Beersheba and banks
Sir, – There is much discussion in America concerning the
need for gun control. It very much appears there is a similar need here in our
own small country (“Beersheba gunman kills four in bank rampage,” May
Surely it should not be a given that security personnel carry arms
at all times, rather, there should be a requirement for them to return their
weapon at the end of each shift. A lot more work and bureaucracy for sure, but
if it saves lives, it’s worth it.DAVID S. ADDLEMAN
David Brinn deserves credit for getting to one of real issues leading to this
horrific bank massacre (“A society fraying at the edges,” Comment, May 21). It
is well documented that Israeli banks are charging clients exorbitant
commissions on everything and are profitable beyond comprehension.
recently paid NIS 60 to Bank Mizrachi to deposit cash at the bank counter. I
refused to put the cash in an envelope in their black hole safe. It would have
taken the clerk 30 seconds to count it. These charges and others are unheard of
anywhere else in the banking world. This, along with the eight-legged
familycontrolled monopolies, should be the first priority of new
Sir, – I found David Brinn’s article
irresponsible and demagogic.
Precisely because the banks behave as they
do, it is incumbent upon every citizen to acquire proper budgeting
I know nothing of the perpetrator’s financial history with the
bank, but banks generally extend credit far beyond what is healthy for the
customer. The banks sin more in granting credit than in denying it.
family budget counselor, I have encountered case after case where the banks
continued to offer credit when they should have instead instructed the customer
to get some financial counseling (or at least made one contingent upon the
So if on this occasion they now refused the killer an extension
of NIS 6,000, it is reasonable to assume that many times prior to the horrifying
event, they indeed had accommodated him. Until the banking system in Israel
becomes an adjunct of the Education Ministry, we ought not blame the banks for
our financial difficulties.
Sir, – In defense of Bank
Hapoalim, my husband and I, both pensioners of very limited means, have always
found the staff of both our previous branch and our present branch to be
unfailingly courteous, helpful and on one or two occasions, when we have had to
cope with an emergency, kind.
The people at the top of the banking chain
may earn obscene salaries, but the branch managers and clerks are everyday
people like the rest of us doing a job to the best of their ability. I found
David Brinn’s comment, coming as it did after the bank shooting, by someone
obviously deranged enough to be unable to cope with the rejection of his request
except by extreme violence, not in the best of taste.YEHUDIT COLLINS
Sir, – In regards to “Panel concludes IDF didn’t kill
Muhammad al-Dura in 2000” (May 20) – why didn’t this “panel” just stay out of
this story completely.
The incident took place in September 2000, nearly
13 years ago. In all this time, the response to this story from Israeli official
sources has been a deafening silence – except, of course, for Ehud Barak’s
initial apology. The panel’s finding now only confuse the issue.
political double-speak, it suggests that if he was killed by Israeli gunfire, it
would have been accidental. Does Israel not know that Philippe Karsenty, a true
Jewish hero, has almost single- handedly been fighting, through the French
courts, the French state-owned Channel 2 TV – which initially sued him for
libel, for his claim that this incident was staged and that the boy, Muhammad
al-Dura, was never exposed to IDF bullets.
Karsenty was initially found
guilty but on appeal, the guilty verdict was overturned, and today he is
awaiting the verdict of a second appeal by the supporters of the “Muhummad al-
Dura story,” who claim that the judges had no legal right to call for the
viewing of the filmed footage of the event.
That this was a staged libel
against Israel and the IDF is beyond question. The issue now is: How much
political pressure is going to be put on the French judges who have had their
verdict delayed several times? The saddest conclusion for me and countless
others is why do our “leaders” not understand that the media war is as potent
and dangerous to Israel and to Jews everywhere, as are bullets, bombs and
suicide bombers. The government and the IDF have been less than helpful to
Philippe Karsenty and to my knowledge, Charles Enderlin still holds Israeli
press accreditation.RUSSELL GADDIN
Modi’in Understanding complexity
– Just as the Beduin tent that Tamara Cohen saw in her childhood camp on Israel
Day every summer was Epcot-esque (“Israel must protect its Beduin citizens, not
cast them aside,” Comment and Features, May 20), so too was the totally onesided
presentation of the condition of the Beduin in the Negev which she saw with the
group Truah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights.
While she concedes that
the issue is complex, thanks to her guides she has accepted completely the
claims of the Beduin.
Her group visited an unrecognized, illegal Beduin
settlement, of about 2,400 residents. They claim their village existed before
the creation of the State.
Did she see any proof, any aerial photographs?
Nor does she tell us how many dunams of land they have taken over.
complains that residents of this illegal settlement cannot get building permits.
I think there’s an oxymoron there somewhere.
Nor do they receive basic
services such as water, electricity and health clinics. Does Ms. Cohen not
understand why? Ms. Cohen has been convinced to take the Beduin claims to land
ownership in the Negev at face value, although in many cases there is no proof.
As a consequence, she calls the most generous government proposal to resolve the
issue of Beduin settlement “a new threat” to their way of life, since it offers
compensation for no more than 50% of their claims.
I hope that Ms. Cohen
will arrange another trip to the Negev, this time with a group such as Regavim,
who will explain the situation with facts.
Then, when she returns to
Philadelphia, she can help her son’s Jewish school truly understand the
complexity of the problem.
Affront to Torah
– I have been in agreement with most of the programs that Finance Minister Yair
Lapid has placed on the agenda for the new government, and I applaud his courage
and bold initiatives.
However, your headline stating that Lapid is
working to pass legislation that would recognize same-sex marriages in the State
of Israel disturbed me very much (“Lapid working to pass civil, gay marriage in
Israel,” May 19).
I never dreamed that a Jewish State would legitimize
something that our Holy Torah calls “an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22). The
harshness with which the Torah describes homosexuality testifies to the
repugnance in which God holds those that engage in such practices.
of the other prohibited relationships are described with this term of disgust.
Homosexuality, however, is unnatural and therefore abominable.
behooves us, as Jews in a Jewish State, to vehemently reject such an affront to
our Holy Torah.
The writer is the rosh kollel at
Yeshivat Orayta in the Old City