Sir, – In regards to “‘Historic’ haredi draft bill approved by
Peri Committee, ending coalition crisis,” (May 30) – the crisis is still
bubbling on a hot plate, and I’ll eat my shtreimel if 70% percent of haredi
18-year-olds are drafted in three years, with or without criminal
Jerusalem Testing time
Sir, – If daylight
saving time is extended to the end of October, the time of sunrise then will be
after 6:50 a.m., with a consequent large delay in the earliest time for morning
prayers (“Daylight saving time to be extended by a month,” May 30).
typical of the Israeli Left that they simultaneously claim to need to put more
of the religious community in the workforce, and then try to make it more
difficult for religious Jews to get to work on time.
It would be better
if they concentrated on reducing the traffic jams caused by the shifts in
traffic light patterns every time the clock changes.ROGER KINGSLEY
Sir, – As an elderly pedestrian who has frequently come
very close to being knocked over by cyclists on Tel Aviv sidewalks, I was
interested to read the article “Cyclists to ride on Friday in support of bike
safety bill,” (May 30), which would “better regulate bike safety and comfort”
for Israel’s 350,000 cyclists.
But, I asked myself, what about the safety
and comfort of Tel Aviv’s pedestrians? As a former Tel Aviv resident and
nowadays a weekly visitor to what was once my favorite town, I am shocked that
no reference is made in the above bill to the extreme, non-stop dangers facing
pedestrians since mass bicycle transportation was introduced into Tel Aviv and
other Israeli cities.
The fear of being maimed or killed has caused me to
tremble every time I set out to walk on a Tel Aviv street. The once joyful
sauntering along that city’s streets has turned into a nightmare.
would, therefore, like to suggest to the proponents of the “bike safety bill”
that they add a few clauses for the safety and comfort of
For example that all bicycles, whether supplied by the city
or privately owned, should have license plates and bells or horns, as well as a
speed limit of no more than 10 kilometers an hour, and that every street have
bicycle paths and that cyclists be forced to travel only on them and not on the
rest of the pavement.
In fact, cyclists should be reminded that sidewalks
were built for pedestrians and roads were built for vehicles. Any cyclist going
over the speed limit or not cycling on bicycle paths should face tickets and
large fines if they don’t keep to the “safety law.”TRUDY GEFEN
Ono Prepared to compromise
Sir, – The big question by Gershon Baskin in his
article “Kerry can succeed,” (Encountering Peace, Comment and Features, May 30)
depends how badly the two sides really want it, and how much they are prepared
Two experts in this field are Prof.
Rabinovich, a noted scholar and diplomat who wrote the book Waging Peace, and
Prof. Bernard Lewis of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, who
understands the mentality of the Arabs.
Neither of these men would agree
to returning to the pre-1967 lines after we took back the land conquered and
occupied by the Jordanians for 19 years – which had been part of the Partition
Plan as Judea in 1948. We found the destruction of synagogues and cemetery
stones. Now Jerusalem is free for all three religions.
Kerry is trying to
get negotiations going by running from room to room, instead of direct talks and
compromises, which are the only way to reach an agreement between the two
Whether he will win where so many others have failed remains to be
seen, although he has tempted the Palestinians with a big economic gift, which
Herzliya Pituah Flawed priorities
Sir, – In her
article “Women, the Wall and Judaism,” (Comment and Features, May 30) Sadeena
Pinhasik seems to feel it is necessary to explain to a handful of women who
showed up for Rosh Hodesh prayers at the Kotel the meaning and responsibilities
associated with wearing tefillin.
I feel she would have been better off
explaining the responsibilities of wearing the tefillin to the hundreds of
haredi men who showed up at the Western Wall for the purpose of harassing the
It would appear that the teachers in the haredi community have
made the commandments between God and man more important than the commandments
between man and man.
Their priorities are flawed, because if a person has
no respect for man, how can he have respect for its creator? Now that the haredi
men are being forced to join the IDF and the workplace, maybe a new religious
leadership will arise that will set future generations of ultra- Orthodox on the
path to returning Judaism to a religion that is not distorted and not
Sir, – How dare Sadeena Pinhasik
assume that these women do not know enough to perform mitzvot that they feel
comfortable doing? How dare haredi women attack other women when their own
education is so lacking in the parts of Judaism that to many of us are basic and
essential. Much of the Bible is not taught to them because it is not “pure”
enough for their souls. It is time for them and all of us to realize that we are
all Jews and must respect each other.BARBARA SHAMIR
While many have questioned the purity of the motivation for the Women of the
Wall’s disquiet at the Kotel, Sadeena Pinhasik’s “Women, the Wall and Judaism,”
is a cut above all in asking vital questions about their publicly expressed
Hopefully, there will not be universalist non-specific balmy
replies which continue to make a mockery of millennia of serious attention to
the crucial central issues at our nation’s Temple Mount.
Jerusalem Retiring role model
Sir, – We can only hope that the new generation of
scientists, advocates and activists will continue the work of the Haifa based
Coalition for Public Health, which is now closing (“Public Health Coalition
announces closure, May 28).
The driving force of the coalition was its
founder, Dr. Jimmy Krikun, a plant pathologist, who worked there until his
retirement two years ago. Krikun’s work was guided by two simple axioms from
baseball: keep your eye on the ball, and play to win.
brilliant insight was that winning meant collecting data on the sources – the
smokestacks and effluent pipes of the big industrial polluters in Haifa – and
then going to court to eliminate the exposures by eliminating the
To make his case, he did groundbreaking work on measuring
cumulative pollution burdens of heavy metals and other pollutants in earth. He
drew attention to the excess risks for mortality and morbidity from cancer and
cardiovascular disease in the Haifa area, which he attributed to the cumulative
I had the privilege of working with him in examining the data
he collected. The coalition under Krikun has been fearless. And its presence was
felt everywhere – in regional councils, the board rooms, the Knesset and the
Krikun’s coalition remains the role model for the rest of us in
identifying the big problems, documenting them and catalyzing the interventions
needed to eliminate them.ELIHU D. RICHTER
Jerusalem The writer is a
professor of occupational and environmental medicine at the Hebrew University-
Hadassah School of Public Health and Community Medicine.