We come first
Sir, – The article “Threats to deport Africans are only populist
political talk, NGOs say” (May 22) confronts us with an extremely serious and
Thousands of African infiltrators are streaming into
Israel every month in ever-increasing numbers.
It may be nice that our
reputation is such that some will risk everything, including death, to come,
however as their numbers grow, the problems they cause are becoming
progressively more serious.
Now the primary concern is a significant
increase in violence.
Long-term there is a danger their numbers will not
only overwhelm our social systems of medical care, education and police
protection, they may even outnumber us so that we will no longer be the state of
the Jewish people.
To say the solution is to help them find work is
simple-minded and dangerous. To say the problem is “just petty theft” is
We face both legal and moral problems. However, our
first priority must always be the welfare and safety of our own
We have an urgent need for legislation that would enable us to
immediately begin deporting the vast majority of infiltrators, regardless of
what country they come from and starting with anyone who is connected in any way
with violence or illegal activity.
Are we responsible for righting wrongs
all over the world?
Checks and imbalances
Sir, – David
Kirshenbaum (“Bad precedent: The Supreme Court and Beit El,” Comment &
Features, May 22) maintains that Israel’s lack of a clear-cut written
constitution such as that in the US and many other countries has permitted our
top court to engage in “abusive and outsize power.”
He cites the manner
in which other countries have evolved clear and concise language delegating
distinctive powers to the three main branches of government by way of written
But this clarity and orderliness has not always, or
perhaps not very frequently, developed as intended.
The example of
Germany in the 1930s, of course, stands out.
But even the sterling
example of the US, it must be noted, went through an evolution that defined the
actual meaning of its constitutional delegation of powers.
illustration is that of President Andrew Jackson who, displeased with the
court’s decision blocking the government’s removal of Cherokee Indians, said,
“John Marshall [chief justice at the time] has made his decision; now let him
enforce it,” and proceeded to ignore the ruling.
Rather than a planned
and clearcut delegation of powers, what seems to evolve in various countries,
even those with a written document, is a “system of workability,” one that
“balances itself out” depending on how the various branches mature and become
effective in a democratic manner.
What seems to be the case in Israel can
readily be understood by the way in which the Knesset has evolved without really
representing the people, but rather indirectly through powerful influences
exerted by distinct sectors through the political parties.
members are beholden to their parties rather than to the people they presumably
In this context it is not surprising to find that an activist
court emerged to counter-balance an unrepresentative Knesset.
changes in how the Knesset is elected, a system can emerge in which the
legislative branch takes on a clearer and stronger role that encourages the
Supreme Court to modify its activism.
Sir, – In his column of May 22 (“The Peace directive in the hands of the
leaders,” Encountering Peace), Gershon Baskin maintains that all of the issues
in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict have been worked out, and all that is needed
is the political will by the leaders on both sides to reach an agreement.
Really? Baskin forgets to point out that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud
Abbas has yet to be legally reelected and that the right of return is still a
Palestinian demand. He also has never honestly explained why rockets are still
being fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip after the disengagement of
Baskin also needs to tell us why the Palestinian leadership would
opt for peace now when they turned it down in 1938, 1947, 1967, 2000 and
Sir, – Regarding
“Pandora’s box” (Letters, May 22), the International Olympic Committee is
focused only on the fact that “the show must go on.” It has given no thought to
the horror in Munich in 1972 and doesn’t want the anniversary of the massacre to
in any way disturb the glamor of the London games.
After all, the
Olympics in modern times are focused on money and the drama of which country has
the best athletes, not on the enhancement of sport.
It is to the credit
of two congressman from America who have introduced a resolution calling for the
Munich massacre to be remembered and, moreover, for the condemnation by one and
all of the hatred that leads to violence (“US lawmakers urge Olympic moment of
silence for ‘Munich 11,’” May 20).
Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter to
the world about hatred that killed innocent Israeli who were engaged in bonding
and brotherhood at the 1972 Olympics.
The cowardice of the Olympic
Committee is just further evidence of this.
What good is sport where
participants are murdered? What good is national pride when there is a winner
from a country that will glorify death and destruction for the other?
Sir, – Your editorial “Kika’s
mistakes” (May 11) highlights how vulnerable we are to exploitation by
international businesses, which think we are a nation of shoppers and easy
pickings for a fast buck.
Over the years major Israeli food producers and
service providers have been acquired by overseas business conglomerates and
venture capitalists, which has resulted in higher-than-acceptable prices. Some,
like Apax Partners, a venture capital organization, have acquired our major
landline telephone network (Bezeq), our major dairy producer (Tnuva) and our
largest investment house for pensions and mutual funds (Psagot). Apax certainly
did not make these investments out of Zionist aspirations but rather to increase
its wealth and eventually sell these companies for a profit. In the case of
Tnuva it took three years, which resulted in a huge 15-percent increase in the
price of its products in one foul swoop.
Other major international
conglomerates such as Nestle and Unilever have acquired companies like Osem,
Elite, Vita and Vered Hagalil, and introduced some of their own brands, like
Nescafe and Knorr, some manufactured in Israel and some imported, the latter
being sold at twice the price as in Europe.
companies have not introduced into these businesses better quality control,
customer service or standards, and have bamboozled consumers with packaging and
labeling so that they can sell us sub-standard products they dare not sell in
In retrospect, the Anti-trust Authority should not have permitted
these acquisitions. In raising problems regarding their products they treat the
consumer with contempt and cite all sorts of Israeli laws to cover up poor
product quality and labeling, knowing full well they are in the wrong and
failing to offer tokens of goodwill as they do in Europe.
Arabic are both official second languages in Israel, but it is rare to find
products labeled in these languages with the same coverage.
It is time
for The Jerusalem Post to reintroduce a “Marketing with Martha”-type column for
English- speaking residents; during its heyday the column made some companies
sit up and take note of their malpractices.
COLIN L. LECI