The people have spoken
“A clear victory for Israel’s right” missed a major point of the recent Israeli election (Editorials, Nov. 10). Unlike the several preceding elections, this election was not about Netanyahu. You can see this clearly in the numbers. Likud won back barely half the mandates it lost in the 2021 election. By contrast, Religious Zionist-Otzma Yehudit party more than doubled their mandates. The clear message from the Israeli public was they were concerned about the dramatic increase in terrorism, and lack of focus of the Bennett-Lapid-led government. Indeed, the only thing the prior government could agree on was their distain for Netanyahu. They could not even agree on whether Israel should continue to exist. Accordingly, the people voted their desire to remain a Jewish state and to stop the terrorism. Netanyahu is seen as an experienced leader that and the coalition as focused on representing their values and stable.
Having said that, the thrust of your editorial, and particularly the conclusion is exactly on target: “We need to accept the will of the Israeli people.” WJW and other Jewish media can be a great help to Israel simply by saying, “We shouldn’t prejudge things based on what we think will happen. Let’s see what policies are pursued.” Israel has traditionally had a hasbarah challenge to which WJW and others can be helpful.
US Jews don’t have to support racism in Israel
Regarding “Some US Jewish Groups are Staying Quiet on Far-Right Extremists’ Election Success in Israel” (Opinion, Nov. 10):
Although American Jews do not have a right to decide who is the winner of any Israeli election, we do have a right to refuse to support an Israeli government that may behave in a similar way to antisemitic autocratic leaders who may mistreat their Jewish citizens. Such would be the case if someone such as Itamar Ben-Gvir, based on his racist past history, is given a significant role in the new Israeli government.
According to a statement by the Union of Reform Judaism, Ben-Gvir and his ultra-nationalist colleagues’ “platform and past actions indicate that they would curtail the authority of Israel’s Supreme Court and inhibit the rights of Israeli Arabs, Palestinians, members of the LGBTQ community, and large segments of Jews who are non-Orthodox.”
Anyone who reads Israel’s Declaration of Independence will note that it did not state that Ben-Gvir’s Religious Zionism Party is its sole beneficiary.
Understanding local security resources
Regarding “Maryland synagogues share slice of US security grants” (Nov. 3):
Security is a critical priority for The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and institutions nationwide in the face of rising antisemitism. As such, it is important that we all understand the breadth of security resources available to organizations in the Greater Washington region.
Through the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), Jewish institutions across Maryland, D.C. and Northern Virginia received funds to support enhanced security and preparedness. In our region, Federation partners with the Secure Community Network (SCN) to provide security assessments and to help institutions complete successful grant applications.
Congress recognizes the need to protect houses of worship and other nonprofits at risk. While Congress is not involved in individual grant applications and awards, we are grateful that our regional delegation has strongly supported the nationwide program.
We encourage local Jewish institutions to contact Federation and SCN for assistance with training, future grant applications and security assessments.
David Yaffe, chair, Greater Washington Jewish Communal Security Committee
Gil Preuss, CEO, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington
Robert Graves, Secure Community Network & Federation Regional Security Adviser, National Capital Region