Not just the cheese
Sir, – I just read with dismay and frustration about the
outrageous differential in prices charged in Israel compared to almost all other
countries (“‘We’re getting ripped off for more than just cottage cheese,’”
Business & Finance, June 26).
Why should this be? Is it the
government taxing us to the hilt, or is it the fat cats at the top of the tree
who are making huge profits on us, the gullible public? Why should Israeli
products cost double or more than the price charged abroad? It is all very well
being asked to boycott various food products and eat something cheaper, but what
about Materna baby formula? Other brands are just as expensive. And why does
anything with the word “diet” cost more than non-diet? The article does not give
any answers as to how to reduce the costs.JUDY PRAGER
Regarding “The Great Israeli Cottage Cheese Uprising” (Editor’s Notes, June 24),
this vital issue is not only about the spiraling cost of cottage
It could also be about medical professionals of 20 years’
experience receiving NIS 25 an hour for their expertise, compared to the
cleaning lady who will only work for NIS 40 Shekels.
I hope that this
column and the upcoming Knesset inquiry will emphasize the fact that while the
Israeli consumer has turned away from his socialist past, he should beware of
greed, graft and corruption in the guise of cartels and monopolies manipulated
by oligarchs – who are encouraged, in turn, by incompetent government policies
instead of the competition that is necessary for a vibrant, successful consumer
Sir, – Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz met
with the major dairy manufacturers and retailers in a bid to resolve the cottage
cheese price problem (“We’ve become the land of cottage cheese,” June
Your article notes that the dairy farmers were noticeably
Lamentably, a very important group – consumers – was also not
invited. Apparently, only well-organized groups participate in
We are subject to decisions arrived at by big business
and government alone. A strong voice for consumers is needed to bring on greater
fairness in all economic areas.BENJAMIN LERNER
Sir, – Your
June 23 editorial “For real competition” must be given serious public discussion
as it is the nub of the current economic situation. It must be considered
together with what was elaborated in “Tnuva remains a monopoly” (Business &
Finance, June 21) and “Wanted: Consumer Journalism” (Comment & Features,
June 20), and in all finger- pointing to identify and ensure proper, expedient
and effective regulation.
The crisis in the dairy industry has been
brought about by the failure of the government to consider the effects of
selling shares in both Bezeq and Tnuva to Apax Partners in the UK. This is a
private equity investment group specializing in leveraged and management
buy-outs, growth capital and late venture funds, and a venture capital
During the period after Apax acquired their shares, the
prices of products from both Israeli companies skyrocketed – not for the benefit
of the public but to fill the coffers of already-rich shareholders.
actions are not acceptable, as they “milk” Israeli society and go against the
tenets of Halacha.COLIN L. LECI
Sir, – As one of those who is
“out there,” as referred to in “For real competition,” I must say that with your
newspaper’s help and encouragement, it is a pleasure to see my fellow countrymen
and women actively participating in the boycott.
According to an informal
poll, close to 50,000 Israelis (not Facebook folks) are actively taking a stand
– so much so that it has been necessary for Jerusalem supermarkets to give
outdated cottage cheese away.
However I, for one, am anxious.
hear a lot of talk. We see a sporadic lowering of prices but no real new policy.
So there is some consternation.
I say do not give up! To all the
boycotters out there: Draw on your reserves (meaning no cottage cheese), for the
fight has just begun!
Jerusalem Why celebrate?
Sir, – Statistics
are known to be very misleading and even dangerous.
When the Central
Bureau of Statistics said there were 3,187,000 people in the workforce
(“Unemployment falls to record-low 5.8%,” Business & Finance, June 24), it
did not distinguish between full-time or part-time jobs, or seasonal
The 192,000 said to be unemployed are those who are eligible to
register at the labor exchange.The number excludes many who, month in and month
out, continue to send out CVs in the hope that after many months they will
finally find employment.
There are also large numbers of people who,
after a few years of job-seeking, have lost hope.
Sadly, there are many
unemployed people who are very qualified for jobs.
I would respectfully
suggest that we have no cause to celebrate.
Kiryat Ono Try
Sir, – Regarding “Haredi offensive on Shabbat use of main
Jerusalem street turns violent” (June 26), is this any way for nice Jewish men
to act? No! Why are they watching the roads instead of praying in synagogue or
attending Torah lessons? Stoning other Jews will not make these Jews stop
Kindness might do the trick.
Show what religious Jews do
by setting a good example.
Haredim can invite non-religious people to
their homes for Kiddush or a Shabbat meal. With so much time on their hands and
a fighting spirit they can help protect this country by going into the military,
thus showing others they are all Jews, fighting to protect the Jewish
Show kindness to your fellow Jew, not hate.
also have a part in this. They should stop arresting those people who are stoned
and are fighting back. Arrest the culprits, who feel Jerusalem is all
I am a religious Jew living in Ma’aleh Adumim with many secular
Jews. I don’t throw stones. I set an example. We have no problems. How good it
is when fellow Jews can live together in harmony and peace.BARBARA
Ma’aleh Adumim A needed posting
Sir, – As the UK Zionist community was
rejoicing in the news that Daniel Taub had been put forward as the new Israeli
ambassador, we were shocked to learn that the Foreign Ministry’s workers
committee had raised objections because of Taub’s alleged lack of seniority
(“Daniel Taub named new ambassador to London,” June 21).
is not the key to suitability – as we have learned to our cost in the past – and
Taub has so much going for him in his background and his relevant experience
that it is beyond belief that people who have no idea of the needs and criteria
of the community he is destined to serve should think it appropriate to oppose
It is particularly unacceptable at this critical time
in Israel’s history that there are still many crucial European cities, including
Berlin, Rome, Madrid and Brussels, with important but vacant Israeli diplomatic
I suggest people put aside their petty jealousies and consider
the overall good of Israel and the overwhelming approval of the people in the
countries where the right diplomatic postings are so vital.JOY WOLFE
The writer is co-president of the Zionist Federation of Great
Britain and Ireland