February 15: Justice and mercy

While the law may seek to carry out court orders, justice should be tempered with mercy.

Justice and mercy
Sir, – I would like to call State Attorney Moshe Lador’s attention to the well-established axiom that while the law may seek to carry out court orders, “justice should be tempered with mercy” (“Barkat preparing to demolish dozens of homes in Silwan,” February 14). Otherwise, too many people are foolishly hurt.
LEONARD C. KAHNZichron Ya’acov
Non-mehadrin alternatives do exist
Sir, – According to Ron Friedman’s article “Segregate or suffer” (February 12), a “list of routes, compiled by the legal department of the Reform Movement’s Israel Religious Action Center, reveals, for example, that it is impossible to travel... without boarding a mehadrin line or making a transfer... from Beit Shemesh to Jerusalem.”
This is arrant nonsense. Last Sunday, my wife and I traveled on the 417 line and sat together, with no objection from the other, mainly haredi passengers. Perhaps I should take this opportunity to thank the teenage girl who moved to allow us to do so. As far as I could see, there were men to the rear and women to the front with no obvious segregation.
MARTIN D. STERNSalford, England
The editor writes: Indeed, although Egged has the 417 registered as a mehadrin bus line, it generally is not one in practice.
Sir, – There is a cheap, fast and non-mehadrin way to get from Jerusalem to Petah Tikva: The 947 bus to Haifa, which runs at frequent intervals, stops at the Sirkin Junction, on the outskirts of Petah Tikva. Travel time is 45-50 minutes.  From there, one can take a local bus or taxi into the heart of town.
Daily news
Sir, – Reading the paper on Friday caused me to do some self-examination. Why did we come on aliya? Why did we encourage our children to come here, to raise their families here? Segregated buses? Did I move to the pre-Civil War United States?
And then building securing fences on private property, blocking the owners’ access to crops that help them feed their families and live independent productive lives, disregarding a Supreme Court order and delaying correcting the injustice for years (“IDF moving 1,700 meters of the security fence in Bil’in,” February 12).
After that, I go to the article wondering how to improve Israel’s image abroad, where we are viewed as a militaristic, occupying society (“Re-branding Israel? If only I could...,” February 12). Immediately following that article is the one about Jews moving into Arab neighborhoods in Jaffa (“Ajami residents slam court’s rejection of petition against Jewish-only complex”). In the US, we used to call it “block-busting,” but that related to African Americans moving into white/Jewish neighborhoods.
Caroline Glick’s article praising Sarah Palin just about finished me off (“Column One: Sarah Palin’s friendship,” February 12).
Fortunately I then opened In Jerusalem and read about Leket Israel (“Waste not, want not,” February 12). What a relief! There are people in this country to whom I can relate. People who volunteer to help others. People who don’t care how or if you practice your religion, or where you come from, or what language you speak.  If you need help, they try to provide it. If you can help, you are welcomed. Why is that not front-page news?
JUDY TELMANMevaseret Zion
Language barriers
Sir, – In reference to the article “J’lem rape crisis center fails to help Arabic-speakers” (February 10), why is the onus upon the English-speaking professionals to help Arab youths in crisis who do not speak Hebrew? Perhaps the Arab educators should be teaching their students the language of the land, which is Hebrew. Why are we always responsible for being caretakers and subjected to blame?
Dying for their country
Sir, – The mother of St.-Sgt. Maj. Ihab Khatib has lost a second family member in the service of his country. (“Another loss in the family,” February 11). Her brother, an IDF officer, was killed in the Jordan valley, and now her son has died at the hands of a Palestinian policeman/terrorist. (Her sister was killed by a Katyusha during the Second Lebanon War.)
How can we possibly express our gratitude and respect for this Druse family that has suffered so much so Israel can remain safe and free? How much shame is felt by the many Jewish young people – such as the new “refuseniks” traveling the world to denigrate Israel – who proudly avoid making a contribution to their homeland? My heart breaks for the Khatibs. I have nothing but contempt for those who have decided that others should die so they can live their own privileged lives.
Pressing charges?
Sir, – So our Palestinian “partners for peace” have now taken to using the phone system to torment Jewish police officers (“‘Hello? Screw your sister!’ Palestinians torment police with abusive phone calls,” February 12).
Let’s be creative. All calls to the police should be automatically charged at a rate of, say, NIS 100 per call. Bona fide calls will automatically result in the caller being reimbursed, whereas any bogus call prompting the police to hang up will have the fee applied in full.
Israel leads the world in software development. Any high-school kid could develop the software needed to run this application.
All proceeds could go to the Police Benevolent Fund, or to LIBI, or toward the cost of constructing the security barrier.
ILYA MEYER Gothenburg, Sweden
Don’t ignore the hecklers
Sir, – I found the report “Foreign Ministry takes heckling of Oren, Ayalon in stride” (February 11) rather frustrating. While it is humanly impossible to respond to every anti-Semitic incident and outburst across the globe, we cannot and should not be ignoring this growing problem. If the entire Foreign Ministry has the same opinion as the “diplomatic source” who claims that “there is not much Israel can do to prevent a group of pro-Palestinian students from trying to shout down speakers,” it is no wonder that Israel’s public relations efforts do not succeed. It is exactly incidents such as these that we should not be taking in stride.
The growing venom against Israel on university campuses is highly disturbing, if not threatening. Students today are the leaders of tomorrow. Just ignoring these groups will not make the problem go away. “Positive identification” is a start, but sadly, there is still a long way to go.
Votes aren’t the answer
Sir, – I wholeheartedly agree with the editorial “Who should vote?” (February 11). There is no reason Israelis who have chosen to make their lives in other countries should have any say in what happens here. As the article pointed out, we live under far greater existential risk than do most other countries, and those who do not expose themselves to the hazards of life here are not entitled to a say in running the country through their vote.
However, there should be a mechanism to enable those Israelis studying abroad, or who have been sent abroad for work-related or other purposes, and whose plan is to return
home, to cast absentee ballots.
FRANCES DASHZichron Ya’acov
Sir,– Following the many arguments for and against allowing Israelis livingabroad to vote – keeping them connected to the land, encouraging themto come back, reminding them of their heritage, etc. – I am reminded ofa song by the late, great Sophie Tucker: “If your kisses can’t hold theman you love, then your tears won’t bring him back.”