November 14: Breaking the levy

What justification is there in slapping an arbitrary fee on a personal piece of mail which will often be more than the item’s purchase price and maybe even shipping?

November 13, 2010 22:07
November 14: Breaking the levy

letters 88. (photo credit: )

Breaking the levy

Sir, – Regarding your November 11 editorial “Send back the unfair postal package levy,” I seem to remember this fee being discussed – and almost implemented – a few years ago, including in a very similar editorial in the Post. In fact, many at the time thought it was already in force, as I vividly recall receiving a package from the US just days after the policy was announced and being pleasantly surprised when I was not asked to pay anything. Apparently, more sensible minds ultimately understood that such a regressive policy has no place in a modern global economy (not to mention its blatantly discriminatory nature).

Any attempt to portray this fee as some sort of necessity to cover “extra handling” costs for overseas packages is bunk. What special handling or work is required? Any package arriving from abroad goes to the same regional postal distribution centers as everything else and arrives at your local post office just like any other piece of mail, whether envelope or package. The only issue may be customs duties.

What justification is there in slapping an arbitrary fee on a personal piece of mail, which, as the editorial points out, will often be more than the item’s purchase price and maybe even shipping? This is simply a throw-back to other “creative” taxes and levies so common to this country, like the old and infamous travel tax and revenue stamps, not to mention those still in force, like bank fees and the huge customs and other levies paid on cars, many household appliances and a host of other goods imported from overseas. Not even books were ever completely exempt.

Hatzor Haglilit

Sir, – The planned postal service fee on packages, in addition to other fees, will not only cause anger – it will result in lower volume and lower revenues. It will cause a boycott of the popular companies we order from, like Amazon and EBay. Rather than paying these exorbitant fees, people will refuse to accept their packages, thus overfilling postal warehouses and adding to the expense of returning them.


Some role model

Sir, – Moshe Levy Ben-David (“Jailed for 10 years and then deported from the US, a once-notorious rapper takes a ‘Shyne’ to Jerusalem,” November 11) may no longer be armed, but he remains dangerous.

He seems to be somewhat confused.

He disguises himself as a Belzer Hassid on Mondays, Thursdays and Shabbat, and reverts to his hip-hop garb of oversized basketball shirts and backward baseball cap the rest of the week because he needs “some leeway.”

Of course, he is free to live as he chooses, but he becomes dangerous, in my opinion, when he aspires to be a role model as “an inspirational hip-hopper aimed at showing kids the path of Jewish values.”


Roll out the carpet

Sir, – Regarding “Would we go to Israel?” (Comment, November 11), I would urge The Jerusalem Post to extend an invitation to journalist Nabil Sharaf Eldin, asking him to visit Israel as a guest of the Post for a week.

We have a peace treaty with Egypt and some in my family have visited it, as I have visited Jordan, and found it fascinating. Why should he not come and see with his own eyes “the alleged entity” for himself?


Kfar Yona

Glick’s South Africa

Sir, – As an American Jew living in South Africa, I feel the need to respond to the simple and onesided column by Caroline B. Glick (“Out of South Africa,” Our World, November 9).

From reading this article, one would expect to find a failed state.

South Africa is not a failed state.

One would expect to find a failed society. South Africa is not a failed society.

There are many disappointments in modern South Africa, as Glick makes clear. However, she seems not to have seen the enlightened constitution (written partly by Jews) or the court system that enforces it (with several prominent Jewish judges). She did not see the housing that the government has built for poor urban people. She also apparently did not see the health care that many citizens receive from the government or the strides that have been made in education or the strong economy that has been nurtured by the ANC governments, whatever their other (substantial) failings.

She also did not have the opportunity to see an important part of the Muslim community here. For example, a call for a boycott against Jewish businesses triggered by the incursion into Gaza was promptly, publicly and repeatedly disowned by many Muslim leaders in Cape Town on the Internet and in a letter published in a local newspaper.

Glick points out the apparent ungratefulness of the ANC government and South African press and their apparent refusal to recognize the contributions of many Jews to the anti-apartheid struggle. However, she may be unaware of the ambivalent attitude the organized Jewish community had toward the anti-apartheid struggle or the fact that (among other things) the man who prosecuted Nelson Mandela was a respected pillar of the Jewish community.

Glick’s visit was very short and it seems she was only able to pick up on simple themes. For example, she notes that the Cape Town Holocaust museum’s exhibition begins with a remembrance of apartheid and she inexplicably concludes that “by doing so, the museum equates the discrimination against blacks with the genocide of Jewry.”

Then, she finds it necessary to belittle and insult the Jewish community here and some of its members.

For example, she apparently missed the point of one of the speakers at the Zionist conference she was invited to and then publicly insults her by name. I guess this is also unsurprising; she was unable to see any nuance in the country around her and could hardly be expected to see any nuance or grace in the talks she was invited to listen to.

It is unfortunate that she has pronounced South Africa a terrible place that will surely get worse for the Jews, who should all therefore leave. I do wish she could have seen some of the hope that this country and its vibrant Jewish community have together, or its care for and love of Israel and South Africa, even if they don’t share her politics.

Cape Town

Sir, – Amazing, the experts in our land! Caroline B. Glick makes her first visit to South Africa and already knows more than anyone else about this wonderful land.

Please ask her to stick to opinions about Israel, of which (maybe) she has some limited knowledge.


Prohibitive costs

Sir, – The article revealing the shocking news that parents of premature infants in need of the RSV vaccine must pay NIS 20,000 (“MK Orly Levy demands free respiratory vaccine for preemies,” November 9) leaves some very important points unaddressed.

How is this vaccine manufactured? Is it a very labor-intensive process? Does it require ingredients that are rare and scarce? If these questions were answered, I think the information would help us develop a vaccine at a cost that the average parent could afford.


Roll the credits

Sir, – Regarding the Ariel theater issue (“Artists renew calls to boycott Ariel theater,” November 7), perhaps the Post would publish a full list of the names of the boycotters and the institutions they work for so that we, the public, will have the power to exercise our choice to boycott them and their sponsors. It would be interesting to see just how long these idealists continue with their campaign when it hurts their pockets.

Beit Shemesh

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