January 5: Managerial failures

The Israel Railways management seems to have little regard for its customers.

Managerial failures
Sir, – Unfortunately, the management of Israel Railways does not seem to recognize that trains constitute a critical part of the national transportation system (“Train service cut by 20% in wake of last week’s fire,” January 3). It certainly doesn’t recognize that its job is to keep the trains running as nearly to schedule as possible while simultaneously performing normal maintenance, upgrading and emergency repairs.
Evidence to this effect is the recent two-week shutdown of service between Ashkelon and Tel Aviv, as well as the scheduled two-week cancellation of rail service on the Tel Aviv-Beer Sheba-Dimona line and the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem line. The shutdown between Ashkelon and Tel Aviv caused two-hour delays on the roads to and from Tel Aviv. The coming change will probably also cause substantial road traffic problems.
The railroad management also seems to have little regard for its customers. Witness the statement attributed to the president of the railway, that the passengers on the train that caught fire should have known they could open the doors with a special emergency handle. I have never seen instructions to this effect on the few times that I have been on single-decked railway cars. Another example is the railroad’s failure to communicate with passengers waiting downline in the aftermath of the fire.
Management has to do much, much better.
No vacancy
Sir, – You report on Page 1 (January 3) that “Bikur Cholim gets month’s lease on life after NIS 4m. infusion,” while on Page 10 we read about the numerous hospitals in Israel operating at 150-200 percent occupancy, with patients in hallways and some being turned away (“Hospitals fill up – and more – despite relatively mild winter”).
Do we in Jerusalem have so many empty hospital beds that we can afford to close even one hospital? Do we have such an excess of hospital personnel that we can afford to let hundreds of employees go?
Is anyone paying attention to the real hospital problems in this country?
Sir, – Why the government refuses to transfer sufficient monies to keep Bikur Cholim Hospital open and functioning really is a mystery. It seems entirely irrational when so many millions of shekels are squandered by corruption, bribes, land deals and compensatory claims.
Also, what will happen to the land? Will we see another high rise for the rich and famous? Are there plans afoot for a parking lot?
I wish that people would question what will happen to all of us and the city if Bikur Cholim is not saved from bankruptcy.

Less colorful solution
Sir, – The January 3 Jerusalem Post mentioned plans to expand our trash recycling program (“Garbage bins to get colorful”).
Before embarking on an exaggerated program of having nine different containers – lovely colors notwithstanding – we should check with other places, such as Los Angeles, which found that the general population was unable and unwilling to stash trash nine different ways, and that the trash would have to be resorted anyway. Therefore, I suggest that the procedure be simplified, as other cities did after finding that their initial ambitious plans were unworkable.
I would also like to suggest that there be more collection stations along the street. I’m sure people would be more likely to use them if they were closer to home. I would.
Front-page news
Sir, – I found two problems with Anne Herzberg’s important and very revealing article (“Civilian casualties, Gaza and the political war,” Comment & Features, January 3).
First, it should have been on the front page, where there is a greater chance that more people, especially ambassadors and diplomats, might notice and read it. Second, given the revelations about civilian casualties and the inexcusable exaggeration, distortion and even invention of these and other figures by NGOs, Herzberg’s conclusion that “this episode highlights the repeated unreliability of NGO claims....” should be rephrased as “repeated false and misleading NGO claims....”
It seems to me that Israel has a good case for bringing suit in the World Court against all the NGOs mentioned by Herzberg, as well as the Goldstone Commission, for falsifying information, aiding and abetting a terrorist organization, and racism, bias and incitement against the IDF and the State of Israel. We might not win, but we certainly could expose many of these socalled human rights organizations for the politically motivated and anti-Israel propagandists they really are.
Hatzor Haglilit
Hotline on-high?
Sir, – Regarding “Don’t call it murder” (Comment & Features, January 3), I must speak out. The writer and I may have a lot of differences over rabbis and Halacha, but life is non-negotiable.
In the 10th paragraph, Irit Rosenblum states that during the early stages of pregnancy, “professionals say that though the fetal tissue is human, it is not a living and conscious being.” Who are these professionals? What is their connection to the Creator of Life? Does Rosenblum have some hotline to higher powers?
By equating the act of abortion with every other operation, the writer devalues human life. By characterizing women as the victims of rabbis, she dishonors her own gender.
Rosenblum is campaigning for a woman’s right to destroy her child in secret. A look at history should remind us of what happens to nations that follow this route.
Life is either life from the beginning, or not at all.
Anachronistic presidency
Sir, – Regarding “Katsav’s fall” (Editorial, December 31), why has this case not brought to the fore that in the State of Israel, with its prime minister and 120 members of Knesset, the whole institution of the presidency, along with its massive cost, is totally anachronistic?
The ultra-prime real estate of Beit Hanassi could be used for Israeli socio-cultural innovation, and the “sculptured busts of all previous presidents in the garden” could be moved to an appropriate museum.
Explain why, please
Sir, – Rony Hizkiyahu (“Don’t pay 30% above 2008 prices for a home, central banker says,” Business & Finance, December 29) would have done a greater service to a public suffering from spiraling real estate prices if he had explained, as an experienced economist, why we are in this unholy mess.
The reasons are very simple :

• There has been an underbuilding of tens of thousands of apartments annually over several years
• Indirect taxes make up the lion’s share of the price of an apartment, and they are growing all the time
• The price of land for building, which in outlying areas is fixed by the government, is excessively and artificially high, which guarantees that prices in large population centers will be much higher too
• Supply and demand over generations cannot be manipulated by tax gimmicks.
Kiryat Ono