February 28: Tackling the killer

There is no such thing as road safety, and I believe that the blame is primarily that of pedestrians.

Deadly car accident 311 (photo credit: ZAKA / Tzvika Level)
Deadly car accident 311
(photo credit: ZAKA / Tzvika Level)
Tackling the killer
Sir, – I was happy to hear that there is finally a Knesset subcommittee devoted totally to the issue of road safety (“Combating Israel’s #1 killer,” Frontlines, February 25).
It is certainly about time.
I know that Bryan Atinsky speaks from the pain he has suffered, but as a volunteer traffic policeman I take umbrage at his summary dismissal of the police (“…all the police do is stand by the side of the road and check documents”).
As the more than 300 drivers who received tickets from me last year can attest, I, as a police volunteer, do not stand by the side of the road checking documents. We are constantly on the move, ever on the watch to catch drivers running red lights, making illegal turns, going past do-not-enter signs and, yes, parking in bus stops, leaving the rest of the drivers stuck behind buses discharging passengers in the middle of the street.
From what I’ve seen on my beat, there is no such thing as road safety, and I believe that the blame is primarily that of pedestrians. The prevalent behavior of pedestrians in my town is to come to the end of the block and continue into the street without losing a beat – very often with cell phones placed firmly at their ears, deeply absorbed in conversation. And I don’t really blame them because their behavior is just a continuation of what they see their elders do. How often have I commented to parents crossing in the middle of the block with little kids in tow! I believe that the only answer is educating the young – from the age of zero.
I would like to take this opportunity to make a passionate plea to all who think they can make a contribution: Volunteer with the Traffic Police. Sign up and make a difference.
Bnei Brak
Sir, – I had mixed reactions to the article on the new Knesset panel on road safety.
In some respects it was an upbeat report of some important steps being taken under Knesset leadership to tackle the serious problems of road injuries and deaths. There seems to be enthusiasm to bring people and ideas together to at last do something constructive.
What is disturbing is the apparent absence of any appreciation that this process has been going on for years – with no sign of progress. The Jerusalem Post itself has published numerous articles and reports of studies that show how road deaths have been reduced in other countries, notably in Britain, through specific changes in technology and police actions.
What is especially worrying is the possibility that this new panel, as it goes over the same issues that have already been explored and where urgent recommendations have already been made, will suffer the same fate as earlier committees.
Sir, – I believe that road safety should be added to the matriculation exam on citizenship given in our schools, as a one-point compulsory subject.
Expression of thanks
Sir, – Just a short note of thanks to both David Horovitz for insightful questions, and to Bernard Lewis for lucid, logical answers without polemic (“A mass expression of outrage against injustice,” Editor’s Notes, February 25).
Energy woes
Sir, – Regarding “Landau: Cost of energy, developing the periphery are top national priorities” (February 23), the UN Environmental Program estimates that the geothermal energy potential of the Syrian-African Rift is MW 14,000.
Israel is situated at the northern end of the rift, so the question arises: Why hasn’t it investigated the possibilities of geothermal electric power generation? Ormat, an Israeli company, claims to be the world leader in geothermal energy. It has many geothermal projects overseas – but none in Israel.
If National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau wants to diversify Israel’s energy sources, why hasn’t he asked Ormat to report on the possibilities of geothermal electric power generation here? Let us hope that fear of retroactive tax legislation is not what’s blocking the exploration of the unlimited energy potential just below our feet!
Beit Zayit
Sir, – With the regional turmoil and uncertain continuity of oil supply, we must make drastic changes. More than any other nation, Israel must immediately find ways to cut its consumption of all types of crude oil.
As we all know, a certain percentage of oil profits find their way to terror groups and anti-Semitic governments, which use these funds to make Jews and Israelis all over the world unsafe. I propose that our minister of finance encourage the use of fuel-efficient – and in the near future, electric – cars by offering these vehicles at a lower tax rate than the gas guzzlers on the road today.
Our Zionist and Jewish state can take the lead and show concern for its citizens by funneling less money to terrorists and anti- Semitic governments, and buying less oil, as well as a little tikkun olam by helping save natural resources.
Imagine our reality without oil being a worldwide blackmailing tool.
Ma’aleh Adumim
He said it himself
Sir, – As an admirer of Mikis Theodorakis’s music and of some of his struggles against fascism and tyranny, I wish I could endorse the claim made by Nicolas Mottas (“Understanding Mikis,” Letters, February 23) that Theodorakis is only a critic of Israel and should not be regarded as an anti-Semite. Unfortunately, I have in front of me a video of the interview Theodorakis gave to Greek TV on February 3, 2011; speakers of Greek can watch it at:
To the interviewer’s suggestion that he is merely an anti-Zionist, Theodorakis answers: “I am an anti-Zionist and an anti-Semite....I love the Jewish people and the Jews I live with... but... I believe that all the troubles of today, whether it be the war in Iraq or American policy in Asia, are directly connected with Zionism.... American Jews were behind Bush and behind Clinton....It is the same lobby, the banks.”
He goes on to add: “In a few days, I tell you, Zionism will hold a conference in Greece. The country will be sold to the fellow- nationals of Rabbi Saul, better known by the pseudonym The Apostle Paul.”
Kfar Saba
Did he even notice?
Sir, – Prime Minister Netanyahu was quick to thank US President Barack Obama for vetoing the resolution to condemn Israel for the so called “illegal settlements” in east Jerusalem and the West Bank (“PM’s latest stance on Palestinian state likely a thank-you for US veto in Security Council, February 22). But his thanks should have gone instead to Congress, which let Obama know it would not approve aid to the Palestinian Authority unless the veto was exercised.

Over a month ago Netanyahu wrote to Obama requesting that Jonathan Pollard be released from 25 years of imprisonment.
Perhaps our prime minister is now used to being snubbed by the president.
Zichron Ya’acov
Common sense
Sir, – In reply to Kenneth Bandler (“Population swap conundrum,” Comments & Features, February 22), if the Arabs of Israel cannot identify with our flag or the national anthem, doesn’t it make sense for them to be within the Palestinian state, where they could identify with the Palestinian anthem and flag? To me it’s common sense – unless of course they haven’t given up the idea of making all of Israel Palestinian.
Petah Tikva