October 20: Mayor Barkat - Enforce the law!

Enforcement of the rule of law was the key, regardless of the perpetrator’s race or religion.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Mayor Barkat: Enforce the law!
Sir, – Regarding your News in Brief headline “J’lem stone-thrower to house arrest” (October 18) as well as previous articles and reports on the subject: The focus of much of the press is on the friction between Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem. I maintain that the emphasis is misplaced.
The city has allowed the lawless element to flourish at the expense of the law-abiding citizens. Such a problem existed in New York City before Mayor Giuliani instituted his program actively enforcing the law. This enforcement included major offenses, like robberies and muggings, as well as minor offenses, like paying subway tolls.
Enforcement of the rule of law was the key, regardless of the perpetrator’s race or religion.
In Jerusalem we are witnessing an escalating crime rate, and a flouting of the rule of law that is encouraged by our mayor’s lax policies regarding the enforcement of the rule of law in the city.
Children and adults have been attacking drivers in various neighborhoods with impunity, and the police do not respond. The penalties are lax and do not involve reeducation of the adult or juvenile perpetrators or their families, nor do they involve community service.
The mayor has endorsed a policy to allow squatters to inhabit houses illegally. There are numerous robberies and muggings throughout the city.
There are law-abiding Jews and Arabs who don’t flaunt the law.
While the illegal squatters and the rock throwers are in most cases of Arab descent, this does not mean that they speak for all Arabs. The majority of the Arabs are law-abiding citizens, and they, too, are compromised by the unlawful behavior of the others.
Also, the education in Arab schools encourages the denial of the State of Israel and violent behavior. Terrorists are glorified.
This phenomenon encourages the youngsters in their unlawful and antisocial behavior. This, too, must be monitored and stopped.
I encourage our mayor to have the courage to enforce the law in Jerusalem, regardless of the religion or race of the perpetrators.
By refusing to take action, he is endangering the lives and property of all law-abiding citizens and visitors to our city. If he does not act decisively and forcefully to curtail the violence, it will only accelerate and create major problems for the residents and for the tourists whom we welcome here.
Reading Leviticus
Sir, – While I can agree with Shmuley Boteach’s premise that homosexuality should not be seen as dangerous as many “people of faith” claim it is in terms of the destruction of the American family (“The Jewish view of homosexuality,” October 19), his position that homosexuality is only a “religious” sin and “not immoral” is – to put it mildly – totally wrong in Jewish terms.
Leaving aside a very strong argument in favor of seeing all “religious” commandments/prohibitions as being moral by definition, in both specific references to the prohibition of sexual intercourse between men in the book of Leviticus, the contexts are very clearly moral.
Hatzor Haglilit
Don’t mix politics and the arts
Sir, – Mike Leigh is totally out of order in canceling his trip (“Mike Leigh cancels visit over ‘Israeli policies,’” October 18). He is a good director, but one thing (politics) has nothing to do with the other (the arts).
He was to teach a master class in Jerusalem, and it is a shame the students will miss out on his lectures.
Had he come, he might have learned a thing or two about the Israeli people. Had he visited Yad Vashem, he might have realized what Israel is all about and might not be so thoughtless toward the Jewish state.
Remembering Brother Andre
Sir, – Regarding Sunday’s canonization of Brother André Bessette of Montreal (“Pope canonizes first Australian saint,” October 18): With great joy I welcome sainthood for blessed Brother André of Montreal. He was a man rich in spiritual passion, humility, selfdenial and love for God and man.
Through his cheerful dedication to the poor, the unfortunate, the sick and the crippled, André taught us how to look with hope toward the future. Though poor in health, he healed thousands. When he died in 1937, a million people attended his wake and burial.
God makes saints and the church recognizes them. If God endows his creatures with heroic sanctity, then it well behooves believers and all men of good will to examine God’s message as revealed through the virtues of these select persons.
Today’s young people have a great desire to be heroic. Let them look to St. André.
Hamilton, Ontario
Lost his voice
Sir, – Jeff Barak says that “Labor needs a leader with a firm voice...” (“A new way for Labor?,” October 18). Is he referring to the same Isaac Herzog who somehow lacked any kind of voice and “pleaded the Fifth” when the investigative committee called on him to testify regarding the funding of Ehud Barak’s election campaign? Of course he objects to the loyalty oath. He chose not to speak under any kind of oath when called upon to testify.
Guarding the children
Sir, – I lived one kilometer from the Jordanian border at Kibbutz Neveh Ur during the 1977-1978 school year, teaching English in the regional high school at Kibbutz Neveh Eitan and the elementary school at Kibbutz Maoz Haim.
My students came from the neighboring kibbutzim as well as the moshavim. At that time, the border with Jordan was relatively quiet. Nevertheless, as a candidate for membership on the kibbutz, I had guard duty at night for a week. We had guards seven days a week at night.
On one occasion, six terrorists did infiltrate the country. I had fired my M1 rifle only 20 times at a pail before this incident. Still, I was to defend the children’s house with 100 children in it by myself, since the men were working in the fields and fish ponds.
The terrorists were found and arrested in the banana grove at Kibbutz Gesher, just 10 minutes from the children’s house in Neveh Ur.
That was a long time ago. I remember it as though it were yesterday.
How can Israel possibly allow an international force of foreign soldiers to guard that area?
Name the judge
Sir, – Although your editorial on the shamefully lenient sentence of the Eritrean murderer made excellent points, it was again an example of why the situation will never be fixed (“A punishment that doesn’t fit the crime,” September 26).
As a former Chicago criminal defense lawyer, I can assure you that had this occurred in America, the judge’s name would have been printed in every article in every newspaper discussing the murder. The prosecutors and defense attorneys would probably have been named as well.
This fosters an atmosphere of responsibility.
If a judge is one who is incompetent, obnoxious, overly lenient, or ridiculously harsh, there will be an outcry against him or her, and the chief judge will reassign that judge to small claims court or some other area where he will be less of a nuisance and danger.
When you fail to name the judge, you excuse his actions. He (or she) will never have to answer to anyone for the lenient sentence.
When this killer strikes again in five years, you will reprint the same editorial, and the political and judicial establishment will say, Oh, what a shame, but it’s not our fault.