Transparency is good
Sir, – In regard to “Ten thousand protest against ‘decline
of democracy’ in Israel” (January 16), it is truly puzzling as to why the
proposal to investigate the funding sources of NGOs resulted in an explosion of
hysteria, distress and name-calling.
If the NGOs are honest and fair, and
do not receive money from governments that directly or indirectly wish to harm
Israel, they should be thrilled and delighted.
However, if they truly are
a fifth column against Israel and support boycotts and deliberately malign and
discredit Israel, we have a right to know.
SONIA GOLDSMITH Netanya
The Knesset should pass legislation requiring all quasipolitical Israeli
organizations, on the Right and the Left, to file detailed reports on the
sources of their funds (the original sources, not just the ones who write the
checks), and these reports should be available to the
Transparency fosters democracy.
It makes a big difference
if the positions of an Israeli organization are really just the positions of the
Norwegian government or some Diaspora Jewish billionaire.
Jerusalem Pot and kettle
Sir, – Representing one of the most antagonistic
nations toward Israel, the diplomatic bluster of Norwegian Jonas Store against
his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, should come as no surprise. Now
Store dares to interfere in Israel’s internal matters (“Norway’s FM slams
Lieberman over NGO funding investigation,” January 13).
It’s not enough
for Europeans to support Palestinian aspirations.
Additionally, they hide
behind an Israeli veneer – so-called “human rights” organizations in Israel – to
affect Israeli public opinion against our democratically elected
I suppose it would be too brazen to pay for anti-Israel
advertisements on Egged buses with the notation “Sponsored by the government of
The Norwegians, and also the Spaniards, fear we might expose
B’Tselem as an agent for foreign governments, and not-so-Israeli after all. The
hypocritical Store doesn’t mind benefitting from our openness; he just doesn’t
want us to be too open about B’Tselem.
I hope that Foreign Minister
Lieberman makes another of his not-so-diplomatic comments and tells Store to
keep his comments to himself. And while he’s at it, he should tell the
Norwegians to stop their vicious whale hunts, and the Spaniards to stop their
GABE HARPAZ Jerusalem There’s no question
“Extreme measures may be considered if rain shortage persists” (January 13), I
don’t know why The Jerusalem Post
continues to waste space on such
Every few months, we have heard that “a new plan may be
considered if....” Well, the conditions for that “if” are long past.
GREEN Kadima American solution
Sir, – Rachel Levmore writes about the problem of
a woman who did not receive a get, or halachic divorce, after her civil divorce
(“The plight of an ‘aguna’ reaches Capitol Hill,” Comment & Features,
January 13). She fails to mention a precedent set by a non-Jewish judge in New
As I remember it, the judge said the civil divorce would not
go into effect until the woman received a divorce that met her religious
standards and felt free according to her religion to remarry. The decision was
phrased to avoid interfering with the separation of church and state, yet
allowed the woman to practice her freedom of religion rights. Maybe this
precedent should be used by the woman mentioned in Levmore’s
Both parties to a divorce should be equally free to remarry. If
one side is not, the other should not. No gender inequality.
GOLDBERG Hatzor Haglilit Decidedly unpostal
Sir, – Funny, but my experience at
the post office in Jerusalem doesn’t measure up to the level of distress Michael
Freund writes about (“Post office follies,” Fundamentally Freund, January
I’ll admit I was wary of my first close encounter, but what pacified
me somewhat was the system of taking a number. In South Africa one can stand in
line for hours. (The clerks also stand, and their level of irritation increases
by the minute.) But in the central post office here, I walk in and find people
sitting and quietly waiting. So I take a book and an apple, and keep my eyes and
my mouth active until my number comes up.
I’ve been pleasantly
People are nice to me. They help me. They try to understand my
basic Hebrew. Might it be because this is what I expect? I didn’t know that the
post office “is a microcosm of everything that is wrong with this country,” as
Naively I believed I was among family and there was time
for a brief exchange or a laugh. Now that I know better, maybe next time I’ll be
MICHELLE FRIEDMAN Jerusalem Likud has lost its way
Sir, – Government
Services Minister Michael Eitan (Likud) on Tuesday called for a halt to
construction in isolated settlements (“Eitan: Build in major blocs, not isolated
W. Bank areas,” January 12).
There was a time when it was unthinkable for
a Likudnik to say “We have to advance a settlement policy that is compatible
with a policy of territorial compromise: stop building in areas of [the West
Bank] that we will have to relinquish...,” and that no other countries support
settlements in Judea and Samaria.
It is obvious that the Likud is no
longer a right-wing party and is bereft of its ideology. We are being isolated
and delegitimized because of these very sentiments of weakness, because a
government that has been unable to stand up for our rights has forgotten our
heritage and has no faith in the justness of our cause.
Netanya Road death inaccuracies
Sir, – There was an error in the numbers
reported on road deaths in the caption accompanying my op-ed, “Administrative
carnage” (Comment & Features, January 12).
The death toll in 2009 was
354, and not as you stated. In 2010, the death toll is estimated to have been at
least 380. This figure can be expected to rise as many who were badly injured in
2010 might die in 2011 from complications.
Also, I inadvertently omitted
the name of Prof. Yoram Finkelstein of the neurology department at Shaarei Zedek
Medical Center as one of the signatories of our letter warning that
Transportation Minister Katz’s decision to raise speed limits should be
considered criminally negligent. Finkelstein is an expert on the neurological
effects of trauma.
PROF. ELIHU D. RICHTER Jerusalem Remembering Debbie
Sir, – To all of Debbie Friedman’s beloved fans who have inquired about making
donations in her memory, a number of years ago she established the Renewal of
Spirit Foundation, with the goal of manifesting her life’s work and all that she
stood for. Now, donations to the foundation will enable the projects Debbie was
working on at the time of her death to be completed.
These funds will
also support future projects reflecting her passions and
Donations may be made online at www.debbiefriedman.com or
Renewal of Spirit Foundation Gerber & Co.
1880 Century Park
East Suite 200
Los Angeles, CA 90067-1600 USA
SELWYN GERBER AND RABBI STAN LEVY Los Angeles The writers were Debbie Friedman’s business manager and legal