April 24: Open skies

It is one thing for a union to strike over wages. It is quite another to strike over the policy of a democratically elected government.

By JERUSALEM POST READERS
April 23, 2013 23:11
Letters

Letters 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Sir, – It is one thing for a union to strike over wages. It is quite another to strike over the policy of a democratically elected government (“Histadrut’s Eini threatens to ground all flights after cabinet approves Open Skies,” April 22).

The Open Skies agreement does not come into effect for a year and there is plenty of time to work out the details of its implementation. By striking now, the Histadrut is telling us that its members are not subject to the government, meaning they are a law unto themselves.

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In America, when the air traffic controllers went on an illegal strike, then-president Ronald Reagan made sure they were replaced. Our government ought to do the same with the Histadrut. The labor federation must be told in no uncertain terms that it is not the government.

DAVID WILLIG
Safed


Sir, – How extraordinary that El Al workers went on strike because they did not want the Open Skies agreement, and thus open competition for Israel.

What would they achieve in light of the protest movement that started two years ago regarding food prices? The goal there was to have more competition.

The public will have no choice but to use foreign airlines. Do El Al workers seriously think people would choose not to fly just because they are striking? Precisely what the late Margaret Thatcher fought against 30 years ago in the UK needs to be fought against in Israel now.

PETER SIMPSON
Jerusalem




Sir, – With regard to the Open Skies agreement, the fact that the Israeli government will now fund 97.5 percent of the security costs for Israeli airlines instead of the present 60% is a step in the right direction. However, there needs to be far more done if El Al is to survive the mass entry of the likes of Ryanair, Easyjet and Wizzair from their respective bases in the EU.

For starters, El Al will have to fly seven days a week. The state has only a minority share in the airline now, so I see no governmental reason as to why this cannot happen. The company simply will have to reduce its headcount in order to cut costs and improve productivity.

El Al will have to take steps to enjoy ancillary revenues. There is much to be done.

BENNY BERGER
Dublin


Sir, – I am writing this while on hold for over two and a half hours, waiting for an El Al customer service agent to answer me so I can rebook my flight.

Funny thing is, I bet they are not answering the phones and do not have the courtesy to leave a message saying they are closed.

As a retired and ex-very-frequent flyer, no airline behaves like this. Ironically, El Al flew me here on aliya.

Good riddance, El Al, and I wish to thank the government for its wise decision to open up Israel to competition.

WILLIAM LEVY
Rehovot


Sir, – Recently overheard in regard to two stories side by side on the front page of the April 22 Jerusalem Post: “We need to protect the Israeli public.”

“And not at the expense of our planes or pilots.”

“Exactly. And this strike is good for employment.”

“That is disputed, but it will save us money.”

“What are you talking about? Such a strike will cost us dearly.”

“What strike are you talking about?” “Striking Iran, of course.”

“Oh, I was talking about the airline strike.”

(“Histadrut’s Eini threatens to ground all flights after cabinet approves Open Skies”; “Hagel: Israel will decide whether to strike Iran.”)

MOSHE-MORDECHAI VAN ZUIDEN
Jerusalem


Long weekends


Sir, – Your report “Netanyahu is advised to initiate long weekends at holiday time” (April 22) curiously does not mention one obvious option – namely, for the five-day work week to run from Sunday through Thursday. Since Friday is a half-day off for many people in any case, a long weekend that includes Sunday would in effect mean a four-and-a-half day work week.

A disadvantage to having a Friday and Saturday weekend, though, is that it would handicap business dealings with much of the world. On the other hand, it would please our Muslim citizens.

NEVILLE TELLER
Beit Shemesh


Haredim insecure

Sir, – With regard to “Haredi leadership battles against core curriculum” (April 22), what are they afraid of? That their children will learn Torah and a little math and science, and also about the country they live in? My observation is that they are very insecure. If they felt secure in their way of life they would not worry that the next generation of haredim will be a bit more worldly than their elders.

In fact, such a thing might deepen and add dimension to their lives.

Many prominent Torah sages of the modern era had college degrees in various fields. The Lubavitcher Rebbe had a degree in engineering. This did not make him less religious or less a Torah scholar.

So again I ask: Who is afraid of the Big Bad Core Curriculum?

A. WEINBERG
Rehovot


Sir, – Agudath Israel of America cancelled its rally in New York that was to protest the drafting of haredi yeshiva students into the IDF by Israel (“American haredim cancel major anti-draft rally in Manhattan,” April 21). It was cancelled because of security concerns related to the unfortunate events in Boston.

Does no one else see the irony? Who would provide security if everyone, as the ultra- Orthodox surely would like to see, is studying in a yeshiva?

JERRY KOLLER
Ma’aleh Adumim


Vital message


Sir, – Dylan Kaplan’s “Israel’s security lies in Waziristan” (Comment & Features, April 22) is well written and presents a serious approach for dealing with Israel’s problems of maintaining security in the face of Islamic terrorists.

The case is made for a change in our mind-set and in our behavior toward these potential enemies. It requires a new perspective that allows Israel to look at Islamic terrorists not as a monolithic bloc but as part of a collection of tribal and ethnic groups, some of which could find common interests with Israel.

One can only hope that the relevant ministers in our new government will become well acquainted with the pertinent information presented here, and seriously consider the merits of this vital message.

DEBORAH LIEBERMAN
Herzliya


Don’t look now!


Sir, – Reader Michael Schneider writes that his son, born in 1965, was circumcised by Rev.

Jacob Snowman, “mohel to the royal family” (“Royal ‘mohel,’” Letters, April 19). The year he mentions leads me to believe that it was not Jacob Snowman (1871-1959), but his son and my teacher, Dr. Leonard V.

Snowman, who was practicing during the 1960s.

As for metzitza b’peh, or oral suction of the wound, the Chatam Sofer, Rabbi Moshe Schrieber, a 19th Century rabbinic authority, noted in response to the practice that because of health risks and a possible government ban, it was not an integral part of the brit mila ceremony. He permitted the use of a sponge. Later, ritual circumcisers used a glass pipette, sometimes with a filter inserted, which became part the accepted practice.

In stating that the pipette assures that the mouth does not come in contact with the foreskin, letter-writer Schneider should be aware that at this point of the ceremony the foreskin has already been removed – unless like most men he was not watching the procedure!

LEONARD E. BOOK
Ashkelon

The writer is a rabbi
.


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