August 19: Ode to a light rail

Let’s dig up the streets and disrupt people’s lives The longer the delay, the bigger the prize.

Ode to a light rail
Sir, – I think 5:30 a.m. is an unusual hour for a drink (“Break out the Champagne! Jerusalem’s first light rail train to depart Friday, 5:30 a.m.,” August 17). Instead, I offer the following:
It happened in Jerusalem a long time ago A decision was made by people in the know: Let’s dig up the streets and disrupt people’s lives The longer the delay, the bigger the prize.Businesses were lost and angers flared But politicians just assumed: Who really cared? And many years later after billions of shekel We still have a citizen’s right to heckle.So could the premise of the Jerusalem light rail Be a municipal project destined to fail? Delays are a misnomer for the sham foisted on us What’s wrong with just traveling by accordion bus? So here we have it, the mission now complete The trains are running but we’re still using our feet.And now that this boondoggle has come to fruition The ones in charge have accomplished their mission.The money already spent was done with much glee So take the same amount and make the buses free.Now who can benefit from such a wonderful distraction? Why can’t this be an outstanding new attraction? San Francisco transports its citizens on a trolley But here in Israel we have the Jerusalem Folley!
Remember Capone?
Sir, – We took steps in recent years that we believed would be good for the economy, but which strengthened organized crime (“Acclaimed singer arrested on suspicion of ‘sending mob to retrieve debt,’” August 17).
One example is the removal of the ceiling on interest, which was 12%.
Crime leaders have built themselves huge power by controlling the “grey” market and have very creative methods for extracting debts. The government should immediately reintroduce a ceiling.
In addition, our income tax authority has been completely ineffective. US tax authorities have been very successful in bringing to book famous crime bosses where all other legal actions failed.
These two steps can help reduce the influence of organized crime.
Kiryat Ono
There’s a difference
Sir, – When comparing the objectives of American blacks during the civil rights era and the objectives of Palestinians, Jesse Jackson, Jr. (“A non-violent path should precede UN recognition,” Comment & Features, August 17) neglects to mention a fundamental difference.
The civil rights movement did not negate the rights of whites. But under the stated objectives of even the moderate Mahmoud Abbas, not a single Jew would be permitted to live within the proposed Palestinian state. At the same time, more than a million Arabs would continue to enjoy civil rights in the Jewish state.
Sir, – Jesse Jackson, Jr. has posed some very important, wholly relevant and possibly even prescient questions. However, I have a few of my own: 1) What is his definition of “non-violent?” 2) If a million unarmed Mexicans tried to broach the US border en masse, would this be considered non-violent? 3) What should American authorities do about it? This in essence is what Israel was confronted with a few months ago, and will be again soon.
Keeping track
Sir, – As the grandmother of an Israeli missing in India, I read “Hebrew U.
researchers using tiny GPS devices to study fruit bat navigation” (August 16) and wondered whether such devices are available for parents to put in children who travel after the army.
There are many young people missing in India and elsewhere, and this would save parents a lifetime of sorrow.