March 13: Collateral damage

In striking for higher wages, social workers are victimizing the people who need their services most.

Collateral damage
Sir, – In striking for higher wages, social workers are victimizing the people who need their services most (“Social workers’ strike goes on as latest wage talks stall,” March 10). These people do not pay, and cannot influence, the amount of said wages, but they do suffer the effects of the strike.
Where is the logic? Where is the justice? The right of social workers not to be slaves is clear. But surely, their target should not be the innocent third party that does not even have the right or ability to sue.
Surely there is a better way.
Safety over PC
Sir, – I applaud the well-reasoned editorial “Keep our airport safe” (March 10).
The High Court of Justice faces a dilemma regarding airport security in which the alternatives are the continuation of alleged profiling policies, which have effectively maintained security in Israeli air travel; cumbersome and time-consuming security checks for all passengers; or a less rigorous system for all, aimed at eliminating the stricter security check for travelers who sense inconvenience and discrimination.
The latter two alternatives would result in either a significant increase in time and inconvenience of airport security measures for all travelers, or lower the current standard of effective security measures. In this issue, it is imperative that the High Court pay heed to the vital safety of the majority of its citizens who use its airport facilities, and maintain the present policy. A successful reduction in terrorism takes precedence over adherence to political correctness.

Bring the huppa!
Sir, – The news story “Internet jobs will create 8.5% of GDP by 2015” by Nadav Shemer (March 10) suggests a promising new avenue to encourage and promote employment among Israel’s haredi community. Indeed, the article specifically identifies the haredim as a potential untapped employment sector.
In order for Israel to grow its Internet economy at the current pace, it will need trained, intelligent workers who have the capacity to learn and be creative – and haredim represent a vast, available and concentrated reservoir of exactly this kind of talent.
To date, the haredi community has been mired in poverty. It is underappreciated and underemployed because of cultural barriers that keep haredim separate.
One of the greatest workplace deterrents to the haredi individual is the workplace itself, with its melting pot atmosphere and secular influences; haredim appear hesitant to cross that line, even as some wish very much to work.
But the Internet sector does not, and need not, require an employee to leave his or her neighborhood to get to work.
The Internet industry can build much of the network it needs through small workplace environments (perfectly matched to the haredi neighborhood and lifestyle), and/or though homebased work stations.
Through the influence and leadership of specific religious leaders in the haredi world, and with work rules that are sensitive to haredi culture, a virtual army of talented haredi workers can be identified, recruited and trained.
Tapping the haredi sector serves Israel in three ways: First, it can provide the intelligencerich talent the Internet industry will desperately need. Second, it can bring needed income to families. And third, it can reduce Israel’s welfare rolls.
What a perfect shidduch!

Ma’aleh Adumim

Hourglass for two
Sir, – In your editorial “Peace in a volatile region” (March 9) you quote one of Israel’s friends (German Chancellor Angela Merkel), who repeats the mantra that “time is not on [our] side.” But it is not on the Palestinian side, either.
By the assertions of the PA and its supporters, settlements are in monthly growth, which makes their evacuation less and less likely.
Energy-wise, Israel is becoming more self-reliant, and by its developing a missile shield, more defensible.
True, in time Iran may become nuclear and Israel’s hostile neighbors may reach over-overkill capacity in terms of rockets. But is an all-out war or a nuclear confrontation a Palestinian interest? One needs only to look at a map to know the answer.
I wish that as often as our friends tell us that time is not on our side, the Palestinians’ friends would tell them the same.

The bright side
Sir, – The message in “Why do we need a Jewish state anyway?” by Gil Troy (Center Field, March 9) was very inspiring and gets to the point of what it means to have a Jewish state, for both Israelis and Jews in the Diaspora.
Troy is right. By accentuating the positive aspects of Zionism rather than denigrating the anti- Israel critics and outright racists in the world, we make a better case for this country.


Roger, over and out
Sir, – So a former member of Pink Floyd became the high profile person to kickstart Palestine Hypocrisy Week that demonizes Israel as an “apartheid state” (“Roger Waters declares support for BDS campaign,” March 7).
His support for the BDS Movement goes back to 2006 when he scrawled “Tear down the wall” on our security barrier.
I am aware that Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” made Waters a millionaire rock star, but his obsession has clouded his judgment.
As co-founder of the Netanya Terror Victims Organization, I hope he will forgive me for saying the wall keeps me alive.
I invite Waters to come to Netanya and hear the tragic tales of people who barely survived the onslaught of Palestinian terror before the wall went up. I will be happy to take him to the barrier, where he will receive a different perspective.
To paraphrase his famous song: We don’t need no education/ Hey, Waters! Leave the Jews alone/ All in all you’re just another brick in the wall!
Sir, – What is the importance and relevance of this story that it warrants a bold-type headline and so much column space? Roger Waters is a 67-year-old has-been and is now attempting to influence his colleagues and other musicians to join the boycott.
Such is his antagonism toward Israel.
Why attach to him such prominence? Surely there are far-more important articles that are of real interest to your readers.
Ask your accountant
Sir, – I read “Protecting your UK Pension” by Leon Harris (Your Taxes, March 2) with some alarm, and must commend Harris for his lucid explanation of a complex subject.
However, having spent most of my career in financial services, I have some understanding of this subject, yet it was not clear if for me the reciprocal double taxation agreement would still be in place, as my pensions are not remitted from the UK.
As usual, accountants, like many other professionals, use unexplained terms, in this case QROPS, which means “Qualifying Recognized Overseas Pensions Scheme,” and Harris fails to mention that this only applies to either private or company pension schemes, and not to any state pension. Also, this option can only be exercised before taking an annuity. There are no cash options or open market options with a state pension.
His advice, to consult a qualified accountant, is most sensible.