March 28, 2018: Negative Reinforcement

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
On Israel, UN has no limits...
On reading the headline “Israel needs to pay for damage to Gaza facilities, UN says” (March 27), I am put in mind of the convicted and failed burglar who makes a claim for loss of earnings against the householder whose home he was caught burglarizing.
Is there no limit to the UN’s automatic bias against the State of Israel?
...and it’s time for a census
Your article “W. Bank, Gaza population figures reignite debate” (March 27) neglects to mention that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which claims a refugee population of 5 million, will not conduct a professional census. That would shed light on the actual number of Palestinian Arab people.
Why is there a need for a census? Most recently, the Lebanese government conducted its own census and revealed that there were 176,000 UNRWA-served residents there even though UNRWA claimed half a million people living under its aegis in that country.
At a time when emergency campaigns are being conducted for the people of the Gaza Strip and with UNRWA claiming that 81% of Gazans live on its premises, donor nations should demand that the UN conduct a professional census of UNRWA camps everywhere, especially in the Gaza Strip.
The writer is director of the Israel Resource News Agency and author of UNRWA: Roadblock to peace?
Starvation not a reason
Rabbi Yuval Cherlow advocates rabbinic approval of cloned meat “so that people would not starve, to prevent pollution, and to avoid the suffering of animals” (“Prominent Orthodox rabbi permits eating genetically cloned pig – even with milk,” March 26).
I can agree with the latter two reasons, but not the first. The production of laboratory meat created from stem cells – to which Rabbi Cherlow is, in fact, referring – is not aimed at preventing starvation. It is to satisfy the taste buds of people who don’t want to give up the taste of animal flesh.
The world’s burgeoning population could easily be fed on a vegan diet.
Monbulk, Australia
Divergence of responses
With regard to “Russian diplomats expelled from 18 countries” (March 27), the Russian government arranged the killing of one civilian in the UK, and several countries responded robustly by expelling Russian diplomats. Even Sweden is expelling a Russian diplomat.
The Palestinian Authority arranges the killing of dozens of civilians in Israel every single year – and the world responds robustly by increasing its funding for the PA. Many of the victims are women, pensioners and young children, some no more than a few months old.
If we don’t want to use terms like “immoral,” “antisemitic,” “unprincipled,” “spineless” and “Islamist supremacy,” how are we to explain this divergence of responses to identical crimes against civilians? Please send your replies to Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as all those other “feminists” and “democrats” in leading political positions.
Gothenburg, Sweden
Britain and MAGA
With regard to “Documents show UK long worried about Russian nerve agent” (Comment & Features, March 25), British Prime Minister Theresa May has made America great again.
It has been inspiring to watch Ms. May’s ladylike integrity during the time she has been prime minister.
She behaves humbly, works hard and is a breath of fresh air in a torrid political landscape. She plays each note in tune, and her courageous action in evicting the Russian Embassy officials made the world rouse itself from its immoral torpor.
How she showed up US President Donald Trump while he wallowed in crude sexual scenarios with various bimbos and wimpish behavior vis a vis Russian President Vladimir Putin! Trump hasn’t figured out yet that although he can say “You’re fired” as if he were still a TV star, it doesn’t mean that Congress always falls in line. This is what just happened, to the delight of the free world and all people who want to believe that America is great and that it should be the moral leader against low-life dictators like Putin.
The irony of it all will be totally lost on the insensitive Trump. He is probably completely bemused by the fact that the Russian spies have been evicted and their legation in Seattle closed. Ousted secretary of state Rex Tillerson called him a moron, and he was so right.
Hopefully, Congress will continue to follow Ms. May’s shining example and we will continue to see Trump cut down to size and perhaps even learn from the inspiring British people, whose sterling example could help make America great again.
Negative reinforcement
The country has recently been subjected to hundreds of haredi yeshiva boys from the radical Jerusalem Faction blocking main highways in Jerusalem and elsewhere at random to protest the arrest of one of their fellow students who refused to merely show up at the army office for his exemption. Thousands of people have been inconvenienced while the bullying tactics of just a few hold sway.
I believe strongly in the value of Torah study but also believe in the value of derech eretz (respect for others). Their behavior, protesting the legal consequences for a fellow lawbreaker, results in a public desecration of the value of Torah study and its adherents.
This situation cannot be allowed to continue. I would like to suggest the following disciplinary solution: The police should arrest a hundred of the protesters, not spray them with smelly water or just put them in jail, but rather detain them, record their ID numbers and use the information to change their government stipends.
Each yeshiva student at an accredited yeshiva currently receives a stipend for studying Torah. That stipend is a gift from the state, not a right. That stipend should be taken away from any law-breaking student.
Yeshiva students are also entitled to discounted municipal tax payments, as are university students. This, too, is a gift, and not an automatic right. Any yeshiva student refusing to register at an army office should be immediately disqualified from receiving such a discount.
I believe that such negative reinforcement could end this unacceptable behavior.
Passport-control bottlenecks
Israel set a new record last year for incoming tourism: 2.8 million visitors. Congratulations. But quite a few visitors will frown upon having to wait one hour or more for a passport examination at Ben-Gurion Airport.
It happened to me recently, just two weeks ago. As a frequent visitor to Israel, I know that things can go faster – when I arrived in the middle of November last year, it took just six minutes to get through at the airport.
It must be the easiest thing in the world to estimate how many visitors arrive every quarter-ofan- hour, day and night, seven days a week. Every flight is scheduled, and I presume that the authorities also have access to the lists of passengers on these flights.
How come this small but essential detail is not considered a top priority?