The housing problem
Sir, – I am very proud of our youth for fighting for what
they believe is right (“Protest leaders call for all tent cities to mass in Tel
Aviv on Saturday,” July 21).
Unfortunately, though, the real world
requires many sacrifices.
My income is below the country’s average. I
survive because I have made a choice to give up the extras, like beer, going to
the movies and out to dinner. Am I deprived? No. I am grateful for the roof over
my head and the food on the table. When I have an occasional beer, I truly
Does one have to live in Tel Aviv? High rents are a fact
of life in the world’s major cities. There are so many affordable cities in
I say to the demonstrators: You are lucky to live in a free
society where you are rewarded for your hard work. Each one of us has to pay our
dues. Stop blaming the government and take control of your lives.ANDEE
Sir, – It is not often that two very different kinds of social
problems – a housing shortage in Tel Aviv and a problematic number of illegal
aliens residing in the southern part of the city – share a common solution, at
least in part.
The repatriation of the latter would free many housing
units in what could become a desirable and well-located
Some may object that the building stock is in terrible
condition, but it seems easily repairable (although lacking illegal workers, new
residents might have to do some of the renovations themselves.) What would be
the reaction on Rothschild Boulevard to such a solution? SIDNEY HANDEL
Sir, – There is no shortage of housing – just bad management of the
Every new building should have a number of one- and two-room
apartments. Instead, we find landlords illegally splitting apartments to rent
out to singles and make exorbitant profits.FREDDY GOLDMAN
Sir, – Brilliant article by Yehudit Collins (“There’s a word for it – greed,”
Comment & Features, July 21).
Let’s hope the decision-makers read it.
Then perhaps we can hope that they generate a project, such as cheap housing
financed by Tnuva, Teva, Osem and Strauss, to name but a few.
help the National Insurance Institute, which pays out millions each month in
It might also help spread some of the wealth. Now that
would be a dream come true! JOYCE KAHN
Sir, – Maybe when the messiah
comes, owners of apartments will rent or sell them for less than market value,
wealthy people will be restricted to owning one home, politicians will stop
being influence-peddlers-for-hire, and the government will take all the “excess”
capital that financially successful people accumulate.
In the meantime, I
think the best we can hope for is a revamping of the Israel Lands Authority and
the Finance Ministry, both of which are myopic. The answer isn’t some type of
communism, which Yehudit Collins seems to be advocating.STEVE KRAMER
Alfei MenasheNo such thing
Sir, – For many years, Israelis complained that
religious Jews did not serve in the IDF. Now, according to “Ex-top officer
slammed over report saying army becoming too religious” (July 21), there are too
many! Religious Jews are among the best and most dedicated of
You can’t have too many!RUTH ZIMBERG
Safed Kiwis weigh in
– Your editorial (“Conspiracy in the rubble,” July 21) illustrates a lack of
In the 1980s we had French spies/terrorists down here
with false IDs blowing up a Greenpeace ship and killing one person.
huge pressure exerted by France, we had to give these spies/terrorists back,
with just token sentences. New Zealand thus became sensitized to being taken
advantage of by foreign intelligence services.
In 2004, Israeli
intelligence personnel were caught here in connection with identity theft and
passport fraud. After the French mess, we were being taken advantage of again –
and this time by an ally. The disgust of the country was unanimous.
common feature of both incidents included an ineptly-carried- out plan to leave
the country fast. After the earthquake, we saw individuals from Israel who
wanted to leave fast. The reasons were almost certainly innocent, but the
Israeli intelligence activities of 2004 are still vividly remembered.
anyone is to blame for the supposed anti-Israel prejudice exhibited by New
Zealand it is the Mossad spymasters of 2004.
As someone who has worked
with outstanding Israelis in the medical field and has huge respect for Israel
and its place in the world, I think you should consider revising your views and
recognize that there is sensitivity in New Zealand, not prejudice.J.
Sir, – Our prime minister, who is in charge of the Security
Intelligence Service, has stated that the Israeli killed in the Christchurch
earthquake possessed two passports. The editor of the Southland Times, who broke
the story, stated that he had five.
What is not in dispute, though, is
the interesting statistic that the Israeli prime minister, on the day of the
earthquake, made four telephone calls to the office of our prime minister. Your
PM must have a very heavy workload, so why did he make four phone calls on that
one day to the PM of one of the smallest countries in the world? Most New
Zealanders have a very high regard for Israel, which like New Zealand is a small
But we would like to know what is going on, so would your fine
newspaper please make some inquiries?JOHANN NORDBERG
Sir, – New Zealand
is hardly a threat to Israel, nor do we have a track record of anti-Israel or
anti- Jewish sentiment at large. (The odd individual yes, but as a nation no.)
While we should all acknowledge and respect the grave reasons for the birth of
Israel as a nation and the ongoing struggle you have had to face over the years,
perhaps for a change you could stop blaming everyone else for some (admittedly
not all) of your problems? Oh, and stop sending spies here. There is nothing for
you to spy on.CHRIS VOERMAN
Sir, – I don’t think there is an
anti-Israel bias in the New Zealand media. However, the media here are trained
to ask difficult questions, and they expect politicians to answer
Perhaps Israeli journalists should hold their own politicians to
the same level of accountability. Then, once they have answered questions
regarding the ill-treatment of Palestinians, the illegal assault on ships in
international waters and the death of innocents aboard them, and have received a
detailed explanation of the assassination of Arab citizens abroad by the Mossad,
then and only then will your outrage over this so-called anti- Israel bias be
taken seriously by anyone here.BRENDAN PLATT
Not just hawks
Sir, In his response to my last letter (“Neither wing,” July 20), Larry Derfner
claims to know that our followers are “overwhelmingly hawkish
But he can’t possibly know the political affiliation of ZOA
members. I don’t. I do happen to know, however, that our board is divided
between Democrats and Republicans.MORTON A. KLEIN
The writer is
president of the Zionist Organization of America