July 10: Outflow grows, drawing woes

So the Water Authority has realized that there is an emergency. And what is its response?

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Outflow grows, drawing woes Sir, - So the Water Authority has realized that there is an emergency. (My teenage granddaughter told me that last year.) And what is its response? Nothing less than restricted water use for gardening! Oh, and a request for more desalinated water, which won't arrive for several years even if building more facilities starts tomorrow. Just how does the authority intend to enforce the restriction? I see no public notices, nor any warnings from my local council. The mind boggles at the incompetence and the lack of foresight. This attitude of yihye beseder - it'll be ok - must be buried without delay ("Mismanagement to blame for worst water crisis ever," July 9). M. VEEDER Netanya Sir, - At least twice a day we say that if we follow the path God has given to us, He will provide us with rain. We also say that if we serve other gods, Hashem won't provide rain. So when "mismanagement" is taken to mean not decontaminating water, not conserving water and not setting up desalination plants, it shows we have clearly forgotten why there isn't any rain in the first place. Essentially we have turned ourselves into those "other gods," acting as if we are the ones who control the water supply in Eretz Israel. Instead of blaming each other, let us, together, lift up our eyes - and hearts - to the hills, return to our path and remember who the True Provider is. Then, God willing, there will be water to decontaminate, conserve and desalinate. AVRAHAM DAVID ROSE Modi'in Sir, - While Israeli engineering installations throughout the world help quench the thirst of millions and water many foreign lands, the application of our own technology here at home, where it is most needed, has been stifled and slowed by unidentified but influential agents in government. I often wondered how this could happen in the State of Israel; until two years ago, when it was revealed amid a fanfare of media-generated excitement that Israel had entered into an agreement to import water from Turkey, a Muslim nation, the local agent in the deal being the Peres Peace Center in Jaffa. JACK CARLIN Jerusalem Sir, - I work as a building contractor, and you know what is the most absurd? In all the stores selling building materials in Jerusalem, I have not found one water-saving shower head! Also, in the bathroom tank is a screw. Turn it a few times, and then each time you flush the toilet you'll save three liters of water. In a population of seven million people and an average toilet use of three times daily, we'd save 66 million liters water a day. YOCHANAN VISSER Efrat Supernatural stone? Sir, - "Police reject criticism over handling of bulldozer attack" (July 8) quoted a police spokesman as being "very satisfied" with how his officers had responded. "The officer who mounted the bulldozer found that the driver had no pulse," he said. Great - then presumably he was dead and would not be able to continue on his rampage. But no. A stone thrown by a civilian managed to bring him back to life. How was that possible? Because it was thrown by no ordinary civilian but by a haredi one, and so obviously could be infused with enough hocus-pocus to bring the terrorist back to life! Please, someone, direct me to the nearest exit from Chelm. SURI ORDMAN Ma'aleh Adumim Sir, - One sharp, but relatively mild jolt to a bleeding, unconscious and pulseless person as a maneuver for immediate restoration to a level of awareness and resumption of a goal-oriented activity that requires short-and long-term memory, vision and precision of movement - has such a case ever been recorded in the annals of medicine? If not, then surely an addition was made, serendipitously, to medical history on Jaffa Road, July 2 , 2008 by an unidentified haredi stone-thrower. MIRIAM L. GAVARIN Jerusalem Erroneous & combative Sir, - I was disappointed by the factual inaccuracies and combative tone of "An NGO black hole in the Foreign Ministry" (July 8) in which Gerald Steinberg erroneously claimed that "human rights warfare" by Gisha led to the cancellation of Fulbright scholarships for seven students from Gaza. The United States decided to cancel Fulbright scholarships awarded to Gaza residents after it was unable to obtain Israeli permission to allow the students to leave Gaza. That decision was made weeks before Gisha requested and received a hearing in the Knesset Education Committee regarding Israel's ban on allowing Palestinian students to leave Gaza in order to reach their studies abroad. Following the hearing, the Knesset Education Committee published a news release criticizing the ban, which Committee Chair MK Michael Melchior called not only unjust but also unwise. Similar and sweeping criticism of the ban, which Gisha brought to the attention of the Israeli Supreme Court and the public, was also expressed by Israeli and world leaders, leading to a promise by the military that a few dozen students, including the Fulbright recipients, would be allowed to reach their studies. That promise is far from sufficient, as hundreds of students remain trapped in Gaza, and Gisha is continuing its efforts on their behalf. Gisha's calling attention to the violation of the rights of Gaza residents to study has led Israeli and foreign decision-makers to question a policy that not only violates the human rights of young people in Gaza but also undermines Israel's interest in allowing its neighbors to build an educated society. We have done so using parliamentary hearings, court petitions and robust public discussion. Prof. Steinberg fails to understand that promoting human rights through these democratic processes is not a threat to be countered via "warfare" by the Foreign Ministry, but rather the backbone of a healthy civil society. SARI BASHI, Executive Director Gisha - Legal Center for Freedom of Movement Tel Aviv One hand clapping? Sir, - Re Ehud Zion Waldoks's "Can we talk" (July 6) describing the interfaith dialogue between Israeli Arab and Jewish children, I would like to find out if there are any Palestinian newspapers that report on such events. Or is my hunch correct, and these "dialogues" are merely an Israeli aspiration, with no partner on the "other side"? PINCHAS GERBER Ginot Shomron Barak and Al-Boraq Sir, - In "My nice Jewish boy named Barak" (July 7) Mayer Waxman did not mention the Muslim connection to the name Barak, found in the Koran. Barak was the horse on which Muhammad rose to heaven during his famous night ride. Jerusalem is not mentioned, though an ancient tradition states that the two ascended from what is now the Temple Mount. The Muslims refer to what the Jews call the Kotel (Western Wall) as Al-Boraq. I am told this is a late 18th-century connection. I am amused at some people saying that with a name such as Barack Hussein, Obama must be a Muslim. Does her name make Whoopi Goldberg Jewish? Or Susan Saint James Christian? STUART KATSOFF Tel Aviv Flood of pop stars Sir, - Very interesting; but I beg to differ with your reporter that Lipa Schmeltzer is "The first haredi pop star" (July 3). That, I would say, was Shlomo Carlebach, followed by Avraham Freed, Mordechai Ben-David, Dedi Graucher and several others. And recently you ran an article about the controversial "Matisyahu," who is also considered haredi. In fact, the haredi market is flooded with pop stars. JOYCE KAHN Petah Tikva