August 23: Stand us up

If the members of our government really want citizens to stand on their own feet, they will have to take certain steps.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Stand us up
Sir, – With regard to “Painful cuts” (Editorial, August 21), if the members of our government really want citizens to stand on their own feet, they will have to take certain steps.
• Over-regulation is the biggest economic drawback.
A prosperous economy cannot be over-regulated, as has been done in so many areas here (banking, insurance, the stock market, health, etc.). We need a prime minister with an agenda like that of former US president Ronald Reagan.
• No government to date has really tackled the matter of bureaucracy, a serious problem that drives foreign investors away in the thousands and costs our economy millions.
• Cutting government expenses alone is not the way to jump-start the economy.
For example, serious research has shown that benefits based on the number of children in a family it not a factor in the number of children conceived.
Increasing economic activity achieves much more than cutbacks.
• Our unemployment statistics include only those drawing unemployment pay. The minute these people stop drawing such benefits, even if still unemployed, they are removed from the statistics. The government should listen to Stef Wertheimer, who recently warned that hitech cannot be relied on to solve our economic problems.
All industries are important.
• Regarding education, brain power is our biggest national resource, but we are failing to use it to the best advantage.
Disturbing change
Sir, – Gil Troy does a very good job of promoting a second term for Jerusalem’s incumbent mayor by listing his accomplishments (“Thank you Nir Barkat, for restoring Jerusalem’s glow,” Center Field, August 21).
I agree that political games are wrong and demeaning. However, between the race cars and cultural nights, Jerusalem has lost some of its glow – its glow of holiness! Troy goes on about saving Jerusalem from “ultra- Orthodox power-brokers” who “view the city as theirs exclusively rather than Israel’s capital, the Jewish people’s heart and soul....”
Is he kidding? That is exactly how they view the city – as the most important part of our country, the center of the Land of Israel – and therefore they fight for its persona.
The atmosphere has changed considerably since I moved here 28 years ago.
That special atmosphere, where the very air held some spark of holiness, is dissipating. Jerusalem does not need modern sophistication, not when that leads to more violations of Shabbat in the public sphere (what one does at home is his own business), where more non-kosher eateries are opening up, and when our most accessible holy site is the scene of riots.
While Barkat has done a lot for the city, much of it has brought a disturbing change to its character. I will think long and hard about whom to vote for this time round.
It still exists
Sir, – Regarding “The invention of Israeli ethnicism” (Terra Incognita, August 21) by Seth J.
Frantzman, ethnic discrimination in Israel is not a phenomenon of the 1950s. It is said that back in the 1930s, Haim Nachman Bialik stated that the only reason he so disliked the Arabs was that they were so much like Sephardi Jews! This attitude, which unfortunately still exists, is the very antithesis of Zionism, Judaism and the current Jewish renaissance. To progress as a nation, we Israelis must do everything to eliminate this discrimination before it eliminates us.
HAIM M. LERNER Ganei Tikva