Sir, – As a retired police officer from the United States, I can tell you I am aware of the lack of traffic enforcement in Israel (“‘Only stronger law enforcement will save lives on the roads,’” April 7). The number of lives lost every year is unnecessary. Several things can be done to slow this problem down.
First, traffic officers in Israel are forced to write long and complicated tickets for every violator they cite. Shorter tickets are used in the US that only take a couple of minutes to write, thus allowing the officer to be back on the street enforcing the traffic laws.
Second, officers in the states have a norm of production of between eight and 12 tickets a day. With the amount of violations I see every day in Israel, this would be easy for any officer to complete.
Third, and probably the most important, make sentences mandatory and do not allow judges to change sentences or fines. Many of the people involved in traffic-related deaths are drivers with many prior infractions. Take licenses away, and impose mandatory jail time for driving on a suspended license. Judges need to learn that being softhearted on repeat offenders only causes pain to third parties.
Finally, employ traffic officers who write parking infractions, like parking on the sidewalks. Learning to respect traffic laws starts with parking tickets and moves up in importance. Since writing tickets is one of the few revenue-generating tasks in which police officers engage, officers should be encouraged to do so. Fear of the police is not always a bad thing. MICHAEL WILLIAMS
JerusalemFreedom of speech...
Sir, – Our ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, recently tried to speak at a college campus, but he was heckled and could not even begin his speech (“Oren: US-Israel ties are ‘great,’” April 6).
Now, the United States government will be granting student loans. Will these newly-funded students be screened so as to make sure that the colleges in America will not be denied other opinions?
Former president Thomas Jefferson warned that the price of liberty is “eternal vigilance.” SIMCHA FRIEDMAN
...and meaningless words
Sir, – The comparison has lost its edge, but the Amnesty International secretary-general’s words take a page from George Orwell’s 1984 (“Amnesty leader ignites row over ‘jihad in self-defense,’” April 7): the illogic and deceit of “War is Peace, Freedom Slavery, Ignorance Strength.”
It is also an astonishing example of crypto-fascism. The verbal, psychological coding of totalitarian rule, or even just the concealed advocacy of totalitarianism, begins with language devoid of meaning. YONATAN SILVERMAN
Tel AvivHe who speaks of ‘compassion’
Sir, – I am an American Jew and have lived in Israel for 25 years. I’m offended at the prominence and space given to the latest article by Ray Hanania (“How about some compassion,” April 7). Hanania should come to Israel and see for himself how Palestinians are well cared-for in our emergency rooms and hospitals, the same as any Jew. He should come and see how they work and shop in tranquility in our malls and supermarkets. I have never seen such compassion as I've seen in the Israeli people.
I’m proud to be Jewish and Israeli, despite what Mr. Hanania suggests I should feel. I’m also tired of Israel and Jews being bashed by the world and in the media. NINA OKRENT LOVAL
Sir, – Ray Hanania lays bare the perverse thought process that animates much of the American Left. Under the guise of encouraging Jews to be more “Jewish,” as he defines it, Hanania laments the loss of “conscience” bred of “the Jews’ history of suffering.”
What he is really saying is that he misses the suffering Jew. Such liberals only care for those who need to be cared for. Now that Israel and its Jews are capable of defending themselves, the Hanania-type liberal has no use for them. Worse, the actions Israel takes to protect its citizens bizarrely become acts of “aggression.”
Never mind that a targeted assassination is far more humane than a classic military strike, that the IDF does more than any army in the history of warfare to protect enemy civilians, or that Israel, as opposed to the Palestinians, has actually made concrete sacrifices for peace. Once the Jewish state, and by extension its Jews, lost the mantle of being the persecuted victim, they, by liberal definition, became the oppressor – regardless of how violent, racist and inhumane many of the perceived oppressed have chosen to act toward it.
This attitude plays out the adage that “being kind to the cruel will ultimately lead to being cruel to the kind.” MENACHEM LIPKIN
Sir, – Ray Hanania’s column is flagrantly short on historic truth and risibly long on chutzpa. Given the geopolitical forces holding sway in pre-1948 Palestine, the author’s father and uncles would most likely have defined their allegiance to and political identity with Greater Syria; the moniker Palestinian was accepted by the Jewish residents of Mandatory Palestine. Giving Hanania the benefit of the doubt and assuming there was a Palestinian people, he might provide some historical details of their existence.
And contrary to Hanania’s assertion, the Palestinians have never accepted Israel’s right to exist – certainly not as the national home of the Jewish people. Hanania also complains about conditions in Gaza as if one day some Israeli in charge decided on a whim to make the Gazans’ existence a living hell. Unless my copy of the Post was incomplete, Hanania omitted a whole chapter of history that relates the unilateral withdrawal from and the destruction of thousands of homesteads in Jewish Gush Katif (not to mention the dislocation of the families concerned), in return for which the residents of Sderot and environs were “rewarded” with thousands of Kassam rockets and mortars. And what about the murderous suicide bombings that became a daily occurrence in our streets, claiming more than 1,000 innocent Jewish lives and leaving countless survivors scarred physically and emotionally for life?
Hanania does get one point for accuracy: The Jewish community in America stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Martin Luther King, a moral giant, in the fight for equal rights for the black community. However, one dare not overlook the salient fact that the black community never launched a jihad against the American Jewish community and never became an existential threat to its people.
I am Jewish and I am assuredly not ashamed of the conduct of my country. Hanania seeks compassion from the Jewish People of Israel; I proudly remind him of the response of my country to the enormous tragedy that befell the people of Haiti just a few months ago, as undisputed witness to boundless compassion and limitless assistance that we, the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora, stand ready to extend to friends who do not seek our destruction.
Since Mr. Hanania has the temerity to offer me advice, I respond in kind and recommend that he preach to his own about compassion and the sanctity of life. JOEL KUTNER
Temple of the soul?
Sir, – After reading your report of the ad for the so-called Third Temple, I feel I must finally speak up on this issue (“Posters calling for building the Third Temple removed from Jerusalem buses,” April 7).
I am outraged by the distortion of Judaism that the ad and its sponsors present. Yes, we do pray for the restoration of the temple. But this does not mean another enormous building.
Just as many aspects of our belief have inevitably undergone change, so has this. The spiritualization of the prayer means that we carry our sanctuary within us. It is not physical. (I learned this lesson under the huppa from the rabbi who married us.)
The most ludicrous aspect of this worship of stone and building is
that the second temple was built by the megalomaniac Herod, one of the
nastier characters in our history.
Yes, I resent the arrogance
of the Arabs who prevent us visiting this significant historical site.
But that doesn’t prevent us from maintaining a Jewish life in the land
of Israel. HELEN LEVENSTON