May 15: Do, don’t whine
Social justice movement is very focused on what it can be given. But it is far more important to know what it can achieve.
Sir, – The social justice movement here in Israel (“Thousands
hold rally in renewed call for social justice,” May 13) is very focused on what
it can be given.
But it is far more important to know what it can
It would be interesting to know if the movement could organize
real credit unions and food cooperatives, and if it could make kibbutzim
concentrate on growing more agricultural products and developing green
technology. The movement could also organize a massive fundraising organization
to build housing projects that would offer not only moderate rentals, but solar
heating and solar technology throughout.
Instead, the movement’s energies
are concentrated on what the government should or should not do.
a waste of time and productivity. Let the protesters become a “can-do” movement
and they will really change the social welfare situation.
Sir, – Mandy Patinkin (“US actor relates nude
confrontation at peace conference in Tel Aviv,” May 13) is the latest in a long
list of seemingly (or deliberately?) ignorant actors and musicians who claim to
be supporting the Palestinian cause while ironically experiencing and enjoying
all our beautiful country has to offer.
Patinkin’s spiritual visit to
Hebron 30 years ago contrasted with his latest trip there, which he described as
a visit to a “ghost tomb.” Conveniently, he neglected to mention that neither
visit would have been possible if there had not been an Israeli
Had the outcome of the Six Day War been different, neither
Patinkin nor any other Jew would be allowed to visit Hebron, the burial place of
our forefathers and -mothers. He and other hypocritical Peace Now activists
should learn some history and appreciate the fact that thanks to the State of
Israel, their history – our history – is being preserved.
Check the economics
Sir, – Regarding “Ashalim and beyond: what grid
parity means for Israel (Comment & Features, May 13), casual readers of this
puff piece might be led to believe that electricity can now be generated by
solar energy at a cost comparable to conventional methods. If only this were
“Grid parity,” a term unknown to economics, is a comparison of the
wholesale cost at the power station with the retail cost to the end user. These
are two very different things; as such, the term is meaningless.
article also fails to mention whether the bid price of 53.65 agorot per kWh is
before or after the government subsidy, and whether it includes the cost of the
land and other infrastructure.
An honest evaluation of the cost of
generating electricity by different methods would compare the actual cost at the
power plant based on a reasonable return on the required investments (including
land), depreciation over the expected life of the plant, and the cost of
I believe that on this basis the cheapest method would be a
coal-fired plant, followed by natural gas, with nuclear and solar running a
distant third and fourth. If I am wrong, I would hope that Holly Wu would
provide the appropriate figures.
There are, of course, other
considerations, such as the unfortunate fact that solar works only during sunny
daylight hours. There are also environmental effects, including the pollution
caused by mining the rare earth minerals required for photovoltaic cells, the
possible effects of releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and, in the
case of nuclear, the cost of disposing spent fuel rods.
This is a
complicated study that should be undertaken by competent engineers and
economists who have no vested interest in the outcome.
The day after
Sir, – With regard to Stability Rules (Editorial,
May 13), all the potential advantages you cite in having such a stable national
unity coalition are only theoretical.
There have been broad coalitions in
the past where similar hopes were quickly dashed because the main partners were
afraid of the vengeance by smaller parties the “day after.”
I am sure
that both Binyamin Netanyahu and Shaul Mofaz will take the same route, being
particularly afraid of what might happen with the haredi parties and their
support after elections.
So, with the exception of more draconian
economic measures, which are usually the main achievements of large unity
governments, I fear we will see little, if any, real change on other important
Where will it end?
Sir – Meretz
wants the state to officially recognize same-sex marriages (“Meretz MK resubmits
marriage equality bill,” May 11).
Why not? Gay couples can get married
whenever they want.
They don’t need a minyan or a rabbi or even sheva
But the implication of recognizing same-sex marriages is that
there are some rights they would be entitled to as a legal couple. What are
they? And if there are rights for such couples, why can’t we legalize these
rights for marriages between people and their dogs? It would only be
Cut both ways
Sir, – London in the
sixties. Mary Quant. The Beatles. The mini-skirt.
Vidal Sassoon (“Vidal
Sassoon, ‘hair architect’ and Hagana fighter, dead at 84,” May 11).
straight hair was a must if you wanted to be part of swinging London, but my
hair was thick and curly and the bane of my life. The secretary at the school
where I was teaching suggested I go to Sassoon’s salon.
spent under his magic treatment and my hair was beautifully cut in one of his
famous straight, geometric styles.
Not only was my hair swinging, so was
my heart. It would be no exaggeration to say that it changed my life.
this day my haircut is based on that style. Thank you, Vidal.
Sir, – It is a pity that Vidal Sassoon, in telling his life
story, was not objective.
“Had he gone to college...,” the article says
of Sassoon. But he did go to college. Nat Goldberg, who became his stepfather,
scrimped and saved every penny from his wages to send Sassoon and his brother,
Ivor, to the London Polytechnic where Vidal studied hairdressing and Ivor
There is no mention of the man who put his adopted sons on
the road to success. Goldberg, of blessed memory, was my mother’s
Have some respect
Sir, – Uri Savir
(“National Unity, but not national decisions,” Savir’s Corner, May 11) should
have respect for his fellow Jews and not castigate them for their views because
they are diametrically opposed to his.
To refer to the residents of Judea
and Samaria, whom he describes as “settlers” and accuses of having “racist,
non-democratic positions,” is a deliberate attempt to besmirch those who emulate
the pioneers of the early Zionist movement.
COLIN L. LECI
Regulate the bonfires
Sir, – In regard to your frontpage photo of the Lag
Ba’omer bonfire in Jerusalem (“Holy Flames,” May 10), it looked more like the
entire neighborhood was on fire.
There should be a law limiting the size
of bonfires, especially in cities. Humongous fires are a threat if they get out
They are also ecological disasters and raise air pollution to