October 1: Budget cuts

Those not affected by budget cuts are members of Knesset and their staffs.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Budget cuts
Sir, – With regard to “Details of 2015 budget leave funding questions unresolved” (September 29), there are many imbalances that exist in our society. First among them is that cuts in the state budget are made across the board, regardless of the population group involved.
Other examples of inequality are the public transportation system, where a passenger pays the same fare whether he has a seat or is forced to stand. Premiums to health funds are fixed regardless of how often they are used; a person who suffers from high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, polyps in the intestine or alcohol or drug abuse pays the same premium as a person who is healthy according to medical standards.
In addition, my taxes contribute to new road construction although I do not own a car, and I contribute to the cost of public education, including that of Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s children, though I do not have any children now using the public education system.
Those not affected by budget cuts are members of Knesset and their staffs, as well as judges, retired judges, retired MKs and a host of others too numerous to mention. I hope with the current budget proposal the MKs will be willing to have their salaries cut, just as they want everyone else to cut back.
Hamas as role model
Sir, – It is a great shame that American money being sent to rebuild Gaza is not being sent instead to the embattled Kurds of Iraq and Syria to purchase much-needed military equipment to defend themselves from Islamic State.
It seems the Kurds need to wait for a coalition to assemble, discuss – and then do nothing effective – while their citizens flee to Turkey. Maybe they should take a leaf from Hamas’s book and launch some missiles into residential areas of neighboring states in order to receive the hard cash they need to prevent their conquest and enslavement.
Like an old postcard
Sir, – Regarding “Erdan takes on Lapid, Histadrut wants post delivered thrice weekly” (Business & Finance, September 29), when I was a little girl growing up in a London suburb in the mid-1930s, letters were delivered to our door three times a day – yes, three times a day, not three times a week. There was an early-morning delivery, a mid-day delivery at about noon, and an evening delivery at about 6.
There were also three postal collections a day and, if you posted your letter in the red letter box at the end of the street before 6 p.m. it would be delivered to anywhere in London during the early delivery on the following morning. A letter addressed anywhere else in the country arrived by noon.
Small, red Royal Mail vans were used to collect letters from the local street pillar boxes. The driver also changed a metal tab that told you the time of the next collection. Parcels and registered letters were delivered to your door but had to be signed for. They were sent from local post offices, which also ran a banking service that paid an annual interest.
All this was accomplished without the aid of electronic machines reading postal codes and the like, and at a very low cost to the consumer.
When we discuss small businesses sending their mail by the “more expensive rapid mail service,” we are returning to the bad old days before 1840, when Sir Rowland Hill instituted the prepaid Penny Post as an affordable, reliable service for all, to replace the erratic, expensive, stagecoach mail carriers in place until then.
So how about it, Communications Minister Gilad Erdan? Let’s have a little less “progress” and a working postal service delivering mail daily – and efficiently.
Beit Zayit
Yalla, Mr. Peres! Sir, – Yes!
Reader Irving Gendelman (“Where’s the justice?” Letters, September 29) is right in that no one lately has pressured the United States for the release of Jonathan Pollard.
Now is the time for Shimon Peres to devote his newfound status to doing just that. Our ex-president has already garnered all the awards and honors he could possibly receive, and just last week, by way of the viral video, it was disclosed that he is “looking for a job.”
On roads...
Sir, – A number of weeks ago the extension to Route 7 (from Route 40 to Ashdod) was opened to traffic. In my opinion, it is a well-engineered piece of construction.
However, in the weeks that followed its opening, no decent road signs have been installed and over this period I have observed many hapless drivers stopped on safety islands and shoulders, trying to figure out where in the world they were and how to get to their destination.
If I were not intimately familiar with the area I, too, would get lost and confused. In fact, the first time I used the new stretch of road I had to react at the last second to exit and get home.
Right now, between the Route 6 exit and the Ashdod Interchange there is one tiny sign pointing the way to Ashdod.
If you miss it you could find yourself on the way to Rehovot or Kiryat Malachi, or headed back toward Beit Shemesh. Heading east toward Jerusalem (it is hoped) there is another small, nearly invisible sign at the Gedera Interchange, which if missed might have you on the way to Rehovot or Kiryat Malachi (again).
There is an old sign that indicates the Beit Rabban exit will appear in 1,000 meters. Unfortunately, the new exit ramp pops up after only 500 meters, without a sign telling you what it’s for. If you miss it you are forced to drive another five kilometers to make a U-turn (provided you know where to do so).
Considering the many millions that went into building the highway, a few more thousand shekels to put in the proper signposts won’t break the bank. Any smarmy excuses by the contractor and/or the Transportation Ministry (which has the ultimate responsibility for road safety) to slither out of their slime should be flatly rejected by those citizens with more than hair between their ears. It is by good luck alone that until now this cock-up has resulted only in inconvenience and annoyance rather than broken bodies and heartache.
It’s been two years in which they could have prepared decent signs. Who dropped the ball?
...and drivers
Sir, – Of all the differences between life in Israel and England, none is more striking than people’s driving habits.
Having just spent a week in London I can testify to the British driver’s excellent road manners, always exhibiting maximum discipline and consideration for other road users, and even more so for pedestrians.
Motorists will always approach crosswalks with extreme caution, reducing speed in order to accommodate persons who might be planning on crossing the road.
Compare this with the standard procedure in Israel, which is to race up to crosswalks, ignoring totally anyone waiting patiently to cross and even speeding past those already crossing! Laws here must be tightened up to seek out these criminals, using every method at our disposal – cameras, ever more vigilant police personnel and stringent punishments.
Mevaseret Zion