LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.
Letters / (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Two recent incidents in the United States and Israel show disturbing similarities.
It’s a steal?
Regarding “Mandatory social distancing: The greatest theft of all time” (June 2), I am greatly disturbed by your decision to give a platform to the three economics/ business professors who labeled social distancing a “theft.” Wasn’t their ad hominem attack on public health scientists (“supercilious and myopic infectious disease experts”) a clue that this was a non-science based, disinformation article from an extremist political viewpoint?
The price of coronavirus disinformation is high. To spread this politically motivated, non-scientific propaganda during a serious public health crisis is beyond the pale of fair comment and free speech; it is the height of irresponsibility.
It takes the combined wisdom of three senior professors to conclude that social distancing, which saved millions of lives during the current pandemic, is “the greatest theft of all time.” Their next study will probably show that since a person’s medical costs are disproportionately higher during the last year of his life, we must do something to prevent this theft of kupat holim funds.
For genuine theft, we should look at the working conditions of these professors, who receive a full salary for a maximum of eight hours of lecturing per week.
DR. SAMUEL DERSHOWITZ
It is unfortunate that the three economists describe mandatory social distancing as “theft.” A thief steals for personal gain. This is not the case with the government’s policy concerning corona. It would have been sufficient to castigate the government as “negligent” or even “grossly negligent.” I do not believe there was criminal intent, as the word “theft” implies. I also feel that they are unnecessarily rude about infectious disease experts. One should also recognize that the government’s massive program has been effective in managing the epidemic from an epidemiological standpoint.
The government’s approach to the pandemic has been restricted to strategic planning, with a complete absence of tactical planning. Effective tactical planning might have permitted phased closures and avoided a universal shutdown. Tactical planning depends on information – and I believe that information is contained in the records of general practitioners (family physicians), every one of whom has the information on her/his desktop. However, to use this information one needs continuous monitoring. This is possible and can be done automatically while at the same time preserving our patients’ privacy.
Bearing in mind that large sums are spent on relatively uncommon causes of illness, it would be worthwhile to find the money to develop an ongoing program to anticipate and contain future major public health problems.
DR. ALBERT JACOB
Clear as mud
I agree with much of the opinion expressed in “For annexation to work, it needs clarity and preparedness” (May 31), but I am a bit confused about its characterization of Samaria Council chairman Yossi Dagan and of Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority.
Dagan is portrayed as a person adamantly opposed to any attempt to solve the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Yet, three weeks ago, he hosted a group of Muslims at a combined Iftar/Lag BaOmer dinner. The guests included Israeli Arabs and Palestinians who said they welcomed the plan for extending Israeli sovereignty to parts of Area C and also looked forward to reaping the economic benefits proposed by the Trump peace plan.
Conversely, the article’s writer feels that the Palestinian Authority has shown itself to be against violence. Yet another article in the same issue details the pay-for-slay program and the PA’s encouragement of seeking “martyrdom” by murdering Jews.
Preparation for applying Israeli civilian governance to parts of Area C requires clarification of who is seeking peace and who is not. It would also help to inform those who advise against Israel’s taking “unilateral” action that the PA leaders’ automatic rejection of any and all movements toward peace is a prime example of “unilateralism.”
TOBY F. BLOCK
Is the “two-state solution” really a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
In the last Palestinian elections held 14 years ago, Hamas won 74 of the 132 seats available. By a clear majority, the Palestinian people rejected Fatah in favor of Hamas. Today the West is largely in agreement that Hamas is a terrorist organization, and both Israel and the US refuse to deal directly with Hamas.
If a Palestinian state is declared, there will need to be elections. The reason that no Palestinian elections have been held for 14 years is clear: Hamas will win and take over the state. So the “two-state solution” that the West is promoting will lead to a state controlled by an organization that the West considers a terrorist organization and will not talk to. What could be more absurd? Is this really a solution? Strike One.
Any agreement that the Palestinian state will be demilitarized is laughable. Not only will the Palestinians arm themselves, they will also enter into agreements with other countries. Iran will jump at the opportunity. Israel will have Iranian troops looking directly at Ben-Gurion Airport and stationed outside Jerusalem. Is this really a solution? Strike two.
There are approximately two million Palestinian “refugees” and descendants living in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Once a Palestinian state is declared, it seems likely that they will be ordered to go to it. Unemployment will skyrocket and chaos will result. Imagine the consequences of a million unemployed people marching to the Israeli security fence on the West Bank and demanding a “right of return.” Strike three – you’re out.
Only when countries genuinely abandon their intention to destroy their neighbors is peace possible. The Palestinians need to end their maximalist demands and abandon their so-called “inalienable right of return.” They have to abandon terrorism. Without this, the “two-state solution” is really an oxymoron.
When Abbas holds up four maps indicating smaller and smaller areas for a Palestinian state, he is showing the world the legacy of Palestinian rejection of all past “two-state” solutions. The consequences of another rejection are clear. The Palestinian State in the next map will be even smaller. It’s time for the Palestinians to face reality and abandon the failed policies of the past. Until then, the West to stop supporting an unworkable “two-state solution.”
Under the heading “Annexation vexation” (June 1), five letters support annexing parts of Judea and Samaria. While the letters make some good points, it is important to consider the potential negative effects of such an annexation.
These include making a resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict even harder, if not impossible; ending the long-running successful cooperation between PA security forces and the IDF to curtail Hamas and other terrorist groups; making terrorism and another Intifada more likely; weakening relations between Israel and many other nations, including the European Union, which has threatened a very negative reaction to annexation; undermining current peace agreements with Jordan and Egypt; lessening support for Israel among American Jews; and widening divisions between Israel and US Democratic politicians.
There is widespread opposition to annexation, including from Commanders for Israel’s Security’ (CIS), which includes “the overwhelming majority of retired IDF generals and their Mossad, Shin Bet (Security Agency) and police equivalents;” most American Jews; almost all US Democratic politicians, including Joe Biden; and a strong majority of world leaders.
This is an especially bad time for annexation, as it is urgent that nations work together to combat the coronavirus pandemic and the potential climate catastrophe that climate experts are increasingly warning about.
Annexation is a terrible option for Israel.
RICHARD H. SCHWARTZ, PH.D.
Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island
Regarding “Imam jailed for smuggling charity funds to Hamas” (June 1), the imam received a one-year jail sentence for smuggling $3,000 to the Hamas terrorists who control Gaza.
I’m not questioning the justice of the punishment, since assisting the enemy is a severe crime that must be punished. I just figure that if the punishment for smuggling $3,000 of charity funds is one year in jail, the sentence for those facilitating the transfer of $480 million of Qatar charity funds to Gaza would be 160,000 years.
Not to worry – I’m sure whoever was responsible for the transfer of the funds will have one third of his sentence commuted for good behavior!
Regarding “PM: Lockdown will return if coronavirus guidelines ignored” (May 31), it was disheartening to read about the spike in coronavirus cases and especially closing down a school.
The Health Ministry is concerned about “disregard for the rules” (wear a mask, good hygiene, and maintain two meters apart, yet in supermarkets and stores, many people wear masks as chin straps and some cashiers don’t have masks at all. Many students and teachers aren’t wearing masks.
If the Health Ministry is serious about enforcing the rules, I suggest that they make the storeowners responsible for ensuring that their staff and customers wear masks covering both their mouth and nose. Anyone violating the rules should be required to leave the store. Health inspectors should visit the stores. If they notice people not wearing their masks properly, they should photograph them and then issue a citation to the store. A first citation is a warning. A second citation will require the store to close for 10 days, with a notice posted on the entry door to inform the public that “This store did not comply with the coronavirus rules.”
After the first store in the neighborhood is shut down for 10 days, the other storeowners will insist that their staff and customers comply. This policy will also impress upon the public the seriousness of the situation.
With no enforcement and such complacency, it’s no surprise that so many tested positive. The public needs to realize the pandemic isn’t over!
Missionary TV position
I was taken aback by Ellen W. Horowitz’s article, “How did missionary TV come to Israel,” (May 31), just by the sheer lack of trust it affords Israeli people to make their own choices and come to their own conclusions.
There is little room in this article for Jews who may think differently, choose to adopt an alternative viewpoint or not fall in lock step with what is deemed to be the only way Jews can and should think. Quotes which prove my point: “this new-old challenge to our faith,” “we Jews march to a different drummer and have different values,” “Jewish people living here are certainly entitled to ensure religious continuity,” “this is an ‘every Jew’ moment,” and finally, “spiritual distancing from our very zealous Christian friends is in order at this time.”
As an independent Jewish Israeli thinker, I’d like to believe that I have the ability to discern a threat to my existence and the existence of my people and my country. I’d also like to think that I have the right and privilege to turn on a TV channel or, likewise, turn it off. I do not relinquish my right to view content of any kind, allowing someone else to make the determination for me of what is dangerous or immoral. So my message to Horowitz is – thanks, but no thanks. I am old enough, smart enough and aware of Jewish history enough to know how to make my own decisions and not feel intimidated by evangelicals who may have a different viewpoint.
I highly suggest that you respect the Israeli people enough to let them make their own choices and not need you as a filter of what is sanctioned worthy for Jews.
Regarding “God TV says threat of closure of Shelanu ‘religious discrimination” (June 2), the history of modern Christian missionary activities in Israel goes back to the early 19th century, when under the aegis of the British consulate in then-Ottoman-governed Jerusalem, numerous missionary activities directed at the Jews were incorporated into educational and charitable institutions. Their success in converting Jews is attested to by the records of parents and rabbis in trying to extricate their children from conversion.
Missionary activities became so rampant that they were repudiated by no less a personage than Queen Victoria herself, who rebuked those seeking to bring Christianity on the inhabitants of the land.
It is therefore appropriate to examine the motives and methodology of this new TV channel.
Here comes the bribe
I read with interest the letters under the subheading “Innocent until proven guilty?” (June 1). I agree with that sentiment.
However, I was perplexed by the assumption that “media bribery” could not possibly be a crime.
If it is shown that Bezeq, in particular its owner, monetarily benefited by a change in regulations in exchange for and control over news coverage, is this not bribery?