Sir, – I read your news item about the Israel Democracy Institute’s Democracy Index and the amazing results for Israeli Arabs (“Extensive poll finds Jews, Arabs proud to be Israeli,” January 5).
If the sample of about 1,000 is representative of the Israeli population – which I doubt, to begin with – it will contain only about 200 Arabs. According to my experience, it is ridiculous to make such sweeping and politically sensitive statements for such a tiny sample. Moreover, what was the measure of non-response? How were the responses sampled (phone interviews, faceto- face interviews)? I would repeat the sample with at least 4,000 observations, including those of 1,000 Arab citizens.
The IDI should be more careful because this is a minefield.BERNARD M.S. VAN PRAAG
The writer is a retired professor of economics and econometrics with extensive experience in con ducting surveys.Friday nights
Sir, – With “‘An Israeli Friday’” (Think About It, January 5), Susan Hattis Rolef has, in my opinion, crossed a line, her words falling into the category of baseless hatred.
Ms. Rolef constantly attacks the entire religious community in Israel with extreme vitriol. In this column she makes sure to insinuate that the funding for the “An Israeli Friday” commercials might be illegal. Since she admits that she has no proof, this is not journalism.
She links Friday night meals and Kiddush with Yigal Amir and Baruch Goldstein. Such a blood libel first appeared after the Rabin assassination when it was declared that the entire religious community was responsible. This is the same reasoning that states that all Russian immigrants are drunks and beat their wives, and Moroccans carry knives and stab people. We need to put an end to these attacks.
The first part of the commercial seems to show that the secular family is dysfunctional. This is done with poetic license to prove a point: All families should try to have a weekly dinner with no distractions: no television, smart phones or Internet so that members can talk to each other.
What is special about Shabbat for my family is that we can sit at the table for two or three hours and just be together and discuss anything.SHMUEL SCHWARTZ
Sir, – If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli government wanted to pressure the Palestinian Authority over its application to International Criminal Court, they could have simply transferred NIS 500 million to the Israel Electric Corporation to help cover the PA’s huge debt of NIS 1.7 billion.
There would not have been grounds for a single objection from the US, EU or anyone else, as this is a genuine debt and long overdue. It would have issued a clear message without the risk of the damage we have caused ourselves.
Instead, we very naively brought the anger of the whole world on us by an absolutely stupid act.
Soon, as in the past, we will just be pressured to transfer the funds to the PA.DAVID GOSHEN
Sir, – Why all the fuss about withholding the Palestinian tax money? We all know that in a few days it will be reimbursed, as has been done before.
What is really unfathomable is the crazy situation whereby we collect their taxes but do not deduct their debts to pay for all the amenities we Israelis have to cover. If an ordinary citizen doesn’t pay for his utilities, after a short while is disconnected and sued in court.
Apart from the taxes, the Palestinian Authority gets billions from various donor countries yet still pleads poverty. Hopefully, the next government will rectify this ridiculous situation.
Petah TikvaLupolianski’s crime
Sir, – In the letters section headlined “Define bribe” (January 4), far from supporting the case that Yad Sarah founder and former Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupolianski correctly took funds to “help sick and disabled citizens and others,” reader Yosef Tucker reinforces the principle that accepting money corrupts public officials, that they are influenced by accepting such money and persuaded and induced by such money.
That the funds received were directed to Yad Sarah is totally irrelevant. Lupolianski was a public official and as such had a duty not to allow himself to be persuaded or induced by the payment of money, no matter the recipient.
Reader S. Aharonson’s contention that Lupolianski is a victim is so laughable that we will not devote any more newsprint to refuting it. Likewise regarding reader Mark L. Levinson’s diversionary tactic of referring to prime ministerial hopeful Isaac Herzog’s contemptible escape from prosecution.
We refer these letter writers to Deuteronomy 16:19: “Do not take bribes because a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous.” Note that the verse refers to the taker rather than the payer. In this case it means that no matter how smart or righteous Lupolianski’s defenders are, they are unable to see the bribe for what it is.SHIRLEY and WARREN ZAUER
Mr. (Not So) Clean
Sir, – Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog said, in a January 3 interview on Channel 2’s “Meet the Press” program, that he acted legally in a campaign finance probe 15 years ago.
“I acted in accordance with the law, and the attorney-general accepted my position,” Herzog said. “We acted legally but, perhaps publicly, we overdid it.
There is no doubt that today I would act differently.”
Herzog should come clean and reveal to us in what way he would act differently.IRA NOSENCHUK
JerusalemWhere’s the support?
Sir, – With regard to “Israel’s ties with the world” (Analysis, January 1), given that China voted to support the Palestinians’ UN Security Council resolution on statehood, how ironic that the Chinese state-owned company Bright Food (Group) Co. Ltd. concluded a deal to acquire the majority interest in our major dairy producer, Tnuva, from the overseas Apax Partners.
Furthermore, the Israeli government signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese in May 2014 for them to construct a railway line from Ashdod to Eilat at an estimated cost at the time of $4.9 billion, to be financed by the Chinese Development Industrial Bank. In October 2014, another Chinese government company, China Harbor, commenced work on a new private port in Ashdod at an estimated cost of $930 million.
With such involvement in Israel’s economy, one would expect the Chinese to adopt a more pro-Israel stance at the UN.
After all, two years ago Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Israel maintained economic and strategic interests with China. Was it to ensure we would remain indebted to China, which will now control our dairy food chain and interfere with our sovereignty? We are being taken for friers (suckers). Even the Antitrust Authority hasn’t raised an investigation.
One wonders why!
Jerusalem Broken fingers
Sir, – Why are fuel prices so outrageously high in Israel? The price for a liter here is the going price for a gallon in a lot of states in the US. What is the excuse this time? We are now seeing the biggest annual decline in oil prices since 2008. Where is the break for the consumer – besides the broken fingers from pushing buttons so often on cash machines? ELISHEVA WEBERMAN