January 24: Green on the rails

We thought we were victorious when new trains and new lines were ours for the taking.

Green on the rails
Sir, – Regarding “Sunday morning rail restrictions on IDF personnel draw ire” (January 23), it was maybe 20 years ago that we stood with banners demanding an improved rail service to alleviate road deaths. We thought we were victorious when new trains and new lines were ours for the taking.
Even hard-core motorists who deigned to use buses moved to rail travel. Unfortunately, as with many brilliant projects in our country, there was no long-term or lateral thinking applied, and the recent decision regarding the transportation of soldiers on Sundays reflects a Pyrrhic victory indeed. With such derisive policy-makers, irrespective of who is in power, it’s a wonder that anything is planned for the long term. Could this be Freudian?
Sir, – Unless I am missing something glaringly obvious, the solution to the overcrowding of our trains on Sunday mornings has ringing bells and flashing lights attached to it: Allow our soldiers to arrive at their bases two to three hours later than they do at the moment – they won’t be boarding trains during rush hour.
Somebody somewhere will no doubt find an objection, but it is simply a matter of getting used to a routine.
Words on a page
Sir, – Regarding “Atlanta Jewish newspaper owner calls for Obama assassination to save Israel” (January 22), is there anyone who understands Andrew Adler’s love for Israel and his frustration at US President Barack Obama’s refusal to do what is necessary to stop Iran’s nuclear development?
I truly believe his words were written to wake people up – and he did just that. I don’t believe that in his wildest imagination he felt the Mossad or anyone else would do what he wrote.
What actually bothers me is that most Jewish establishment organizations were the first to condemn him without any thought of why he wrote what he did.
Sir, – The article by Gil Shefler was very sad for me because I knew a number of Andrew Adler’s immediate family members, including his sainted grandfather, a beloved baal tzedaka, when I was growing up in Atlanta in the ’40s and ’50s.
Even more difficult for me to stomach is that the Atlanta Jewish Times, born as the Southern Israelite in 1925, has been for many years a vital organ in the community. The paper has championed Israel, railed against the unfair county unit system of Georgia, fought the Ku Klux Klan, championed the rights of blacks to have equal rights, and helped fashion Jewish public opinion.
The criticism of Adler’s editorial position should be even stronger.
Bad timing
Sir, – How ironic that there was a desecration of Shabbat to make the announcement that certain MKs from haredi and national-religious parties had won an award (“Haredi, national-religious and communist MKs awarded,” January 22). These legislators represent a religious lifestyle, and as such it would only have been right for those announcing the awards to be sensitive and accommodating.
Message, not justice
Sir, – You rightly criticize Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch for extending rather than cancelling the prison term of police officer Shahar Mizrahi (“Glaring injustice,” Editorial, January 22). However, one should also criticize the State’s Attorney for even bringing this case to the courts.
Moreover, if Mizrahi was truly guilty of shooting and killing the car thief without cause, why was he not given a life sentence? One has the impression that the prosecutor and courts used Mizrahi to send a message rather than serve true justice. Of course, those who sit in armchairs find it too easy to deal in abstraction since it is not their lives on the line.
Sir, – I was shocked to read how lax Israeli courts are regarding the safety and life of police officers. Israelis need a reality check on how democracies support police to the hilt.
Last August, in Calgary here in Canada, a policeman shot dead a man who came at him with a screwdriver; he was not charged.
The Guardian reported in December 2010 that in Britain, in the past 11 years 333 people had died in or after being in police custody, and that not one officer had been convicted.
Courts in the US that can impose the death penalty are merciless toward criminals who wound or kill police.
For the better?
Sir, – Uri Savir (“The Facebook revolution,” Savir’s Corner, January 20) writes: “The question is no longer whether this technological innovation [social networking] can affect social and political processes for the better, but how do we as a society (and how do governments) make the best of it.”
The answer: Two-thirds of Egypt’s voters prefer Islamist parties! How’s that social change thing working out for you, Uri? Is Islamic rule better than Mubarak’s Western-oriented regime? Hirsh Goodman (“Beware: Greased lightning,” PostScript, January 20) hit the mark when he wrote that the Internet is both a blessing and a curse.
Twitter and Facebook helped overthrow Mubarak, but the freedom- loving revolutionaries are powerless compared to the masses who prefer to live under Islamic political and religious rule.
STEVE KRAMER Alfei Menashe
Sir, – Oren Kessler’s “Egypt presidential front-runner would alter Israel treaty” (January 16) is both an excellent summation of that country’s present political situation and a useful analysis for Israeli politicians. He inclines to agree with the late former MK Shmuel Katz, who viewed the Sadat-Begin peace agreement as a short-term success with mostly long-term risks. His The Hollow Peace begs to be reread at this time.
Katz called the peace treaty a “sham document,” the sole purpose for Egypt’s agreement being the return of the Sinai. Assuming that, as Egyptian presidential candidate Amr Moussa says, it would not be wise to cancel the treaty, one can rest assured that the Egyptians will join the US, EU, UK and Arab nations in an accelerated effort to have Israel succumb to unreal concessions.
One wonders how an Israel with questionable rather than truly defensible borders would be able to tolerate a freed Palestinian refugee populous. They are an entity that has been nurtured on hate for years.
ALEX ROSE Ashkelon
Shmuley and me
Sir, – Regarding “Succeeding Sacks” (Letters, January 20), I came across Rabbi Shmuley Boteach on a number of occasions when he was based in England. I even gave him a lift once.
I admired his work, especially with students, but each of us has as much chance as the other of becoming the next British chief rabbi!
Costly cruisers
Sir, – Gilad Schalit is home and safe, and we are at the moment blessed with rain. But I would like to bring to your attention something that has been bothering me for some time.
I visit my children and grandchildren who live in Ra’anana very frequently. How can the Ra’anana Municipality or police force afford to patrol the streets in black Porsches? I sincerely hope that my children’s municipal taxes are not funding this luxury!