September 3: The need for math

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The need for math
In “Back to school” (Editorial, September 1), you say that Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s proposal to double the number of students who successfully complete five-unit math study is aimed at diminishing the income disparity in Israeli society. In fact, its declared purpose is to generate more engineers to face Israel’s military challenges.
While both of these goals are worthy, neither need be solved in the proposed fashion.
To limit financial disparity, our society needs to better appreciate the contribution of the helping professions, even if they do not require five-unit math study. Individuals in these professions, such as teachers, social workers and nurses, must be remunerated in proportion to their contribution.
It’s a shame that young people flock to hi-tech for the salaries, even when their souls seek out a different path.
It’s also puzzling, in light of the shortage of physicians, why medical schools here have such stringent acceptance requirements.
Anyone visiting a Chabad house in Europe will encounter scores of young Israelis forced to study abroad to learn medicine.
You might reach the false conclusion that exceptional grades alone (and especially those in math, as well as the psychometric exam) are correlated with the kind of doctors we need. However, dedication, caring, creative thinking and personal skills are all desirable characteristics that can never be measured by these exams.
As an experienced engineer in the military realm for nearly 30 years, I would postulate that five unit math study is not absolutely essential for success in the field (although it definitely is preferable that engineers be “wired” as such). Too many people flock to engineering for the inflated salaries when they would find more gratification in other fields of work.
Future wars will not be fought as they were fought in the past, where air superiority was what counted. Future wars will be fought using missiles that travel faster than the speed of sound and can elude most present-day weaponry.
To counter these weapons, new technologies will be needed, and the IDF will have to invest in them if we are not to be overwhelmed
Money talks
After Iran receives its first $100 billion or so, as specified in its deal with the P5+1, what will keep it from simply buying a nuclear weapon? Why bother with centrifuges, inspections and timetables? Cash-starved North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and China will all be happy to sell it as many nukes as it needs!
Gan Down on Rabbinate
I fully share Isi Leibler’s opinions and fears (“Disband the disgraceful state-endorsed rabbinical leadership,” Candidly Speaking, September 1).
As an atheist, I should not care about religion – any religion. But as a citizen of the Jewish state, I have to recognize that the Jewish religion is a sine qua non. Thus, all that is left is to ascertain what sort of religion we, the majority of the Jews here in Israel, are willing to live with.
I submit that the only democratic way to find out is by means of a plebiscite in which Jewish citizens are asked two questions: 1. Do we need a Chief Rabbinate? 2. If the answer is yes, please choose which type: a) the current system, or b) a Druckman/Rabinovitch/ Riskin/Stav-style system.
The referendum should be totally separate from any elections so that coalition blackmail is not possible.
Kiryat Motzkin
Isi Leibler makes many valid and disturbing points about the Chief Rabbinate. What he omitted was the fact that two rabbinic families (the Laus and the Yosefs) seem to feel that the office of chief rabbi belongs to them.
It’s all about the politics, the patronage, the power, the money and the control, public be damned as long as the rabbis get what they want.
The day that Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau and Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef entered office was the beginning of the end of the rabbinate in Israel – only they don’t know it.
Petah Tikva
Righteous role
In “The global migration crisis” (Borderline Views, September 1), David Newman, with his impeccable academic credentials, inspires us to help alleviate the problem by being “prepared to take in a predetermined number of migrants who will find their future economic and physical safety among us.”
The good Prof. Newman could head a committee to settle them where he himself resides. Help must be sought from his broad contacts worldwide, especially those in his native UK.
In this time of self-analysis, he should agree that he is perfect for this righteous role.
Yet more bureaucracy Moshe Dann (“Resolving land disputes: The Torrens land title system,” Comment & Features, September 1) makes a proposal that, while perhaps academically sound, is unworkable in practical terms.
As a real estate lawyer in the US for the past 26 years, it has been my experience that any transaction involving a Torrens title system is guaranteed to be slower, more cumbersome and more costly than non-Torrens transactions. This in large part is due to the simple fact that Torrens titles are used in only a small minority of American property records, and thus are far less familiar to governmental administrators and practitioners alike.
Moreover, in proposing a Torrens system for Judea and Samaria, Dann seems to assume that the Palestinians and others who refuse to recognize Israel as the legitimate governing authority would in fact recognize that portion of the government that administers the Torrens system. Without such recognition, the system would likely be as unsuccessful as what it replaces – yet with a new and unfamiliar bureaucracy to compound the problem.
It seems to me that high on the list of things Israel does not need is another layer of ineffective bureaucracy.
Terminology standoff
With regard to Ruthie Blum’s “Music to Barenboim’s ears” (Right from Wrong, August 31), we can agree with her terminology “lunatic Left” if she can agree with our terminology “righteous Right.”
Partners in worry
I read The Jerusalem Post every day, practically from cover to cover, and I have come to the conclusion that I must be a masochist! I am so depressed after reading the sad and upsetting news day after relentless day.
I don’ t know what to worry about first! The horrendous deal with Iran, ISIS, the plight of the Syrian refugees, the influx of illegal migrants and the residents whose quality of life is being destroyed by the influx.
The list goes on: BDS and the rampant anti-Semitism in Europe, the brawling within our own country between the ultra-Orthodox and secular, the corruption in government, the insanity of placing convicted thieves into positions of trust, and the ever-present threat of our little country being under attack.
Now, after having read “26 years of Russian aliya: Segregation, poverty and police brutality” (Comment & Features, August 30), I have the worry of Russians who haven’t been able to integrate properly. And I am still worrying about the Ethiopian community! I can’t bear it on my own. Is anyone worrying with me?
Herzliya Pituah