Letters to the editor, June 7

Lights versus life Sir, - Cutting power to traffic lights, indisputably life-saving devices, is bad enough. But leaving the afflicted intersections unattended is an unconscionable outrage. The police likely knew about the power cuts in advance - and even if they didn't it takes only a few minutes to dispatch an officer to direct traffic. The cost to the public? Perhaps a few thousand shekels. What happened to the value of a human life? ("Driver killed as second day of power cuts causes more chaos," June 6.) PHYLLIS GOLDMAN Ma'aleh Adumim Sir, - In view of the extreme pressure on our electrical supply resources it is time for us to encourage the Palestinian Authority to make its own arrangements to supply itself with electricity and thus divert urgently required resources to supply own needs. In the end they may even be able to sell us electricity to compete with our IEC! The need to use the fire-fighting services to extricate passengers from elevators raises a few questions. Why did generators not provide power to enable passengers to get out of elevators? And why have elevator service companies not been training residents in every building to extract passengers from elevators manually in case of a power failure? This is a service they are required to provide, but rarely do. The only good thing to emerge from this crisis is that the public will, at last, no longer tolerate a monopoly which has no incentive to be super-economically viable and is prepared to take advantage of the public ("Responsibility outages at the IEC," Editorial, June 6). DAVID GOSHEN Kiryat Ono Sir, - Apparently IEC employees' concern for their high salaries and unbelievable perks overrides any real concern for serving the public. GERSHON HARRIS Hatzor Haglilit Sir, - Re "Rolling blackouts trap 200 in elevators" (June 6): New Scientist magazine recently reported that experiments in which bacteria were combined with diluted caramel and nougat to produce hydrogen indicate that chocolate could be used to generate electricity. Will the land of milk and honey begin investing in the production of chocolate for peaceful purposes? YONATAN SILVER Jerusalem Duty of a free society Sir, - As I was reading Caroline Glick's fine article "The path to our destruction" (June 6) I could not help but think of the kidnapping of Patty Hearst many years ago. Her kidnappers subjected her to intensive brainwashing, and in the end she identified with them and joined them. The inability of the Canadian elite and many Canadian newspapers to distinguish between the mainstream Muslim people, who seek a normal life, and the extremists interested in bringing about a holy war only supports the terrorist organizations. It is the obligation of a free society to protect the rights of the innocent and root out and destroy the enemies of freedom, intent on destroying the country in which they live. We must protect ourselves from the type of brainwashing that caused Patty Hearst to lose her autonomy and join her enemies. PAUL BERMAN Shoham Starry-eyed in Egypt Sir, - Our prime minister's overly effusive praise of Hosni Mubarak reminded me of a starry-eyed fan gushing over her favorite movie star, who, while smiling at her, isn't even cognizant of her existence ("Olmert to insist PA abides by road map," June 5). According to Fouad Ajami, director of Middle Eastern studies at Johns Hopkins, there is a "great refusal" to accept Israel under any conditions whatsoever... this "great refusal persists in that Arab street of ordinary men and women, among the intellectuals and the writers, and in the professional syndicates… and is fiercest in Egypt" (my emphasis). The most popular series on Egyptian TV is a dramatization of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, shown on the state-run network; the book is a best-seller. The semi-official Al-Ahram regularly runs anti-Semitic articles and cartoons that would do Der St rmer proud. Why lionize a dictator who can't stand the very sight of us? SOL SPIEGLER Tel Aviv Sir, - Once we admired Israeli leaders for their courage, fortitude and sabra insouciance. What we're witnessing now are amateur diplomats aping their Western counterparts, an unbecoming spectacle as they chase hither and thither after scraps and bones without thought for the damage they are doing belittling Israel's reputation as a strong, vibrant, independent sovereign state. JOEL JOSEPH Essex, UK The play's the thing Sir, - Reading your review of the Jerusalem English Speaking Theater's The Action Against Sol Schumann (Billboard June 2-8) I was dumbstruck by the lack of similarity between the play supposedly being reviewed and the fine work of theater art I was honored to bring my 9th-grade class to. As coordinator of English of the Shuvu school system, I try to expose my students to various facets of the language through different media. Last week I took my 9th-graders to see the play, based on the true story of a Holocaust survivor who, 40 years after the war, is found out to have been a kapo. The play delves into his family's attempt to wrestle with the shock and understand a situation forced upon Sol Schumann. It delves into both the legal and moral ramifications brought about by that situation. It is set in New York in the 1980s. The play deals with the issue of survival during the darkest of times. Can we - whether in 1980s America or 2006 Israel - really apply our contemporary values of right and wrong to the actions of a fellow Jew whose family has just been murdered by the Nazis? We understand and recognize what is black and white. This play shows that grey is a possible flip side of that same black and white. What a Wikipedia psycho-historical definition of a kapo has to do with an objective theater review is beyond me. Also beyond me is what your title "Crippled by collaboration" has to do with this play. We found the play first-rate. The story was thought-provoking, intense and eye-opening. Far from being "disturbing to Holocaust survivors and their families," it offers a greater understanding of the tribulations many survivors had to face in order to continue what the Nazis tried to destroy. DAVID WAPNER Beit Shemesh The Editor responds: The article wasn't a review, but a preview. Gay community doesn't bother me Sir, - I cannot understand all the people who are homophobic ("Saying no to gay festival," Letter, May 31, and other letters). Do they think gays will harm their children? Gays are not interested in their children. They harm nobody, but they get harmed by idiot males who like to beat them up for being different. Why should they not be proud of who they are? Most of them have family problems and end up with no families except other gays. In Greek times it was the norm for men to be with men, and their wives were only for procreation. Leave gays alone to live their lives; and if, once a year, they wish to celebrate, then those who are upset can stay indoors and not watch. I am not gay, but neither am I disturbed by the gay community. JUDY GOLDIN Kiryat Ono