September 4, 2019: End of the Negev

Readers of the Jerusalem Post have their say.

By
September 4, 2019 09:56
Letters

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

End of the Negev

A large thermo-solar power plant was inaugurated on Thursday in the Negev, “Israel inaugurates vast Negev thermo-solar power plant,” August 30. Built on 390 hectares, that’s larger than the city of Givatayim, the 121-megawatt solar power facility will generate approximately 0.75% of all electricity generated in the country.

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz claims that the new power plant will contribute significantly to Israel’s target of making 10% of the country’s electricity supply renewable by 2020, and 17% by 2030.

A little thought, and a pocket calculator, should show why this is a frightening prospect. The target 17% is roughly 22 times the current 0.75%. This means that the Negev will be covered with solar panels with an area equal to 22 Givatayims.

The Tourist Israel website writes, “Israel’s Negev Desert is like pure magic. Covering over half of Israel’s total land area, it is an area bustling with beauty. The Negev Desert is a fascinating and enchanting place.”

Do we really want to see the Negev covered with 22 Givatayims worth of solar panels?

ROGER KAYE
Rehovot


A burning issue

I was very pleased by your August 28 article, “Stav Shaffir offers a 12-year green economy program for Israel,” which discussed the program released by the Democratic Union Party “to place Israel on [the] cutting edge of global effort to save the planet.”

It is so good to see an Israeli political party take a stand on such a critical issue and I hope other political parties will do so as well, instead of just exchanging mud-slinging.

This is especially important now as the Amazon and the Arctic are burning, a massive storm is hitting the Bahamas and the southeastern US, temperature records are being shattered in many places, glaciers worldwide and polar icecaps are rapidly melting, and climate experts are increasingly warning that the world may soon reach a climate tipping point when climate spins out of control, unless major positive changes soon occur.

 As the article concludes, the Democratic Union Party’s “Shaffir is the only Israeli politician to openly offer a concrete plan “to fight what many worry might be a massive disaster that will alter every aspect of human life in the upcoming three generations.”

RICHARD H. SCHWARTZ
Shoresh


Halachic mutual wills

As a halachic estate planning attorney, I want to commend the Post on its September 1 article “Mutual wills – what are they and how they can damage your health.”

It was informative and comprehensive, except that it did not address the issue of mutual wills according to Halacha. These cannot be mirror-image or combined into one will and must be accompanied by a husband’s consent, allowing his wife to write a will and give away his assets after her death.

These mutual wills are written in language specific to halacha; take into account the Jewish laws of inheritance, which are premised on intervivos (i.e., an hour before death) gifting; are contractually binding by the execution of a kinyan sudar; and require witnessing by two “kosher” (i.e., males over 18 years old and Torah observant) witnesses.

In addition, given our contemporary litigious times, a halachic prenuptial (i.e., before marriage) agreement – to define the husband’s obligations/or absence of them under the ketuba; the ownership of the wife’s assets acquired before and/or after marriage; and to obviate an agunah situation – is essential. Also, it is sometimes prudent, based on circumstances (to give further

enforcement/safeguard of the family’s assets for biologically-related relatives only) to write a halachic postnuptial (i.e., during marriage) agreement while both are still mentally competent. This protects them and/or the surviving spouse against possible duress/manipulation by third parties.

TIRTZA JOTKOWITZ
Jerusalem


Most impressive list


May I be permitted to add some names of Germany-born music-related Israeli personalities to the impressive list presented by Greer Fay Cashman in her September 1 Grapevine column, “Symbolic graves.”

Composer Erich Walter Sternberg, who composed “The Twelve Tribes of Israel.” Hayim Alexander who composed “Vekibatsti etchem”(“And I ingathered you”), the choral opening of the first Zimriya (World Assembly of Choirs). Conductor Michael Taube, who was the main conductor of the Kol Israel Orchestra (now the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra) and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra when musicians could not come to Israel because of the war.

Well, there may be some more, not to mention myself: Saarbrücken-born lecturer emeritus on Japanese music at the Hebrew University and music critic at the Post.

URY EPPSTEIN
Jerusalem


Well done

Kudos to Editor-in-Chief Yaakov Katz and the editorial staff for putting together a well-reasoned editorial on mutual responsibility as a guideline for the future of Israeli society (September 1, “Mutual responsibility”). Well done!

On the other hand, nothing is perfect, even these editorials.

On the one hand, the writer states correctly that what kids read in the newspapers trickles down into their education.

On the other hand, the Post continues to devote a half-page to the nonsense of astrology – and in the Health and Science section no less.

We are treated to the following advice for Cancer – “hunker down into a comfortable nest, protecting your precious instincts from the onslaught of energetic vampirism.”

So the kids are instructed to believe in the fable of blood-sucking evil humans and in the connection between the “stars” and our future.

The writer calls for a renewal of the methods of education so that the schools remain to “be the engine behind what is called “the Start-Up Nation.” Were the schools previously defined to enable the “Start-Up Nation” or was it the technical demands of the IDF combined with the peculiarities of the Jewish psyche?

The editorial staff joins the “social” forces emphasizing the growing gap between those who have and those who don’t. The emphasis should at the least be shared with the improvement in the life of those who don’t have.

What’s more important – that everybody has a refrigerator or that there are some who have fridges with four doors and ice-makers?
Finally, the writer asks whether kids still need to learn algebra, geometry and calculus the way previous generations did? Is there a better way? Should these subjects be taught with glitzy notebooks and expensive cartoons, driving the price of education even higher with no demonstrable results. Or online, with no or little contact with peers or knowledgeable instructors.

This would drive costs down, but would it be any better? Can we afford to try to find out?

Perhaps we can find out from the lineup of Mercury, Venus and Mars in Virgo during the first half of September. After all, that’s when the schools open.

YIGAL HOROWITZ
Beersheba


Never happened

Regarding the murder of Rina Shnerb, I firmly believe that many Palestinians want to live their lives and earn their living peacefully, in the same way that we do.

Unfortunately those who have been elected to lead them do not share similar ideals, the latest murder of Shnerb along with the attempted murder of her father and brother lead me to reconsider how we deal with this unending spree of terror and hate emanating from the  Palestinian enclaves.

It is one thing to catch, to try them and  then when found guilty  to  imprison the perpetrators, somehow this is no deterrent and for incomprehensible reasons makes heroes from murderers, in the warped ideology and  minds of the Palestinians.

Apart from capital punishment, which also creates heroes from villains, I am slowly beginning to believe that the development of more settlements can be the only possible response.

We returned parts of the West Bank years ago and their gesture was the Passover massacre at Netanya’s Park Hotel on Seder night.

I believed that the gesture of returning Gaza was a situation where we could reasonably have anticipated having made the first move a discussion along the lines of now it is your turn, if you want to live in peace then let’s have five years bomb-free and see what other assistance we can offer to live peaceful lives, alas it never happened nor will it ever happen

PETER REDSTONE
Netanya


So blind

“There are none so blind as they who will not see” said John Heywood, in 1546. The Jerusalem Post editorial staff members would do well to cogitate on this proverb before they write editorials like “Netanyahu, Stop!” (September 2).

Does the editor not see, and indeed participate in, the incessant witch-hunt and “Bibi-bashing” that the local press, and particularly Channel 12, is perpetrating day in and day out.

I cannot recall any TV news program that does not commence with its main item about cigars and champagne, or about the wayward son Yair – and this, while headlines relating to serious security issues are pushed into second place – and little or no mention, let alone praise, for the amazing international diplomatic achievements of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
How is the head of government supposed to defend himself against this continuous and vitriolic onslaught, if not by exposing the bias and verbal venom that issues from the media.

The editor rightly states the necessity of a “robust and critical press that has freedom to critique (sic) the government” but that does not give it the right to do all in its power to topple a democratically elected government. Just compare the viciousness of the treatment of the prime minister to the velvet glove treatment of Benny Gantz, whose sole policy is “just not Bibi.”

It is not Netanyahu that “needs to stop” but the media that should stop – stop their biased attitude and allow the upcoming elections to proceed fairly, with fair coverage of all parties, devoid of sly underhand attempts to influence the public to their one-sided left-leaning positions.

LAURENCE BECKER
Jerusalem



CORRECTION

In “Bialik’s Kosher Casual opens in Beit Shemesh” (September 3) the Kosher Casual business was erroneously attributed to Mayim Bialik. The business is owned by Gary Swickley. Bialik is a customer and fan and has zero financial partnership in the business.
The Post regrets the error.


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