July 20: Very scary

In Hollywood, these men who marry Iranian girls before their execution would be portrayed as homicidal maniacs.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Very scary Sir, - Re your page 1 article about the "temporary marriages" of Iranian girls before their summary execution, I had the following thought: Imagine a Hollywood movie in which someone organized the murder of young women and arranged for his henchmen to rape them before they were killed. These men would be portrayed as homicidal maniacs and the whole point of the movie would be their capture by the good guys. But suppose that, instead, it turned out the chief villain was the head of a foreign government; and that the movie climaxed with visits by important dignitaries from other lands to negotiate with those who organized the murders and rapes. Not in Hollywood. That such a scenario might actually happen in the real world is downright scary ("I had the 'honor' to 'temporarily marry' young Iranian girls before their execution," by Sabina Amidi, July 19). FRED CASDEN Jerusalem Doesn't she know? Sir, - Doesn't Naomi Klein know that even after all our concessions over the years, the Arabs are still not ready to recognize a negotiated Jewish state? That despite the "blockade," 50 trucks of humanitarian aid pass through the checkpoint to Gaza every day? That when a terrorist succeeds in killing our people, fellow villagers dance in the street with joy? And perhaps Klein doesn't know that over 1,000 people here died in terror attacks between 1994-2005. Perhaps it's time for her to do a little real research into the history of our state and its Jews ("'The Jews' get-away-with-genocide-free-card,'" July 19) . JOYCE KAHN Petah Tikva 'Human experimentation' Sir, - Re "Lower speed limits would have saved 600 Israeli lives in past decade" (July 17): Prof. Lee Friedman of the University of Illinois, and not I, was the chief author of the paper on long-term effects of raised speed limits in the US. Friedman, with David Hedecker, used cutting-edge time series models from statistics to dissect out the independent, persistent effect of raised speed limits over a decade in the US, costing 12,000 lives. The models were advances on methods Friedman and I applied over the years in the Injury Prevention Program at Hebrew University-Hadassah. It is sad that so many lives had to be lost over the years to "prove" the validity of predictions made by Profs. Gerald Ben-David, Zvi Weinberger and myself back in 1992, based on calculations on the back of an envelope using simple equations derived from Newtonian models on the exponential relationships between speed increases and road deaths. At the time, we designated the government's decision an unethical exercise in human experimentation. Better to have buried the idea of raising the speed limit than to have buried the bodies. Now the task is to expedite the implementation of the national speed camera network. Based on results from Australia, the UK and France, 20 years of delay have cost the lives of 4,000 Israelis. Last week, 16 people died in road crashes. Speed cameras would have saved the lives of seven or eight of them. ELIHU D RICHTER MD MPH Jerusalem Sir, - How sad that Elihu Richter's work, which preceded by many years the founding of the METUNA road safety organization in 1993, has still not come to fruition. In 1995, the MATBEA project - reducing road deaths in towns - the project of Prof. Ben-David (inventor of the MAROM camera), Zvi Weinberger of the JCT and Prof. Richter, with Metuna, cut speeds, injuries and deaths in Netanya by an overall 69 percent over the previous year. Although the project was cut short, Netanya's death rates stayed down for another two years. The authorities said: "If this project succeeds, it will be in every town in Israel." And succeed it did! What failed was the ineptitude of successive governments and other road safety groups in adopting the model. ZELDA HARRIS Founder of METUNA Tel Aviv Social terrorism... Sir, - Re "Haredim escalate J'lem riots over "blood libel" as police chief fumes that "the Bible does not permit this" (July 17): When will the Israeli government have the gumption to take preventive action against the disruptive activities of the Neturei Karta, pseudo-Jews whose fanatical beliefs and practices violate the broader, humane spirit of the Hebrew faith? The great mystery is why they continue to reside in Israel, which is anathema to all they believe in. ROY RUNDS Tel Aviv ...should be uprooted Sir, - Social terrorism is no different from any other kind and should be uprooted. Offenders should have their houses destroyed, they should be imprisoned and, in the case of the Neturei Karta and their friends, deported to their buddies in Gaza. ANTHONY LUDER Rosh Pina Black box Sir, - In a major road accident, the first thing authorities look for is the "black box," which can determine what happened to the person at the helm minutes before he lost control. This is the kind of thing one would most likely hear if every vehicle on the road was legally bound to carry such a box: "No more beer - let's finish the six-pack at home." "Must go, mom. There's a police car ahead. I'll call you later." "So warm and cozy, I should really stop for a nap." "Do you think we can make the ceremony? We have a quarter of an hour to get there." "She's such a worrier - I've often driven home after 1 a.m., the roads are always empty." "The lights are changing... I can just make it." "Hang on, I'll get you there in no time." "It's a minute to... let me switch over to the news." "I should have turned left, I'll have to do a U-turn." RUTH POSNER Beit Shemesh Waiting for Wallenberg Sir, - Ron Feinberg rightly states that "Wallenberg was a genuine hero" ("In the footsteps of Wallenberg," Travel, July 19). What this courageous man accomplished in a few months, before the end of WWII, is awe-inspiring. Tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews owe him their lives. We are proud that our foundation bears this hero's name. Our mission is twofold: to research and divulge the legacies of the thousands of rescuers who, like Raoul Wallenberg, risked their lives to save the persecuted ones and secure credible answers regarding Wallenberg's fate. This remarkable individual deserves to return home to his family. His mother and stepfather could not bear the despair, and took their own lives. His elderly step-siblings, Nina and Guy, are still waiting for him. JAIME KREJNER, Vice-President The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation Jerusalem Sir, - Can't we get a copy of Budapest's glorious Raoul Wallenberg Memorial to enhance our capital's rather sorry-looking Wallenberg St.? M. VAN THIJN Jerusalem