October 16: IDF budget innovation

Retiring at 45 with full pensions is ridiculous, as these people go in to civilian jobs and almost double up on their salaries.

letters (photo credit: JP)
(photo credit: JP)
IDF budget innovation
Sir, – Regarding the article “Gantz slams proposed defense budget cuts” (October 11): I served in a combat unit as well as reserves until age 48. When I went in the army in 1969, I knew combat reserves would be until age 55.
My suggestion is to bring that policy back so regular units can do more training. Non-combat personnel should go to age 67 as with civilians, and we should reduce the over-abundance of non-combat personnel on bases.
Retiring at 45 with full pensions is ridiculous, as these people go in to civilian jobs and almost double up on their salaries.
Money saved and trimmed in these areas will keep the combat units still training and will still allow enough funds to be able to buy ammunition and new platforms in all branches.
New platforms must meet our needs in and around our close neighbors but not become grandiose.
Kiryat Motzkin
A man of vision
Sir, – In “The passing of Steve Jobs,” (Comment & Features, October 11) Susan Hattis Rolef writes that Steve Jobs was no “demigod” and that his products are “not indispensable” and in fact “have become a social nuisance.”
She doesn’t get it.
Steve Jobs revolutionized computing, communication, music distribution, retail and animation.
He created extremely useful products that made our lives, yes, a little more “beautiful” and fun.
Mostly he embodied the single-minded pursuit of excellence. He created the world’s most valuable company and employed tens of thousands of people.
To complain that his products are addictive is to complain that cars are “bad” because some people drive under the influence and cause accidents, or McDonalds makes people fat.
If only there were more people of vision and competence like Steve Jobs.
Stop a bleeding heart
Sir, – Gershon Baskin in his oped (Confessions of a 'yefeh nefesh,’” October 11) makes it very clear where his sympathies lie as a true “bleeding heart liberal.”
Baskin is “appalled,” “aghast,” “dismayed” and “full of rage” at the behavior of Jewish settlers towards their Palestinian neighbors.
And yet, Baskin does not share the same sentiment when it comes to the continuing murder of innocent Israelis.
He dismisses Palestinian terror as having caused the Palestinian movement “horrific damage” with no accompanying outrage.
Is it any wonder, as Baskin mentions, that the Israeli peace camp is in tatters and on the defensive? Could it be that the majority of the Israeli public is fed up with Baskin’s hypocrisy and double standard?
Petah Tikva
Sir, – Gershon Baskin’s latest effort is nothing if not hilarious.
Baskin’s narcissism is of course the trademark of lefties and pacifists the world over.
Here in Italy, they hang peace flags from their windows, whose symbolic message is “My neighbor, the one without the peace flag, is a warmonger.”
Should anyone really take a commentator seriously who actually writes “I am completely aware that resolving the conflict is not solely dependent on Israel; it does take two sides to have an agreement. I wish, however; to focus only on our side.”
In my honest opinion, Baskin is not a traitor or a self-hater – those positions necessitate a brain.
Milan, Italy
Double standards
Sir, – Isn’t it intolerant of Gershon Baskin in “Confessions of a ‘yefeh nefesh,’” and David Newman’s “Israel must stamp out Jewish extremism,” (both October 11), to decry building on a small disused plot, which is what has been done in the vast Jerusalem necropolis for millennia? The Romans built a huge stillvisible water cachement pool there. Nearby are churches, a monastery, hotels, a consulate, stately homes, businesses, centers of learning, community centers, schools, offices, synagogues, roads, bus stops and more atop ancient Jewish, Christian, Muslim, pagan and Byzantine graves.
Numerous material remains are in museums close to the homes of Baskin and Newman. They attest to eons of occupation by countless cultures in the settlement strata below us.
What could be greater respect for all in the Holy Land than now to further a message of peace and goodwill?
Long ago encounter
Sir, – This is the second time I saw a reference by Efraim Karsh (“The revisionist history of Sari Nusseibeh,” Comment & Features, October 11) to a supposed meeting I attended in the spring of 1988, in which he (apparently as a moderate Israeli) was present.
The first mention of it was in a critical review of my book Once Upon a Country.
I must confess I cannot remember the occasion, or the gentleman.
But I do know that it was with a scholar at the Jaffee Center, Mark Heller, that I joined hands during that period and afterwards in the writing of what was perhaps the first joint Israeli- Palestinian book on a two-state solution – whose proofs, I may add, I went over while (and in spite of being in) jail afterwards.
Concerning my overall political commentary on the tragic unfolding of our common history, I will leave the matter of judging them to your discerning readers.
Jerusalem Iraqi Jewish memories
Sir, – “Security of Iraq’s Jews shaken by WikiLeaks” (October 10) brought back powerful memories of my time as an American diplomat in Baghdad shortly after the end of the Second Gulf War.
Much as the few Jews serving in the Coalition Provisional Authority (we rarely numbered more than 12-15 men and women at our Friday night services) wished to develop ties with the local Jewish community, we were constrained by the community’s concern for their own safety.
They feared that a visit to their synagogue by Americans could raise their profile and lead to attacks against them.
We borrowed a Sefer Torah from the Iraqis so that we could read from the Torah on Shavuot.
The transfer was made in a clandestine operation reminiscent of a James Bond movie.
Our car (driver in the front, me in the back waiting to receive the Torah) pulled over to the side of the road at a prearranged meeting place. We kept the engine running in case we had to make a quick getaway. Another car pulled up behind us.
As I looked around anxiously, I heard a tap on the window and saw a man holding a Torah. I jumped out of the car to receive the holy scroll. As the man handed it to me, we embraced, and he whispered, “We shall meet at better times.” I jumped back into my seat, cradling our loaned treasure, and we sped off in opposite directions.
Sadly, the “better times” of which my friend spoke will not take place in Baghdad.
Zichron Ya'acov
Tired of the ‘Times’
Sir, – For years The Jerusalem Post has included many New York Times articles.
Sure, everyone appreciates reading the world’s flagship newspaper, especially the articles about economics, medicine and US politics, but why the constant inclusion of Israel bashers the likes of Kristoff and Friedman? How about something by David Brooks, the centrist on the Times staff, or better yet something from the generally Israel-supporting Wall Street Journal.
Hey, is it a crime to feel good when you put down the paper?