UFOs at B-G
Sir, – In the 1950s there were numerous mysterious sightings in the
heavens. They were labeled UFOs. Now another wave is heading for Ben-Gurion
Airport, expecting to land and prance around with placards (“Activists plan week
of protests for Palestinian statehood in West Bank,” July 10).
down to earth, these people should be sent to Libya or Syria. There they won’t
be invited to have a cup of tea with the police, as they are here – they’ll be
detained and taught the realities of life.
There it’s a different
ballgame and they’ll be playing for real.ZVI FREEDMAN
– I was pleased to see that some of the “flightilla” participants were taken
into custody by police. Perhaps they will be kept under some kind of house
arrest until kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit is returned to his
Sir, – In a
fascinating article (“Israeli gov’t has got it all wrong on taxes,” Business
& Finance, July 10), Prof. Yoseph Edrey clearly points out how the lower and
middle classes are being slammed by indirect taxation, such as VAT, while
corporations and the rich are not paying their fair share on capital gains,
Is it any wonder that the public is not getting the services it
needs, that police recruitment is low, and doctors and social workers must
strike for better conditions? One wonders why such an important issue gets so
little attention in the media as compared to the price of cottage cheese and
disposable diapers.MATTIAS ROTENBERG
Sir, – Yoseph Edri’s
article spews old-time socialist claptrap, wasting three columns of your
His theory is that citizens do not spend all the money
they might save on tax breaks, meaning demand is not commensurate with such
reductions. “On the other hand,” he claims, “raising taxation and using it
wisely for government investment... and social and human capital will increase
aggregate demand by 100% of the tax collected.”
How many people believe
the government is efficient and can spend their money better than they can? Is
this an April Fool’s joke? MOSHE WERTHAN
Sir, – Yoseph Edrey claims
that “the view that lowering taxes always leads to economic growth...[is]
false.” This can, of course, be partially correct because a government can
depress economic growth by other means, for example through heavy debt,
excessive bureaucracy, entrenched corruption, punitive customs duties and
monetary policy, inefficient or anti-business bank policies,
However, if he is quoting from certain non-recent studies, they have
been either debunked or severely criticized.
Is Edrey familiar with the
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), of which Israel
is now a proud member? What he excoriates is what the OECD urges! (See the
OECD’s “Tax Policy Reform and Economic Growth” of November 3,
Furthermore, he says that Israel’s rates of income tax on
capital, capital-gains taxes and companies tax “are among the lowest in the
Western world.” Really? Many nations have no capital gains taxes. In Europe
alone, the capital gains taxes of the UK, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Poland are
lower or zero percent. Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan,
Thailand, Mexico, Canada, Brazil and many other countries have capital gains
taxes that are lower or 0%.
Edrey singles out Ireland as an example of
ruinously low capital gains tax rates bringing a country to the brink of
bankruptcy. However, Ireland’s rates are much higher than Israel’s, at 27%. The
US has a current capital gains tax of 0-15%. Because economists there perceive a
direct correlation between raising the rate and reducing GDP, they are arguing
to keep it low instead of enacting a planned rise to our 20%! We are a small
country and we need to remove whatever disables our economy from thriving,
whatever cripples our business people and induces more poverty. A growing and
healthy economy will increase the money for social spending in areas such as
education and health care, and allow investment in our defense and everything
else Edrey and the rest of us hold dear.
Increasing taxes is not the way
to get there.
Jerusalem And now: Humous
Sir, – After
reading “Strauss: Consumers’ anger surprised us,” Business in Brief,” July 8), I
wonder if readers of The Jerusalem Post
have noticed the latest food product to
suddenly increase dramatically in price. It is humous.
of the product have changed the packaging and use smaller containers and less
content, but keep the price as before. This has allowed them to award themselves
overnight a price hike of at least 50 percent, improving their profits at our
I am sure we can all reduce our humous consumption so that the
manufacturers return prices to what they were before. So, Post readers and other
consumers, unite and boycott humous! BOB GOLD Jerusalem Sir, – The “cottage
cheese revolution,” as we all know, is merely a pimple on an economy that is
Much has been made of the wickedness of
Fingers have also been pointed at supermarket chains. All
of this is no doubt true, but there is a third party that has failed to act
rationally: the consumer.
Very few of us take the trouble to compare
prices, and we continue to buy over-priced products even when there is an
Let me give an example. I buy one or two kilos of humous
spread every week because I like it, it is healthy and cheap.
kilo is for my granddaughter’s family, who have little time for shopping and no
I used to buy the Strauss brand, which cost about NIS 10 for a 1-kg.
tub. A few weeks ago there was a promotion where Strauss was selling 1.2 kg. for
the same NIS 10. But suddenly the promotion was over and the 1-kg. product was
back on the shelves – although the price had jumped to nearly NIS 14! Then I
noticed a house brand priced at NIS 10 and change. I bought it and found it to
be of excellent quality. But looking in other people’s shopping carts and
judging by the quantity of the products on the shelves, I believe I am in a
There are many other products, like cornflakes, where the
highly advertised brands sell for almost 50% more than perfectly acceptable
competitive brands, but people don’t buy them.
If consumers would look at
prices before they buy, as I do, and shop accordingly, the manufacturers would
have a strong incentive to reduce them. If not, then all the fuss about cottage
cheese will have been in vain.STEPHEN COHEN
Ma’aleh Adumim Just be a
Sir, – As president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America and author of
Judaism and Vegetarianism, I was pleased to read “Chief Rabbinate ‘against’
shackle-and-hoist method, but not quite acting on it” (July 8).
I hope this cruel method will soon be ended, I believe this issue is just the
tip of the iceberg.
First, even if animals are slaughtered in the most
painless way consistent with Jewish ritual law, can we ignore the cruelty on
factory farms where they are raised? And second, even if animals are raised
humanely, can we ignore how animal-based diets arguably violate Jewish mandates
to preserve human health, treat animals with compassion, protect the
environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people? RICHARD H.