Road carnage must end
Sir, – The Jerusalem Post misleads its readers in the
article “Three young crash victims laid to rest” (September 17).
first sentence highlights that some of the victims were not wearing seat belts,
as if this were the most important aspect. However, the actual cause of the
accident is obfuscated with the bland fact that they were “…injured in the
collision with a tractor driven by a Palestinian man.”
They were killed
because the tractor driver drove at night without using lights. We learn this in
your editorial (“A road safety prayer for Yom Kippur) elsewhere in the same
This is not the first time the Post deliberately ignores placing
blame for these accidents. Typically, we read that “a motorist lost control of
the vehicle” or that “the vehicle swerved suddenly into oncoming traffic,” as if
these are random, spontaneous events outside a driver’s
Accidents happen in Israel for two major reasons: reckless
driving and careless driving. This will stop when large numbers of drivers are
jailed for manslaughter, and their insurance rates become prohibitively
Sir, – Kudos for your September 17
editorial on the scourge of Israel’s highways. Only a few prominent newspapers
crusade for a cause, and The Jerusalem Post is one of them.
Now, if only
two other groups would get on the bandwagon: haredim, who are haunted by the
dead and obsessed with preventing autopsies and the removal of graves, and
B’Tselem, which is consumed with championing the lives of the
Sir, – Regarding “Man with 123 traffic
violations indicted” (September 14), why in heaven’s name was he behind the
wheel in the first place? The man is nothing less than a terrorist, a threat to
anyone and everyone in his vicinity.
What are the lawmakers and the
courts doing if they fail to stop this human projectile after 15, 30 or more
threats to life and limb of innocent citizens? How can we organize ourselves to
put an end to having such a menace loose on our roads? Can we not get a law
passed that after a certain number of moving violations, a driver is
incarcerated and his vehicle impounded, or are we going to remain in state of
somnambulism? MARCHAL KAPLAN
Sir, – If we really want the Tefilat
Haderech (road safety prayer) to be effective, we need to concentrate all our
energies on the hardcore minority of reckless Israeli drivers who see themselves
as being completely above the law.
The following painful legislative
steps need to be taken by our politicians: 1. Require every driver with enough
serious driving offenses to display on his or her vehicle signs that warn the
public to be extra cautious while in this person’s vicinity.
law-abiding citizens to submit complaints against reckless drivers without
having these complaints buried in the bureaucratic process. Such legislation
exists in other Western countries.
3. Require police drivers to obey
traffic laws to the letter – which is generally not the policy today.
Restrict the rights of serious driving offenders, e.g., in transporting children
and in limiting their maximum speed.
5. Allow everyone access to the
traffic records of drivers engaged in public transportation.
politicians do this, we can save hundreds of lives, have thousands fewer
injured, and have plenty of money to improve infrastructure.DAVID GOSHEN
Kiryat Ono Settlers and firearms
Sir, – If Eli Yishai is guilty of anything, it
is of speaking too soon when he first “promised” to relax weapons restrictions
for residents of Judea and Samaria (“Yishai backs away from pledge to ease
restrictions on firearms for settlers,” September 15).
Had he bothered to
check the laws, he would probably understand that residents of Judea and Samaria
already enjoy fewer restrictions than the rest of the country when applying for
a gun license. No one questions the reasoning for this, given the added dangers
and risks faced by Judea and Samaria residents. But the fact is, for most of
Israel’s residents, only written certification/ proof/evidence that one’s job,
location, status, security situation or other extenuating circumstance will be
helpful in receiving police approval for a firearm – and even then nothing is
As someone who has worked with the Ministry of Interior for
years, I have known cases where a person actually changed his or her address to
somewhere in Judea and Samaria in order to make it easier to obtain a gun
license! Your article clearly states that the late Yitzhak Imes did have a gun
license, but for some reason it had been rescinded in November of last year.
Ostensibly, the police had what they felt were legitimate reasons, just as they
do with any citizen, so how can this be construed as an unjustified
“restriction” on all residents of these areas? Only by knowing exactly why
police rescinded Imes’s license can one pinpoint whether undue or overly
stringent criteria had been applied to his case.
Also, attorney Yitzhak
Bam’s unfortunate accusation that the police were acting in an “arbitrary
manner” as instructed by attorney Shai Nitzan, head of the Special Task Force
for Law Enforcement in Judea and Samaria, does not help matters.
licenses are rescinded for many reasons, ranging from misuse and negligence to
not maintaining the required schedule of periodic target range practice, or even
just forgetting to renew one’s license. And though living in Judea and Samaria
may be a justified reason for leniency in the initial granting of a firearm
license, no person, regardless of address, can claim he or she is somehow
“immune” from violating any number of gun-licensing requirements over
Which requirements should or could be waived or eased for residents
of Judea and Samaria, if any? This is not a simple question and certainly cannot
be decided solely on the basis of the recent terror attack and deaths of four
innocent people, no matter how tragic. Even more problematic – given the fact
that the gun-licensing issue suddenly burst forth because of the recent
murderous attack – is the clear implication being touted by many that had Imes
had his firearm with him, he and/or the others might still be alive today. That
is treading on very thin ice, as many individuals in all parts of Israel have
been murdered in terror attacks with their pistols still in their holsters,
since it is the very element of surprise and ferocity that often renders
defensive weapons totally ineffective. And it is more than pretentious in any
case of tragedy and death to arrogantly and unequivocally determine exactly why
a person died, not knowing exactly what would have prevented such
No matter how difficult, raw emotion must be removed as an
element in making any far-reaching decisions regarding changes in gun-licensing
laws and regulations for Judea and Samaria. Otherwise, there is a clear risk of
going to the opposite extreme, where very arbitrary and politically motivated
decisions could bring about more tragedy and harm.GERSHON HARRIS
Haglilit God and the rich
Sir, – I
was amazed by the number of letters to the
editor claiming that your September 8 supplement listing the world’s 50
Jews had been inappropriate prior to the holidays.
In the very
prayer of Netaneh Tokef, recited both on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we
told that the Almighty decrees on the holiday who shall be rich and who
poor. There are other passages that pray for wealth and sustenance, and
abundance of prayers for the poor.
If the subject of wealth is
appropriate on the holiday itself, it is certainly appropriate before
holiday.RABBI SHLOMO WEXLER