August 1: Man of integrity

Dr. Eidelman is an immigrant who believes in accountability, even if it means putting his personal welfare on the line.

Man of integrity
Sir, – Dr. Leonid Eidelman should go down as an example of integrity and dedication to the people of Israel (“Eidelman rejects president’s appeal to stop hunger strike,” July 29).
Eidelman is an immigrant who believes in accountability, even if it means putting his personal welfare on the line. He puts to shame others who sit on the sidelines – especially in the Knesset – guarding their jobs. In a real parliamentary democracy, MKs would be out there for their voters.
The masses are calling for social justice, for what was promised when the state was founded. For every person in the streets, there’s an entire family at home.
What’s behind it
Sir, – Nowhere in your July 29 editorial (“The new Right-Left dichotomy”) did you say anything about the major factors behind the high prices that make it impossible for so many Israelis to make it through the month: monopolies and trusts.
Their influence on prices has for decades been placing a nongovernmental tax on working families and the poor. Instead of calling for government regulation of prices, the public should be demanding the prosecution and breakup of these price-fixing institutions.
A second factor neglected by your editorial is the Histadrut’s support for unconscionable demands of highly-paid port workers and Electric Company employees to prevent private ownership, thus keeping prices high.
The government and the Knesset have their work cut out for them – if they have the courage to engage powerful opponents.
Sir, – A meaningful, prompt and sincere government response to the protests would be to reduce its own bloated size, cut the number of ministries and dramatically improve the efficiency of public agencies. It should also regulate banking costs, electricity and water prices, as well as the staples that make life here so expensive.
Such actions are what our dormant opposition should be pursuing, including electoral reform.
Finally, we should be able to directly elect effective representatives and throw the other rascals out.
Sir, – One would think that the current protests are having an effect on the government, but some of us old folks have our doubts. We see the vitality of the youth, but where are the people in their 40s, 50s, 60 and 70s, like me? Unfortunately, we are still barricaded in our (owned or rented) apartments.
Until the government feels that these protests are being conducted not only by those who do not have but those who do have, nothing much will happen.
At prayers this past Shabbat, the person giving the dvar Torah looked at us – I was one of the oldest present – and said in a straightforward fashion: “Brothers and sisters, while we reside in our personal, air-conditioned homes, so many other Israelis have taken to the tents.
Make your voices heard and demonstrate to the government that help is needed from human hands more than from the Lord.”
Out to the streets! Our energies are essential to win this battle.
Not bothered?
Sir, – In “Breivik and totalitarian democrats” (Column One, July 29), Caroline B. Glick writes that “the Left tried to blame rabbis and politicians for the sociopathic Yigal Amir’s assassination of then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.”
Her statement adds another absolutism concerning Amir’s guilt when legitimate, controverting evidence has been convincingly published. She should know that. I want to know why she is not concerned with it.
New tailgunner?
Sir, – After reading Martin Sherman’s “Distorting democracy” (Into the Fray, July 29), I am moved to ask: Who are those unnamed non-elected leftists who would question the decisions of our elected Knesset members? You know, the ones receiving money from sources outside Israel with agendas that would destroy the very fabric of our Israeli society? How dare they have opinions other than those of our elected paragons of rectitude?
Sure, we should hold leftist NGOs accountable for taking the dough. But then, why only the Left? How about questioning everyone who takes foreign money to influence political ends?
We can set up a Knesset committee – something like Sen. Joseph McCarthy had, eh? I can think of a few elected members of Knesset who might be investigated.
Sir, – It was refreshing to read Martin Sherman’s “Distorting democracy.” This excellent analysis was long overdue and I look forward to his future observations.
Perhaps he can touch on the judicial system. Currently, the courts do not seem to be serving the cause of justice in the meek sentences handed out for murder, criminal offenses and civil disobedience, where the law should be seen to act as a deterrent. The system appears to be more concerned with judging the laws passed by the elected representatives of the people in the Knesset and attempting to overturn them, as if the parliamentary draftsmen were incompetent or made serious mistakes.
It ill behooves our society that the courts are distorting democracy, making up new laws without them being passed by the elected legislators.
COLIN L. LECI Jerusalem
Fitting the crime
Sir, – “Lenient sentencing” (Editorial, July 28) makes important points. However, your suggested solution to the problem of inappropriate sentencing – to have the Knesset set minimum prison terms – is not a good solution.
The Knesset cannot possibly foresee all circumstances. It would be better to improve the selection procedures for judges and set up a review panel, with impeachment powers, for the periodic review of judges.
Sir, – Two seemingly unrelated articles from July 28 actually have a common theme. Both your editorial on court sentences and Isi Leibler’s excellent op-ed (“Israelis performing Wagner in Germany – a national disgrace,” Candidly Speaking) reveal our current callousness and lack of compassion for the suffering of others.
Murderers receive lighter sentences if they didn’t expect their violent acts actually to kill someone. And the conductor of the Israel Chamber Orchestra maintained Wagner’s music should be treated separately from his world view, despite the unimaginable pain it must cause Holocaust survivors to hear it.
You cannot separate a man and his art. A writer can pen magnificent prose, but if its intent is to vilify and incite hatred for others, then he is cruelly misusing his God-given talent.
As a society, we need to take a closer look at our motivation and lack of compassion when our decisions inflict pain on others.
Very encouraging
Sir, – There seems to be a mistaken notion that we must handle terrorist survivors with kid gloves and thereby win the goodwill of other potential terrorists (“Bill to lower disability funds for terrorists passes first hurdle,” July 28).
Why should Israel award murderers and inciters with benefits while in prison? And it is absolutely absurd to award such payments to the widows and orphans of suicide bombers. Would thoughts of his wife and children deter a potential suicide bomber? Maybe not. But the converse could very likely be further encouragement.

Petah Tikva