Come on, AACI... Sir, - "AACI tightens belt to survive recession" (January 28) stated that "the current economic climate and 'forecasts of a financial pinch' in the coming year has forced it (AACI) to find ways to streamline its operation, including firing the one staff member managing its Beersheba office." Further on, "AACI Executive Director David London said that the association had not fired any other staff members but was still looking to take more 'efficiency measures' to ensure its future." Come on now, firing the one, part-time staff member who services the whole of the Negev to save money, while not cutting back anyplace else, seems ridiculous - as is the suggestion that the people in the Negev can now get serviced by the staff in AACI's Jerusalem office. Why not cut one staff member from Jerusalem or the national office, and let the Beersheba office survive? SHEILA WARSHAWSKY Omer ...have a rethink Sir, - The life members of AACI in the southern region are horrified by this callous decision to fire the sole, part-time counselor for the entire region. This discourages aliya to the Negev possibly as much as the recent war in Gaza. And what of the many English-speaking students attending Ben-Gurion University, as well as the overseas students at BGU for a shorter time than the medical school students? What of the scholars on sabbatical? This badly-thought-out decision goes not only against the vision of David Ben-Gurion to attract the best of research to the Negev, but against the very existence and basic purpose of AACI. Let David London find ways to cut expenses other than firing Miriam Green, the only counselor in the south for English-speakers. We are already down to the bare bones. JUDY HOLTZER KNOPF Beersheba Tell us, seriously Sir, - While we focus on the aftermath of the Gaza operation, we dare not lose sight of other urgent problems. We must demand that the leaders of all parties declare their intentions in regard to:
Water resources. The crisis is real; experts say that by next summer it may be difficult even to supply adequate household water.
The bloated cabinet. This must be reduced to the 18 ministries originally specified in the Basic Law, thereby improving efficiency and saving billions.
Electoral reform. To overcome the multiplicity of small parties that leads to frail coalitions, and realizing that comprehensive reform is a long way off, the minimum that must be done is to increase the voting threshold to 3%; or preferably, as in Germany, to 5%.
Perennial crippling strikes. These must be controlled by requiring compulsory arbitration before any workers' strike can affect essential national services.
The information war. Realizing that this is as important as the military war, we must radically improve our capacity, including coordinating the PR activities of the IDF and the Foreign Ministry.
Finally, we must demand an assurance that pre-election promises will be treated seriously ("Selling themselves," January 28).