Letters: June 19, 2017: Pipe dream

The world is upside down and I am at a loss to figure out who can return it to its proper balance.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Pipe dream
The meeting last week in Thessaloniki regarding cooperation in the natural gas sector (“Netanyahu focuses on energy in Greek-Cypriot meeting,” June 16) needs to be treated with extreme caution and concern.
Published several days ago, the internationally recognized “BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2017” states that at the end of 2016, Israel’s proven natural gas reserves amounted to 0.2 trillion cubic meters (tcm) out of a total world sum of 186.6 tcm, less than 0.08%.
Just a spit in the ocean! Consumption by western Europe OECD countries in 2016 was 0.3857 tcm. How is it that National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz confidently stated during an April 3 radio interview about a proposed pipeline that in the future would see Israeli gas used in every home in Europe? The sums don’t stack up.
The TurkStream gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey (and possibly on to Greece, with construction starting later this year) will be a dual 32-inch, 900 km. pipeline sunk to depths of 2,200 m. It will be the largest diameter system ever laid at such depths and have an annual capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters (bcm). Compare this with the proposed EastMed pipeline, which is said to be of the order of 2,200 km. going to depths of 3,000 m. Its target completion date is 2025.
Currently, there is talk between Israel and Cyprus of an export availability of 0.4-0.5 tcm, with Israel having 3 tcm available in the next few years and an annual capacity of 12-16 bcm. Such a pipe dream could land the country in enormous debt.
One has only to recollect the unprecedented failure of Dr.Steinitz as finance minister from 2009 to 2013 to recognize the mess he could get us into.
He should stick to philosophy, in which he majored and taught.
The writer is a chemical engineer with 50 years’ experience in oil, gas and shale oil.

Prize Grossman
Regarding “Author David Grossman wins Man Booker prize” (June 16), Grossman asserts that two Israeli writers being short-listed for the prize indicates that the country is not regarded so negatively.
One does to know whether to laugh or cry! Can he be so unaware that both he and Amos Oz are quite critical of Israel and that, generally, in order to be accepted by the rest of the world, an Israeli must present a negative view? SIDNEY HANDEL Tel Aviv Sincere congratulations go to David Grossman on winning the 2017 Mann Booker prize, carrying with it a hefty cash award.
Yet I must admit to a certain dismay when Grossman announced his decision to donate the money to B’Tselem rather than, say, our hospitals, which toil night and day to heal and care for both Jews and Arabs.
B’Tselem exists solely to vilify Israel.
Mevaseret Zion

Deafening silence
Dov Lipman’s “I have a new hero this week” (Observations, June 16) and the Dry Bones cartoon appearing in the same issue address a video that went viral of haredim attacking an IDF soldier.
Lipman asserts that non-haredi Jews have not done enough to empower mainstream haredim, so the latter continue to live in fear of the extremists among them. I do agree on that score but hasten to note that the Torah (Shoftim) places clear accountability upon communal elders for violence committed by members of the community. Thus far, there have been no reports of condemnation of such attacks from the haredi rabbis.
The silence is deafening.
Petah Tikva
As I read Rabbi Dov Lipman’s article about the attack on his son in Mea She’arim and the efforts of two haredi men who came to his rescue, I could not help but ponder the madness of the world in which we live.
Consider the following events of the past few weeks:
• An Orthodox soldier dressed in his IDF uniform is viciously attacked by a gang of know-nothing hoodlums for being guilty of defending our country. The individuals who saved him have to keep their identities secret lest they be the victims of retaliation.
• An Arab businessman, successfully treated for cancer in an Israeli hospital, makes a large donation to the hospital in gratitude.
He must keep his identity a secret lest he face the wrath of the Arab street.
No plaque in the hospital for this man, for he is guilty of showing gratitude to an Israeli institution.
• Across the border, terrorists and their ilk need not keep their identities hidden.
No – they receive honors of the highest order from their people.
The world is upside down and I am at a loss to figure out who can return it to its proper balance.

Beit Shemesh
Obfuscating truth
Half-truths are more difficult to combat than outright untruths, especially when penned by two erudite columnists in the same issue.
In defining the period between 1948 and 1967 as “relatively quiet years,” Nachman Shai (“50 years later,” Observations, June 16) relegates the over 60 incidents in which more than 110 Israelis were killed (some after being brutally raped) and a similar number injured to “a few sporadic terrorist attacks along the border.”
Katamon, Ashkelon, Hadera, Kfar Hess, Beit Oved, Ramat Rachel, Givat Haim, Lachish and the Mount of Beatitudes are some of the places where these “sporadic terrorist attacks” took place.
Not to be forgotten is the massacre on the Scorpions Descent.
Engraved on my own memory is the shelling of Mevu’ot Betar ,which I experienced first- hand.
All these places were within Israel before the maligned conquests of the Six Day War.
In calling on the Israeli government and its police force to “improve law enforcement in Arab towns,” Lior Akerman (“We must save Kafr Kassem,” Observations) conveniently fails to mention that the Arab leadership, Arab mayors and Arab residents refuse to cooperate with the police when investigating crimes, including the murder of Arab women by family members. They also refuse to allocate land in their towns or villages for the building of police stations, for which the government has allocated funds.
This information gives a slightly different perspective. But that is the purpose of half-truths – to obfuscate the truth.

Hope for change
For a few weeks, The Jerusalem Post has been delivering some well written, thought-provoking articles about the “situation.”
Ziad J. Asali’s “The 50-year-old, ever-changing status quo” (Observations, June 9) was one of the best. It showed real consideration for the problems, strengths and weaknesses on both sides.
Unlike the author, I think the final link in the presentation is less about leadership and more about education. As long as the Arab side teaches such unadulterated hatred not to mention irredentist self-pity, it is hard for me to envision any Palestinian leadership that would – or even could – embark on a program that can help both sides get over the gaps that divide them.
I have seen a number of such attempts coming from the Jewish and/or Israeli side. I have never seen one coming from the Arab side. I hope Asali’s piece will lead to a change in that condition.