August 24: High and Mighty

I never know when I will be greeted by [a Jerusalem bank employee] with disdain and rudeness.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
High and mighty Sir, - Your August 21 editorial "Greed you can bank on" did an excellent job in outlining the ridiculous fees charged by Israeli banks for "services" rendered, even after the recent reforms. However, you failed to mention the fear-and-loathing experience some staff at local branches impose on their customers. I opened an account at a downtown Jerusalem bank branch about a year ago. I literally have to psych myself up for days before going to the bank for a transaction or inquiry. That's because no matter how polite I am, trying to explain what I need, I never know when I will be greeted by one of their employees with disdain and rudeness. Nearly every friend I speak to has some story or other about being treated in this way. And for this we are paying such high fees? AHARON MAYNE Jerusalem Enmeshed... Sir, - If a newspaper interview is intended to clarify someone's ideas for its readers, Ruthie Blum's with Avraham Burg left me wondering if he is aware of the many serious historical and social contradictions in his remarks ("'Let's move slowly but surely from trauma to trust,'" August 21). His saying that living in "Jerusalem or Babylon" can be characterized as a "state of mind" defies all known human understanding: Geography is destiny, and it has been demonstrated throughout human history, whatever Burg might think. In his mind, there is no aliya, and no Jewish society - just existence - because the nation-state is in actuality non-existent. A statement to the effect that the countries of Europe engaged in killing each other and so cannot be described as being against Israel is grossly absurd. Are readers to understand that Holland, Belgium, France and Germany (or, in short, people like De Gaulle and Hitler) did not hate Jews, Palestine/Israel because they fought each other? Whatever is of value in Burg's statements to the Post is not new, and whatever is new has no value. He is hopelessly enmeshed in his mental labyrinth. SHLOMO SHARAN Professor Emeritus Tel Aviv University Tel Aviv fantasy Sir, - Leftists who are both utopian and contrarian hate Israel because adherents to that philosophy harbor, even into their dotage, adolescent fantasies of a perfect world that could be achieved if only the stupid others would put them in charge. These plaster saints look down from their plinths in judgment on a people whose very survival is in question; which sometimes necessitates actions these moral puritans find odious. Some leftists, like Benny Morris, emerge and discover the real world, while others, snug in their pink comforters, continue to accuse Israel of apartheid, and, even more absurdly, genocide. Avrum Burg's grievances with Israel stem mainly from having had his grandiose political ambitions thwarted by a people who came to despise him. LEO SOLOMON Nahariya 'Jewish life,' you said?... Sir, - Haim M. Lerner is absolutely correct in his condemnation of the hypocritical "Northeastern American liberals'" opposition to the erection of an eruv in the Hamptons on the grounds that it "would cause the ghettoization" of their community, and in his consequent call on his affected "brothers and sisters" to "come home" to Israel as the only location where "Jewish life can... be fully appreciated" (Letters, August 21). But to which country should the families who desire to send their young children to a kindergarten of their choice in Jerusalem flee in order to enjoy their "Jewish life"? ("Proposed haredi kindergarten causes stir in J'lem neighborhood," same date.) HILLEL SCHWARTZ Jerusalem ...but let's see both sides Sir, - In the United States community of Westhampton Beach, residents are objecting to the eruv for fear that it will transform the neighborhood into an Orthodox enclave. As a consequence, these residents are being accused of anti-Semitism. In Israel, residents are objecting to the new haredi kindergarten slated to be constructed in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Kiryat Hayovel, and they give the same reason for their objection. No anti-Semitism there, right? - just people who don't want to be forced into a way of life not of their own choosing. There are no easy solutions, but it would be useful to see both sides. MARCELLA WACHTEL Jerusalem From Gush Katif to the Golan Sir, - I was pleased to see Larry Derfner's "Painting the Golan orange" (Cover story, August 15) about former residents of Gush Katif living in the Golan. As the executive director of JobKatif, the only organization helping former residents of Gush Katif and Northern Samaria return to the workforce, I am intimately familiar with the situation of these people. JobKatif provided much of the financial support and business mentoring necessary to help the individuals mentioned in the article return to the workforce. While Mr. Derfner's article alluded to this fact, I believe it is important to point out that the employment and economic situation of those former residents in the Golan is far better than in other areas of the country. JobKatif has helped in the establishment of over 130 businesses and assisted over 900 people in reentering the workforce; but as of today there are still more than 1,000 families who are affected by unemployment or under-employment and therefore still strongly feeling the aftershocks of the disengagement. I thank you for highlighting this issue and pray that we will find solutions for those still suffering more than three years after the disengagement. JUDY LOWY Executive Director, JobKatif Jerusalem