Letters to the Editor January 16, 2023: Leave their cocoons

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

 Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

Leave their cocoons

In his article about transportation solutions for Israel (“Minister Regev, be cooperative,” January 15), Shlomi Variat has omitted a means of transportation that is not only faster than the traffic jams, but also improves cardiovascular health – namely, the bicycle. Gush Dan is flat (and most of Jerusalem is not that hilly) and is blessed with over 300 rain-free days a year.

There is absolutely no reason why people should not switch to riding rather than sitting in traffic. In combination with the train or bus, the bike becomes an even more effective transportation solution.

In terms of specific improvements, all buses could be fitted with bike racks as is common in the US, and bikes could be permitted on trains at all hours. Drivers who are too impatient or distracted and thus have collisions with bikes could be held a priori responsible for the crash.

Road pricing can be introduced to discourage driving at peak times and the use of polluting vehicles. If more drivers leave their cocoons to ride, the roads will be emptier for public transport and the remaining vehicles. Furthermore, the excess parking lots could be converted into parks to beautify our cities.

 PASSENGERS ENTER through the turnstiles at the Yitzhak Navon train station in Jerusalem. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) PASSENGERS ENTER through the turnstiles at the Yitzhak Navon train station in Jerusalem. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)



Reasonable middle road

David Weinberg’s “Judicial reform is reasonable and right” was nicely contrasted with Kylie Eisman Lifschitz’s “A government on override” (January 13). It was another example of how the Post editors are careful to present contrasting viewpoints.

What surprised me, though, is that while Mr. Weinberg is a senior fellow at the Kohelet Forum, he offered no criticism of the proposed changes. He did not discuss the possibility for government abuse – as outlined in Ms. Lifschitz’s article.

He whitewashed the justice minister’s proposed changes as appropriate, instead of suggesting a more reasonable middle road, when in fact the changes would eviscerate the court.

I would have expected better from Mr. Weinberg.



Truly righteous people

Regarding “Leave us oIder women alone” (January 13): I have a couple of decades more than Andrea Samuels under my ever-expanding belt, and to be perfectly honest, she didn’t even hint about the real advantage some of us get because we look our age.

She did not include a very important reason to look one’s age, whether male or female. The older we get the more dangerous and difficult it is to stand on a moving train or bus.

There are truly righteous people of all ages, religions, etc. on the buses and light rail who keep alert enough when traveling to offer seats to those of us who look our age. OK, sometimes it’s necessary to hint with a strong stare, but the older we look, the better a chance to get a seat.



Polite society

Regarding “Time for Herzog to step up to the plate” (January 13): Herb Keinon rightly compares the fiery rhetoric that ensued between Menachem Begin and David Ben-Gurion to what is currently happening among the Right, Left and Center political factions in Israel.

 PRESIDENT ISAAC HERZOG, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu behind him, approaches the members of the new government last month at the President’s Residence.  (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) PRESIDENT ISAAC HERZOG, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu behind him, approaches the members of the new government last month at the President’s Residence. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Seventy-one years ago whether or not to accept reparations from Germany was still understandably raw in the mind as well as the heart, however, the turmoil that is currently brewing cuts deep and very wide and hope of any agreement let alone comprise seems already bridges too far.

The list of changes this new government and its determined ministers wish to introduce is causing many in opposition to reach for rhetoric that has no place in polite society. But that’s just the point; being polite no longer applies, as the raising of one’s voice appears to be de rigueur these days whether your screaming in the Knesset or on the ever-raucous TV chat shows, which proliferate on the subject.

The issues in question are no doubt contentious but one factor should always dominate, and that must be what is best for the many not just a few and of course for the country itself.

A prime example is the matter of plastic utensils, etc. This is another hot as well as important green issue for a number of governments around the world, and in fact the UK is due shortly to place a ban on these.

A plastic knife, fork and plate might well be on the bottom rung if listing today’s arguments, however the majority are feeling radically put upon, for which the pulling on of kitchen gloves to clean their dishes is likely to be the least of what they consider to be their very real concerns.


Tel Aviv

Fish free and guilt free

Regarding “Israel’s Vgarden makes fish-free canned ‘tuna’” (January 10): It’s a fantastic article by Judy Siegel-Itzkovich. Tribal kvelling is actually a thing; taking pride in the accomplishments of fellow Jews.

And, compassionate Jews around the globe can once again kvell that it is an Israeli company that has created a fish-free vegan tuna. We seem to casually throw out terms like “overfished oceans” and “bringing fishes to the brink of extinction” without really seeing, in our hearts, the tragedy of the beyond-words huge nets which are necessary to feed humans’ desires to feed on carrion from the oceans’ depths. In one fell swoop, thousands of living creatures can be slaughtered just to later have the bodies of those the trawlers don’t want discarded.

So, every time that someone eats one fish, the diner is simultaneously responsible for killing many others. Learning that the Israeli company Vgarden has, after working for years, finally created a high-protein affordable and sustainable “guilt-free” tuna option, should make us all burst with pride.



Message getting through?

In the article “Iran executes British-Iranian accused of spying” (January 15), the sub-headline reads “Outraged UK withdraws ambassador from Tehran.”

 Alireza Akbari, Iran's former deputy defence minister, speaks during an interview with Khabaronline in Tehran, Iran, in this undated picture obtained on January 12, 2023. (credit: Khabaronline/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS) Alireza Akbari, Iran's former deputy defence minister, speaks during an interview with Khabaronline in Tehran, Iran, in this undated picture obtained on January 12, 2023. (credit: Khabaronline/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS)

Well, I must confess, that is a very rare step indeed for the UK to have taken.  Usually, they move slowly up from being “worried” to “concerned” to “annoyed,” “angry” and finally to “outraged.”

They were “worried” when Netanyahu proved the existence of the nuclear bomb plans. They upgraded to “concerned” when several mosques in the UK publicly mourned the assassination of the arch-terrorist General Soleimani.

They further upscaled to being “annoyed” by the death of the Iranian lady who dared to wear her hijab improperly. They were “angry” at the shutting down of the surveillance cameras at the Iranian nuclear sites; but almost never have they reached being “outraged” as they reportedly are at the execution of one of their citizens.

Is it possible that finally, the message is getting through to them? 

The Arab/Islamic mind has never been understood by the West; they just do not get it. “No” doesn’t mean “no” and “yes” at best means “yes for the moment until it is propitious to say no.”

Hopefully, this last straw may break the back of the diplomatically-bound Western countries involved in the negotiations regarding the so-called nuclear agreement, and finally, make them realize that Iran is playing with them like puppets on a string.



Not Israel’s fault

Regarding “The occupation’s impact on foreign relations” (January 15): Let me get this straight. Arab states went to war, instead of helping the Arabs of Palestine prepare for their first chance at self-rule. During Arab-initiated violence, Egypt and Jordan grabbed territory of historic and religious importance to Jews, who were killed or driven from their homes by the occupiers who then proceeded to destroy synagogues and desecrate Jewish graves, while also permitting terrorists to stage attacks on Israel from the occupied territory.

And, although the Palestine Liberation Organization was founded during this period of illegal occupation, its 1964 charter specified that the PLO made no claims on lands then held by Egypt and Jordan (the place to be “liberated” was Israel, where the PLO sought to end Jewish rule of the Jews’ ancestral homeland). With this history, there is no justification at all for claiming that Israel is “occupying Palestinian territory.”

Now it is true that Israelis and Palestinians are living very different lives. And there is even some truth in saying that Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs are not exactly treated in the same way. But the vast majority of these inequalities derive from the actions of Palestinian leaders, who, for a very long time, discouraged Arabs from taking Israeli citizenship and from voting in Israeli elections (not a good way to get the government to address the needs of your community).

As to the Palestinians who are living under the administration of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, it is not Israel’s fault that the Palestinian leaders have enriched themselves on monies donated for their people’s benefit, diverted humanitarian aid to efforts to destroy or delegitimize the Jewish state, and claimed the right to use violence against Israel instead of negotiating on the recognized and secure borders called for in the Oslo Accords.

Nothing will change as long as the world continues to enable Palestinian leaders to continue abusing the trust of the people who elected them. If Palestinian leaders truly want a state, they must turn from trying to destroy Israel to working toward building a state in which Palestinians (including those classified as “refugees” by UNRWA) can become productive citizens. And bottom line, the Palestinians must coexist, peacefully, with the nation-state of the Jews.



Disproved to our detriment

Our legitimacy in this land is still being questioned. The Palestinian Authority complains to the UN General Assembly about our “occupation of Palestinian territory.” Really it is not enough for Israel to withhold PA taxes which has been done before and never lasts long before the condemnations roll in and Israel succumbs (“In response to UN vote, Israel to withhold PA tax revenues, halt building plans,” January 8).

The PA is a terrorist organization and a product of Israeli appeasement. Its sole purpose is the total destruction of Israel which is somehow overlooked not only by our ‘friends’ but also by all Israeli governments preferring the illusion of making concessions that are supposed to make the Arabs look upon us as friends; and the world, if not to love us, at least to tolerate our existence. 

Unfortunately, this fallacy has been disproved to our detriment far too often, yet amazingly we can’t accept it. Only Israel can change this dire scenario we have wrought upon ourselves, by taking the initiative and fighting back with all we have. It’s not a politically correct option, but it is what you are supposed to do when the enemy is not only at the door but inside.



A blot on the reputation

When I saw the headline “Thousands rush to plunder contents of washed-up shipping containers” (December 29), I thought that once again mobs were looting in New York or Chicago. But on further reading, I discovered that the plunder was right here in Israel, in Ashkelon, by Israelis.

I was horrified to read that thousands of Israelis were rushing into the frigid waters, not to save lives, or even to restore lost property to rightful owners, but to steal goods for themselves, from shipping containers that fell off the ship that was ferrying them.

Nor was there any mention of the police or harbor patrol trying to stop them. This is a travesty of Jewish values and a blot on the reputation of the country that is supposed to be a “light unto the nations.”


Beit Shemesh