June 5: Magical solution

Israel now has tens of thousands of illegal immigrants it cannot, and perhaps should not, assimilate.

June 4, 2013 21:42

Letters 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Magical solution

Sir, – Israel now has tens of thousands of illegal immigrants it cannot, and perhaps should not, assimilate (“Unnamed country agrees to absorb Eritrean deportees,” June 3).

Some of the immigrants endure detainment while others suffer from a lack of employment possibility and some of these turn to crime. Everybody loses.

Almost magically, a solution has been offered whereby third-party states will absorb many of the immigrants for certain benefits.

The immigrants will also benefit from increased freedom and Israel’s gain is clear.

Can this be stopped by the Supreme Court? If so, the time has come to curb its power, which has never been properly defined.

Tel Aviv

Apolitical problem

Sir, – The Jerusalem Post reports on the problem of sewage treatment in the West Bank – “Raw sewage bogs down settlements, Palestinian towns,” and “NGO petitions court against sewage plant near Ofra” (June 3) are very disturbing.

Sadly, both articles make it clear that the lack of adequate sewage treatment plants in the disputed territories is the result of anti- Israeli ideology on the part of the Palestinian Authority in the first report, and supposedly pro-Palestinian ideology on the part of the Israeli Left in the second.

Sewage treatment is an apolitical problem – everyone suffers from polluted water and untreated sewage no matter what they believe. Frankly, I expect the PA to reject any measure which might improve the lives of its citizens, but I find the behavior of the leftwing Israeli NGO, Yesh Din, which purports to work for the good of the Palestinians, to be short sighted and even dangerous.

If there is any Israeli/Palestinian issue which should enjoy common ground, it should be the issue of untreated sewage.

Kiryat Arba

Out of context

Sir, – Jeff Barak’s article “Discrimination and everyday life in Israel” (Reality Check, Comment and Features, June 3) is unworthy of him and of The Jerusalem Post.

Referring to the Superland amusement park’s decision to allocate separate days for visits by Arab and Jewish schools, he simplistically concluded: “What’s to discuss? It should be clear to anyone with a smidgen of decency that such discrimination is totally unacceptable.”

He didn’t bother to give a smidgen of information to his readers that would help them judge for themselves whether in fact this was indeed unacceptable racial discrimination or rather a sensible precautionary measure to preserve the peace.

It would be dishonest to pretend that racial tensions accompanied by violence, which occur in most European countries, do not exist in Israel too.

Haaretz reported that a representative of the park told the Knesset committee that different visiting days were booked not just for Arab students, but also for ultra-Orthodox schools and that segregation was not an official policy, but rather a way to address the problem of Arab and Jewish teenagers meeting with resulting tensions. Arab and Jewish schools had asked for separate days, but when someone found it offensive, the park apologized and a clear order was given to end the segregation.

In answer to Jeff Barak’s statement “And we wonder why Israel ranks so poorly in polls” – I suggest that newspaper articles which report ugly incidents out of context and unjustifiably project them as characteristic of the entire State of Israel bear a heavy responsibility for this state of affairs.


Piecing things together

Sir – I agree with much of what Harold Goldmeier wrote in his commentary about electric cars (“Electric cars are a strategic weapon,” Commentary, Business and Finance, June 3).

But Dr. Goldmeier erred in calling the demise of Better Place a bankruptcy of an “electric carmaker”; Better Place was no such thing. As a matter of fact, Better Place did not actually make much of anything. Rather, they acted as a sort of systems integrator, piecing together the various required components for an electric vehicle network: vehicles made by Renault and charging points, swap stations and batteries all made by various partners.

Ultimately, Better Place was planning to generate most of its revenue by reselling electricity produced by the IEC! These failed machinations serve to prove Dr.

Goldmeier’s point – a dynamic shift such as the one towards electric vehicle proliferation can only occur with the full support and force of public financing. Private enterprise – fueled only by a government’s “go get ‘em” attitude but no significant “skin in the game” – was simply not powerful, or deep pocketed, enough to force the shift.

Unfortunately, Better Place’s investors and customers are not the only losers here.


Objects we cherish

Sir, – Herb Keinon never fails to touch our deepest feelings (“Car memories, Out There, Comment and Features, June 2). Of course it is not so much the car he will miss but the memories it triggers.

There are many material objects we cherish, not for their monetary value, but for the memories that arise when we handle them – I have a cupboard full of Passover dishes, each one of which brings back a memory of the person who gave it to me, my children handling them when they were little, or an event connected with a Seder in Australia before our aliya.

They are all mismatched and random, but I won’t exchange them for an elegant new set of dishes and glasses. It’s lovely to hear an adult child with children of his/her own, say “I remember this!” There was a song of yesteryear: “Little things mean a lot.”

They truly do – thank you Herb!


Sir, – “Car Memories” by Herb Keinon had this 87-year-old in tears. The last part of the last sentence sums up the whole column: “it will never be the same.”

This is what your whole life is about, and we should be oh-so grateful that we have those wonderful memories.


Sir, – Herb Keinon’s article on the recollection of significant memories for the benefit of security clearance tripped a delicious memory.

I had recently made aliya from London and was on the phone to my English bank’s call center. The very polite lady prefaced our conversation with “Just a few security questions, Mr Cohen. Can you confirm your address, please?” After an unconscionable pause she repeated her question and I decided that this was not the moment to teach her the meaning of the verb to “confirm.”

However, when she then asked my date of birth and I replied “1/8/39,” she immediately responded with “Is that 1939, Mr. Cohen?” I dropped the phone and was laughing so much that I was unable to reply – so she hung up.


Abusing the law

Sir, – Yisrael Medad and Eli Pollak’s Media Comment (“Do peace and freedom interest the media?” Comment and Features, May 30) has done a service to democracy.

We are advised that the purely ceremonial role of our president has now been converted to a diplomatic one according to the press releases from the president’s own office. This is without any authorization from the Knesset to adapt the law relating to the office and function of president.

It is strange that the prime minister, justice minister and the attorney-general have remained silent to this abuse of the law.

Are we ordinary citizens now permitted to abuse and ignore the law, or is there one law for one section of society and another for the rest? The president has abused his office and shown a bad example of how to behave having lowered himself to the lowest level!


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