An Open Letter to PM Binyamin Netanyahu

(The following letter has been sent to PM Netanyahu. I share it here as a followup to earlier posts here and here.) 

Dear Mr Prime Minister:

Allow me to get right to the point. While you have been dealing with a coalition crisis in the Knesset over the past few weeks, you have been silent on a different “coalition crisis” going on in the streets of Jerusalem. While you have been very public in your position of the entire public broadcasting issue, there is another “broadcasting issue” that is occurring in the streets of Jerusalem towards which you have also fallen silent.

I refer to the coalition of the JEWISH PEOPLE. We are falling apart as a coalition (yes, it is nothing new, sadly), and it is happening at an exponential rate of growth.

The streets are overflowing with hatred of our fellow Jews. The streets–the very streets of Jerusalem that you also travel–have been hijacked by hoodlums who have made their agenda a public crisis. These hoodlums who block roads; who call for the murder of their fellow Jews; who now plan to disrupt traffic to/from the airport…all of this is happening today. Yet, we do not hear a word from you about THIS crisis. Lest you think I am exaggerating by using the word “crisis,” merely go online and read the terrible things that are being said about these groups, and what these evil groups themselves are saying and doing. We could easily arrive at a situation (G-d forbid!) of bloodshed and murder!

And the “broadcast” crisis? It is the message that is being broadcast to the world that sheds a horrible light on the supposed “Light Unto the Nations”! We have enough problems in the world with being blamed for every ill in the world that happens. Add to that mix, the pictures of JEWS rioting against Israel’s army–the only Jewish army in the world that protects everyone–even these groups. These pictures and stories broadcast a message to the world of disunity, lack of respect and the statement that we have, among our own people, those who are willing to MURDER for their beliefs and/or to die for their beliefs.

Mr. Prime Minister, I turn to you with all due respect and ask you to take (at least) two steps. First, a public statement that addresses this “coalition” and “broadcast” crisis in the streets of Israel. I do not mean a 20 second sound bite. I refer to a full press conference, wherein you state your revulsion to these actions and a PLAN how to deal with them. Which leads to the second action item: Directing police, the Shin Bet and any other security arm of the government to deal with this group of people who are inciting to murder and (a much lesser offence) blocking public roadways and causing major public disturbances. Those who are fueling the fires of hate; those who are out there with boots on the ground: all of them need to understand that there will be severe consequences for their actions.

One final point–I am not totally näive to think that your pronouncements would have no political fallout. Of course they would. Yet, you must ask yourself: are you the Prime Minister of ISRAEL or the Prime Minister of a coalition government? Do you want to deal only with a broadcast and coalition crisis insofar as it affects your government or do you wish to deal with such crises as they affect the day-to-day lives of citizens of Israel?

Mr. Prime Minister: It is time to decide.


Zev M Shandalov

Maale Adumim


2 thoughts on “An Open Letter to PM Binyamin Netanyahu

  1. Dear Rav Zev,
    I appreciate your [open] letter to the PM, who as many have said is in a way the de-facto leader of the Jewish people, even if he may not be a rabbi, and may not fulfill each individual Jew’s desired level of religious observance (reform, conservative, orthodox, revivalist, haredi, post-charedi, nudist, etc. sorry, i had to include the nudist after having listened to enough shiurim of Leib Kelemen where he uses that form of Jewry in his list).
    FIrst off, I would kindly request that you don’t make this message a public one. seeing as I don’t have an email address that i know of for you, this is the most direct way to reach you. Feel free to respond to me directly via the email I have used as a posting reference. If you’d like me to post an edited one, i’d be glad to work with you to edit and reach a state where we both feel comfortable with what is being conveyed.
    Second, as a somewhat follow up to my previous response to you about IDF, I’d like to add a few more things in light of the continued situation.
    1) a slight err in what i wrote last time, the yeshiva where my friend heard about the “you’re here learning or out there fighting” was actually NOT in bnei brak, but, i think the point still stands unchaged, that a rabbi made such a statement and truly stood behind it.
    2) someone asked Rav Leff during his open q&a session on pesach about this issue, The rav, having 2 sons learning in R’ Auerbach’s yeshivas, took a very “middle-ground” approach not taking either side necessarily. i wasn’t there personally but i heard the “outfall” from several people who were there, and this topic was actually the focus of our discussion on leil shivi’it as my brother-in-law who lives there raised it and in connection with the idea of what does it mean to make a chillul hashem. I would strongly encourage you to try and hear someone summarize what WAS said, but i don’t want to take the achraiyut and botch anything.
    which brings me to…
    3) a somewhat cynical appendix to my idea on how to handle these misguided youth, is to “ask them to put their “money where their mouth is” let us not waste our time and money putting them in jail. lets make for them a yeshiva right on the edge of a nice, tough, anti-israel area A community, like schechem, jenin, kalkilya, or chevron (but not in the kiryat arba community). we’ll place them there, fund them, give them food, electricity, water, but the only rule is they now need to take matters into their own hands, we’re not going to defend them and have troops stationed outside, their torah will protect them as they say it does and if not they’ll have to fend for themselves, ONLY, and ONLY in extreme cases should we consider wasting our time of sending our troops in. assuming their torah is on the madreiga they claim it is, NOTHING will happen, and it’ll be a win-win situation, we’ll “drain the swamp” to use Donald Trump’s lashon and create torah in an environment that’s lacking, and hopefully they’ll either come to respect the soldier’s or learn to embrace their new arab neighbors and help may ties that will bring about mashiach. In the sad situation that they NEED IDF assistance (chas v’shalom, lo aleinu) maybe they’ll realize the importance of the IDF and come to be advocates instead or enemies, at that point we shoudn’t “EXTRACT” them but rather then give them the support they need from the IDF. It might just be crazy enough to work.
    Items 2) and 3) and the depth to which i wrote them are the reason i decided to request you not immediately make this a public response, 2) because i don’t want to place that out there without being able to defend it, but want you to be aware of what happened. and 3) because i don’t know what type of reader stumbles on your blog. my “idea” is by NO means politically correct, it reminds me of what i saw this morning with the group of supporters for the hunger strike standing outside of one of the prisons making a BBQ hoping the prisoners SMELL it, and that saying Bibi should worse conditions and that is apalling that the sentence for a terrorist is life and not death…
    point 5) since the last paragraph was almost an idea of its own. its very sad where this world has come to. your former community, as i’m sure you’re aware of recently hosted the terrorist Rasmeah Odeh as a KEYNOTE speaker at a JEWISH organization’s conference. Being the type of individual i am, I HAD to hear what she said…so i listened. The introduction she received made me want to throw up, to hear such propaganda and euphemisms and lies to color away her past doesn’t even begin to describe the travesty. And then she opened her mouth. Not knowing anything, one would walk away from this thinking she was mamash a hero. she was trying to create a quiet peaceful life for a family in Israel when they “ripped her from her family” “raped her” “threw her in prison”….not even saying that she was improperly accused of a terrorist or anything, but rather blaming it on political differences and because she WANTED TO LIVE IN the arab state of palestine…ugh, its like one of my previous cynicism wherein i suggested we should rename for the time being the state of Israel to the state of Palestine. we can even adopt their flag and we’ll proudly call ourselves Palestinians, and THEN ask them if they still want Palestine 🙂
    TIye Beri!


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