Trajtenberg and change
Sir, – The Trajtenberg Commission (“Trajtenberg Report:
Allocate NIS 60 billion for ‘social justice,” September 27) has called for some
drastic changes in the tax structure and in welfare and housing programs.
However, the Ministry of Defense cannot and should not bear the cost of social
Israel is able to be a nation because of the Ministry
of Defense. It is able to hold its own among all the nations that seek to
destroy it – and that is an ever-present danger. We are not Norway, Sweden or
No one can be abandoned, but there must be a system of private
enterprise, rewards for initiative and a concern that the defense of Israel is
The new year calls for an agonizing reappraisal and many
changes. But above all, the existence of the State of Israel in a most hostile
environment is primary.TOBY WILLIG
Sir, – Defense Minister
Ehud Barak said that the defense establishment would need to make cuts to its
budget despite the warnings from the IDF (“Top IDF source: Army will collapse if
budget cut,” September 26).
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We are at war and have been for 63 years,
surrounded by maniacal enemies inside the country and out – and we are cutting
the defense budget. The Arabs are being given notice: Just hang around and wait
until Israel is so weak and defenseless that you can destroy us without too much
Barak’s assessment should come as no surprise. It will make it
easier for him when the time comes to retreat and surrender.
Is that not
what his policy has been and still is? If there must be a cut, it should start
with Barak. We need a strong defense minister with a strong army willing to
fight and defeat the enemy, not the easily targeted settlers, as is his
Sir, – Your editorial “Trajtenberg and
fiscal responsibility” (September 27) seems to say it all. The recommendations
of the committee are fine, but they don’t go far enough – at least not for the
students and others preaching the same line.
It would be easy to
recommend huge budget slashes in order to provide more and more money for those
things people would like to see. But one has to think first: Where is all the
money to come from? Increases in taxation for the filthy rich can go only so
There are limits.
We must for the time being be satisfied
with the recommendations.LEONARD ZURAKOV
Netanya What to do
Sir, – In an
article in which logic and reality, not to mention history, are turned on their
heads, David Newman (“Actions, not slogans, for the New Year,” Comment &
Features, September 27) takes up where Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud
Abbas left off at the UN.
“What Israel should be doing is telling the
world what it is prepared to do, not what it constantly opposes,” Newman writes.
But where was he when Israel acted by evacuating itself from a hostile Lebanon
and a voracious Gaza? Surely he saw the violence that resulted.
submit that arguments supporting a return to the Green Line, or to new borders
with land swaps, as Newman proposes, is both futile and
Abbas’s many vows to deny any Israeli presence in a
Palestinian Arab state or his lament that the “Nakba” be reversed should be
clues to Newman that Israel is the party being threatened, not the other way
Yes, it was a sad day at the UN.
But not, as Newman
reasons, because no one takes Prime Minister Netanyahu’s peace pleas seriously.
It is because lies, hatred and, yes, anti-Semitism rule the echelons of the UN
Sir, – Susan Hattis Rolef, in her
op-ed of September 26 (“So what’s your plan, Mr. Prime Minister?”) poses the
familiar, hackneyed question that the Left always pushes: What is the Netanyahu
government willing to give the Palestinians to get the peace talks going? One
has to ask Rolef where she was when there was a building freeze in Judea and
Samaria, and when Israel withdrew from Gaza.
She makes no demands from
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (whose presidency has run out),
nor is she perturbed by the fact that Abbas does not even recognize the Jewish
connection to this land.
Maybe she can offer some suggestions for a peace
plan? MATTIAS ROTENBERG
Petah Tikva Those Israeli elbows
Sir, – Regarding
“Expert deems Jerusalem Central Bus Station a ‘sick building’” (September 27),
it is not a design fault that is causing pollution inside. Rather, it is the
mentality of passengers who refuse to accept the system of waiting in orderly
The Jerusalem station, similar to that of Haifa’s Hof Hacarmel,
was designed so that passengers could wait in comfort inside an air conditioned
building, similarly to the system in airports. There is limited seating
available for the early arrivals, and once that is taken (hopefully given up for
the elderly or disabled, or for parents with infants in arms) there is supposed
to be a line formed in order of arrival.
The doors that open onto the bus
platforms are intended to be kept closed until the vehicle arrives, when they
are opened and an organized and orderly queue moves forward to get to the
This is, however, far from the reality. More than 20 minutes before
the bus is scheduled to arrive, those with elbows open the doors and assemble on
the highly polluted platform. Those who cannot or will not join the scrum are
destined to be left behind in the building when the bus fills up – breathing in
the pollution from outside.
Having experienced this a few times, I refuse
to travel by bus from Haifa or Jerusalem. I use the train where possible or
drive my car.
Bus service is intended to reduce traffic and pollution on
the roads, but breathing in the fumes and struggling to get onto the bus at the
bus station does not encourage passengers to use this mode of
Haifa Whose Halacha?
Sir, – While Yad Sarah is to
be commended for wanting synagogues to accommodate disabled people, it has
joined numerous religious groups that emphasize their opinion by freely using
the phrase “Halacha says...” (“Yad Sarah: Halacha says that synagogues should be
accessible,” September 26).
Since when is Yad Sara a religious authority
in Israel or elsewhere? Attending synagogue is certainly part and parcel of
Jewish life but is by no means called for under Halacha. If one wishes to pray
at home or is unable to go to a synagogue, he would not be violating Jewish
Netanya Two takes on Tom
Sir, – Martin Sherman’s “‘Ground
Control to Major Tom (Friedman)’” (Into the Fray, September 23) is very
Differences of opinion are legitimate.
we attack our supporters with accusations of blood libel and anti-Semitism
because they dare to disagree with us, we are in serious trouble.
contrast to Friedman’s column, Sherman’s is the one any objective reader would
call hysterical in its tone. It reeked of hatred and reached a disgusting low
with the blood-in-the-matzo ending.
On what basis The Jerusalem Post
allowed this type of writing to appear in its paper is beyond my
Sir, – After reading my psalms,
I went through “‘Ground Control to Major Tom (Friedman)’” and laughed all the
way. The end is a masterpiece.
I wish to thank Martin Sherman for writing
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