August 14: Because they can

Living blueprint; Just whose pants?; Baseless or not; Making us worthy; Government step; Eminently sensible; Caution needed.

letters (photo credit: JP)
(photo credit: JP)
Because they can
Sir, – And so the creeping advance in pursuit of forcing women out of the public sphere goes on (“Rachel is weeping,” Comment & Features, August 11).
Yisrael Medad and Eli Pollak do a great service in bringing this issue to your readers. I must, however, take issue with their statement that some rabbis consider women’s singing to be halachically prohibited.
The halachic prohibition is only against men hearing women sing, not against women singing.
Thus we have another situation in which men, because they have the power to do so and because it is convenient for them, restrict the freedom of women.

Living blueprint
Sir, – I would not expect Barry Shaw (“Empty can be good,” Letters, August 11) to suggest anything else but his “free market building plan,” as he is a real estate agent. However, he seems to miss the point completely.
Many of these buildings will be empty for much of the time, which will make Netanya a ghost town. The real test of a place of residence is that it buzzes with life.
Just as you don’t build a synagogue just for the influx of visitors on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, you don’t build monoliths to feed the superiority complexes of these rich people.
One needs only to look at the example of David Lewis, who died recently. He renovated the whole of Eilat by building hotels so that everyone could afford to go, from self-catered to luxury.
This is the blueprint we need to follow.

Sir, – I must disagree with Barry Shaw.
For any city to be vibrant and alive, it needs permanent residents, not Diaspora Jews who reside here for two weeks a year or less.
In Jerusalem, the irony of this sad situation is that 50 percent of the city is impoverished, lacks productivity and has numerous problems. If the wealthy absentee landlords had prohibitive municipal taxes imposed on their properties, maybe there could be more affordable accommodations for permanent residents.

Just whose pants?
Sir, – It is chutzpah for Micky Levi to even comment on the incidents in Britain (“London police were caught with their pants down in city’s mass rioting, say ex-senior Israeli cops,” August 10). He should realize that England is one of the greatest liberal democracies in the world and is not used to the sort of street violence we’ve been witnessing.
For police in London to use water canon is a major departure from their low-key methods.
Unlike the police in Israel, they are unarmed and a police force in the true sense of the word.
As Jerusalem police commander, Levi gave a much less tolerant brief toward rioters and seemed to be very happy to use whatever force was necessary.
Beit Shemesh

Baseless or not
Sir, – Kol hakavod to Seth J. Frantzman for his articulate column “Baseless hatred of the haredim” (Terra Incognita, August 10). He gives haredibashers their due.
It should be added that the term “haredization” is also used by these bashers to describe any situation with which they disagree.
These self-proclaimed and proud liberals fit the Talmudic definition for hypocrites.

Sir,– “Baseless hatred of the haredim” is one of Seth J. Frantzman’s worst columns.
Certainly he is right in that haredim have been unkindly stereotyped. However, the reason there is such (unfortunate) hatred for them is because they impose their religious viewpoints on the rest of us.

Making us worthy
Sir, – Kudos to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s David Newman (“From Rothschild to the Western Wall,” Borderline Views, August 9). He is right as to the true meaning of Tisha Be’av and the fact that, unfortunately, most of us seem to have forgotten it.
Only by caring for each other will we ever be worthy of the Third Commonwealth.

Government step Sir, – “Paint it Black” by Jeremy Rubin (Comment & features, August 8) hit the nail on the head.
There are two major solutions to improve social justice in Israel. One is to change the electoral system so that Knesset members and government officials are responsible to the people and not to party bosses or special interest groups. The second is to rid our economy of monopolies and cartels, which would bring down the cost of living.
While the first is a long-tern solution, the second can be implemented immediately.
There is no reason why milk, a staple, should sell for more than NIS 4 (it is the equivalent of NIS 2.5 in the US). This, of course, would mean that the price of all milk products, not just cottage cheese, will go down.
If one of the big three dairies (which overcharged us for decades) does not have the courage to cut its profits, the government should step in with price controls.

Eminently sensible
Sir, – Maurice Ostroff’s call for compulsory arbitration to replace strikes in the public sector is eminently sensible (“The doctors’ strike: There is a better way,” Comment & Features, August 8).
As a striking medical doctor, I admit to feeling very uncomfortable about being away from patients that need my care. If Ostroff’s call is heeded, we could continue carrying out our duties in the comfortable knowledge that our very real problems are receiving the serious attention they deserve. It would result in a win-win situation.

Sir, – Kol hakavod to Maurice Ostroff. Finally, somebody is talking sense. If only our powers-that- be would take his advice.
I well remember that in Rhodesia there were strikes that often were politically inspired and wrought havoc to the economy.
Finally, the minister of labor promoted a law for compulsory arbitration whereby strikes were prohibited.
If there was a dispute between workers and employers, each side had to appoint an arbitrator and these two appointed a third arbitrator. The three then heard both sides and came to a decision, which was enforced by law.
Very fair and simple. Why can’t we do the same?
Caution needed Sir, – I would like to recommend to the “protest leaders” and those on the Trajtenberg panel (August 8, 2011) to closely consider the facts that face us.
We have more at stake than high rents and the cost of living.
We live on a miniscule strip of sand, with few available and exploited natural resources, except our brainpower. We have a well-managed economy that, at over 5 percent annual growth, outperforms those of many first-world countries, but which could easily disintegrate, as have those of several EU nations.
We, of course, have no one to bail us out. Our population, at 7.5 million, is about one-third that of metropolitan New York.
We are surrounded by a sea of hatred (an estimated Muslim population of 216.5 million for the Middle East in 2011) and are at a moment in time when the entire world economy seems to be coming unhinged.
Frankly, I think that now, more than ever, an overabundance of caution, prudence and self-control are in order.

Petah Tikva