January 2: Unguarded buses

How did the MKs find money for their raises, but not for guards on public transportation?

bus guard 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
bus guard 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Unguarded buses Sir, - The government's decision to discontinue the Magen Unit that protects public transit users is a shortsighted and dangerous economy measure ("Sign of the times: security on buses ends," January 1). Palestinian media and school curricula have not shifted to the advocacy of compromise and acceptance of Israel and Jews, and have not abandoned the glorification of "martyrs." The security fence remains unfinished. Buses are a tempting target because they facilitate the killing and maiming of large numbers of people in one attack. Just because the incidence of successful attacks has dropped sharply does not mean the danger has disappeared. At most, a partial cut in the service might have been justified, maintaining the visibility of protection, which has an important deterrent effect. LEWIS ROSEN Jerusalem Sir, - The decision to terminate the bus security guard program increases the risk that bus passengers somewhere, sometime, will be killed, maimed or disabled by an act of terror. The program has proved a victim of its own success, not only in apprehending suspects but in deterring would-be genocidal suicide terrorists. Using the same logic, perhaps the government should terminate security checks for air passengers, chlorination of our drinking water, and compulsory polio vaccination? Life and security are the most basic of human rights. Government's first responsibility is to protect these rights in the public domain. Terminating this program will lead many commuters to abandon public transport, itself a bad thing. At the very least, the government should demand that the EU budget for this cost as part of its huge aid package. ELIHU D RICHTER Jerusalem Sir, - How did the honorable MKs find money for raises for themselves, but not for retaining the guards on public transportation? SHAINEE POLIN Jerusalem Friends & the future Sir, - Who cares what our "friends" see as our future? ("Even Israel's good friends see our future based on '67 borders and Jerusalem divided," January 1). Their own future is more in doubt than ours. The Continent is being overrun by millions of violent and impoverished Muslims, and America is being invaded by millions of impoverished Mexicans. Neither Mexicans nor Muslims are willing to assimilate, which is a major threat to Western culture. So why does Olmert look to Western countries for guidance? Our leaders do not understand our people or our enemies. The Israeli is strong and willing to fight when necessary. Israelis can be relied upon. On the other hand, absolutely nothing we do or do not do will establish peace with an imperialistic Islam that demands world domination. This generates several paradoxes. If we really want peace, we must forever be prepared for war. We must also assume a threatening rather than a compromising stance to show that we are prepared to use our power against foreign threats. This reversal of outlook and behavior will establish peace and ensure the respect of friends as well as enemies. CHAYIM SEIDEN Jerusalem Sir, - Prime Minister Olmert, who seems to have learned nothing from our withdrawal from Gaza, is recklessly driving toward a Palestinian state that is likely to become another Hamastan. I note that the same international friends he claims support his two-state solution also strongly supported the withdrawal. He justifies his behavior by bringing up the bogeyman "solution" of "one state for two peoples." Well, how carefully has he thought through the pros and cons of these two extremes? The best demographic data indicate that a single state which includes the West Bank and Israel would still have a substantial Jewish majority. What are the possibilities of a federal form of government for such a single state, and what are the pros and cons? Where is the national debate that any other democracy would have before embarking on a policy that, as far as I can tell, has no national consensus? COLEMAN BROSILOW Rehovot Sir, - Olmert's statement that our "good friends" - an obvious reference to the US - want us to return to the 1967 borders is a view the majority of Israelis share, I believe. So let's get on with it and start by removing many of those "hilltops" we promised to remove many months ago. LEONARD ZURAKOV Netanya Sir, - I am no fan of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, but I found David Kimche's veiled equation of Mr. Olmert with Yasser Arafat both obscene and despicable ("2008, when we need to start keeping our promises," December 28, 2007). KENNETH BESIG Kiryat Arba Rice is no honest broker Sir, - It has been clear for some time that Condoleezza Rice is not impartial on Palestinian-Israeli issues. This has now been confirmed by her emotional identification of her segregated youth in Alabama with the condition of the Palestinians, which they define as victimization, the Israelis being cast as the equivalent of Southern racist red-necks. I suggest that Ms. Rice visit hospitals such as Hadassah, as well as Israeli universities, to see with her own eyes that perhaps 25 percent of patients, staff and students at these establishments are Arab, and respectfully welcomed and treated by non-Arab Israelis. Any self-respecting government would refuse to accept Rice as an honest broker ("No sympathy for terror," Editorial, December 31, 2007). DAPHNE BURDMAN Jerusalem Limmud's bad choice Sir, - UK Limmud is not "the cutting edge of English Jewry" ("Limmud: The conference that wants to become a movement," December 26, 2007). What sort of Jewish educational organization is prepared to give a platform to Saeb Erekat, who refuses to accept Israel as a Jewish state? Did Jewish organizations outside Germany in the 1930s host top-ranking fascists as their key speakers? It is rather a shame that the leaders of Limmud attended educational programs in Israel run by the Jewish Agency and funded by world Jewry, and came away empty-handed and empty-headed. SIDNEY LEVINE Jerusalem 'Post' present Sir, - My daughter asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I told her I wanted a subscription to The Jerusalem Post. My first copy came in the mail a few days ago. It is truly a great international newspaper. I love Israel - I always have. I've only been there through reading my Bible. I love the land, the mountains, the rivers and seas; the desert; the towns and the villages. I know that God is everywhere, but it seems that His address is Jerusalem! I liked your story on Hanukka, "Jerusalem of lights" (Liat Collins, December 10). I yearn for the day when the whole world will be light, dispelling all darkness. LONNIE G. SESSUMS Salem, Oregon