Where was the Histadrut?
With regard to “Teva workers protest mass layoffs” (December 15), once again we see the only answer the Histadrut has for any problem: Call a strike after the event. As usual, this does nothing to solve the problem; in reality, it just makes things worse for the country.
Surely, with thousands of Histadrut members working within Teva, the labor federation should have been aware of what was going on years ago. If the news came as a surprise, there is something seriously wrong within the Histadrut that calls for a basic restructuring.
Teva is a public company, with company results published every year. Should these members of the Histadrut, who pay monthly membership fees, not expect the labor federation to protect their rights by checking in on what is going on and sounding a warning to members – and the government – when things look suspicious or shaky? One suspects that the Histadrut was aware but was unwilling to undermine the cozy arrangements between its leadership and Teva’s management.
Unless the Histadrut changes its ways, there will only be more instances in which it shuts the stable door only after the horses have already bolted from companies with thousands of workers who thought that as members of the Histadrut, their interests were being protected.
Kfar Hamaccabi Enough already!
Regarding “Police to question PM for seventh time” (December 14), enough already! The headline should tell it all.
Cases 1000, 2000 and whatever other cases there are have been going on for years, with seemingly very little advancement. The incessant leaks to the media and the constant drip-drip of headlines keeping the investigations alive are just too much.
If nothing of any significance has been found to date, the investigations should be shelved for as long as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to serve. After his term comes to an end, the police will be able to continue – if they still have the appetite, which I would very much doubt.
In the meantime, Netanyahu has more than enough on his plate in leading the country, with the usual coalition politics, dealing with physical attacks and threats from many quarters, and his role in maintaining and enhancing Israel’s positions with all the world players in these significantly changing times.
Ra’anana Trump’s subtlety was lost
Congratulations to Gershon Baskin for noting that “despite Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, he did not unify Jerusalem, nor did he even speak about unified Jerusalem. He did say that the future of Jerusalem, its borders and its sovereignty would have to be decided by the Israelis and the Palestinians together” (“Our Jerusalem,” Encountering Peace, December 14).
He’s right about all three, and Jerusalem is just as divided as ever, regardless of US President Donald Trump.
Trump said: “We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians.
We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved.” Also, he signed another six-month waiver, delaying the moving of the embassy, and emphasized how long it would take – implying how many more waivers of delay he would be signing.
There are already large US consular buildings in Jerusalem and all Trump would have to do is change the signs on the doors from “Consulate” to “Embassy.” It could all have been done by yesterday.
The only possible reason it wasn’t is because he meant what he said, and Baskin is right: Trump did not speak about a unified or “undivided” Jerusalem and wants great deal for both Israelis and Palestinians, so Jerusalem could still be negotiated as Israel’s and Palestine’s shared capital.
There seem to be many who are in denial or busy cherry-picking what Trump said. Baskin got it right.
And it’s the only explanation why the embassy hasn’t moved already.
Trump spoke of “our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement” and a great deal for everyone. He said both “God bless Israel” and “God bless the Palestinians.”
The massive symbolism of the announcement brought jubilation among Israeli hawks and anger among Palestinians and the citizens of neighboring Muslim states. Unfortunately, the president’s subtlety was lost.JAMES ADLER
Who will remember Shteinman?
The fact that some media pander to the Haredi sector of the population is understandable, but it should not be exaggerated.
The impact of Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman’s death (“Hundreds of thousands bid farewell to Haredi ‘leader of the generation,” December 13) leaks out of the Haredi bubble because of our political system, but on the whole, it is insignificant.
Who will remember Shteinman by the end of this century compared to all our scientific, musical and other giants? RONNIE GINZBURG
Providing help for Anglos
Gil Hoffman’s “Absorption Ministry: Anglos aren’t special” (December 13) represents a first in honest reporting on the challenges confronting new immigrants from English-speaking countries.
When I moved to Israel in 2002, there was very little understanding of the struggles we faced. It was assumed that Anglo families were all affluent, successful and knowledgeable about where to turn for help. When asking Anglo parents to whom they turned when confronting challenges with their children, they almost all responded that they had no one to turn to who could provide the cultural and social sensitivity so desperately needed.
In an attempt to fill this void, I founded Kav L’Noar, a social service agency in central Jerusalem that would provide Anglo immigrant families an address to share their challenges with a staff of professionals offering them comprehensive and culturally-sensitive services in English in a safe and comfortable environment.
While many organizations have been created in the last decade that offer English-speaking olim support in different areas, it is most noteworthy that the Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee, at the initiative of its current chairman, MK Abraham Neguise, has initiated a recognition of the “challenges unique to them that must be addressed.”
The response by the Aliya and Integration Ministry that “Anglo immigrants receive the same help as others who move to Israel from around the world” is not true. If, as Dr. Neguise suggests, we want to “ensure that English-speaking immigrants have a successful integration into society... to encourage more Jews from the Diaspora to make Israel their home,” our government will need to be more sensitive to their unique (not special) challenges and provide them the support for a more successful transition to their new home.RONALD WACHTEL
Jerusalem At least they get treatment
While sitting in the waiting room at Assuta Hospital, I read the article in which Arab-Israeli journalist Lucy Aharish lamented the racist abuses she faces here in Israel (“Is antisemitism like other forms of racism?” December 13).
As I looked around the Assuta waiting room and saw as many Muslims – if not more – than Jewish patients waiting for equal care, I kept wondering how many Jews were waiting for equal care in a hospital in Ramallah or Nablus.
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