-free, over to the PA. Hamas emerged and launched a reign of terror against Israel, Egypt and the PA.

The three leaders suggested an international conference to gang up on Israel. Israel, with 50 years UN experience, is not that naïve.

The Arab states that have relations with Israel could provide a platform for peace talks. Last year’s American “Peace to Prosperity” plan could be Israel starting position.

I doubt Abbas wants peace. The status quo is lucrative, and the real goal is “from the river to the sea.” So-called summits like this do nothing to disabuse him of his illusions.

LEN BENNETT
Ottawa, On. Canada

We must admit Mahmoud Abbas told the truth. He said he would never make any concessions to Israel and he hasn’t. He is still demanding a state, on the 1949 armistice lines (“1967 borders”) with eastern Jerusalem as its capital and expecting Israel to live up to proposals that he, Yasser Arafat and the Arab League flatly rejected years ago. He apparently doesn’t accept the famous definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.

TOBY F. BLOCK
Atlanta, GA

He who arises to kill you

The tragic and unnecessary death of St. Sgt Barel Shmueli (z”l) was not the fault of the particular army unit where he served, nor of its commanders (“Border policeman dies from Gaza riot shooting injury,” August 30). It is a direct result of the policy of “containment” – another aspect of political correctness – a policy that refuses to declare to the Israeli public and the world at large, that the rioters at our southern border aim to kill all Israelis and drive them into the sea, and they make no secret about it.

The Midrash (on The Book of Numbers 25) decrees, “He who arises to kill you, wake up early and kill him first.” In “Black September” 51 years ago, the Jordanians forever squashed the Palestinian uprising against the Hashemite Kingdom. King Hussein ordered his troops to kill the entire front line of Palestinians and shell their concentrations in the Jordanian cities. There has never been any trouble from the Palestinian majority of the Jordanian population since that day.

When will we learn that containment, compromise and goodwill gestures are interpreted as weaknesses to be exploited?” Former chief of staff Rafael Eitan (Raful) said, “No terrorist should be allowed to leave the location of his terrorist act alive.” Everybody agreed – except the government, which was too scared of “what would the world think.” 

The clear directive needs to be given by the defense minister to the chief of staff and thence down through the ranks: anyone who approaches within 20 meters of the border fence should be shot – and not necessarily just in the legs.

LAURENCE BECKER
Jerusalem

Weight a minute

“Ancient weight used to cheat found in Jerusalem” (September 3) is probably fake news. Among other possibilities, this might be a case where the Judean weight maker took his seven-gera weight to check it against the set of master weights housed in the Holy Temple complex and found it to be lacking in weight, and out of pious fulfillment of the injunction to have only honest weights, decided to not finish marking the weight and either discarded it or dropped it and didn’t bother to retrieve it because it was useless. 

 A two-gera weight back in the day was both exceptionally rare and very tiny; any moron in the shuk would know that a 14mm x 12mm stone weight was not a two-gera weight, just as anyone today would know that a silver dollar is not a dime. 

Before racing to capture headlines to blacken the name of Israel, perhaps our eminent scholars, on the eve of Judgement Day, rather than disseminating fake news, could take a breath and explore alternative possibilities that cause kiddush Hashem (sanctifying God’s name) and not Chillul Hashem (Desecrating God’s name.) 

REUVEN PRAGER
Beged Ivri

Big omit in the obit

It is surprising and sad that the Jerusalem Post’s obituary on Mikis Theodorakis (“‘Zorba the Greek’ composer dies,” September 3) omits the fact that the renowned composer openly admitted that he was “anti-Israel and antisemitic.”

He called Jews “the root of evil,” and, of course, that Jews control the world’s banks and media. The JPost even reported this in its February 15, 2011 edition. Such an oversight is a disappointing reflection on the paper’s editorial and institutional memory. 

MOSHE R. MANHEIM
Rehovot

Straight talk

The editorial “Please talk to Abbas” (September 3) would seem to be inappropriate advice, since Abbas, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization engages in activities that belie any reason to meet him. He:
  • Continues to pay vast sums to convicted killers of Jews
  • Refuses to cancel his law that calls for automatic payments for anyone who murders a Jew.
  • Has not introduced any system of transparency for funds that he receives for humanitarian aid for the Arab population.
  • Has launched the new school year with the same Jihad curriculum for PA and UNRWA schools.

Any communication with him should laser-focus on the above.

DAVID BEDEIN
Director, Center for Near East Policy Research

What is Blinken thinkin’?

Regarding “Repatriating Israeli hostages is a basic humanitarian matter” (September 2), US Secretary of State Antony Blinken obviously feels that Jews are not particularly deserving of humanitarian consideration – such as the return of two Israeli citizens being held for no reason, and the bodies of the soldiers that were snatched by terrorists and are being held to inflict even more suffering on their families.

I wonder how that would have played out if the Taliban had snatched the bodies of American soldiers.

Thank you Alan Baker for a great op-ed.

FREYA BINENFELD
Petah Tikva

Terrible taxes

The plan proposed by Science and Technology Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen to bring foreign workers for the hi-tech industry (“Hi-tech job openings rise 300% as investments soar.” August 30) makes no sense when thousands of Israelis are kept exiled in USA by draconian Israeli tax laws that make it impossible for them to come home. It is irresponsible for the Israeli government to invest in attracting foreigners and olim while abandoning thousands of Israeli families anxious to come home who cannot afford to pay Israeli taxes on top of the US taxes that they pay.

What an enormous loss of creative talent stranded abroad who would generate far more tax income if they returned to work in Israel. Israel can only benefit by changing such a draconian law so that our children and grandchildren can come back home.

A case study of one of the huge number of Israeli families who cannot afford to come back home is my sabra son and his sabra wife. Considering the high cost of living and exorbitant tuition for Jewish day school for their five children in USA, they have no way to pay thousands of dollars in the double taxation.

My son earned his B.A., M.A., and M.B.A. with highest honors at IDC Herzliya and worked there as administrator of international programs. He then become director of digital insights at a hi-tech firm in Tel Aviv before accepting a position as COO of a company in Florida.

His wife earned her Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Bar-Ilan University with honors and completed her postdoctoral research in a project for IDF. She is now professor of chemistry at a Florida university.

Before Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen imports foreign workers, she should have self-defeating tax laws changed so that talented Israelis can afford to come home.

PROF. MENAHEM (MEL) ALEXENBERG
Ra’anana

Slow Joe is no dynamo

Regarding “Will Biden survive Afghanistan withdrawal?” (September 3), US President Joe Biden was elected as a result of a well-orchestrated sales job perpetrated on the American people by a Democrat Party that knew about his incompetence and lack of loyalty to the truth – and by the complicit media. 

Much is at stake for us here in Israel. I believe Biden has a dangerous character flaw: he is an unabashed liar, without a conscience. He had to drop out of the 1988 presidential primaries because he got caught plagiarizing speeches and falsifying his resume. Never having had to meet the challenges of a real job, he tries to compensate for his inadequacies by making up stories to make himself appear more significant and tough.  

Unfortunately, his self-aggrandizement has not been limited to falsely promoting his own image. For four decades he has used his office to sell political influence and make millions of dollars for himself, his son Hunter and his brother and sister.

As we know from his own words from his conversation with the former Afghan president Biden is concerned about optics, not substance, consequences be damned. His narcissistic hasty strategy resulted in surrendering Afghanistan to the Taliban, turning his back on countless Americans and allies stranded there and creating a safe-haven for terrorists armed with US weaponry who will endanger the entire world. He wanted to be able to announce to the world on September 11 that he defied the advice of his military and intelligence communities, and singlehandedly ended a 20-year engagement in Afghanistan. As a result of his decisions, hundreds of innocent people have died and others continue to be killed.

Far from being an amusing and harmless old man, he can continue on a path of destruction both in the US and abroad. At home, he knowingly violates federal immigration law by allowing millions of unvetted COVID-infected illegals stream across the US southern border. He divides Americans between “white oppressors” and the “oppressed people of color,” endorses a radical socialist agenda, is spending trillions of future tax-payers’ dollars on Leftist causes, and is creating runaway inflation that can destroy much of the middle class and impoverish American workers for generations to come.

No longer able to depend on the US as a moral force, Israel will be increasingly vulnerable to terrorist aggression and increasing Jew-hatred here and abroad. We must support his removal and the removal of his amateur advisers before they complete the destruction and reach the point of no return.

STEVEN HABERFELD
Nahariya

China challenge

Regarding “The China conundrum” (September 3), it was with some trepidation and disappointment that I note that former prime minister Ehud Olmert has renewed his weekly half-page column in The Jerusalem Post, but I was at least somewhat relieved to see that his piece for once was not riddled with unhinged insults against a certain recent prime minister whose name he didn’t even mention once.

It should be pointed out Olmert’s argument that we should be open to dealing with China is defeatist in that 1) Olmert never once mentions China’s consistent hostile anti-Israel stance in international bodies and 2) apparently it does not even occur to Olmert to suggest we show enough self-respect to push back on this. 

IRA LEVINSON
Netanya

Kelly Alkhouli asks, “Will China join Afghanistan’s empire graveyard?” (September 5). I doubt that it will. China always used its dual strategy of political indoctrination and state-driven demographic change in the Xinjiang region in its “war on terror.” This time will be no different.  China will never invade Afghanistan or send troops into its neighbor, but will definitely intensify its suppression of Uighurs, Kazakhs and other largely Muslim minorities through rape, forced labor, forced abortions and sterilization, organ harvesting, erasure of Uighurs’ cultural identity, Muslim traditions and Turkic language, coercive assimilations, torture and digital and human surveillance.  I am afraid that the world will again fail to save another indigenous people from the perils of genocide and crimes against humanity. 

DR. MUNJED FARID AL QUTOB 
London, United Kingdom

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