October 6: Root of the problem

The time has come to bring heavy civil claims against these places to hold them liable when they let obviously drunk customers drive off.

Sir, – Your article “Harsher sentences for hit-and-run drivers” (October 5) indicates that people are looking for a cure instead of going for prevention – by attacking the root cause of the problem: The pubs, nightclubs and places of entertainment whose profits rise markedly the more alcohol they sell to their customers.
The fact that a customer leaves in an intoxicated state is today no responsibility of theirs. The time has come to bring heavy civil claims against these places to hold them liable when they let obviously drunk customers drive off.
A few large successful damage claims will force pubs and other sellers of alcohol to set up designated driver programs like they have in the US. Prevention is always much cheaper and more effective than a cure!
Ono Smaller deficit
Sir, – I was much relieved to read “Turkey's House of Cards” by Caroline B. Glick, (Our World, October 4) which describes Turkey as an economically crippled nation.
She says Turkey has a current accounts deficit of ”nearly 9 percent,” and will soon overtake Greece as the country with the biggest economic headache. I lost the feeling of relief in less than the three minutes it took to look up International Monetary Fund data.
Turkey’s current account deficit is only 5.2%, which is not quite the same as “nearly 9 percent.”
For the record, I would be tickled pink if it really was 9%, but it’s not up to me (or Glick).
Why the cheers?
Sir, – Why wave the pom-poms for the light rail? Stephen Rosenberg (“What a great light rail!,” Comment & Features, October 4) sounds like a public relations person for the Transportation Ministry or some other entity with an interest in the light rail. Aside from serious errors in reporting figures – it must carry thousands of passengers each day, and not just “hundreds” – he also seems to know where everyone is going. And don't assume people forget their cars and parking problems, because for many, the stations are out of walking range. After all, isn’t that why big parking lots are being opened near stations? Should we also assume that many of the current riders will revert to their cars once the light rail starts charging a fee? It behooves some fact-checking.
Sir, – Stephen Rosenberg has clearly not taken the opportunity to walk up Jaffa Road to see the condition of the stations along the route.
Convenient and functional they may be – but certainly not clean.
Virtually every station has been vandalized, spray painted with graffiti, and at the station outside City Hall, the glass ticket machine has been smashed.
All in all a sad reflection as to how some of our citizens treat what should be a cause for civic pride.
Sir, – I find Stephen Rosenberg’s panegyric on the Jerusalem light rail slightly excessive.
Due to a ridge on each side, the seats are not comfortable. The jerkiness when the train starts and stops is unpleasant. More important, there are not sufficient “grab rails.” Passengers standing in the aisle between the rows of seats have little to hold on to.
That said, I certainly agree with Rosenberg’s views on the aesthetics of the of the project and think Jerusalemites will eventually boast about it. However, I regret that the magnificent bridge has been saddled with the lame sobriquet “Bridge of Strings.” I think a far more eloquent name would be “Bridge of Ties” – reminiscent of the beautiful bridge in Venice.
Hands off
Sir, – Aymenn Jawad’s brilliant analysis (“Security threat from Yemen?,” Comment & Features, October 3) lights the way for smart policy. The idea is to keep our hands off as long as the fissures in the Islamic countries keep terrorism local.
The Arab Spring has deepened sectarian divisions and is leading to civil war and chaos. The Middle East is now being torn apart by ethnic rivalries and a religious ethic that sanctifies intolerance and can easily be exploited for political ends. A civilized outcome is impossible as long as Islamic law remains prevalent.
The West needs to muster the humility to admit that there is little it can do outside of containment.
Ultimately, the people of the Middle East must come to understand that Islam is the source of their troubles before a real revolution can take place.
DAVID KATCOFF Jericho, Vermont
You tattletales
Sir, – The problem is not about timing in the building of more apartments in Gilo, but exposing the fact at all (“Gilo construction could derail Quartet’s peace initiative, say US, EU diplomats,” October 2).
The media is the most irresponsible organization in the world.
With the help of your paper as well as the entire media, we speak much and do little.
Sometimes it is better to use some discretion when choosing to print certain articles.
Sir, – German Chancellor Angela Merkel seems to be outraged that Israel intends to build in Gilo and in other parts of Jerusalem. She seems to have forgotten, although I remember it well, that for years after World War II a Russian- built wall divided Berlin. When it came down, there was happiness and joy and gladness throughout Germany. Indeed, that was the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union.
Does she want Jerusalem to build a wall through its center so that Jews should once more be denied access to their most holy site? I wonder if all those advocating the division of Jerusalem realize where the Green Line actually ran.
From the very beginning, while Israel has made many concessions, the Palestinians have not altered by one iota their demands. It seems that the UN et al can see that no matter what arguments they introduce, the Palestinians are adamant in not altering these three demands.
Pressure is put only on Israel because they consider it to be more likely to make further concessions.
The guarantees of the EU and the UN for Israel’s security would not be worth the paper it’s written on, as we know how much trust we can put in international agreements.
Beit Shemesh
A cover-up?
Sir, – Martin Sherman (“Et tu Bill...,” Into The Fray, September 28) is to be complimented on his excellent analysis. He refers to the violence that soared to unprecedented levels during the Rabin and Sharon eras, as documented in the study conducted by the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center, and elaborates on these findings.
An earlier document authored by Christopher Barder, “A statistically- based Survey of the Oslo Process, its Agreements and Results,” and published in June 2002 by the Ariel Center for Policy Research covers the period from 1951 to 1998.
The later study showed that until the author and his colleagues inquired from the respective government ministries about such statistics, there were no comprehensive records of fatalities and injuries suffered at the hands of terrorists associated with the PA/PLO and others, as if government policy was to hide these details from the public.
The question needs to be asked: Why was this?
Letter writer Charlotte Slopak Goller ("Pray more, pay less,” October 5) was writing about the fees she and her husband pay to congregations here in Israel, and not where they lived prior to making aliya.