(photo credit: Courtesy)
Actions, not words...
Sir, - Previous complaints had been filed with the police in connection with at least two of the cases in the recent spate of murders. Now Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin is "going to say some very serious things" ("Rivlin: 'Enough is enough!'" August 19).
Let's see some very serious things finally done - like following up every complaint filed; police answering their phones promptly; and acquiring minimal computer skills so information can be entered directly into databases rather than hand-written on forms, etc., etc.
Three small pilotless planes (mazlatim) flying 24/7 over the country could spot speeding, illegal passing and tailgating, averting many road accidents. If the Interior Security Ministry was competent, such measures would have been adopted long ago, together with random inspections to ensure police behave courteously and professionally.
This is not just a police problem, of course. We must revitalize our social values, support education, and bring about electoral reform. Then we may get the dedicated leaders who will make these things happen.
...and a hard look at our society
Sir, - God forbid we should look to the root causes in a society based on anarchistic values mostly promoted by the media and the social experiments of the "progressive" school systems over the last 30 years. Including:
â€¢ parents and teachers who have abdicated any sense of moral authority where the children in their care are concerned;
â€¢ police toleration of open bars on car roofs in downtown Tel Aviv main streets;
â€¢ underage teens with beer bottles in their hands on the main streets of Jerusalem;
â€¢ gangs of 14-year-olds roaming the streets until 4 a.m.;
â€¢ every other kiosk selling "soft" drugs.
When "anything goes" in the name of freedom and democracy, is it any wonder that more and more Arabs as well as Jews are turning to conservative religion? Who in their right mind wants to live in a society like this? ("Crime and values," Editorial, August 18.)
Until these basic problems are addressed, installing surveillance cameras, as has been suggested, will be no more successful here than it has been in Britain.
The answer lies within
Sir, - The mayor of Jaljulya said it all ("'This whole generation of young people in Jaljulya is screwed up,'" August 17).
He laments that his town has no parks, no youth centers, no local entertainment spots; and that its population density is nine persons per dunam.
Yet this concentration of residents is probably lower than in most Jewish communities in Israel, and the lack of facilities is the responsibility and purview of the local municipality, not the national government.
In addition, there doesn't appear to be any international opposition to "natural growth" in West Bank Arab settlements.
The mayor admitted that Jaljulya, with 70 percent of its residents working for Jewish employers, does not have an unemployment problem. Moreover, two of the suspect thugs had received NIS 40,000 each from their father's insurance, so they chose not to work.
Despite the above, Mayor Jaber believes the solution to his village's problems is "Israel needs to support us more." Perhaps the answer lies not elsewhere, but in himself and his constituents.
Give the man a chance...
Sir, - All the right-wing whining and outrage over anything the Obama administration does to improve America's standing at home and abroad makes me laugh ("The US health care debate," Editorial, August 19). Where were they for eight years and more when the health care crisis emerged and other domestic programs were coming apart at the seams - while the Bush administration looked the other way as the pharmacy industry, big oil and big business lined their pockets? That includes Republicans and Democrats.
Now we have a brave young man who dares to introduce various programs to get us back on our feet, and what do we hear? "Socialism," "radical," "too costly" and "how about his birth certificate?"
There are legitimate gripes, such as why doesn't he produce his birth certificate, and why the need for 1,018 pages of confusing health care regulations? Nobody is going sit down and try to interpret the plan.
It should take no more than 10 pages to detail exactly what each of us is going to get. Better yet, why shouldn't every US citizen get the same coverage as our elected officials?
It's a mind-boggling situation, created in part by the current administration - but at least give the man a chance to bring about real change.
Massapequa, New York
...to better health care
Sir, - Unfortunately, the American people have an almost deadly fear of the term "socialized medicine" (they view what we have here as just that), even while admitting that our system works most of the time, to the benefit of almost everyone.
If President Obama can convince his people that the system works, he will get a decent health care bill out of Congress. If not, what comes out may be entirely too little of just not good enough.
As a former American, I can only hope he succeeds. Too many people in the US have inadequate or no health care.
Sir, - I have only praise for our local health care service at Leumit in Karnei Shomron. Everyone, including the secretaries, lab technicians, nurses and doctors, provide services for my family with care and concern. I might have to wait a bit for my turn, but I know that the professional advice I will receive is worth it.
Besides, while waiting I get to catch up with my reading!
Comparing Ethiopian and Soviet Jews
Sir, - The Ethiopian Jews' cause is very different from that of the former Soviet Jews ("'Rescuing' Ethiopian Jews," Editorial, August 14).
The protests were against the Soviet authorities, their embassy staff and Soviet visitors to the UK. We appealed to the British government for support to get the Soviet Jews out; whereas the Ethiopians are protesting their neglect and the prejudice against them here in Israel.
Our frequent demonstrations - a large number of us women chained ourselves to the railings outside the UK Foreign Office and were arrested - were to attract publicity and put pressure on parliamentarians to protest to the Soviets about the plight of Jews in the USSR, whom we contacted and visited.
There is sympathy for the Ethiopians. But, unfortunately, their plight has not stimulated Israelis to take to the streets.
Former member of the 35's
Remembering the '60s
Sir, - As your correspondent J. Lake pointed out ("About consistency," Letters, August 17), it has been an amusing joke for the last 40 years that those of us who were there in the '60s do not actually remember it - the implication being, of course, that most were too stoned to remember anything at all.
But we "children of the '60s" who weren't actually stoned are now getting to the stage where we don't remember the '60s because we don't remember anything very much anymore!