Sir, – Shas’s leader (“Eli Yishai: Don’t separate
haredim in Beit Shemesh,” December 30) urges haredim there not to agree to a
division into haredi and nonharedi municipalities because it “would create a
haredi city lacking income, property tax and other taxes with no
In other words, haredim need a non-haredi host population that
provides all the labor and funding to make haredi life sustainable.
Jerusalem ...but there’s more
Sir, – What is the matter with us? Everyone
from the prime minister to the head of the opposition and moderate religious
leaders comes out against the malevolent influence of ultra- Orthodox extremists
– whom they themselves have foisted upon us, with our collusion.
politicians have consistently put buying support ahead of the good of the
country, and religious politicians, hard-working people themselves, feel bound
by a “them against us” mentality to insist on government support for a growing,
unproductive sector that will eventually succeed where the combined Arab armies
have failed.NAOMI SANDLER
Sir, – What is most disturbing about
the situation with the ultra- Orthodox is that they have taken a beautiful
religion and distorted it to the point where it is
Instead of allowing Judaism to sprout wings and draw its
followers upward, their interpretation has sprouted horns and dragged
participants in the other direction.
The fast pace of change that has led
us into the 21st Century has cast a light so bright that it has blinded this
unfortunate group, which is still struggling to enter the 19th
There is no fast solution. We must reach out to ultra-Orthodox
leaders and convince them that they are on the verge of turning the very people
they defend into a cult.PAUL BERMAN
Shoham Writes well, too
Rarely does a sentence appear that is magnificent in its brevity.
“Palestine: What Sherlock Holmes Would Say” (Into the Fray, December 30), Martin
Sherman writes: “...Indeed, it is neither pragmatic nor progressive to
acknowledge ‘Palestinian nationalism.’” Then he writes it: “To the contrary, it
reflects either inordinate credulity or complicity in undisguised
Sherman does the English language honor.PESACH
Telz Stone More than just money
Sir, – With regard to “‘Not enough
invested in child abuse prevention” (December 29), this is part of a wider,
multifaceted issue. While there is a lack of funding, it cannot be the only
blame. If society wants to ensure that children thrive and grow into educated,
healthy, self-realized adults, it must also address the issues on a grassroots
This begins with parents and caregivers. Parents need to spend
more quality time with their children, as this helps them
Children with a more positive home situation have better outcomes
in school and as adults.
We see many children who act out in public and
in school as a result of neglect and the fact that they are growing up without
positive parental guidance. Parents are under stress for whatever valid reasons,
and often children suffer the consequences.
There is much work to be done
with schools as well. Teachers often lack of control of their classrooms, and in
many cases just teach from textbooks, without much enhancement. These factors
contribute to a child’s lack of motivation to stay in school.
need to invest more of themselves despite being underpaid.
a child is properly educated and cared for on a holistic level is a task for
both parents and schools, and is more important than mere funding.BETTY
A protest too far Sir, – What is happening in Israel is
mind-boggling. It seems that more and more groups are taking to the streets and
protesting violently. The latest involves protests over the sand dunes near
Eilat (“Green groups attempt to physically stop Samar sand mining,” December
Where will this all lead? Will I be able to demonstrate against the
notorious cracks that mar Jerusalem’s sidewalks, or should I wait to demonstrate
against bus stops that are too far apart? We must have a system that makes
Otherwise we will have total
Driving culture Sir, – “Changing the
‘driving culture’” (December 29) claims that “Israel has a high rate of road
accidents.” Fortunately, the data do not support this widelyheld
Out of the 33 countries reporting to the International
Traffic Safety Data and Analysis Group (IRTAD) in 2009 on the key index of road
fatalities per 100,000 population, Israel placed an impressive fourth. It
trailed slightly behind the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Sweden, and did
far better than many European countries and the United States.
index of road fatalities per billion vehicle-kilometers, of the 24 countries
reporting data Israel placed 11th, between Canada and Australia, and better than
the US, Japan, France, Denmark and Belgium, among others.
No doubt there
is room for improvement, but let’s stop the doom and gloom. Israel has a good
record on road safety.JASON ELBAUM
Sir, – In addition to all the
traffic fines being given out, there should be an additional one for tailgating.
A course in defensive driving should also be given, with all those who pass
getting a discount on their insurance.
In addition, a bumper sticker
saying “Being courteous does not make you a frier (sucker)” should be a
compulsory addition to the rear of every vehicle. Maybe if the Israeli driver
sees it often enough, it will sink in.VEL WERBLOWSKY
Jerusalem Must have
Sir, – I respectfully disagree with Zalman Shoval’s assessment of the
relevancy of the Palestinians being an invented people (“Why Gingrich is right –
and wrong,” Comment & Features, December 28).
A reason often cited
for hatred toward Israel, and for destructive acts toward Israel, is the
perception that it is an occupier, that we have stolen land, that we have
uprooted another people.
But if the Palestinians are an invented people,
if there has never been a sovereign Palestinian entity, then Israel has not
stolen land or uprooted people, and Israel is not an occupier.
still remains the practical question of how to address our conflicts with the
large number of people currently identifying themselves as Palestinians.
However, without historical context, Israel’s concerns and demands can appear
unreasonable and unjustified.
Without historical context, there is little
understanding as to why concessions from the Israeli side can be so painful.
Without historical context, pro-Palestinians are likely to continue to expect
Israel to make concession after concession to the “people” that Israel has
Jerusalem Dem Bones
Sir, – It is very refreshing
to see Dry Bones back in your newspaper.
Yaakov Kirschen’s cartoons are
always up to date in a very humorous way.
Thank you very much. There’s
now something additional to look forward to in the Friday edition.ORA