May 1: Do as we say

PM's, Transportation Minister's claims to reduce cost of living not reflected in their actions.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Do as we say
 Sir, – Regarding “PM: Reforms needed to break monopolies and bring down prices” (April 29), the prime minister and his cabinet, especially Transportation Minister Israel Katz, must think we are idiots. They claim they want to bring down the cost of living in Israel while riding around in expensive cars with personal drivers.
Let them do as Finance Minister Yair Lapid does. He drives his own car.
And while I’m at it, if they want to bring down the cost of cars, instead of opening up competition by broadening the variety on the market, let them lower customs duties. We have enough of a variety. It’s the customs that more than double the cost of purchasing vehicles.
I also could add in the high taxes on gasoline, smartphones and many other items, but I would need a whole page to list them – while cabinet ministers waste our money on their own pleasures.
Creative solutions Sir, – With regard to “Tamnu- Shata: Knesset must discuss Rosen harassment allegations” (April 29), the Knesset cannot solve the problem of sexual harassment by getting women to complain to the police.
Women’s lives can be ruined permanently by submitting such a complaint, which might take years to be fully investigated, with no guarantee that any conclusive results will emerge.
What is required are some creative solutions from the Knesset. I would suggest the following: 1. All cases of sexual harassment should be investigated behind closed doors. The right of the public to know can be sacrificed to protect the lives of brave women who are prepared to come forward.
2. The press should be restrained from publishing alleged sexual harassment crimes until there is a sentence.
There is a danger that both sides will suffer no end, especially if the alleged crimes come to nothing or the complaints are not made in good faith.
3. A system whereby outside auditors who are completely independent and in no way under the control of even top management should be able to carry out an investigation only after they have established grounds for an official complaint should the police become involved.
4. Organizations should be required to have internal auditors who can recognize unsatisfactory behavior by members of the staff and who should report to the outside auditor.
There should be surveillance cameras that can detect misbehavior.
The staff will also know that they, too, can be detected.
5. Rules of conduct and behavior should be laid down and accepted as a condition of employment. These should include consent in advance to forfeit benefits if these conditions are not strictly followed.
The rules should protect both sexes, as there is always the possibility of contributory misbehavior.
Ono Two nights of fire
Sir, – With regard to “Rethinking Lag Ba’omer” (Editorial, April 29), just as we have safe, community-sponsored fireworks displays for Independence Day, we should have safe, community-sponsored bonfires for Lag Ba’omer.
Anyone having an unauthorized bonfire should be fined.
How much better it would be to have hundreds of policemen handing out fines than to have firemen attending to hundreds of blazes and hospitals to hundreds of casualties.
Such bonfires could be held after Shabbat, so there is no need to extend this minor holiday.
Sir, – Maybe I’m missing something, but weighing the two sides – having bonfires on Lag Ba’omer and not having them – I don’t see any great benefit in creating a dangerous opportunity for personal and property damage, especially during a hot and dry season, as we’re experiencing now.
I would hope that religious educators are the first to weigh in and let everyone know that from a Torah perspective (and, of course, common sense), loss of life is the last thing we would want. Therefore, a small memorial candle in memory of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai should be lit instead of risking life and limb.
Sir, – This year the bonfires started Thursday afternoon, with a kindergarten party on a parcel of open land opposite our apartment. On Thursday night there were two fires going at either end.
Then on Saturday night we were kept awake until 12.45 a.m. by guitar playing and singing. The fact that the music was quite pleasant did help, because shouting “Sheket, b’vakasha” (quiet, please) proved useless.
Then on Sunday night the real Lag Ba’omer bonfire was lit. The windows had to be kept shut because of the smoke and dirt, but what really unsettled me was the wind, as there was tall grass nearby that could easily have caught fire.
Yes, there has to be some rethinking done about this festival.
Sir, – Once again our Chief Rabbinate demonstrated its complete irrelevancy when it announced that Lag Ba’omer this year would be celebrated on Sunday night in order to discourage the desecration of Shabbat.
Do our esteemed rabbis not know that those who observe Shabbat would not start their bonfire before the end of Shabbat, and that those who do not would not pay any attention to the announcement? Did they not see the plethora of bonfires both before and after the end of Shabbat? This year we had to suffer two nights of choking air without any reduction in the desecration of Shabbat. Another own-goal! ELLIE MORRIS Asseret
 Not just the secular
Sir, – Susan Hattis Rolef (“Lapid and the haredim,” Think About It, April 29) presents Yair Lapid’s maiden Knesset speech as reflecting the consensus of the majority of the Israeli public, expressing “what most secular Israelis firmly believe in.” However, she makes a significant error of omission.
What about the other religious Jews, those who are not haredim? The modern Orthodox also support Lapid’s views that “it is the duty of the parents to provide for their children.”
It is not only the secular population in Israel that believes in assuming responsibility for the economic well being of their families.
Careful with words
Sir. – I write in response to the letter from Jacek Olejnik, first secretary at Poland’s embassy in Tel Aviv, regarding use of the term “Polish death camp” in reference to Auschwitz (“Historical error,” Letters, April 29).
Olejnik vehemently opposes attributions to Auschwitz as being a “Polish” instead of Nazi venture. I fully understand his point when he says: “I hope you agree that words are highly significant and once something goes public, it may build or damage a lot....”
As a matter of fact, we ourselves have the very same problem! The media refer to “terrorists” as “militants” and Judea and Samaria as the “West Bank,” and make other references that have political and social ramifications.
Using the term “West Bank” for Judea and Samaria makes as much sense as saying New York City is on the west bank of the Atlantic Ocean. Yet the geopolitical ramifications are very high.
I agree with Olejnik. The media must be more vigilant since words are powerful and words create facts that have the potential to distort the truth.
ZE’EV M. SHANDALOV Ma’aleh Adumim