March 12: Package for you...

Charging NIS 35 for the collection of customs-exempt packages from abroad is an outrage.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Package for you... Sir, - "Postal piracy" (Editorial, March 10) was 100% accurate: Charging NIS 35 for the collection of customs-exempt packages from abroad is an outrage. I am surprised there has been no outcry over the rise in stamp costs. Until recently, a letter to Australia cost me NIS 2.90; now it is NIS 6.45. Letters to the UK cost NIS 4.50, and to the US NIS 4.60. Aerogrammes are no longer available, or if your post office still has some, they cost the same as a regular airmail letter. Ditto postcards. In a country of immigrants, where not everyone has e-mail, there is cruelty in severing ties with families abroad. Writing a simple letter is rapidly becoming a luxury many cannot afford and, as usual, it is the weaker segments of society who will suffer. DVORA WAYSMAN Jerusalem Sir, - I have an order in to Amazon UK for an item worth NIS 100, including postage. I have just had it redirected to my son in London, who will have it brought to me by no-cost personal courier - i.e., a friend or relative coming back here. I will do the same for all future purchases. How unjust to impose this NIS 35 charge on an already struggling population. SHIRLEY ZAUER Jerusalem a hefty price Sir, - Judy Siegel-Itzkovitch's "Getting a package from abroad? It'll cost you at least NIS 35" (March 6) on the new "parcel handling" fees omitted the much larger fees for handling EMS (Express Mail) packages. I use EMS every month to import merchandise from a specialty store in Pennsylvania. The merchandise is strictly for personal use. Until now I received a notice that the parcel had arrived and I would pick it up at my local post office and pay customs - every month. In the case of last month's parcel, I had to coordinate delivery with the messenger service, and was not only billed for customs, for which I paid the messenger with a check, but charged the following additional, and outrageous sums: "Fee for releasing from customs collectively: NIS 60," "Fee for participation in the entry note: NIS 30," "Fee for expenses allocating credit: NIS 20." "Total: NIS 110. Value Added Tax: NIS 17.05. Grand Total: NIS 127.05." It's unlikely these outrageous and indecipherable fees will be rescinded, and I will need to pay them every month when my specialty parcel arrives. But I have filed an angry complaint with Minister of Communications Ariel Atias. YONATAN SILVERMAN Beit Shemesh Sir, - Congratulations to Dalia Zeling ("Florida bat mitzva girl donates party gifts to Sderot kids," March 11). Is the Postal Authority going to charge NIS 35 per stuffed animal? M. SCHAEFFER Jerusalem Sir, - While living in the US many years ago, we became accustomed to new charges from "Ma Bell," the phone company, or the Niagra Mohawk Power Company being introduced with the phrase, "In order to serve you better." The word "serve" is also standard use in animal husbandry; but I am sure the Postal Authority had other motivations. DAVID STAR Ma'aleh Adumim They can't stay here Sir, - Amir Mizroch's "The making of a ghetto" (March 7) really hit home. In Tel Aviv last week, I had to catch a bus at the bus station. Passing Lewinsky Park, I saw a sight that reminded me of Los Angeles, my home until two years ago. We have enough problems with the immigrants who are here legally and need help adjusting to their new environment. Israel cannot care for its own poor; now the additional burden of the African refugees has been placed on our shoulders and we seem to be ignoring the issue, as if it will go away. It won't. Small problems become big problems. Disease, drugs and crime will follow. Israel won't be able to cope. The do-gooders are not living in the real world. It might sound callous, but most of these illegals have to go back, or to a society where they will not be a massive burden. California is now putting up a big fence on its border with Mexico, but this should have been done a long time ago. They also thought the problem of illegal immigrants would go away, but it didn't. It just got worse. SHARLENE BALTER Beit Shemesh Avert this tragedy Sir, - "Conversion court packed with new haredi judges" (March 11) told the story of a rabbi who annulled a wedding performed 20 years earlier by another rabbi because he objected, in part, to the wife's conversion. While such an event is tragic, in most cases the damage can be corrected by having the wife and children undergo conversion once again. The real problem will come up when the haredi courts begin to check Orthodox religious divorces retroactively. In such cases, there are no remedies. If the woman, thinking she was properly divorced, marries another man, all her children will become mamzerim and barred from marrying. Given the fact that in a Post op-ed on the same date ("Undermining Modern Orthodox Rabbis in America" by Rabbis Marc Angel and Avraham Weiss), two RCA members revealed that the organization had capitulated to the demand of the Chief Rabbinate in Israel to allow it to scrutinize past conversions done by RCA members, it is not unrealistic to fear that the haredi-dominated Chief Rabbinate may next insist on the right to reevaluate past rabbinical divorces as well as rabbinical marriages. The government of Israel should quickly institute a law prohibiting retroactive annulments of Orthodox marriages and divorces later than six months after the issuing of such documents. RABBI SHLOMO WEXLER Jerusalem Removed to 'Palestine' Sir, - According to Facebook, I have become either a person with no home town, or a resident of Ma'aleh Adumim, Palestine. My previous entry of "Maale Adumim," which had existed for the past couple of months, was suddenly deleted, and there is now only a choice of pre-set towns and cities across the world. So, according to those who run Facebook, Ma'aleh Adumim, Ariel and Beitar Illit have all been relocated to Palestine. Who exactly decided on this computerized transfer of over a quarter of a million Jews from Israel to Palestine? Who decided to make such a biased, political statement and redesignate some of Israel's fastest growing cities? Facebook and other similar social networking sites were set up to encourage friendship. Can it be called friendly when the supposedly liberal managers of Facebook unilaterallly change the map of Israel in such a way that takes no account of the realities on the ground? ("Reach out and touch someone," Michael Katz, March 4). JULIAN CZARNY Ma'aleh Adumim For the record Sir, - I wanted to draw your attention to an error in the caption to "The more things change," on the bombing 60 years ago at the National Institutes compound (Photo, March 11). Leib Yaffe, who was killed in this terror attack, was then director-general of Keren Hayesod - United Israel Appeal, and not as was written. DAPHNA BONEH Deputy Director Communications & Marketing Keren Hayesod - UIA Jerusalem