March 12: Zero tolerance

Compel all drivers who cause accidents to assist hospitalized victims as community service.

letters to the editor (photo credit: )
letters to the editor
(photo credit: )
Zero tolerance Sir, - To cut road carnage ("Mother, daughter killed in crash on the way to father's grave," March 11), we need to: • unleash a task force of meter-men and -maids issuing tickets for every violation. Ignoring minor infractions leads to major road offenses. • set in immediate operation a vigorous, visible, omnipresent traffic police force to rein in criminal drivers; • compel all drivers who cause accidents to assist hospitalized victims as community service. The so-called moderately injured can spend months, sometimes years, in physical pain, psychological suffering and slow, tedious recovery. • do what no other nation has dared do because of a sick addiction to speed: install, by law, speed governors on all vehicles other than emergency, police and army ones. If the police focused more on such changes than on where Haim Ramon's tongue and Moshe Katsav's hands have wandered, perhaps we wouldn't butcher hundreds of Israelis and maim thousands more year after depressing year. CHAYYM ZELDIS Ra'anana Five to red Sir, - Many accidents are caused by failure to stop at a red light. The ability to stop at a red light demands acute powers of judgment as to when the light will change. Fifty years ago in Melbourne, Australia, near the coastal town of Mordialloc, there were traffic lights designed in the form of a clock dial with the green, amber and red sections delineated. Drivers could see how much time remained until the light turned red. Surely in today's digital age we can adapt this concept. More immediately, the amber cycle could be lengthened, allowing drivers longer to slow down sufficiently to stop at a red light. JANE FREEDMAN Petah Tikva A bit of soap and water Sir, - Re "Doctors, wash your hands" (Editorial, March 11): I needed surgery twice this year. The first time was on an emergency basis at a regional hospital in the center of the country. The conditions were third world - nobody washed their hands, nobody cleaned the toilets. I felt lucky to leave without a secondary infection. The second surgery was in the US. Everyone washed their hands, and there were signs to that effect everywhere. Toilets, not shared, were cleaned twice a day. A bit of disinfectant and some soap and water would save countless lives; but here it seems that clean healthcare facilities and, indeed, human life are set at lowest priority. A. WEINBERG Rehovot Health Defense Force Sir, - The "sudden" spread of the Klabsiella killer-microbe is frightful, but not surprising; it's just one in the series of crises in our chronically diseased health system ("Olmert seeks urgent cure for ailing hospitals," March 9). The media can't be blamed, for it is constantly informing us about our preventive medicine (practically nonexistent) and our hospitals (some of the most dangerous places to be in). The best way to improve things seems to be what health consumers worldwide are doing: taking more responsibility for their well-being by joining forces in NGOs to raise the standard of health services in their communities. They organize in response to wasteful "conservative" treatment methods, crowded hospitals, shortage of qualified medical staff, deplorable hygiene standards, etc. The basic principles of health-conscious NGOs: 1. Stop kidding yourself that your outdated health services can deliver your healthcare needs; 2. Start networking to help identify the health-supporting, life-saving, risk-free and highly cost-effective methods available. We here - you and I - could follow their example and create a strong Health Defense Force to help provide the quality healthcare we want for ourselves. Are we up to the challenge? DR. YEHUDIT FEUER Jerusalem Cautionary lesson Sir, - Re "Sadat's nephew calls for review of peace treaty with Israel" (March 11): Anwar Esmat Sadat, nephew of the late Egyptian president, has enlightened even the most na ve among us. Whether he is trying to advance his own political career or appeal to the Egyptian "street," his words should be taken at face value and as a benchmark in future diplomatic dealings with the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world. By stating publicly that our peace treaty with Egypt is open to change - implying downgrading, selective interpretation or even nullification as it serves Egypt's purposes - he has clarified that peace treaties signed with the Arab world, seen as sacred by us, are, to it, pieces of paper and temporary truce agreements. Repeated violations of treaties and understandings have been tolerated by a succession of Israel's governments. Let us heed this overtly hostile public rhetoric from one of our "peace partners" before we return land for paper. LOWELL BLACKMAN Ramat Ilan The wrong thing Sir, - I admire Morton Klein and the ZOA's loyalty to and support of Israel, but am disappointed they have called for a boycott of products made and sold by Coca-Cola in order to help a family obtain financial redress from the company ("ZOA calls for boycott against Coca-Cola as Egyptian restitution case drags on," March 11). I have no financial interest in the company, but wish to remind Klein and the ZOA that for many years, when other purveyors of soft drinks complied with the Arab boycott of Israel, Coca-Cola did not. MOSHE BERLIN Jerusalem Hate me, hate you Sir, - In "Baseless hatred" (March 8) Larry Derfner ignored readily available evidence of African-American anti-Semitism in order to advance a narrative which suggested that Israeli racism is especially egregious and has no parallels in American society. To use but one example, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan - who has drawn hundreds of thousands of largely African American attendees to his Washington, DC marches - has a long and ugly history of anti-Semitic statements, and has mostly avoided the kind of media censorship one would expect of such a prolific hater. Further, audits of anti-Semitic attitudes by the Anti-Defamation League have demonstrated that African Americans hold anti-Semitic beliefs at much higher levels than other groups in the US. Whatever the relative merits of Derfner's claims regarding expressions of racism in Israel, it is simply untrue that such bigotry has been thoroughly delegitimized in the US, or that minorities with a history of being on the receiving end of hate can't themselves succumb to this malady. ADAM LEVICK Brooklyn Interview interruptus Sir, - No, L. Zurakov, you're not the only one bothered by the offensive behavior of media interviewers ("'Shut up while I interrupt!'" Letters, March 11). All the time I've been living in Israel I've been shocked by the way they ask a question, but then don't give the interviewee a chance to fully answer. Not only is this crass behavior, it's also very poor journalism. HAIM M. LERNER Ganei Tikva Sir, - I and a wide circle of friends have felt frustrated by this behavior for years, and are happy to add our protests. However, I am pessimistic as to the chances of this resulting in any improvement. MONTY M. ZION Tel Mond