April 25: Needed: Electoral reform

Does the fact that there seem to be many fewer flags flown every year bother anyone?

letters 88 NICE (photo credit: )
letters 88 NICE
(photo credit: )
Needed: Electoral reform
Sir, – During this period of Remembrance Day and Independence Day, when patriotism should be strongly felt throughout the country, do any in our government understand the contempt that the majority of the public has for them? Does the fact that there seem to be many fewer flags flown every year bother anyone?
Admittedly, there are a few exceptions of MKs and ministers who do appear to be doing their jobs in spite of the system, not because of it. Unfortunately, some of the more conscientious, who have been strong proponents of regional electoral reform, have left the Knesset.
The Jerusalem Post seems to be one of the few media voices reflecting the will of the people to change to a district representational election system (“The battle for sensible government,” April 15). However, we see that such efforts and thousands of signed petitions from the public are ignored.
It is ironic that we can’t have better government unless our Knesset votes for it, as we are faced with the reality that only the Knesset has the power to change the system.
There is no question that a more democratic change to regional representation could bring in new excellent potential leadership without engaging in partisan politics. Instead we are left with a system, which breeds corruption and inspires indifference (at best) lacking in checks and balances and accountability.
A lack of electoral reform is unfortunately not our only challenge. But it is basic to how we handle most of our other problems. In these perilous times, the people must have faith in our government, and our leadership should be made up of the best people, not just those chosen for political expediency.
If I am being overly critical, let the legislature give the nation a wonderful gift on this our 62nd birthday and finally pass a bill that will give the people a significant say in our government.
Only then do we have a chance to return to the days when Israeli flags were flown in abundance.
After the siege is lifted
Sir, – Israel’s top philosopher, Prof. Avishai Margalit, proposes a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (“Avishai Margalit: Lift the siege!,” Independence Day Supplement, April 20). As a founder of Peace Now and having served on the board of B’Tselem, it is not surprising that Prof. Margalit suggests that Israel return to the 1967 borders.
However, what he neglects to address is how Israel will deal with the terrorism that will likely follow a withdrawal to these borders. Actually he does briefly address the issue when he states in the article that “we (Israel) never expected after ’48 to live in a happy state.”
Why shouldn’t Israelis be entitled to the same pursuit of happiness as the citizens of other nations? Why should Israelis have to live in fear every time they go out to eat or board a bus? It seems that Prof. Margalit would prefer that Israelis live in fear of terror in order to obtain world acceptance.
ERIC PASTMAN East Windsor, New Jersey
Justify the justification
Sir, – Reader Leonard Zurakov of Netanya states that US President Barack Obama’s anti-Israel positions are “quite reasonable” for the reasons set forth in his letter (“Obama is justified,” Letters, April 21). However, he offers very little evidence to back up his own assertions.
First, he accuses Prime Minister Netanyahu of  “throwing Arab residents out of their homes in east Jerusalem and replacing them almost immediately with Jews.” I am a very close follower of the Israeli news scene and have never, ever read or heard of any such thing. Of course, Mr. Zurakov cites not one instance of this ever having happened.
Next, he describes the Israeli self-imposed 10-month West Bank construction freeze as “something of a joke, since many builders have refused to accept the orders to stop.” Again, not one cited instance of this ever having happened. In fact, there have been many protests that, to the contrary, the Israeli authorities have been too zealous in enforcing the construction ban.
Third, he excoriates the prime minister for repeatedly stating that Jerusalem will never be divided, “even though the Arab residents (many of them citizens) have every right to continue living in Jerusalem.” This is an inane criticism, since at no time has any government official said that a united Jerusalem will be “Arab-rein” – nor, of course, does Mr. Zurakov cite any.
If Mr. Zurakov is correct that these are the justifications for Obama’s anti-Israel attacks, then woe to the American ideals of truth and justice. The truth is that the American people support Israel and are very troubled by Obama’s anti-Israel tilt.
HARVEY SCHWARTZ Chairman, American Israeli Action Coalition (AIAC)Jerusalem

Boteach and the legal system
Sir, – As a retired lawyer and part-time judge of the English Crown Courts, I would not have the temerity to criticize Shmuley Boteach’s rabbinic teachings (“Does a kosher butcher’s fraud mandate a life sentence?,” April 21). He, however, has no such misgivings when it comes to his criticism of law courts in the United States.
He refers to Sholom Rubashkin of Agriprocessors having been given a life sentence for what was clearly a substantial fraud and falsification of accounts. The judge who imposed the sentence had heard all the evidence – which Boteach presumably did not hear – and in view of the severity of the fraud involved, imposed a sentence that the judge considered to be appropriate. A life sentence is certainly not the special preserve of murder, but can be imposed for other serious breaches of the law that can adversely affect many people.
In addition, Rubashkin had the right to appeal. If he did not take advantage of that right, one must presume that he and his legal advisers accepted the sentence. If he did appeal, then a number of judges confirmed the appropriateness of the sentence imposed.
I feel that Rabbi Boteach should stick to his professional skills and leave the American judges the right to stick to theirs.
iPad nonsense
Sir, – While I am not going out of my way to buy an iPad, I think the ban on imports of this item is nonsense (“iPad imbecility,” April 22). I own two laptops and a large desktop, all Macs. All built in the US. My laptops (Wi-Fi-enabled) work anywhere I take them, whether in London or the US.
My husband, who taught computer science at Michigan State University for 32 years, adds the following: This business of European versus American standards has not been explained. If it is a question of the iPad transmitter power, elementary physics reveals that range is proportional to the square root of the power. Two times the power increases the range only by 1.41. As it is, my laptop can only barely receive a signal from the next building. If it is the iPad transmitter frequencies, the transmitter always responds on the same channel as the wireless router transmits, and these are worldwide standardized. In fact, the the US allows only channels 1-11, while Europe allows channels 1-13! As a professional engineer, methinks there is something more than technical consideration in this ban; there is either a conspiracy or incompetence going on.
One way or another, it will create a huge market once allowed into Israel, which is the crux of he entire matter
More honey solutions
Sir, – There is an easy solution to Tamar H. Kagan’s question aboutdripping honey (“A honey of an obsession,” Letters, April 22): Just gointo the first household-goods shop and ask for a device like the onefeatured on the box of cornflakes printed with the word “honey.” Thisway, you can spoon honey out without dripping. This item has been inuse for decades all over the world. Good luck!