June 29: Wake up, you people

Sir, - What a miserable lot Jerusalemites are! The new Bridge of Strings is a stunning piece of modern architecture.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Wake up, you people Sir, - What a miserable lot Jerusalemites are! The new Bridge of Strings is a stunning piece of modern architecture. Of course the money could have gone to more hospitals, schools and soup kitchens, but the artistic and architectural development of a major city is just as important as its social infrastructure. Yes, yes, it cost three times more than it was supposed to - but so has every other major construction in the world over the past decade. I, for one, am not the least bit interested in whether a high school student from the Efrata school likes the bridge or not ("Jerusalemites not strung along by new bridge," June 26). Is art and architecture studied at her school? Has she ever heard of the Post-Impressionists? Kandinsky? Jackson Pollock? Gaudi? Frank Lloyd Wright? Time to wake up, Jerusalem. It's the 21st century, or hadn't you noticed? KATIE GREEN Beit Shemesh Sir, - No mention has been made of the pedestrian bridge in Petah Tikva also designed by Santiago Calatrava, connecting Beilinson Hospital to the nearby shopping mall. The floor is made of glass, and on a rainy, windy day it is very dangerous. I had occasion to use the bridge with one hand holding an umbrella and purchases, and the other clutching the ice-cold, wet handrail. The bridge was built supposedly to facilitate patients and visitors. But, I wonder, how many pedestrians needed the nearby emergency room? RUTH POSNER Beit Shemesh Honest dealing, for a change Sir, - The skies must be falling. It's just not possible - but it happened. Kol hakavod to Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On for coming out directly and saying: I was wrong. I made a mistake. I am withdrawing my suggestion ("Bar-On backtracks on tax reform," June 26). I cannot recall any veteran politician of ours doing anything like that. I think it's great. Perhaps other pols will take it as an example. It would be a welcome change from the usual obfuscation, lies and just plain dirty dealing we've grown accustomed to. LEONARD ZURAKOV Netanya Kahane, Bishara and Ahmed Tibi Sir, - I read with interest the letter by E. Maidanik (UpFront, June 20) on the new sympathy for Meir Kahane and his ideology. I had Kahane as a guest in my synagogue 40 years ago in Philadelphia and visited him in prison, though I never joined his movement and could not accept all his tactics. But I have always wondered why and how it was possible for the Israel Supreme Court, the Knesset and the electoral system in Israel to disqualify Kahane's Kach Party from the political process but allow Azmi Bishara, Ahmed Tibi and 10 representatives of the Arab parties to remain on the ballot, to sit in the Knesset and vote on questions of Israeli security and "Who is a Jew." Were they viewed as democratically kosher, while Kahane was treif? RABBI JACOB CHINITZ Jerusalem A blind eye to Iranian enrichment Sir, - Re "Prodding the glacier" (Editorial, June 16): It should not come as a surprise that disclosure by Iranian dissidents in summer 2002 of the Arak heavy water plant and the Natanz uranium enrichment plant programs did not sound alarm bells in Europe. Any professional engineer will advise that it takes a minimum of five years from conceptual design and planning of such a complex chemical processing plant to initial construction. Based on the experience of the UKAEA (United Kingdom Atomic Energy) uranium enrichment plant, the production of UF6 - Uranium Hexafluoride - prior to enrichment, requires complex chemical extraction processes from the ore, including two stages that utilize unique specialized chemicals produced only for the process. Where and how did Iran source such material, irrespective of the design? Furthermore, to produce heavy water in such quantities requires specialized distillation equipment whose manufacture is restricted to several competing companies in Europe and the US only. As such the EU, US and IEA Nuclear Inspection Agency must have been aware of Iran's plans in the late 1990s - and turned the proverbial blind eye. COLIN L LECI Jerusalem Covenant of souls Sir, - "How is conversion possible?" asks Nathan Lopes Cardozo (June 16). Though the question begs an answer, Rabbi Cardozo very clearly explains that there is no single answer, and that the soul of the convert enters a covenant with Abraham, Sarah and the Jewish people. This only highlights the shameful nature of haredi Rabbi Avraham Sherman's arbitrary cancellation of the many conversions performed in good faith by Rabbi Haim Druckman's Conversion Authority. HAIM M. LERNER Ganei Tikva What's in a name? Sir, - I'm glad Barack Obama had the courage to hang onto his heritage, but dismayed by Shmuley Boteach's "Jews can learn a lesson in pride from Obama" (June 25). He conveniently ignored that he does not use his proper Hebrew name, Shmuel. "Shmuley" makes him sound cute, which I'm sure delights Oprah and Friends, but isn't it just a little hypocritical? He picked out as examples names like Yankel and Yentl - Yiddish, not Hebrew names. Is Yiddish all of a sudden the Jewish heritage? From my perspective Yiddish culture is nothing but a history lesson. It is not our heritage as Jews or Israelis, rather an attempt by Jews in Eastern Europe to craft Judaism onto a culture that fit into their environment; exactly what Rabbi Boteach was preaching against. SPENCER HO Sderot/Jerusalem