Hasn’t the right wing suffered enough?
In November 1995 Israel’s prime minister was assassinated by a young law student who felt the premier’s policies were dragging the country to disaster. He wore a kippa. I witnessed that post-assassination period of furious attacks on anyone suspected of disagreeing with Rabin’s politics.
Rabin’s second in command and Oslo architect, Shimon Peres, was certain that in the witch hunt atmosphere that prevailed he could not possibly lose an election against the right, so he called early elections. Who would dare vote against the party of Rabin in that atmosphere!
He lost. It did not help the political fortunes of Rabin’s Labor Party, which has by now been entirely forced off the stage of Israeli politics. The witch hunt and reign of fear had only very short-term effects.
I think of the above as I follow what is happening in the U.S. today. An arrogant elitist class and media are accusing anyone who disagrees with their leader and policies of having responsibility for the violence at the Capitol. We can expect opposing voices will be hushed for a while as the left expands the open season and blitzkrieg on Trump and anyone who dares say a good word about his presidency.
This won’t last very long. There is at least half of the country who are not going away. I would suggest that those shutting down free speech and repressing the rights and dignity of half the country take a lesson from the Israeli experience.
The fundamental reasons for Trump’s popularity have not disappeared. Indeed, with the current “open season” they will only increase. It ain’t over yet.
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Will Rivlin save Israel’s democracy?
In response to “Mr. President, act now!” (Ehud Barak, Opinion, January 8).
In a recent op-ed, Ehud Barak calls on President Reuven Rivlin to act now and declare that after the next elections on March 23, he will not let someone indicted on charges of corruption, fraud and breach of trust form a new government.
The Israeli president, who normally has a ceremonial function, plays a crucial role after elections and can use his discretion to give the mandate of forming a new government to one of the elected Knesset members with the most mandates and the biggest chances of forming a government. Unfortunately, he has not proven himself in the previous election rounds.
Barak observes that Rivlin failed after the second elections on September 17, 2019. In his eager to push for a national unity government, Rivlin proposed that Likud and Kahol Lavan form a national unity government with the post of prime minister rotating between Netanyahu and Gantz. Netanyahu was supposed to start, and to suspend himself if he was indicted.
That was before the indictment against Netanyahu. After the third election on March 2, 2020, Rivlin again pushed for a unity government and exerted pressure on Gantz to form such a government to avoid new elections in the middle of the coronavirus crisis. That Netanyahu had already been indicted did not bother Rivlin.
Nor did it bother Israel’s High Court of Justice, which declined to rule on the question of whether an indicted prime minister can form a new government, and postponed the ruling until such a situation really occured. A loophole in Israeli legislation allows a prime minister to continue to govern despite having been indicted for crimes, in contrast to government ministers. This is of course illogical.
Rivlin’s good will did not help, and now Israel is again facing the elections he wanted to avoid – elections that have been imposed on Israel for the fourth time in roughly two years, in the most critical period of the pandemic, because an indicted prime minister did not honor the coalition agreement and refused to submit the state budget. Will Rivlin learn the lesson before he finishes his term as president this summer?
No occupation, so no vaccines for you
In response to “COVID vaccines: “The latest example of Israel’s most lethal disregard for Palestinian lives” (Shannon Marie Torres, Opinion, January 11).
Raging as she does with anti-Israel, vaccine-related invective, international lawyer Shannon Marie Torres needs remedial work on legal principles and on recent history.
Regarding legal principles, she should be reminded that the strength of a legal argument rests on the validity of all of its components. Sadly for her, her argumentation about Israel’s supposed legal obligation to vaccinate Palestinian Arabs rests on the false premise that Israel is an occupying power. Yet recent history tells us that the Palestinian Arabs agreed to Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria via the Oslo Accords, which are international legal documents, and it also tells us that Israel entirely withdrew from Gaza in 2005. There is therefore no Israeli occupation, and therefore no Israeli obligation under international law to provide said vaccines.
Furthermore the Palestinian Arabs themselves have stated publicly that they do not want vaccines from Israel. For Israel to try to impose them would constitute exactly the kind of oppression Torres says she opposes.
Daniel H. Trigoboff
Williamsville, New York
Huldai does us no favors by running
In response to “TA’s Ron Huldai forms new party; Justice Minister Nissenkorn joins” (December 30, 2020).
This is a sad ending to an otherwise sad year. Israel’s politics (and country) suffers from fragmentation. If some politician gets any idea, he forms another teeny-weeny party. The result: a country cobbled together just enough by an endless series of negotiations. Basically the voter is not represented and his wishes will no doubt be cast aside during some deal-making negotiation.
So Huldai has done exactly the wrong thing. Instead of using his strengths to bring people together (who probably agree on more than they disagree anyway) he further fractures the political scene.
Pity. Not only will he be the ultimate loser, we will be too. He is throwing away an opportunity of doing the right thing for us folks and cementing his own legacy, but he’s done our country no favors. Another opportunity lost.
Richard C. Fogelson