January 23: Kahlon at ILA

The anguished cries of those who prefer manipulation and government control to straightforward solutions is music to my ears.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Kahlon at ILA
Sir, – If indeed Moshe Kahlon intends to release much more land for building than the ILA has done in the past (“Netanyahu appoints Kahlon as new head of Israel Lands Authority,” January 21), then the normal laws of economics will ensure that housing prices drop, and drop significantly. This action is the only one that could possibly achieve the objective so trumpeted by the Left, of providing affordable housing for the middle class.
The anguished cries of those who prefer manipulation and government control to straightforward solutions is music to my ears. Their claim that “Netanyahu... prefers gimmicks to organized solutions” rings hollow.
It is the socialists who prefer gimmicks in spite of the ample evidence that gimmicks don’t work. Netanyahu understands the basic laws of supply and demand.
The decision is a good one though one wonders why it took so long. Israel’s housing bubble, fed on an expanding population and a limited supply, has become dangerously overinflated.
It has benefited only those with connections to the right people to gain control of the land and reap profits.
A good place for Kahlon to start would be Ma’aleh Adumim, where there is a huge potential supply of state-owned land ripe for development, both in E1 and elsewhere. As a resident and property owner there I will not gain personally. In fact, the value of my house will drop, but my grandchildren and others will be able to buy a decent place to live without beggaring themselves.
STEPHEN COHEN Ma’aleh Adumim
Satmar and Israel
Sir, – This so-called grand rabbi of the Satmar dynasty, who does not recognize Israel and dares harm our legitimate and democratic electoral process by bribing people not to vote (“Satmar rebbe arrives from US, declares voting in election forbidden according to Torah,” January 21), should have been barred from entering Israel, let alone given a police escort to Jerusalem.
(Ironically, he is indirectly supporting Israel anyway by participating in a wedding and thereby contributing funds to various private and public enterprises. Even the festive lights along Mea She’arim Street contribute to the Israel Electric Corporation.) A Jew who refuses to recognize Israel until the Messiah comes is committing the same sin that caused the destruction of the Second Temple: baseless hatred.
Even other haredi groups disagree with the Satmar rebbe’s anti-voting project.
Until Jews like him change their attitudes to “baseless love,” the Messiah will not come in his or our lifetime. Perhaps it’s good, on the other hand, that he stays in New York so that he doesn’t corrupt our Zionist population any further.
Sir, – How come the Satmar rebbe agreed to be escorted by the police of a forbidden, secular state?
Away from home
Sir, – Your editorial “Long-distance voting” (January 21) makes an excellent point. But it raises a question nearer to home: Why has Israel so far failed to introduce a postal ballot for citizens too elderly or disabled to make it easily to the voting station? In the UK, voting by post has been available for many years.
The early wrinkles, including fraud or impersonation, have been ironed out. The system is virtually foolproof, and a postal ballot is now available to any citizen who applies.
It is a great boon for many, and it certainly results in a higher voter turnout than otherwise would be the case.
Sir, – How unjust that Israeli emissaries posted around the world were unable to vote (“Emissaries serving Israel abroad denied right to vote,” January 21). These citizens are working with youth groups like Bnei Akiva.
This election law has to be changed. Voting has to be available to all citizens abroad, not just to diplomats or those who receive their salary from the Jewish Agency. Let us hope that by the next election this unfair law will be changed.
Driving on
Sir, – What happened to the haredi Jews in east Jerusalem was awful and upsetting (“Nine Arabs arrested for snowball attack on haredim,” January 21).
When I saw footage of the incident I was equally disturbed to discover that cars continued to drive by as the event took place. I simply want to know: Why didn’t anyone have the guts to stop and help?
CHAYA HEUMAN Ginot Shomron
Living in the past
Sir, – I was saddened to read that the mayor of Upper Nazareth is against opening a local school for Arab children, who must instead continue to be bused outside the city for their education (“Prediction for a short-lived 19th Knesset,” Grapevine, January 18). This put me in mind of an event in Canadian history.
When the government of the province of New Brunswick introduced public education in 1871, it attempted simultaneously to squelch French and Irish Catholics. The Common Schools Act prohibited teaching of the catechism and forbade priests and nuns from teaching in their traditional religious garb. Rooted in raw bigotry, the law brought rioting, leaving two dead in its wake.
New Brunswick, however, quickly saw the light, modified the law, and allowed Catholics to teach their children.
This happened well over a century ago. In what century is Upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gapso living?
MARJORIE GANN Ra’anana/Toronto
Careful wording
Sir, – I am in favor of finding the right wording for an apology to Turkey (“Ayalon calls for Israeli apology over loss of Turkish lives in flotilla incident,” January 18). I would strongly recommend that we take into account the following: 1. The nine people who, sadly, lost their lives were part of a group of some 50 well trained fighters. Their primary aim was to resist with force any boarding party.
2. The fighters embarked at a separate location without any check of their documents, carried with them knives, blunt instruments, circular saws for cutting ship railings, and miscellaneous accessories for handto- hand fighting. In addition, shots were fired by people other than the boarding party.
3. The fighters told many of the peaceful protesters that they would resist any boarding party and fight to the death, with the hope that they would become martyrs.
4. The fighters prevented the peaceful demonstrators from leaving their cabins. It was clear that they did not want them as witnesses.
5. The other ships had no fighters, and there was no loss of life.
The court Jews
Sir, – With regard to Jeffrey Goldberg’s column, in which he quoted US President Barack Obama as having said that “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are” (“Likud officials accuse ‘vengeful’ Obama of ‘grossly interfering’ in Israeli election,” January 16), it is amazing how the gentiles use Jews to hit out at other Jews and the Jewish state.
Just another thought: King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella appointed an observant Jew to be head of the treasury of allpowerful Spain in 1484. This was Don Isaac Abarbanel, and it was eight years prior to the expulsion of the Jews and the Inquisition.
I wonder if Jack Lew (“Mazel tov, Jack Lew!,” Editorial, January 11), the observant Jew who was just appointed US Treasury secretary, is also a reader of history.
We should all read history.