November 15, 2017: So we’re living longer...

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
So we’re living longer...
I read with much skepticism your November 13 front-page report “Israelis live 10.3 years longer than in 1970,” although, as the sub-headline says, “19.6% of those aged 15 and over smoke daily.”
Having spent the past eight years in Tel Aviv and traveling the country, it is very obvious that the percentage of smokers versus non-smokers is reversed. One cannot walk the sidewalks without being exposed to second-hand smoke.
The Health Ministry is deceiving the public. Most people smoke, including doctors and dentists; even inside Ichilov Hospital, the smoking room for the staff leaks toxic smoke to the entire floor.
The streets are full of cigarette butts. People who cannot afford the habit are addicted and have no choice. The ministry is allowing this smoke to destroy our country.
We are in trouble, and Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman and his ministry are perpetrating a crime by colluding with the cigarette industry and not protecting the citizens of Israel from this odious plague.
Tel Aviv
...and one reason why
Rubbish! Let me explain.
The figures are extracted from the Interior Ministry.
It’s a well-known fact that today, as opposed to 1970, hundreds of thousands of Israelis live permanently outside the country. So let’s see what happens to them in the aforesaid ministry when they die.
In 2003, an Israeli man died in Johannesburg, where he had been living for some time. I probated his estate in Israel, where he still had a bank account because he was receiving a monthly pension from the IDF.
The probate went through and the children received their inheritances, but the bank account could not be closed because every month, and to this day, the IDF keeps paying the pension into the account. I phoned its pension department and faxed and mailed it the death certificate – to no avail. Why? Because, according to the Interior Ministry, he is still alive! With another estate, the apartment of the deceased was sold and I applied to the property tax department for assessments. I included notarized copies of the probate orders of beneficiaries.
One of the many beneficiaries had moved to France many years previously. In this case, I received an assessment in the decedent’s name instead of that of his beneficiaries.
I phoned the senior assessor to inquire why he had ignored the probate order. His reply was that according to the Interior Ministry, the decedent was still alive! So I now hope that you have a clearer picture of why the Israeli population keeps increasing at breakneck speed and why we live longer.
The matter of Priti Patel
“Bipolar” is a very good word to describe the May government’s attitude and relationship with Israel (“Bipolar Britain,” Editorial, November 13).
Sadly, the Patel episode is not the first example.
An even better one – and far more significant – is the way the Foreign Office blindsided both May (and probably Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson himself) in leading negotiations for the text of what became UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which last December declared West Bank settlements illegal.
One would think that May, politically weakened though she might be, would by now be alert to the potential tricks of Foreign Office traditionalists who think they still run the country by right. Anybody sane should know that when it comes to delivering lifesaving medical aid to Syrians, it should not matter what the UK government’s attitude is regarding where the aid is being delivered.
Those traditionalists have again shown their true colors of not being in the slightest bit concerned about humanitarian aid – only for ensuring the perpetuity of their erroneous world view.
Your editorial rightly highlights the timeline of Priti Patel’s visit to Israel three months ago.
Sadly, there is no dearth of UK journalists who can be manipulated. Equally sad, not all toxic journalists reside in the UK.
Credit where credit is due
Thank you, David Eli Barchas, for taking responsibility to change the mindset of Palestinian leaders to demand a capital in Jerusalem (“Jerusalem vision,” Comment & Features, November 12).
If Mr. Barchas’s claim is correct, he can also claim credit for setting back the prospect of peace for many years. And while we are giving credit where credit is due, I also want to thank him for reminding me that no matter how idiotic some of our peace solutions are (e.g., providing the Palestinians with weapons), there is always a worse idea around the corner.
I am also impressed that one who never lived in the same city with people hostile to him can profess to know what a Palestinian capital sharing Jerusalem without a dividing wall would be like. Such perspicacity – or is it just ignorant chutzpah?
Obviously sensible
What James Woolsey said (“The hell with proportionality,” Frontlines, November 10) was so obviously sensible: Use the most effective means to frustrate your enemies’ aims.
Your columnist Caroline B. Glick suggested this a few years ago when she wrote of the need to get the world off the use of oil and reduce its price so that many of our enemies would not have the resources to be a real threat. Did anything happen here? No concerted effort was made. The government did not tell the chief scientist to allocate whatever resources it would take to perfect alternative fuel and power technology.
Fortunately, through private initiatives motivated by the perceived threat of global warming, we are very close to this capability. We have to now make the final effort. The immediate aim must be to perfect retro-fit systems so that a major proportion of the 900 million cars in the world can be converted to run on alternative fuels or electricity.
Petah Tikva
Thank you, Dr. Frantzman
Thank you, Seth J. Frantzman, for your insightful and informative articles on a wide range of issues, from global conflicts to social crises here in Israel. The fact that they are written in “real time,” meaning on-site and in the thick of things, provides a genuine “you are there” feeling.
It is among the best reporting and commenting that The Jerusalem Post offers.
The writer is a rabbi and columnist for The Jerusalem Post Magazine.