Letters to the Editor February 21-22, 2020

Readers of the JPost have their say

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Letters
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
ONLY IN JERUSALEM 
Although I was fascinated by the pull-out map of construction in Jerusalem in the February 14 cover story (“Jerusalem’s building boom”), I failed to connect the reference to the Jaffa Gate-Zion Gate closing to my planned trip through the Old City this week.

As is my habit every so often, I arrange for an early morning meeting at the Givati junction with the security service for Mount of Olives visits to escort me to visit my husband’s grave. To do this, I have to drive through the Jaffa Gate and exit at the Dung Gate.

As I approached the entrance to the inner road, I found myself at a complete roadblock. I sat in my car, quite astonished (despite your warning), until the equivalent of what we call in the States “New York’s Finest” stepped in and saved the day. Several police officers approached my car and asked me where I was going. I tried to explain in my best but limited Hebrew and finally understood that I would have to go all around through the Zion Gate. 

I explained that I did not know how to do this, and after patiently giving me directions, the officer suddenly asked: “Do you have an ishur [permission]?”

“No, of course not, I replied. How could I know about this?”

He asked a few colleagues and then assured me it would be alright: I should just ask for “Musa.” I was not sure if he was Musa or I needed to find Musa, but I continued on my way with some trepidation. 

I was stopped by no fewer than five police patrols on my way, each asking where I was going, and to each I muttered something about Musa and was waved forward. When I finally arrived at the tiny passageway from the Zion Gate to the inner road, the officer asked me for my ishur, and with waning hope I started my story again, at which point the officer gave me a big smile and waved me on.

I made my appointment with five minutes to spare and thought that no matter who Musa was, or whether I had gotten the name right, or even if he existed at all, this was a story that could happen only in Jerusalem.

MARION REISS
Beit Shemesh 

FLOURISHING TREES

The touching and heartwarming “Jewish tears” by Charles Ticho (February 7) brought back precious and meaningful memories of our Hillel Hebrew Academy (Beverly Hills, California) classroom, with an entire section of the wall covered with each pupil’s Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund certificate bearing a picture of a tree. Each time we brought 10 cents, we received a “leaf” to paste onto the tree. Two dollars granted us an entire tree, and the certificate. 

My sister Gaola Dolgin planted a tree when she was 12 years old. Gaola was wise beyond her years, and she dedicated it “in honor of those who have done me good and mankind good... my teachers, doctors, nurses, authors of great novels and especially the garbage collectors.”

Unfortunately, Gaola died of illness at the age of 14, and family friends dedicated a grove (1,000 trees) in the KKL-JNF Melachim Forest to her. 

We are blessed that most of the Dolgin family has made aliyah, and new generations will be planting trees with their schools this Tu Bishvat. In the same vein, our son Dr. Tzach Glasser has established the goat shed at Ramat Hanadiv Nature Park, where one of the main research aims is to learn how goats can be reared in Mediterranean woodland for the purpose of preventing forest fires.

May we each, in our own way, continue to contribute to the flourishing of our forests and our land.

SARALEE GLASSER
Elkana 
RASH REACTIONS

Regarding “Hype and happy endings” (Vivian Bercovici, February 14): So, which is it – Midnight Express or Orange Is the New Black? I was hoping that the former Canadian ambassador’s observations and thoughts would have helped to decide which of the two media hits dealing with imprisonment for drug trafficking the Naama Issachar saga is most likened to, but unfortunately nothing compelling was really said. Which, I’m sorry to say, more or less mirrors just about everything that has thus far been written or expressed regarding the young woman’s experience and how Israel – the government and the people – reacted.

Bercovici might have, for example, expressed puzzlement over the lustfully rousing cheers Israelis typically have for those whose standards of morality leave something to be desired. Surely, she remembers how those vulgar-minded youths were lovingly embraced upon their return from Cyprus. Those ill-mannered teens and Issachar could have celebrated their respective exonerations by getting high in some Tel Aviv dance club. And for all anybody knows, maybe they did.

And, yes, Russian President Vladimir Putin found political capital in authorizing a release based on humanitarian needs. If I were a Russian citizen, though, I would wonder about those needs. Issachar, after all, is neither ill nor critically frail, and neither aged parents nor helpless infants rely on her for support and well-being. I’d freely wager that there are hundreds of prisoners in Israel as well as in Russia who can present far more persuasive arguments for leniency.

Often repeated is the cry that the punishment should fit the crime and that her sentence of 7.5 years for possession of less than 10 grams of grass was more than unreasonable. Agreed, but being completely released and shuttled back to Israel on the prime minister’s private transportation sends a dangerous signal for backpackers who envision returning to Israel with some stashed hash.

A more fitting end might have been release with an agreed-upon period of community service focusing on drug rehabilitation activities. Alternatively, I personally would not in the least object to assigning Issachar to something more suitable, say six or eight months of housekeeping and custodial services in the Russian Embassy.

Netflix, I bet, has already begun to consider which performers will be featured in the dramatization of this tale of woe. Particularly difficult will be filling the role of Naama’s mother, Yaffa. The lady pulled off the public-relations coup of the century, demonstrating chutzpah and a shrewish readiness to step on toes when and if necessary.

Sara Netanyahu might soon be available, right?

BARRY NEWMAN
Ginot Shomron
THINK UP
Yosef Abramowitz’s telling of the Arava’s successes towards a goal of 100% solar power (“Solving the climate crisis,” February 7) is inspiring. One thing I took away was the real concern for land Israel possesses in that we do not have too much of it, and therefore, whether for electricity, agriculture or security, we must carefully consider all ramifications when we are called upon to reduce land.

I did, however, find one thing puzzling. If, indeed, there may not be enough land for solar fields, why cannot towers be a replacement? In other words, why not up rather than spread out?

YISRAEL MEDAD
Shiloh