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Strike out strikes
Sir, - Since having moved to this wonderful country, we have to deal with a new kind of strike ("Postal workers threaten general strike," October 31). These strikes would be better characterized as strike-outs, not strikes.
It is unconscionable, if not incomprehensible, that an industrialized country with one domestic airport can accept the whole Airport Authority striking. People's livelihoods depend on that airport functioning. People have funerals, weddings and other family occasions to attend. What government would allow the interests of a few workers to affect its entire populace?
Now teachers are on strike and our children are not learning. Teachers had all summer to negotiate and come to some agreement with the state as to their salaries, and yet they waited until school starts to go on strike? Where is the logic in this approach? If I were in charge, those teachers would not only not get a raise, but they would certainly not get paid at all as long as they are on strike.
If I were in charge, it would be illegal to strike without at least a 30-day notice and another 30-day period of negotiation prior to it being legal to strike. If I were in charge, every conflict would be resolved through mutually respectful negotiations, without using innocent bystanders as pawns.
If Israel is to progress into the 21st century, let there be a call to strike out strikes.
NEIL FRIEDMAN MD
Stop the horns
Sir, - In some neighborhoods throughout Jerusalem there is a cacophony of horn-blowing by passing motorists for two hours every morning in response to signs asking them to blow their horns if they support the teachers. And it isn't a single tap on the horn. The people most affected by this are the residents of the neighborhoods, as well as the children, who aren't paying attention to a car sounding a horn as an actual warning of danger in crossing.
After calls to the police resulted in learning that they can do nothing about this since demonstrations are legal, several of us spoke to some of the women involved. The horn-blowing continues.
If the teachers and parents want this strike to be effective, this horn-blowing disaster is probably the worst way to gain the support from the public. All it is doing is driving the residents against their cause.
The teachers' salary is shamefully low. That is a given and certainly grounds for a protest. But horn-blowing is not a protest, it's a punishment to the wrong people.
Crux of the problem
Sir, - Again, the subject of equal rights in the Arab sector is prominent in the news ""A violent wake-up call in Peki'in," October 31). I am all for equal rights for all of Israel's citizens, but equal rights must also run parallel to equal responsibilities. Consider the following:
1. The city I live in provides an array of services to its residents, such as cleaning, garbage collection, sewage infrastructure, educational and cultural services, crime prevention, etc. However, I pay municipal taxes which mostly pay for these services. In much of the Arab sector, local tax collection is usually either lax or nonexistent. So who's expected to pay for their services and facilities, me and other Israeli taxpayers?
2. The quality of political representatives in Israel is dubious, but they usually do work to improve the quality of life of their supporters, especially at the local level. Our local government works hard and dedicates resources to make our city attractive to industries and entrepreneurs. In the Arab sector, the elected leaders are people like Azmi Bishara, Muhammad Barakei and Ahmed Tibi, who dedicate themselves to the cause of Israel's enemies. Instead of working to improve their constituents' lives, they're working to destroy ours. Why don't our Arab citizens vote for people who will work to bring them benefits and employment infrastructure, instead of promoting the agendas of Hamas and Fatah?
3. After immigrating to Israel 26 years ago, I served in the IDF and the reserves until my discharge. My sons will probably serve in the coming years. IDF veterans are eligible for a series of benefits after completing their service. Yet the leaders of the Arab sector are actively promoting refusal to perform National Service, which generally consists of activities to benefit local communities and health sectors. They are demanding equal rights while advocating refusal to give back to the society.
So here's the crux of the problem: Israel's Arab citizens should have equal rights, but they should also be contributing to their own well-being. To them, I say, Pay and collect taxes, lobby politically for your communities' benefits and contribute some service, like most of the Jewish population. Equality and opportunity, yes; entitlement and free lunches, no."
Sir,- The passing of entertainer Yisrael "Poli" Polikov is a sad one indeed ("Poli's final bow," November 1). He and his two compadres, Gavri Banai and Shaike Levy, entertained people here for years. Their group, Hagashash Hahiver made people laugh, especially in trying times like after the Yom Kippur War.
He was definitely an icon in the Israeli entertainment world, and not only will he be greatly missed, but the times that he and the other members of his trio represented are also missed by many. Cable TV, the Internet and other diversions are replacing the simple homespun humor and music that Poli, Gavri and Shaike used so well to enlighten and entertain.
May his memory be for a blessing.