Sir, - Police Commander Arik Yakuel hit the nail on the head about lack of funding for the police ("Getting down to brass tacks," January 12). The police have taken a back seat to other security forces while helping to fight two wars, terror and crime.
As a volunteer police officer I am appalled to see officers bring their own flashlights and batteries from home because there are not enough at the local station. Even worse is the fact that if a patrol car breaks down we don't even have a pair of jumper cables!
The police's planning department needs better PR to make its needs known.
Sir, - The interview with Cmdr. Arik Yakuel gave much-needed prominence to the difficulties our police force faces in trying to do its job, and its need to continually reshuffle priorities in order to find the resources to quell the current "bushfire" - be it intifada, organized crime, or (as is hardly ever done) the horrendous road toll.
Government neglect of the police extends to other areas, even when attention would cost nothing. I wrote to the Chief Rabbinate over a year ago to suggest it extend the prayer for the well-being and safety of the army to cover all security forces since the police and others also face danger in their work of protecting society.
Of course I received no reply but, more importantly, the rabbinate should already have thought of this. When the "Table of Laws and Customs for 5766" was issued a few months back, there was no change in the prayer.
Money ain't funny
Sir, - Arkady Gaydamak is one of a not inconsiderable number of Jewish Russian billionaires who are making their mark the world over. President of the Congress of the Jewish Religious Communities in Russia, for years Gaydamak has shown pride in his Jewish heritage and used his money to better the lot of his people. He, and other Jewish oligarchs who wish to invest in Israel, should be welcomed and not insulted with police interrogations ("Gaydamak: I'm an Israeli and I'll stay in Israel," January 5).
England does not seem to care how Roman Abramovitch, owner of the Chelsea Football Club, made his millions. And our Yossi Beilin showed no compunction in taking EU money to further his political aims.
Sir, - It's interesting to see that Russian billionaire Arkady Gaydamak is donating money to all kinds of worthy causes in Israel. As Greer Fay Cashman pointed out in Grapevine (January 11) there are suspicions against wealthy Russians of "violence, fraud, tax-evasion, conspiracy and money-laundering." Nothing has been proven, so the powers that be are delighted to continue to receive this money.
Evangelical Christian leader Pat Robertson also wanted to invest in Israel and has been rejected. What was his crime? He believes in God. Even worse, he says it out loud. He believes God punishes wickedness. Those of us who believe in God have nothing to be ashamed of. Our opinions are as valid as anyone else's.
Sir, - The executive committee of the United Christian Council in Israel, an alliance of 30 evangelical churches and organizations here, deeply regrets the widely reported comments of the Rev. Pat Robertson concerning the severe stroke which afflicted Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. At a time when his nation and people were praying for his recovery, those comments were both unfortunate and highly insensitive.
As Evangelical Christians in Israel we wish to dissociate ourselves from all such remarks and the offense they have caused. We join in prayer for the healing of the prime minister and the health of the nation.
Sara & Laura
Sir, - Greer Fay Cashman exonerates Sara Netanyahu for the arrogant negligence of her driver in parking on the sidewalk in front of her residence, thus causing pedestrians to detour into the bustling traffic on Rehov Aza (Grapevine, January 11). Mrs. Netanyahu is her driver's boss and she should make a point of compelling him to extend basic consideration to others.
She could learn a lesson from US First Lady Laura Bush, who insisted that the White House kitchen be koshered in order to accommodate Jewishly observant guests at a recently-held party.
Sir, - May I congratulate you on your civilized broadmindedness in publishing Daoud Kuttab's "An open letter to Ehud Olmert" (January 12), enabling us to see and perhaps understand what the Palestinians believe, or at least what Mr. Kuttab believes the Palestinians believe. Perhaps he could use his good offices to get a Palestinian paper to print a similar "Open letter to Mahmoud Abbas" by a Jerusalem Post writer such as Caroline Glick or Evelyn Gordon, both to demonstrate the civilized broadmindedness of the Palestinian press and so that Palestinians can see what we believe?
Sir, - Re "3,000 weapons streaming monthly into Gaza - Diskin" (January 11): Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin reported that Palestinians are smuggling into Gaza close to 3,000 rifles a month, up from 200-300 before the disengagement. He described this as an increase of "more than 300 percent." It is actually an increase of over 1,000 percent. Each month the Palestinians are obtaining roughly the quantity of weapons it previously took them a year to get. A year after Israel's retreat their weapons supply will likely improve the equivalent of a decade in pre-disengagement terms.
Are our military experts and political leaders urgently addressing these facts? Or are they too busy arguing over the numbers of felled olive trees, and which fans started a soccer brawl?
Sir, - Michael Freund hit the nail on the head when he showed the flawed reasoning of our IDF chief of staff, Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz ("A dereliction of duty," January 11). The army, Halutz says, is hampered by "moral constraints." He thus chooses to jeopardize his innocent fellow countrymen rather than innocent Palestinians. But Freund may have missed Halutz's real point. He is afraid of what the "world" will say if he defends his country effectively.
Halutz has received military advice on an effective military response to the Kassam rockets while avoiding Palestinian civilian casualties. Why hasn't he taken it? I believe it is because he fears the response of The New York Times, CNN & the UN.
Sir, - Dan Halutz seems to have forgotten how the IDF used to respond to terror. "Hit me once, I hit you back 10 times harder" is called deterrence. Today's approach is called cowardice.
What Hebron means
Sir, - All Larry Derfner can think of when the name Hebron is mentioned is Baruch Goldstein ("Gentrifying Hebron," January 5). It would seem to me that for a wholesome, normal, thinking Jew, Israeli or otherwise, the name Hebron would evoke deep-rooted associations with our nation's spiritual and physical birth, and that as such the city would be loved and cherished - yes, and lived in and visited!
In this mean-spirited essay Derfner throws us "traditionalists" a bone by acknowledging the existence in Hebron of the Tomb of the Patriarchs. But when push comes to shove he'd just as soon give up the town together with the tomb - and with all the "Goldsteins" who live there.
Sir, - I am elated that Daniel Doron had the guts to draw attention to the sheer apathy and neglect of Jerusalem in "Oh, Jerusalem" (January 5). I didn't see Teddy Kollek as an experienced and progressive city leader who cared about his people but as a left-leaning public servant serving a party line that I believe destroyed individual initiative in the city.
Instead of channeling the millions schnorred from Diaspora Jews into erecting public memorials and plaques Kollek should have utilized this fortune wisely in understanding and promoting the free enterprise system. He would have learned that our well-being, wealth and economic prosperity relies on the industrious small-business sector of the middle class. This is the cornerstone of any democratic institution, and without it the city will degenerate into two classes - haves and have-nots, rich and poor - a cause for conflict in any society.
The city has become an impoverished, filthy, traffic-infested health hazard, a result mainly of the socialist attitude still inherent in the city's bureaucracy. Jerusalem's municipality requires strong leadership and management and a different mind-set.
Sir, - Thank you, Peter C. Beller and The Jerusalem Post for publicizing a shameful situation ("The old cemeteries of Newark," December 28).
A positive contribution to the resolution of the problem could be made by the Jewish Federation leadership. One suggestion is cooperation between the city of Newark and the federation. An on-site, live-in caretaker might ameliorate the vandalism of the cemeteries. There is no excuse for continued neglect.
Edison, New Jersey
Pride, no prejudice
Sir, - I was so proud to read about the prime minister's hospitalization: "Four other patients - victims of strokes, brain tumors and other maladies - lie in the same ward." The care that these other Israelis have received is of the same quality, delivered in the same space, as that given to the nation's most important patient. And they are all there thanks to the same universal health insurance. Show me another country that can claim that! ("Sharon almost breathing on his own," January 12.)