July 5, 2015: Just an excuse

Readers respond to the latest Jerusalem Post articles.

Envelope (photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
(photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
Just an excuse
Yossi Melman’s “Without a long-term solution, terrorist attacks will only continue” (Analysis, July 2) repeats the oft-stated inaccuracy that “the root problem is the lack of a political horizon or any sort of hope for a change in the situation, any promise for a better future.” This is the “excuse” he uses to explain the uptick in violence during the past few months by Palestinians both in Judea and Samaria and within the pre-1967 lines.
One doesn’t have to search hard to see that when the Palestinians and Israelis started the Oslo process there were even more violent attacks against us, and our prime minister at the time, Yitzhak Rabin, spoke about “sacrifices for peace.”
After we withdrew from the Gaza Strip (does the world even remember that we uprooted 8,000 people from their homes in Gush Katif and elsewhere in the area?), the Palestinians used their “promise for a better future” by immediately killing us with rockets and drive-by shootings, and by spending aid received for building their nascent state on terror tunnels and training grounds for future terrorists.
With that kind of track record, I for one, would prefer not giving them “hope.” I would rather give my fellow citizens real security!
Ma’aleh Adumim
I really felt that “Without a long-term solution, terrorist attacks will only continue” should have been labeled an opinion piece, and not an analysis.
Yossi Melman blames our prime minister and defense minister for the impasse, as well as a lack of political horizon or hope, while referring to the Palestinian residents of the West Bank as “second-class citizens or even lower.”
This is not serious. They shop in the same stores as we do, they drive the same roads, and their standard of living, health and longevity are much higher than those of Arabs in neighboring states.
The root of the problem is not a “lack of political horizon,” but (as Melman notes) the fact that the Palestinian education system does not educate for coexistence (something he dismisses as being irrelevant), and Palestinian media incite to violence.
There is no political horizon because of the aforementioned reasons, and also because the Palestinian leadership does not want one, at least one that includes the State of Israel.
Melman’s piece was opinion masquerading as fact.
Our productivity
Eli Cook ends “The problem with productivity” (Comment & Features, July 2) with a call for “a future Israel that is not only productive, but equal and just.”
This, after showing that increased productivity has not been fully reflected in increased wages for workers.
Cook implicitly assumes that increased productivity has been due to the efforts of workers alone, and not of employers. If a worker has become more productive by having been provided with an iron ax to replace one of stone, or even with a chainsaw, then the only component of increased productivity owing to the worker is due to retraining to upgrade the worker’s skills. The rest of the increased productivity is due to the employer, who provided the improved tools.
Cook’s superficial treatment of a situation that is more complex than he has described has led to a conclusion that is only partially valid, and probably not just.
Moreover, what he means by an “equal” Israel seems to be socialism, an ideology from which I thought Israel had emerged.
Yes, there is a labor productivity problem in Israel, yet the worst solution would be to emulate the US model.
The American model of employee management can, without sarcasm, be called the Auschwitz model – keep all your employees under threat of redundancy. Make sure to have a corporate bloodletting at least once every two years, during which 20 percent of all “human resources” are eliminated. (The surviving human resources pick up the slack and are grateful to have survived.) And give your workers no more than 10 working days of vacation a year, but make sure that even those days are saddled with laptops, homework, emails and 24/7 availability.
This is not working to live.
This is living to work. It is slavery.
And it explains why Americans identify themselves by their jobs – you are what you do.
Israel’s problem is different. A six-day work week makes it necessary for many Israeli workers to attend to all personal errands, medical appointments and child-related issues on company time. Habits that were born of necessity have now become normal practice to the degree that it is acceptable to include non-essential and frivolous matters. Hence, Israeli laborers might be “employed” six days a week, but they probably “work” no more than three and a half.
The solution is obvious – a rational work week that allocates time for productivity and time for living. The six-day week is an anachronism that has no place in contemporary life.
We should work to live, not live to work. Just give us a chance.
Letters about letters
I was disappointed to see the mean-spirited, cynical letters against the LGBT community’s desire to be legally married in one fashion or another, and to have the God-given joy of raising children (“Same-sex marriage,” July 1).
The way things are in Israel these days owing to the influence of the Chief Rabbinate, for these people to hold their breath and wait is not a good idea.
This is clear when one considers how difficult it is for “straight” Jews to get married here.
There are thousands and thousands of couples in limbo because of the restrictive conditions.
“Prove you are single!” “Prove you are Jewish!” “Prove your grandmother is Jewish!” (I know a case like that.) “And pay!” Then there is the Russian community, whose documentation is severely deficient due to Soviet depredations as well as the destruction of archives during World War II.
We also have people who are Jewish according to strict Halacha but choose to marry outside the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate. Their kosher ketubot and religious marriage certificates are not recognized by the Ministry of the Interior – although secular, totally non-Jewish marriage certificates issued by foreign authorities are.
So as much as I sympathize with the gay community, I am afraid that its members merely belong to a pretty large club of people who are beset upon by increasingly extremist attempts by the country’s ultra-Orthodox establishment to control life in Israel.
With all due respect to reader Amiel Schotz (“De facto occupiers,” Letters, July 1), he mistakes war for occupation.
The laws of belligerent occupation require more than actions to impair the enemy’s ability to wage war against us.
They require actual “boots on the ground” in the occupied territory.
The allies’ post-war withdrawal of forces from Austria; Israel’s withdrawal of forces from the Sinai – these withdrawals and replacement with local governing entities are recognized under international law as examples of occupations that have ended.
Israel’s occupation of Gaza ended with its withdrawal.
Nothing in international law prevents it – subsequent to that withdrawal – from closing its own borders and embargoing an enemy entity that is still intent on waging war, and taking those actions that are necessary to impede its ability to wage such war.