(photo credit: Courtesy)
Ready & waiting
Sir, - Re "Wanted: Anglo olim to teach English" (August 25): Why not enlist the hundreds, if not thousands, of retired English teachers - many of whom never wanted to quit but were forced to because of age regulations?
I, for one, at age 88, would be happy to spend a few hours a day teaching new olim English, and especially how to teach others to do it.
Sir, - I wish Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin the greatest success in his attempt to initiate the long-awaited electoral reform ("Rivlin to push for regional elections and constitution," August 21). The introduction of constituency representation would encourage stability, accountability and discipline. It should improve the caliber, conduct and performance of our current MKs - who would represent their citizens, not a party list. The present system encourages mediocrity, electoral bribery, blackmail and corruption, to the detriment of the majority of the electorate.
Rivlin should be aware of the opposition he is sure to encounter in the entrenched attitude of the politicians who have voice and power disproportionate to their numbers. These self-serving individuals mock the institution of democracy.
Cautious and thoughtful reform should eliminate the errors, fragmentation and polarization so inherent in the present dysfunctional system. Hopefully it will also include a well-worded and comprehensive constitution, with checks and balances, to replace the basic laws. It should be combined with a wide-ranging educational and publicity program, and public debate, so the electorate is more aware of the affairs that will affect them.
Rivlin has given us the opportunity to reform our flawed electoral system. If he is successful, it will be one of the most valuable legacies we can leave our children.
Punishment to fit the crime
Sir, - In my 37 years on the active faculty of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, I witnessed a number of appeals to academic freedom for redress against failure to obtain tenure or other perceived abuses. Unhappily, most often academic freedom was being used as a shield against lack of professional accomplishment.
However, "Boycott Israel" by Neve Gordon in the Los Angeles Times is unique in the use of academic freedom as a shield against treason. Treason is usually associated with harming the security of one's country by revealing military or political secrets, thereby putting the lives of the country's citizens at risk ("Boycott Israel," Elsewhere, August 24).
As a staff member of Ben-Gurion University abroad, Dr. Gordon represents that Israeli institution and, through it, Israel. If foreign countries take his recommendation as license to boycott Israel, then he has just as surely put our citizens at risk as if he had divulged a military secret.
The appropriate punishment in this case is for BGU students and staff to boycott Dr. Gordon.