16 January: Calibrate first
Did not the actions taken by the Left impact deeply on the politics of the 1950s and ’60s?
Letters Photo: REUTERS
Sir, – I have a few comments about “New regulation set for
speed-monitoring laser guns” ( January 14).
To say that “complainants
were able to hamper the work of traffic courts... regarding device reliability”
is misleading, to say the least. First of all, it is not “hampering” when
defendants use perfectly legitimate resources to defend themselves.
the contrary, it is the obligation of the prosecution to prove beyond a
reasonable doubt the guilt of the defendant, even in a traffic case.
regard to laser speed guns as well as other devices, there has been a long
history of their incompetent, and conceivably inappropriate, use by traffic
A friend of mine was once stopped for speeding by a police
officer using such a device. Being knowledgeable in the field of reliability
standards, he asked the policeman to show him the calibration documents for the
laser gun. It turned out that none existed. Furthermore, there were no
facilities for ensuring such reliability, although Israeli weights and measuring
standards require that all officially sanctioned measuring devices be certified
at least once a year or in accordance with the manufacturer’s official
In the trial my friend requested, it transpired that the
Hebrew translation used by the police deviated in at least one critical phrase
from the original English instruction manual. It was also shown that the police
demonstrated a marked ignorance in how to perform a quick calibration test prior
to use in the field. The result was “case dismissed,” with the trial protocol
being cited in the Israel Law Journal.
This event occurred something like
10 years ago, and I find it shocking (though not surprising) that it has taken
10 years for the government to come up with a fix.
From the wording of
the article, it is still not entirely clear if the technical facilities for
proving the reliability and accuracy of the laser guns have been established, or
if we have yet another piece of paper that was filed and forgotten.
personally, would still ask a cop to produce the certification papers of any
gadget used to catch me violating a traffic regulation.
because I say so” cannot be accepted as a reliability standard.
Sir, – In “Exercising the right to vote”
(Borderline Views, January 14), David Newman lectures the reader with a
Stalinist polemic and writes that it is crucial that “citizens have a say in
determining the future of the country,” even if they end up “standing in long
lines and casting the ballot for people and for parties who have not been
As in every political system, the prime motivation
of every politician is to keep his seat. Yet due to the principle of
proportional representation in which candidates are nominated undemocratically,
politicians can do the most outrageous actions and not bear the subsequent
Our most recent political history, still fresh in our
minds, includes a prime minister reneging on a promise not to speak to Yasser
Arafat, shaking his hand and concluding the Oslo Agreements, and a right-wing
prime minister who not only betrayed his own voters and deported supporters from
their homes in Gush Katif, but later inadequately assisted them in restarting
Regardless of my political positioning or sympathies,
sorrowfully I write that voter betrayal would not happen in the UK. Politicians’
heads would roll and riots would ensue.
When I see the passion and
sacrifice displayed in the US by voters after Hurricane Sandy, it is because,
unlike here, citizens feel they have representation.
I suggest that
Newman call for change to make the political system more meaningful and
attractive to the voter, and not ask citizens to stand in the proverbial bread
line for stale handouts.
MAURICE MOSHE ERNST
One of her own
Sir, – In “Witch-hunt or proper civil service neutrality” (Think About It,
January 14), Susan Hattis Rolef states that “today the radical Left is not
engaged in witch-hunts....”
Are we living in the same reality? MK Avigdor
Liberman was investigated for over a decade, to no avail. The instant the case
against him was closed, and with elections having been announced, a new “case”
was brought up, with no immediate end in sight, certainly not until the
elections are over.
The Left has been “witchhunting” the Right constantly
for as long as I can remember, not just “in the 1950s and 1960s,” but right up
until today. A list of examples would be too long to print here.
the lady doeth protest too much – probably because one of her own got
Sir, – Susan Hattis Rolef writes that “the
wrongs of the Left in the past do not justify the wrongs of the Right
Why, exactly? Did not the actions taken by the Left impact deeply
on the politics of the 1950s and ’60s? There were farreaching effects,
especially for those with a past in the Irgun or Lehi.
Now that the
climate has changed, it is time for the Right to have its turn. What’s good for
the goose is good for the gander.
There is no reason to suddenly change
the rules, unless they are changed from the top down.
Confront and expose
Sir, – Regarding “A national emergency government”
(Savir’s Corner, January 14), to consider Mahmoud Abbas a peace partner is not
only delusional, but suicidal.
Despite, or perhaps because of, US
President Barack Obama’s cabinet nominations and probable involvement in the
Benghazi debacle, in which the US ambassador to Libya was slain, our leaders
need to make the case for Jewish sovereignty throughout our land. They need to
go beyond, and not just accept, the Levy Report. They need to stress how Torah
values created America and formed the basis for Western values and peace in
We need to confront and expose, not appease, Obama’s Islamist
A fine opera Sir, – Ury Eppstein’s
review of Verdi’s Luisa Miller (Arts & Entertainment, January 13), while
praising the orchestra and many of the singers, gave such a negative report on
the opera itself that I would not have gone to see it on that basis. I assume
that many people were turned off because of it.
Fortunately for me, I
already had tickets and I did go with my wife and some friends – because
otherwise we would have missed one of the finest opera evenings we have ever had
at the New Israel Opera.
And we were not the only ones.
was punctuated frequently by lengthy applause. At one point it really stopped
the show, and at the end there was a thunderous ovation and numerous curtain
Eppstein may think that Luisa Miller is “justifiably” forgotten,
needs a red pencil and is lacking any hit tunes, but it certainly did not seem
that way to any of us. There were wonderful, beautiful arias, exciting duets and
a choral setting with a quartet at the end of the first half that was the match
of anything Verdi wrote. It could easily have been compared to anything in his
Requiem, which is saying something! This is Verdi at his best – and sometimes
better than his best – with a freshness, simplicity and purity that was
literally breathtaking. Just ask the packed houses of people who were fortunate
enough to go despite the negative review.